Role of Eye-Witnesses in Jesus Tradition
Just a quick note to highlight the discussion by Richard Bauckham in his Jesus and the Eyewitnesses about the roots of the traditions about Jesus that circulated in the church. This key discussion is on pp. 290-300.
Here he argues that the traditions did not free float through the community (on an analogy with the telephone game) as form critics argue. Rather, there was a key role for eyewitnesses and their instructing of others for how these accounts were passed on. This means that the flexible-stable model of Bailey and Dunn for orality that is uncontrolled actually has more control on it than they argued for in their works discussing the topic (Ken Bailey, "Informal Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels," Asia Journal of Theology 5 (1991): 34-51 and "Middle Eastern Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels," Expository Times 106 (1995): 363-67; J. D. G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered, 205-210). This is an important point and addition to the model of how traditions about Jesus were passed on orally within the church. There was a concern for how this was done in a manner that did view the historical event itself as important.