Q and oral tradition
In his post of October 26, Stan Anderson mentions several arguments
against the "oral Q" theory. I would not wish to challenge most of
these, but there is one which has always irritated me. Stan says, "If
this material was passed around so much that it became memorized, why was
only part of each pericope memorized?"
It is common knowledge that in any mass of memorized material, there are
some parts which are remembered more accurately that other parts and some
parts which are more subject to alteration or elaboration. How many
people do you know who can recite "To be or not to be, that is the
question," but haven't the foggiest notion what is said in the second
line of Hamlet's soliloquy? The same is true with biblical material.
(Just listen to children who are memorizing parts for a Christmas pageant.)
The other arguments against "oral Q" may be more substantial, but the
variation of material which is more strictly controlled with that which
is more freely cited is exactly what we would expect in memorizee in writing.
Donn W. Leatherman