Memory, Memorization, and Memorizers
The Galilean Oral-Style Tradition and Its Traditionists
Imprint: Cascade Books
Sienaert’s excellent translation of Marcel Jousse could not be more timely. It comes just as interpreters of Jesus are recognizing that form criticism was a misunderstanding of oral tradition modeled on written texts. Lecturing at the Sorbonne, etc. from 1931 to 1957, Jousse rebelled against the dominant “algebraicized,” hyper-disciplinized academic print-culture. This selection of his lectures opens up his groundbreaking (re-)discovery of concrete interactive oral culture and communication sustained by memory and mimesis. He finds this exemplified by Ieshua, who was deeply imbued with the popular Aramaic Palestinian-Galilean culture behind the oral-derived Targums.
—Richard Horsley, author of Text and Tradition in Performance and Writing
Although largely shrouded in silence by the academy, the French anthropologist Marcel Jousse is a giant in the study of oral cultures. This collection of essays and lectures introduces readers into the Galilean oral-style tradition of the first century CE. Relying on the Aramaic Targums, the author places before us a culture that is generated by the intricate operations of memory and formulaic diction. Jousse’s work remains an immense intellectual achievement that presents a viable alternative to the form critical model of the Jesus tradition and the gospels.
—Werner H. Kelber, Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Rice University
The course Marcel Jousse sets in his writings and lectures is devious, but the voyage promises great benefits: it leads us to the milieu of Rabbi Yeshua/Jesus and shows us not only the culture where the original human, the anthropos mimans, is to be found, but explores the reasons why it decayed. With a careful selection and translation of Jousse’s essays and lectures, and with an astute introduction, Edgard Sienaert helps us to follow Jousse’s way to this fascinating land.
—György Kustár, Assistant Professor of New Testament Studies, Theological Academy of Sárospatak, Hungary