The Memory Mavens, Part 11: Origins of the Criteria of Authenticity (4)

After a long delay, owing to intrusions from the real world, I now wish to end this part of the Memory Mavens series with a discussion of perspectives and methods. For weeks I’ve ruminated over these subjects, concerned (no doubt overly concerned) that I will miss some important points. But when I do, I know … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 11: Origins of the Criteria of Authenticity (4)”


The Memory Mavens, Part 11: Origins of the Criteria of Authenticity (3)

In the previous post, I promised to discuss a group of scholars who changed the perspective of biblical scholarship. I was referring to those whom we commonly group into the religionsgeschichtliche Schule. In English we call this the History of Religions School. The German term, religionsgeschichtliche, implies a secular, critical-historical approach toward religion. The reputation … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 11: Origins of the Criteria of Authenticity (3)”


The Memory Mavens, Part 11: Origins of the Criteria of Authenticity (2)

In the first part of this post, we examined some instances of New Testament scholars employing historical criteria before the advent of Formgeschichte, demonstrating that these criteria and methods did not differ significantly from what we would later call criteria of authenticity. In this post, we’ll look more closely at the ways source critics argued … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 11: Origins of the Criteria of Authenticity (2)”


The Memory Mavens, Part 11: Origins of the Criteria of Authenticity (1)

[This post has been waiting in draft status since 19 February 2015. This year I’m going to try to finish up some of the series we’ve left dangling on Vridar. –taw] A considerable number of New Testament scholars have recently jumped on the memory bandwagon (see, e.g., Memory, Tradition, and Text, ed. Alan Kirk). Characteristics … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 11: Origins of the Criteria of Authenticity (1)”


The Memory Mavens, Part 10: Memory and History (1)

Ireneo Funes, the eponymous character in Jorge Luis Borges’ short story, “Funes, the Memorious,” lived the first part of his life completely in the moment. Recalling his first encounter with the enigmatic figure, the narrator relates an incident from long ago when he and his cousin Bernardo were racing on horseback, trying to outrun a storm. They … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 10: Memory and History (1)”


The Memory Mavens, Part 9: Social Memory Distortion (2)

The word distortion reminds me of an old hobby. In our late teens and twenties, many 20th-century dinosaurs like me invested in high-fidelity (hi-fi) sound equipment to play our music. I can remember taking an LP record out of its sleeve for the first time, recording it on tape, and then storing the record away safely. We … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 9: Social Memory Distortion (2)”


The Memory Mavens, Part 9: Social Memory Distortion (1)

The Song of Deborah in the fifth chapter of Judges, according to most scholars, contains some of the oldest material in the Hebrew Bible. However, Serge Frolov in a journal article and an online post notes several clues that should make us suspect that it’s a later work retrojected into the past. For example, he writes: Another clue … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 9: Social Memory Distortion (1)”


The Memory Mavens, Part 8: Chris Keith, Post-Criteria Scholar? (2)

Today’s text comes from Molière’s play, Le Médecin malgré lui (The Doctor in Spite of Himself). We join in as Sganarelle, a poor, drunken woodcutter, posing as an eccentric but brilliant physician, pretends to diagnose Lucinde, the daughter of a wealthy couple. Her parents, Géronte and Jacqueline, along with their servant, Lucas, watch and comment as Sganarelle bamboozles them with a stream of … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 8: Chris Keith, Post-Criteria Scholar? (2)”


The Memory Mavens, Part 8: Chris Keith, Post-Criteria Scholar? (1)

When magician Ricky Jay performs an amazing card trick, people will often ask, “How do you do that?” He always answers, “Very well, thank you.” Such masters of prestidigitation rarely, if ever, give away their secrets. Sometimes they take their arcane methods with them to the grave, leaving even their fellow conjurers to wonder for eternity, “How did … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 8: Chris Keith, Post-Criteria Scholar? (1)”


The Memory Mavens, Part 7: When Terms Matter

In foreign policy, the United States — especially in the last hundred years or so — has tried to have it both ways: assiduously following the Constitution and domestic law, as well as keeping within the dictates of international agreements, while at the same time aggressively maintaining an empire with far-reaching hegemony. In doing so, the … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 7: When Terms Matter”


The Memory Mavens, Part 6: How Did Paul Remember Jesus?

We have covered the subject of the apostle Paul’s silence on Jesus’ life many times on Vridar. But for quite a while now, I’ve been thinking we keep asking the same, misdirected questions. NT scholars have kept us focused on the narrow confines of the debate they want to have. But there are other questions that … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 6: How Did Paul Remember Jesus?”


The Memory Mavens, Part 5: Rituals and Remembrance (2)

This is the second section of Part 5: Rituals and Remembrance. In the previous post, I tried to explain how modern Memory Mavens often read Maurice Halbwachs selectively. For example, Barry Schwartz (see Part 3) and Anthony Le Donne (see Part 5.1) inexplicably failed to read the earlier chapters of The Legendary Topography of the Gospels in … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 5: Rituals and Remembrance (2)”


The Memory Mavens, Part 5: Rituals and Remembrance (1)

Earlier this month on The Jesus Blog, Anthony Le Donne, one of the main Memory Mavens, let us know that he had publicly posted a chapter of his monograph, The Historiographical Jesus: Memory, Typology, and the Son of David. (You can, incidentally, read the original version of Le Donne’s thesis at the Durham University web site.) While I expect … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 5: Rituals and Remembrance (1)”


The Memory Mavens, Part 4: The Analytical Power of Failure

Another lifetime ago, back when I was a U.S. Air Force field training detachment commander, one of our instructors came into my office with a worried look. He told me he had been teaching basic circuitry to a group of enlisted students. “Lieutenant,” he asked, “when you were in school what did they teach you … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 4: The Analytical Power of Failure”