I. On the formative function of biblical stories, for example, of education and giving instructions and the combination of the “useful and the sweet,” see Amit 1999a:10–14.
2. On the importance of stories see Ryken 1984:33 and Amit 1999b:11–14, 108–15.
3. There are scholars who assume that “most of the literature of the Old Testament had a long and often complicated oral prehistory” (Tucker 1971:6). This assumption, which is already expressed in Hermann Gunkels commentary on the Book of Genesis (1997), was developed in Scandinavian research (Nielsen 1954) and was adopted to a greater or lesser extent by many others (for example, Culley 1963). More recenrly, Niditch (1996) has emphasized the continuity of the oral tradition and its interaction with literacy. This is accepted by nonbiblical scholars as well (for one example, see Yassif 1999:8–37).
4. As Culley put it: “The existence of an authoritative written text is insurance against change or error” (1963:117). Needless to say, in the process of transmission even written material can be changed, either because of copyists’ errors or editorial intent.
5. One example from Long: “[O]ral literature is an ephemeral phenomenon which is actualized in the complex interaction of performer, audience, and occasion” (Long 1976:193).