Bible: Oral tradition: Chinese whispers

While one reads Genesis; one can easily realize that it consists mostly of the storytelling and one has to search for a jewel of word of revelation from the rubble of stories or events narrated one after the other. This is because of the relay system of oral tradition from generation to generation until it was written down with the damage already done. One can easily discover how difficult it was to preserve the message from generation to generation. It had all the characteristics associated with oral relay of messages in any branch of knowledge; so it was with the Genesis.

To understand the general phenomenon of oral tradition; I quote from Wikipedia:

“Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and tradition transmitted orally from one generation to another.[1][2] The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants. In this way, it is possible for a society to transmitoral historyoral literatureoral law and other knowledges across generations without a writing system.

A narrower definition of oral tradition is sometimes appropriate.[1] Sociologists might also emphasize a requirement that the material is held in common by a group of people, over several generations, and might distinguish oral tradition from testimony or oral history.[3] In a general sense, “oral tradition” refers to the transmission ofcultural material through vocal utterance, and was long held to be a key descriptor of folklore (a criterion no longer rigidly held by all folklorists).[4] As an academic discipline, it refers both to a set of objects of study and a method by which they are studied[5] — the method may be called variously “oral traditional theory”, “the theory of Oral-Formulaic Composition” and the “Parry-Lord theory” (after two of its founders; see below) The study of oral tradition is distinct from the academic discipline of oral history,[6] which is the recording of personal memories and histories of those who experienced historical eras or events.[7] It is also distinct from the study of orality, which can be defined as thought and its verbal expression in societies where the technologies of literacy (especially writing and print) are unfamiliar.”

It can also be understood from the “Chinese whispers”, a game usually played by the children, adult could also play to gain the experience.

From Wikipedia, my virtual university:

Chinese whispers[1] (or telephone in the United States[2]) is a game played around the world, in which one person whispers a message to another, which is passed through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly, and often amusingly, from the one uttered by the first. Reasons for changes include anxiousness or impatience, erroneous corrections, and that some players may deliberately alter what is being said in order to guarantee a changed message by the end of it.

The game is often played by children as a party game or in the playground. It is often invoked as a metaphor for cumulative error, especially the inaccuracies as rumours or gossip spread,[2] or, more generally, for the unreliability of human recollection.



First, as many players as possible line up such that they can whisper to their immediate neighbors but not hear players any further away. A phrase will be told by the judges and the first player whispers it as quietly as possible to their neighbor. The neighbor then passes on the message to the next player to the best of their ability. The passing continues in this fashion until it reaches the player at the end of the line, who says to the judges the message he or she received.

The game has no winner: the entertainment comes from comparing the original and final messages. Intermediate messages may also be compared; some messages will become unrecognizable after only a few steps.

As well as providing amusement, the game can have educational value. It shows how easily information can become corrupted by indirect communication. The game has been used in schools to simulate the spread of gossip and its supposed harmful effects.[8] It can also be used to teach young children to moderate the volume of their voice,[9] and how to listen attentively;[10] in this case, a game is a success if the message is transmitted accurately with each child “whispering” rather than “shouting”. I

This is how I see the phenomenon; others could have their own opinions by reasonable research or from blind faith.

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