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Holy Writ As Oral Lit: The Bible As Folklore
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Holy Writ As Oral Lit: The Bible As Folklore

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  65 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
This book helps us resolve some of the mysteries and contradictions that evolved during the Bible's pre-written legacy and that persist in the Great Book today. Most biblical scholars acknowledge that both the Old and New Testaments were orally transmitted for decades before appearing in written form. With great reverence for the Bible, Dundes offers a new and exciting way ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published January 14th 1999 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
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Luke
Jul 19, 2008 Luke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Folklore is, first of all, not a synonym for error or fallacy, as in the common phrase "That's just folklore."'

Too bad. The schadenfruende in me was hoping this book would say the bible was fallacious. All in all though, this was a fairly interesting read and all the more believable in its points because it takes such a measured, academic approach.

I came upon this book by watching a very low budget documentary I probably would not recommend (The God That Wasn't There) that featured this author
...more
William
Aug 31, 2009 William rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gave this five stars, but I probably overshot the mark. If I had to rank this book purely on scholarship, I would have put it around 3 stars. So why the 5 stars? Well, I like Alan Dundes and respect him as a scholar and innovator in folklore studies, and so my rating has more to do with the man and his overall work than this particular book. I confess it. It's a biased rating. However, this book raises very interesting issues, demonstrating the multiplicity of specific narratives in the biblic ...more
Rachel
Jul 07, 2013 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthropology
I also learned about this book through the documentary that can be found on netflix. I've forgotten the name of the documentary but I enjoyed it. The idea that the bible is a collection of folklores intrigued me and so here I am reviewing a book that argues that the bible is indeed a collection of folktales.

This book gives a great argument that the bible is a collection of oral stories. It is nothing more than a book full of folklores. This book is an easy read and keeps you interested in the i
...more
Jc
Aug 24, 2008 Jc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dundes' introduction to reading the judeo-christian bible as a compilation of folklore traditions. One of his theses is that the oral transmission, of both Old and New Test's, continued much later than other scholars claim. He feels that only a short line of written texts need to have existed prior to the codification currently known. Therefore, most variation, repetition, and copying error are due to differences in strains of oral tradition than literary tradition. Also contains a nice discussi ...more
Sancho
Dec 07, 2014 Sancho rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked the book, but it did not really teach me something I did not know already (something that the author's wife feared from the beginning).

However, I think that the work of collecting all this nonsense, repetitions, mistakes, and contradictions in the bible to show that it is indeed a result of oral traditions and folklore, and putting them together for the reader, is remarkable and requires a lot of knowledge about that book, not to mention a lot of attention and memory!

Of course, the fact
...more
Jorge
Apr 03, 2012 Jorge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very accessible publication by an author that is best know for his scholarship. I was very happy to see that he was able to forge a work that could easily be understood by the masses. It is not easy for scholars to express themselves in ways that laypersons can grasp. this book was primarily an enlightening diversion. It contained plenty of examples relating to the primary assertion of the book; namely that the Bible started off as a work of oral tradition which was eventually committ ...more
Laurie
Feb 23, 2012 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
VERY INTERESTING. ANOTHER WAY TO APPROACH THE BIBLE FOR BETTER UNDERSTANDING. THE ROLE OF ORAL TRANSMISSION IS NOT USUALLY GIVEN MUCH PLAY OR CREDENCE, ALTHO' MUCH OF THE BIBLE, BOTH THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES AND THE NEW TESTAMENT, WAS BASED ON ORAL TRADITION. ANOTHER FASCINATING FACET OF BIBLE STUDY.
Melissa Engberg
Nov 12, 2012 Melissa Engberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


While I enjoyed this book enough to give it for stars, I also found it to be rather repetitive. Admittedly, I did not need much convincing that the Xian bible was folklore!
Brad
The bigger theme taken on by the book is the way that oral and written transmission interact with one another.
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Alan Dundes was a folklorist at the University of California, Berkeley. His work was said to have been central to establishing the study of folklore as an academic discipline. He wrote 12 books, both academic and popular, and edited or co-wrote two dozen more. One of his most notable articles was called "Seeing is Believing" in which he indicated that Americans value the sense of sight more than t ...more
More about Alan Dundes...

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