Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oral tradition

Paul Kelly at the Chill Island Festival 2007 o...Image via Wikipedia

There have been lots of interesting stories in Paul Kelly's 'How to make gravy' The book resolves around his songs and often how they came about. I found this quote paragraph interesting especially when you examine the biblical 'oral' tradition.

A couple of weeks later we arrived in Washington, just before Christmas. I went to a bookshop, found a copy of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love and thumbed through it to find 'So Much Water so Close to Home'. I was keen to compare it to my song, expecting to have remembered the story imperfectly and made up some of my own stuff. But I was surprised to read that the details in each were exactly the same - the men, the mountains, the whisky, the cold river, the body - right down to the story being told from the point of view of the wife of one of the men.

Its intereting that Paul Kelly read the book a number of years prior to writing the song. yet as you can read the details were uncannily similar.  This got me thinking about oral tradition which a lot of the old testement was based on as well as the gospels. Which where decades after the actual events.
Memory is an interesting thing. There are some things I recall well,  other which needs prompting and some which I'm sure is lost for ever. I think it is one of the 'mysteries' with the Gospels, the gap between the events occurred and the documentation of what happened. Then adding the 'iconic' status of Jesus which had happened in that gap. Will we ever know....
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