The theme of orality is one I return to again and again, especially over the summer with our MA module in ‘Bible Engagement in Intercultural Contexts’ and a forthcoming new undergraduate module called, ‘Story, Song and Social Networks: Bible Engagement and Oral Culture’.
We are also developing the Resources section of this microsite to include a whole section on the Bible and orality. There you will find links to websites, journal articles, books, etc. on the subject. Let us know if you find anything we’ve missed!
In the meantime, here is a quote from Hill and Hill in their book, Translating the Bible into Action: How the Bible can be Relevant in All Languages and Cultures
(for context, this is part of a section entitles ‘General barriers to engaging with Scripture’)
A. Literacy barrier
Printed Scriptures are effective when people know how to read and like to do so. But many people prefer to communicate using oral rather than written means, or they don’t know how to read. Even if literacy classes were available, people may not be interested in attending them. In some cases, those who do learn to read may still prefer oral means of communication, and soon lose their new skills. In other cases, people may want to learn to read but they are hindered by poor eyesight or other problems. If Scripture is only presented in written form to people who do not know how to read or like to read, this is a serious barrier. (pp. 3-4)
They then refer to five chapters in the book that deal particularly with this topic:
ch. 2 Using appropriate Scripture Products
ch. 16 Bible Storying
ch. 22 Engaging People with Scripture through Music
ch. 23 Engaging People with Scripture through Drama
ch. 24 Engaging People with Scripture through the Visual Arts