“A tightly argued and comprehensive treatment of an important area of New Testament studies.” —The Christian Century
“By distinguishing oral from written modes of transmission, Kelber skillfully unlocks new doors for biblical interpretation.” —Theology Today
What happens when speech turns into text? Spoken words, operating from mouth to ear, process knowledge differently from writing which links the eye to the visible, but silent letters on the page. Based on this premise, Werner Kelber discusses orality and writing, and the interaction between the two, at strategic points in the early Christian traditions. In digressing from conventional literary criticism, the book offers new, and often startling insights into the origins of Christianity.