As Kelber made fruitful use of earlier work on the oral epic, so Horsley and Draper have benefited from the subsequent work of J. M. Foley in the same area.169 Foley has advanced the debate on how oral performance functions (and functioned) by drawing upon the 'receptionalist' theories of contemporary literary criticism, particularly those of Iser and H. R. Jauss, to fill out what Foley calls 'traditional referentiality'. The key point is that a text has to be heard within the appropriate 'horizons of expectation' (Jauss); any text has 'gaps of indeterminacy' (Iser) which can be bridged only from the hearer's prior understanding of the text, author, and tradition. In other words, 'traditional referentiality' invokes 'a context that is enormously larger and more echoic than the text or work itself; 'the traditional phraseology and narrative patterns continue to provide ways for the poet to convey meaning, to tap the traditional reservoir'. To elaborate the point Foley uses the term 'metonymy' and the concept of 'metonymic reference'
166. Cf. F. Vouga, 'Mündliche Tradition, soziale Kontrolle und Literatur als theologischer Protest', in G. Sellin and F. Vouga, eds., Logos und Buchstabe: Mündlichkeit und Schriftlichkeit im Judentum und Christentum der Antike (Tübingen: Francke, 1997) 195-209 (here 205-206, and further 205-208).
167. Kelber, Oral 201.
168. Deut. 6.20-25: 'we were Pharaoh's slaves . . . and the Lord brought us out of
169. J. M. Foley, Immanent Art: From Structure to Meaning in Traditional Oral Epic (Bloomington: Indiana University, 1991); also The Singer of Tales in Performance (Blooming-ton: Indiana University, 1995).
to designate 'a mode of signification wherein the part stands for the whole', in which a text 'is enriched by an unspoken context that dwarfs the textual arti-fact'.170 He can thus speak of 'the unifying role of tradition', able to give consistency within the diversity of performance because of the traditional referentiality of the text. Oral traditional texts imply an audience with the background to respond faithfully to the signals encoded in the text, to bridge the gaps of indeterminacy and thus to 'build' the implied consistency.171 In short, performance is the enabling event, tradition the enabling referent.172
Horsley applies Foley's thesis to Q: Q should be seen as the transcript of one performance among many of an oral text, 'a libretto that was regularly performed in an early Jesus movement'; its metonymic context of reception would be Israelite (as distinct from Judean) cultural traditions.173 Draper likewise takes up the idea of metonymic referencing, noting that it will be culturally determined and that a single word or phrase will often summarize in telescoped form a whole aspect of the culture and tradition of the people; he goes on to read Q 12.49-59 as an example, concluding that its metonymic reference is not apocalyptic but prophetic-covenantal.174
Horsley and Draper have their own particular axes to grind (haven't we all?). But the blend of insights from earlier oral tradition theory with contemporary literary theory provided by is of wider significance and its potential has still to be fully explored in regard to the Jesus tradition. I hope the present work will constitute a step in that direction.
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