Werner Kelber's The Oral and the Written Gospel set forth an ambitious and bold thesis concerning the Gospel of Mark as the revolutionary document that subverted the "orality" of the pre-Markan Jesus tradition and replaced it with "textuality." However, his characterizations of the nature of orality and textuality are not appropriate for the Greco-Roman setting of Mark and his proposal cannot, therefore, serve us well in understanding the appearance of the written Gospels and the intentions behind them. In this essay two main matters not given enough attention in previous assessments of Kelber's study are discussed: (1) the nature of Greco-Roman literacy, and (2) several relevant aspects of textuality in the Greco-Roman period, with particular reference to the Gospel of Mark.

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