excerpted from the Sage Handbook of Performance Studies (2006)
"...In certain areas of the academy these narrow notions of performance have created an “anti-theatrical” prejudice (Conquergood) that diminishes performance to mimicry, catharsis, or mere entertainment rather than as a generative force and a critical dynamic within human behavior and social processes. However, in recent history, performance has undergone a small revolution. For many of us performance has evolved into ways of comprehending how human beings fundamentally make culture, affect power, and reinvent their ways of being in the world. The insistence on performance as a way of creation and being as opposed to the long held notion of performance as entertainment has brought forth a movement to seek and articulate the phenomenon of performance in its multiple manifestations and imaginings."
(1) The Network of Biblical Storytellers:
(2) The Backyard Bard:
(3) The WTS Hebrew Players (directed by Prof. Travis West):
September 16, 2013
At a recent conference there was a paper presented in which there was repeated reference to the “performance” of passages from the Gospels in early Christian gatherings. Indeed, the presenter posited that this likely involved acting out passages, such as the narrative parables of Jesus. In recent years there have been a number of similar claims, and the word “performance” seems to have acquired a greater prominence in NT studies. I guess it depends on what one means by “performance” of a text, but when some scholars assert “performance” of texts and not the reading of them, I’m a bit sceptical.
By Joanna Dewey (Cascade, 2013)
To experience the gospel message as first-century people heard it is to move into an oral world, one with very little reliance on manuscripts. The essays in this book explore this oral world and the Gospel of Mark within it. They demonstrate the oral style of Mark's gospel, which suggests that it was composed orally, transmitted orally in its entirety by literate and nonliterate storytellers, and survived to become part of the canon only because it was widely known orally. Women's storytelling also thrived during the first centuries of Christianity. With the transition to manuscript authority beginning in the middle of the second century, women's voices were often minimized, trivialized, or completely omitted in written versions. Further, when the Gospel of Mark was one of four written Gospels these voices were quickly ignored. An ancient audience hearing Mark performed, however, enjoyed a vibrant experience of the gospel message and its urgent call to follow.