Can we hear what they heard? : the effect of orality upon a Markan reading-event
This dissertation arises from recent investigations in the field of orality and the potential that it has for Markan studies. Chapter one identifies the epistemological divide which separates a contemporary reading experience from one situated in the first century. Further, chapter one will focus this hermeneutical question upon the difference in how a text functions between a modern and an ancient literary critic; specifically, modern meaning versus ancient effect. Chapter two seeks to survey the nature of communication in the New Testament world and how this information was created, stored, and conveyed to its audience. Furthermore, it will seek to identify what skills were required by the manuscript’s creator, reader, and receiver(s). The goal is to define and develop the nature of a reading-event of antiquity. Chapter three will continue our prolegomena to method with a description of the complex inter-relationship between a reader, an audience, and a manuscript in the ancient world. It will be defined as a partnership whereby their respective functions commingle as they create a communal reading-event. Next, an oral hermeneutic will be described in two parts. First, it will present a summary of the historical reading-event constructed from the previous chapters. Then, an oral/performative approach will be developed under the rubric of a hypothetical reading-effect. It will be an attempt to recreate the oral/aural aspects which alert the reader and the listeners to the story’s movement. Furthermore, it will attempt to document the affective value of a hearer’s encounter with the narrative. Finally, chapter four will put into practice the aforementioned method to recreate a reading-event of the Second Gospel. We will explore how the text of Mark provides keys to the reader for how to orally present the Second Gospel. At the same time, our reading model will assist us to determine how the reading-event itself produces a controlled reading-effect upon a listening audience. Throughout the detailed work on Mark, we will attempt to show how an oral perspective reveals distinctive features which otherwise might be left unheard to silent readers.