Free Online Bible Classes | Reliability of the Oral Tradition (part 2)

Reliability of the Oral Tradition (part 2)

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Lesson

Three recent areas of study encourage us to accept the reliability of oral tradition. They are studies in the nature of an oral culture, how the Gospels follow an informal controlled tradition, and the effect of social memory.

Outline

I. RELIABILITY OF ORAL CULTURE

A. Example of the telephone game

But ancient culture was oral was reliable

B. Methods of teaching in Jewish oral culture

Students had to memorize a passage perfectly before discussion

C. Greek education

1. Memorized the Iliad and Odyssey (200,000 words total)

2. Longest gospel (Luke) is less that 20,000

D. Rabbis often memorized the entire Old Testament

II. THREE KINDS OF TRADITIONS

A. Guarded (formal controlled) tradition

B. Informal uncontrolled tradition

C. Informal controlled tradition

a. Trusted leaders responsible to repeat the traditions

b. But not necessarily word-for-word but what was appropriate for the context (flexibility within fixed limits)

c. Examples from Luke/Matthew and Josephus

d. What we see in the gospels (at least 10% variation but not more than 40%), partially influenced by oral tradition

III. IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEMORY

A. What happens when a group of people repeatedly reflect on key events in their history

1. Example of a modern church

2. Example of the Gospels

B. Weaknesses

IV. CONCLUSION: ALL THREE OF THESE TOGETHER GIVES US CONFIDENCE