KeywordsPhilosophy, Ethics and Religion
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AbstractGospel research has drawn upon studies of folklore from time to time. An initial impetus from J. G. Herder was followed up by the work of the form critics. More recently, W. H. Kelber introduced to the debate a model based on modern folklore studies and linguistic theory known as &#39;oral culture&#39; or &#39;orality&#39;. He stressed the differences between oral ways of thinking, speaking, and transmitting tradition and the thought and communication characteristic of a modern, print-dominated culture: exegesis and hermenutics, he insisted, must be attuned to the former. Drawing largely on Kelber, J. D. G. Dunn has developed this program in a rather radical form in his new book, Jesus Remembered. Through a series of comparisons between Dunn&#39;s approach and the author&#39;s own, this article argues that the orality model, even in this latest form, fails to provide an adequate solution to the mystery of the oral gospel tradition.