Understanding the Gospels as Ancient Jewish Literature deals with the Gospels’ role as part of a collection of Greco-Roman Jewish texts (4th cent. BC–3rd cent. AD) that include the Dead Sea Scrolls and the literature of the early Rabbis. While decades of research into the "Jewish backgrounds" of the Gospels have proven to be fruitful, little attention has been given to their function as a witness to the evolution of ancient Judaism. Comprehending this evolution sheds new light and meaning on the Gospel narratives, as well as the core message of the Jesus movement. This work argues that when viewed through the lens of ancient Judaism, the Gospels become a source for the geographical, historical, and religious reality of ancient Judaism—some of which would have otherwise been missing from the historical record—and, in turn, clarify some of the teachings attributed to Jesus by the Evangelists.
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