The Use of Memory in the Old Testament Quotations in John’s Gospel

in Novum Testamentum
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The variances of the Old Testament quotations in John’s gospel from their source texts have been explained as John’s theological re-appropriation of these sources. However, this paper identifies within these variations what David Carr calls “memory variants,” ultimately showing that John was recalling the ot from memory. Furthermore, the verbatim quotations are usually taken from Psalms, which contain poetic constraints that enhance memory recall. These observations correspond strongly to the fact that the gospel of John, like other ancient documents, was produced in a culture that was predominately oral, wherein the handing on of tradition depended primarily on memorization.

The Use of Memory in the Old Testament Quotations in John’s Gospel

in Novum Testamentum

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References

2

See H.E. Hearons“The Implications of Orality for Studies of the Biblical Text,” Oral Tradition 19 (2004) for a review of recent studies of memory orality and text transmission.

3

David M. CarrThe Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction (Oxford: Oxford University Press2011) 17.

4

F.C. BartlettRemembering (London: Cambridge University Press1932) 84 93; cf. the summary of Bartlett’s findings in David Carr Formation 14.

7

CarrFormation15; David C. Rubin Memory in Oral Traditions: The Cognitive Psychology of Epic Ballads and Counting-out Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1995) 122.

11

BartlettRemembering118-176.

14

Birger GerhardssonThe Origin of the Gospel Traditions (Philadelphia: Fortress Press1977) 22. So also Karel van der Toorn Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2007) 12.

16

BartlettRemembering68 81 125 175; Carr “Torah on the Heart” 25 29; Carr Writing on the Tablet of the Heart: Origins of Scripture and Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2005) 40-46; Rubin Memorypassim. Emanuel Tov Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press 2012) 126 acknowledges the difficulties in explaining such differences: “one often gropes in the dark when encountering differences in number (singular/plural) the tenses of the verb pronominal suffixes prepositions the article etc.”.

17

Carr“Torah on the Heart” 27.

20

CarrFormation26; Rubin Memory 179-183.

23

BarrettThe Gospel558; F.F. Bruce The Gospel of John: Introduction Exposition and Notes (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1983) 377; von Wahlde The Gospel and Letters 3:315; R.E. Brown The Gospel (ab 29a; New York: Doubleday 1970) 953.

25

BartlettRemembering82.

28

Carr“Torah on the Heart” 28.

31

Cf. BarrettThe Gospel444; Freed Quotations 89; A.T. Hanson The Prophetic Gospel: A Study of John and the Old Testament (Edinburgh: T&T Clark 1991) 173; Rudolf Schnackenburg The Gospel according to St John (3 vols.; New York: Crossroad 1972) 3:26; Westcott The Gospel 193.

34

SchnackenburgThe Gospel3:26.

36

BarrettThe Gospel444.

44

BarrettThe Gospel173; cf. Schnackenburg The Gospel 1:291.

46

BartlettRemembering68.

48

WestcottThe Gospel185.

49

Cf. BarrettThe Gospel431.

50

BarrettThe Gospel431; Freed Quotations 87.

52

SchnackenburgThe Gospel2:415.

58

SandersCommentary289.

60

BrownThe Gospel458; Freed Quotations 80; Hanson The Prophetic Gospel 164.

63

von WahldeThe Gospel and Letters2:531.

64

BrownThe Gospel457; cf. von Wahlde The Gospel and Letters 3:307.

65

BruceThe Gospel260; cf. Freed Quotations 80 and von Wahlde The Gospel and Letters 3:307.

66

SandersCommentary289.

67

BartlettRemembering121.

68

HansonThe Prophetic Gospel169.

69

BarrettThe Gospel481.

71

von WahldeThe Gospel and Letters3:299.

73

SchnackenburgThe Gospel2:155.

74

von WahldeThe Gospel and Letters2:375.

75

von WahldeThe Gospel and Letters3:301.

76

WestcottThe Gospelxiv. cf. Westcott 123 “The reference is not to any one isolated passage but to the general tenour of such passages.”

77

BarrettThe Gospel326.

82

Carr“Torah on the Heart” 31.

85

BarrettThe Gospel289; Bruce The Gospel 152.

86

HansonThe Prophetic Gospel84.

87

Carr“Torah on the Heart” 17.

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