Oral-Formulaic Theory: Annotated Bibliography
John Van Seters. Abraham in History and Tradition. New Haven: Yale University Press.Argues that Noth's (1948) idea of a "pentateuchal oral tradition" is flawed both historically (with respect to the history of Israel) and analogically (given Noth's comparisons with the development of Icelandic saga). Contends that traces of folkloric structure do not make it inevitable "that the tradition as a whole, or even [certain] parts of it, derive from a pre-literate period" (p. 161). Views the problem of variants as one of differences among scribally transmitted texts and not as the kind of mutation typical of oral tradition (see espec. pp. 143-64).