Oral Tradition Ceased after the Gospel of Mark

I posted this statement on this blog’s facebook page last night.

Go see what was said.

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

4 thoughts on “Oral Tradition Ceased after the Gospel of Mark

  1. The composition of a document does not mean oral tradition has ceased. You would have to show that all communities who interacted with that “text,” if it were a text, could read. In conversation with the other Gospels, you would have to show that they were working with a written document as a source, rather than an oral source, which is impossible to do, even though it seems likely with Luke. Oral tradition of the Bible probably never ceased until reading education was prevalent and the Bible was in the common languages. Most societies remained oral societies until post-reformation.

    To my first point, a wealthy scribe/community could produce a scroll, but this does not mean that oral tradition ceased elsewhere. Who’s to say the version of Mark we have is the official or original version. Impossible.

    1. Why aren’t you postin this on the fb page!!!

      I do think that is easy enough. I think Mark came first, without a preceding written document followed by Matthew who used Mark and undefined sources (E.P. Sanders). Luke used Matthew and Mark. John used Mark and a bottle of scotch… without any need for an oral tradition. Thus, every successive written document only uses what is previously there.

      I think, further, a codex v scroll would add something to a theory of finalization of oral tradition.

      Sorta like this: oral tradition of Jesus —–> Mark (75 CE) –> Oral Tradition of Mark’s Jesus —> Matthew —> a Matthean Markan Jesus —> Luke –> John.

Leave a Reply, Please!