Categorises stories & sayings by shape and form to discern use & development in Early Church.
ORAL TRADITION; interested in earliest material - back to true word of Jesus.
Began after WW1; 3 German scholars - Karl Schmidt.
Source criticism had been exhausted. Aim to get back to oral period thru study of synoptics, oral period preceeds the Gospels by 30 years.
Stories during oral period not in connected form - independent isolated units. EG. Lost coin/sheep/son parables would have been taught seperately. Grouped together topically easier than chronologically. Written not always prefered medium - Papias - Hieroplias. Living voice.
Gospel authors; scissors & paste. Compilers of unconnected material.
Units = pearls on a string; string as narrative framework. Topics - Lost parables.
Vincent Taylor - 4 types
Pronouncement; go & do likewise.
miracles, sayings & parables, stories about jesus.
Preserved for usefulness and development in the church - worship & teaching
Material edited to suit SITZEN LEBEN of the church at the time; social situation.
These categories developed from use of the church.
Tendencies - chinese whispers word of mouth changes stories
Added detail; positive and negative.
More information and interesting with added detail but takes away from original message. Unknown how much has changed between original word of Jesus and the early church.
Form Criticism through this methodology aims to understad how the Gospel material was used during the oral period.