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In: Matthew and the Didache

Much has been made in recent years of the oral/aural context in which the early Jesus movement was born, as both a needed adjustment to earlier models for understanding early Jesus tradition based principally on models of literary transmission and often as a surreptitious means to insinuate the faithfulness of oral transmission. This paper begins by reviewing recent memory studies, both cognitive and anthropological, and then assesses the proposals of Kenneth Bailey and James D.G. Dunn of faithful oral transmission of Jesus materials. It concludes with a test case, Q 6.37, concluding that even in the case of the stable transmission of aphorisms, there is profound and significant transformation of meaning, due to the pressures exerted by the transmissional context.

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus


In elaborating the Jesus tradition (Q 11:9-10; 6:22-23) James expands, compresses and elaborates Q sayings in a way which reveals an array of interests in psychagogy and the care of the soul which we know also to have characterized various strains of Hellenistic philosophy of the early Roman period. The author of James displays a remarkable interest, not in such concrete ends as subsistence, debt relief, and the rewards for withstanding persecution, but rather in the psychic processes that occur between stimulus and decision and in the role that proper cognition plays in constructing the subject as perfect.

In: Novum Testamentum
In: Novum Testamentum
In: Jewish and Christian Communal Identities in the Roman World
In: A Wandering Galilean: Essays in Honour of Seán Freyne