A Look at the Jesus Story, Oral Tradition and Eyewitness Memory
January 3, 2017 chab123
Even though the Christian can always offer certain dates for the Gospels, it should remembered that there was a gap of time between the ascension of Jesus and when the Gospel authors actually wrote their individual biographies about the life of Jesus. Therefore, there was an oral period where the words and deeds of Jesus were committed to memory by the disciples and transmitted orally. Oral Tradition is the transmission of a teaching or saying from person to person or from generation to generation by word of mouth rather than by the use of writing. The home, the synagogue, and the elementary school was where Jewish people learned how to memorize and recall information such as community prayers. But while we need to heed the importance of the oral phase of the Jesus story, at the same time, there is some evidence that Jewish people of that era took notes on waxed tablets. There is no reason to presuppose that literate members of Jesus’ group might not have written down his teachings. We could point to the teachings of the Teacher of Righteousness who was the founder of the Qumran sect which predates Jesus. This Teacher of Righteousness had his own teachings written down during his lifetime, perhaps on waxed tablets. This lends support to the possibility that literate members of Jesus’ group might have written down his teachings as well.
Given that many skeptics assumes the New Testament is biased