Rickswordfish

Oral traditions reliable?

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This article brings up several pieces of evidence that the oral trqditions that lead to the gospel are accurate can someone read it and tell me wether or no theyre right https://reknew.org/2019/04/how-reliable-was-the-early-churchs-oral-traditions/

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21 hours ago, Rickswordfish said:

This article brings up several pieces of evidence that the oral traditions that lead to the gospel are accurate can someone read it and tell me wether or no theyre right https://reknew.org/2019/04/how-reliable-was-the-early-churchs-oral-traditions/ 

 

Although this link can be considered scholarly IMO, they come to conclusions that are certainly not reliable, also IMO.  Oral tradition that's old, of any religion or otherwise is certainly unreliable if not backed up by a lot of evidence, whereby the life of Jesus has no historical evidence to back it up, and little verifiable evidence for the validity of the Bible of any kind in the New or Old testament.  The article states that the most reliable oral tradition of the New Testament is backed up by the  teachings of Paul, the Pauline Epistles. The life of Paul has a historical backing, but his writings have always been in question as to their authenticity since they are known not to have been written in his own hand, penmanship. Paul was literate in several languages and wrote well in Latin and Greek, contrary to the literacy of probably Jesus or any of his 12 disciples if any other than Paul ever lived.  But a Paul who preached Christianity about the time of the Biblical Paul did exist according to history, but are any of his asserted writings authentic? probably not IMO for reasons explained in the link below but Paul's alleged writings parallel some of what is known of his life.  As far as oral traditions of the Bible are concerned most Biblical scholars agree that little credence should be given to unsupported oral traditions of Christianity hundreds of years old, contrary to the conclusions of the OP link.

 

http://www.directionjournal.org/44/1/inauthentic-letters-of-paul.html

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     I think it depends on what you mean by reliable.  I noticed that they referenced "Honko" in some relevant places so I went looking for what they had to say.  In what I could find they seemed to be saying that we should remember that history and myth were essentially interchangeable in many cultures (this is true of most ancient cultures) and that transcribing a large oral narrative is almost impossible.  They provide examples where they ask bards to sing them epic poems (normally only parts of the poems are performed as opposed to the whole thing).  They then noticed that even though they had the whole poem (agreed upon by other bards and the audience) that at other performances the same parts they had could change sometimes be twice as long.  Also, had they just listened to random performances by any number of bards they would have probably never heard the entire epic since it never seems to ever get performed.

 

     The point here is the xians are trying to say since we know bards can memorize and perform large amounts of information that this information must be real history when that doesn't have to be the case.  I have no problem with the gospels having an oral origin.  It's just in this specific case it really also needs to be real history for it to actually matter.

 

          mwc

 

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But the article quotes anthropologists who say that the people telling oral traditions dedicate themselves to keeping it historically accurate

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12 minutes ago, Rickswordfish said:

But the article quotes anthropologists who say that the people telling oral traditions dedicate themselves to keeping it historically accurate

     They seem to be referring to one guy who has one article in the book "Dynamics of Tradition: Perspectives on Oral Poetry and Folk Belief" but, unfortunately, I haven't yet found a bookseller that has a preview so I don't know anything about what is being said.  It just seems that the author of this article is lifting his argument from a couple jesus is really, real sort of books since they seem to be the only ones to cite this particular guy.

 

     Jawaharlal Handoo seems to have done a lot of work with folk tales in India but I can't seem to find any indication that any work has been done with any work in other areas or if this work even applies to other areas.  Other cultures may have worked entirely differently.

 

          mwc

 

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38 minutes ago, Rickswordfish said:

But the article quotes anthropologists who say that the people telling oral traditions dedicate themselves to keeping it historically accurate

 

The problem with that is that oral traditions were needed before those hearing and remembering such things could read or write. I'm sure you could imagine how something that has passed though 15-30 generations could change over time if there was no other way to record it other than memory. And of course some could add to or delete some of the story to keep it logically consistent with the beliefs of the religion which might change over time.

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Bart Ehrman wrote about oral traditions and focused, somewhat scientifically, on human memory in a few chapters.  He was surprised when he had found very little written about the accuracy and fallibility of the human memory as applied to oral traditions.  The book is:

 

Jesus Before the Gospels:  How the Earliest Christian Remembered, Changed and Invented Their Stories of the Savior

 

It's a rather good read and a bit more accessible than many of his other books.

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Just a note, all scholars do not accept that Paul was a real person. The Fabricated Paul by Hermann Detering & The Colossal Apostle by Robert M Price are two examples of scholarly works that question whether the Apostle Paul was a real person. 

 

I think both noted authors present a strong case for Paul being a literary character. The alternative is that Marcion and Simon Magus wrote the Pauline Epistles and were the real creators of Christianity. Obviously the mentioned books would have to be read to become familiar with the evidence they present and then the reader will have to decide for themselves.

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