Essays in this collection, edited by Jonathan A. Draper, explore the complex relationship between text and orality in colonial situations of antiquity from Homer, Plato, and Mithras to the Hebrew and Christian scriptures and rabbinic tradition. Orality could be a deliberate decision by highly literate people who chose not to put certain things in writing, either to exercise control over the tradition or to preserve the secrecy of ritual performance. Exploring both theoretical issues and historical questions, the book demonstrates the role of text as a form of imperial control over against oral tradition as a means of resistance by the marginalized peasantry or marginalized elite of Israel and the early church.
Jonathan A. Draper is Professor of New Testament, School of Theology, at University of Natal, South Africa.
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