Fortress Press

Performing the Gospel: Orality, Memory, and Mark

Performing the Gospel

Orality, Memory, and Mark

Jonathan A. Draper (Editor), John Miles Foley (Editor), Richard A. Horsley (Editor)


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This ground-breaking volume gathers the best new work in Gospels criticism centered on how the Gospels actually came to be: through oral tradition, story performance, and cultural memory.

Contributors include:

  • John Miles Foley
  • Martin Jaffee
  • Jonathan A.Draper
  • Ellen Aitken
  • Holly Hearon
  • Vernon K. Robbins
  • Whitney Shiner
  • Jan Assmann
  • Jens Schroeter
  • Richard A. Horsley


  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800698317
  • eBook ISBN 9781451411669
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 260
  • Publication Date May 1, 2011


"Biblical studies is a conservative field, for several reasons. Its focal texts are sacred to the faithful and canonical for personal faith and church doctrine.... Biblical literature is foundational for western culture more generally.... Innovation is not always welcome and is sometimes suspect. Yet innovation can bring excitement and insight that renew and enliven the field of New Testament studies, church communities, and personal faith...

"Werner Kelber was one of the first to explore the Gospel of Mark as a plotted narrative, and not a mere 'string of beads.' He was the first to recognize that the Gospels were composed and received in a world dominated by oral communication.... More recently he has demonstrated that the Gospel narratives were produced by and from cultural memory. [His] path-breaking work in all of these areas not only opened the eyes of others to their central importance for New Testament studies, but became formative for other attempts to question established assumptions, approaches, and interpretations in biblical studies. The resulting inquiries and reflections promise to change the landscape of Gospel study."
– From the Introduction


Table of Contents

Part 1
1.     The Implications of Orality for Studies of the Biblical Text
2.     Gender and Otherness in Rabbinic Oral Culture: On Gentiles, Undisciplined Jews, and Their Women
3.     Many Voices, One Script: The Prophecies of George Khambule
Part 2
4.     Form as a Mnemonic Device: Cultural Texts and Cultural Memory
5.     Memory in Oral Tradition
6.     Tradition in the Mouth of the Hero: Jesus as an Interpreter of Scripture
7.     Jesus and the Canon: The Early Jesus Traditions in the Context of the Origins of the New Testament Canon
Part 3
8.     Interfaces of Orality and Literature in the Gospel of Mark
9.     Memory Technology and the Composition of Mark
10.   A Prophet Like Moses and Elijah: Popular Memory and Cultural Patterns in Mark