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Re: orion Chanukah, Tefillin and Minim

On Thu, 14 Jan 1999, Jack Kilmon wrote:

> I realize that, Paul, but these methodologies rarely, in my experience, 
> recoognize or understand the dynamics of oral transmission, even over
> several centuries.

The most recent ethnographic and literary-historical work on oral
tradition yields little reason to trust the ability of orally transmitted 
narrative to preserve unchanged accounts of historical events. Rather, in 
the wake of numerous studies since those of Vansina, Goody, and many many 
others, it is clear that orally transmitted narratives undergo constant
reframing and "updating" in the context of performance. So even if we
could be sure that rabbinic sources ARE orally transmitted, we would
still not be able to reliably reconstruct historical events without the
aid of external sources. As Hillel said: zil gmor. MJ


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