“Oral Fixation” in NT Studies: Response
I’m pleased that my article giving a critique of some of the more extreme representations of “performance criticism,” which appeared a few months ago in the journal New Testament Studies has received an affirming response from Roger Bagnall in an email today, one of the foremost figures in papyrological studies.
My article is available on this blog site under the “Selected Published Essays” tab here.
Scholars really can’t be expected to agree all the time, and he and I have disagreed occasionally on this or that (as reflected in my review of his book, Early Christian Books in Egypt here). But I also have enormous respect for Bagnall’s work overall, for he has been at the forefront of promoting the study of ancient papyri, e.g., as editor of The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology.
My article drew in part upon his little book, Everyday Writing in the Graeco-Roman East (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011) to emphasize the place of various levels/types of reading, writing and texts in the early Christian period. His earlier book, Reading Papyri, Writing Ancient History (London: Routledge, 1995), is an excellent introduction to how Egyptian papyri are vital for ancient historical work.
I suspected that he’d basically find my article congenial to his own work, and it’s nice to have that confirmed.