Thursday, November 11, 2010

see you in Louisville

I just found out today that my paper, "Speaking of Jesus: 'Oral Tradition' beyond the Form Critics," was accepted by the (SBL) New Testament section for the 2011 SECSOR meeting. That meeting will be held the weekend of 4–6 March, 2011, in Louisville, KY, at the Galt House. Here's my paper's abstract:
Oral tradition has been a live analytical concept in gospels research at least since the form critics but especially since Werner Kelber’s The Oral and the Written Gospel (1983). Recently, numerous high-profile publications in Jesus and gospels research attest the ascendency of memory as an equally live subject in the exploration and explanation of Christian origins. One by-product of this confluence of issues—oral tradition and memory—has been a renewed discussion of form criticism and its legacy. The apparent connection with the form critics’ aims risks misdirecting contemporary exploration of the early Christians’ use of oral and written traditions down potentially blind alleys. This paper offers three specific areas that distinguish—or ought to distinguish—contemporary oral-traditional research from form-critical inquiry. First, contemporary scholarship conceptualizes orality in terms broader than merely the transmission of tradition. Second, contemporary scholarship problematizes the construction of trajectories as explanatory models of Christian origins. Third, contemporary scholarship highlights both the similarities and the differences between oral and written expressions of tradition and explores the interface between the two. As a result, contemporary scholarship would be well-served by fostering an abrupt rupture between the current interest in the oral Jesus tradition (and the constitutive role of memory therein) and the procedures and products of Formgeschichte.

My thanks to the SBL NT section committee for approving my proposal. You can find more information about SECSOR at their website.


Jake said...

Congratulations! Very cool. Sounds like an interesting paper.

Rafael said...

Thanks, Jake. I hope so. I'll let you know after I write it. :-D

Adam Bean said...

Sounds good; I'll try to come to it. I also have a paper accepted, for this session (don't yet know the time):
ASOR/SBL Archaeology and the Ancient World III

Theme: Ancient Inscriptions and Their Bearing on the Reading of the Hebrew Bible
Todd Hibbard, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Presiding

Adam L. Bean, Emmanuel School of Religion
*The Topography of Divinity: Local Manifestations of Deities in the Ancient Near East

Rafael said...

Congratulations, Adam. Obviously I don't know anything about your paper, other than the title. But that title does make me think of an essay by Maurice Halbwachs, "The Legendary Topography of the Gospels in the Holy Land," which you could find in On Collective Memory, if you were interested.

Adam Bean said...

It looks like that essay does have in common with my paper the word topography, though perhaps not a great deal else. This is my thesis topic as well; it looks at examples from Mesopotamian, Hittite, NW Semitic texts where distinct forms of the same deity are associated with geographical locations, such as Ishtar of Nineveh and Ishtar of Arbelah, Yahweh of Samaria and Yahweh of Teman, etc. I'm attempting to assemble a thorough collection of examples and to address some basic phenomenological questions.

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