Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Oral traditional literature and the composition of Mark's Gospel
Author: Haverly, Thomas P.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3546 5412
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1983
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
This thesis addresses the paradoxical image of Mark's Gospel in contemporary criticism by an attempt to follow a tradition-oriented approach informed by the "oralformulaic theory" of oral literature. Mark is at once a loosely organized collection of traditionally shaped units and a coherent narrative with distinct literary qualities. Current critical approaches have difficulty with these contrary features of the Gospel. The oral-formulaic theory, developed in the field of Homeric studies, is able to account for the units of tradition, their combination and use in extended narratives, and the literary characteristics of such oral compositions. Oral narratives are re-composed in each "performance" through the use of "formulaic" diction and of "thematic" narrative units fashioned in the tradition. These texts, if recorded, can be compared and contrasted with written literature by their formulaic and thematic characteristics. Discussion of oral-formulaic theory in folkloristics and related studies provides general support for its description of the traditional process of oral composition, and enables its application to non-poetic oral narratives. This account of the nature and literary potential of oral composition makes significant form-critical principles outmoded, particularly the ideas of fixed and fragmentary transmission, which are also essential to redaction criticism. Oral-formulaic theory provides an alternative framework within which to understand features of Mark identified by form and redaction criticism. Accordingly, the hypothesis of the oral composition of Mark is tested in the second part of the thesis on the basis of oral-formulaic criteria. The "formulaic analysis" of Mark 1:1-45 faces uncertainties regarding the identification of formulaic expressions in prose. Even so, a proportion sufficient to satisfy this criterion for orality appears formulaic. The "thematic analysis" describes a network of similar scenes which covers most of the Gospel. These scenes display structural characteristics predicted by oral- formulaic theory and were used in Mark according to recognized oral techniques. Results of the oral-formulaic analysis of Mark are positive: the hypothesis is not proven but is worthy of further consideration, and justifies continued use of a tradition-oriented approach to the Gospel. Oral traditional composition provides a framework which comprehends both the traditional and the literary characteristics of Mark and offers to resolve its paradoxical image.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy