With clarity and verve, Mark Allen Powell introduces the beginning student to the contents and structure of the Gospels, their distinctive characteristics, and their major themes. An introductory chapter surveys the political, religious, and social world of the Gospels, methods of approaching early Christian texts, the genre of the Gospels, and the religious character of these writings. This second edition has been updated to take fuller account of different theories regarding the Gospels, with new chapters on the historical Jesus and on gospel literature not included in our New Testament, and with a pleasing new format. Special features include illustrations and more than two dozen special topics.
“The method of study always involves cross-cultural comparisons, asking, for instance, what purpose a phenomenon in one culture is expected to fulfill based on what we know from the study of other cultures. With regard to the Gospels, cultural anthropology has emphasized the significance of honor and shame within the Mediterranean world, explained the social dimensions of purity codes that label people ‘clean’ or ‘unclean,’ and clarified the socioeconomic dynamics of peasant culture in which, without a middle class, most persons experience both the hardships and the solidarity of poverty.” (Page 6)
“To translate is always to interpret, and people who read English Bibles are in fact reading interpretations of the Bible” (Page 40)
“Mark’s primary motivation for writing a Gospel, then, may be to do what Paul did not do, to provide historical grounding for an emerging theological system (a basically Pauline understanding of gentile Christianity) and the pastoral concerns it generates.” (Page 72)
This book is informed by current scholarship but also understandable to the average reader—one of the most readable introductory works I have read. Replete with visual aids and verbal illustrations, it frequently bridges the gap between ‘then’ and ‘now,’ helping modern Western readers understand the nature and cultural assumptions of the Gospels. It also explains the views of a range of modern scholarship in intelligible ways.
——Craig S. Keener, Asbury Theological Seminary
Introduction to the Gospels covers the vast terrain of Gospels scholarship with ease and clarity. Written in Powell’s characteristically accessible style, this comprehensive update of the original includes an expanded chapter on noncanonical gospels. A welcomed reinvigoration of what was already becoming a classic.
—Jeannine K. Brown, Bethel Seminary
Mark Allan Powell has managed to present information that is essential to a sound understanding of the origin and nature of the Gospels. This gem of a book is enhanced by numerous charts and diagrams, making it an ideal classroom textbook.
—Donald A. Hagner, Fuller Theological Seminary
In the Logos edition, Logos Bible Software gives you the tools you need to use this digital volume effectively and efficiently. With your digital library, you can search for verses, find Scripture references and citations instantly, and perform word studies. Additionally, important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, theology texts, and other resources in your library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.