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Studies in Jesus and the Gospels (23 vols.)
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Overview

The Studies in Jesus and the Gospels collection assembles recent scholarly treatments of Jesus Christ and the books of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. The authors behind each of the 23 volumes apply the latest critical and methodological practices to the four Gospels and beyond, innovatively reconstructing the world and persons of Jesus and His followers. Erudite and far-reaching, the collection examines a wealth of fascinating issues surrounding Jesus and the Gospels. These include the depiction of Christ in the Bible, theology, arts and literature; the criteria for authenticity in historical-Jesus research; footwashing in the Johannine community; women in the Gospels; the temptations of Jesus, and many, many others.

Individual Titles

This Jesus: Martyr, Lord, Messiah

  • Author: Markus Bockmuehl
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 256

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The twentieth and current centuries have paraded countless pictures of Jesus before an impressionable public. If we have learned anything of all this, it is that the available evidence, cautiously and sympathetically evaluated, will in all probability always lend itself to a range of possible views of Jesus: the Jewish martyr, the unworldly sage, the failed rebel, the messianic Son of God.

This problem has of course been with us from the beginning. Even in the first century there were various ways of interpreting Jesus of Nazareth. Nevertheless, it is also true that all the New Testament witnesses agree on the fundamental identity of the one about whom they speak. To the question, “Which Jesus?” apostolic Christian preaching gave the answer: This Jesus, the one who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, who is also the one whom God raised and thereby powerfully vindicated. “Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made Him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36).

Different views of Jesus continue to be possible or even plausible, and on the historical level there can be legitimate disagreement about how best to interpret the evidence. But, although we cannot go back far enough to find a Jesus of history who is not already a Jesus of his interpreter’s faith or unbelief, we do have the pictures of Jesus as seen and experienced by apostolic Christianity. This book seeks to show that the Christ who emerges in the faith of the New Testament churches stands in a causal and organic continuity with Jesus of Nazareth.

Dr. Markus Bockmuehl is Lecturer and Fellow, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He is also author of the volume on Philippians in Black's New Testament Commentary (13 Vols.).

Images of Christ: Ancient and Modern

  • Editors: Stanley E. Porter, Michael A. Hayes and David Tombs
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 408

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Images of Christ is a collection of essays that explores depictions of Christ in four media: the Bible, theology, literature and the arts. The biblical view of Christ is explored through a range of images from the messiah in the Old Testament to biblical metaphors used by the Church Fathers. The theologically oriented chapters are concerned with Christology in both Christian and non-Christian contexts, especially where the Christ image confronts traditional theological conceptions. The treatment of the Christ image and the views of authors ranging from the mediaeval mystery plays to contemporary fiction are covered in the literature section. The volume concludes with chapters on how Christ has figured in the arts, from Rembrandt and other painters to film and the Christian Mass. The result is a collection of papers that embodies tremendous diversity in its exploration of a single figure.

Stanley E. Porter is Principal, Dean and Professor of New Testament, McMaster Divinity College, Canada. He is also the author of Christian-Jewish Relations through the Centuries.

Michael A. Hayes is Head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at St Mary's College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham in the University of Surrey.

David Tombs is Senior Lecturer in Theology at the University of Surrey Roehampton, London.

Stanley E. Porter, Michael A. Hayes, and David Tombs also serve as the editors of Faith in the Millennium, part of the Theology and Doctrine Collection (16 Vols.).

Jude and the Relatives of Jesus in the Early Church

  • Author: Richard Bauckham
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 472

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This volume is an original and important contribution to the study of the earliest Palestinian Jewish Christianity. For the first time all the evidence for the role which relatives of Jesus played in the early church is assembled and assessed. Dr. Bauckham discusses a wide range of evidence, not only from the New Testament but also from the Church Fathers, the New Testament Apocrypha, rabbinic literature and Palestinian archaeology. The letter of Jude, in particular, proves to have much to teach us about the theology of the brothers of Jesus and their circle. It illuminates their exegetical methods and their Christology and shows both to have been influential contributions to the development of early Christianity.

This study shows that this neglected New Testament book is far more important for the study of early Christianity than has hitherto been recognized. By setting the letter of Jude within the context of the evidence for the role of relatives of Jesus in the early church, new light is thrown on the letter and on early Jewish Christianity.

Richard Bauckham is Professor of New Testament Studies, St Mary's College, University of St Andrews. He is also co-author of Scripture, Tradition and Reason: A Study in the Criteria of Christian Doctrine, available from Logos as part of the Hermeneutics Collection (12 Vols.).

Jesus and the Oral Gospel Tradition

  • Editor: Henry Wansborough
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 480

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This series of papers represents a moment in the continuing discussion of Gospel origins. It grew out of the International Symposium in the Interrelations among the Gospels, held in Jerusalem in 1984. This event made it clear that progress in discussion of the order of composition of the Synoptic Gospels demanded research into the stage of tradition which preceded the writing down of the Gospels.

The volume explores the importance of the oral tradition, as well as a realization that the written Gospels depend on a period of oral transmission in the Christian communities, which has been one of the salient contributions of the twentieth century to the study of the Gospels.

Henry Wansborough is the English member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and Lecturer in New Testament at Oxford University.

If this be from Heaven: Jesus and the New Testament Authors in their Relationship to Judaism

  • Author: Peter Tomson
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Pages: 456

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This is both an introduction to the New Testament and a study of its writings in relation to Judaism. The aim is to explore both the clear Jewish roots of the New Testament and its incipient anti-Judaism. The first two chapters give an overview of Jewish life and religion in the Greco-Roman world with special attention to the various groups and schools, among which the Jesus movement originated. Another chapter focuses on the tradition of the words and deeds of Jesus, the enigmatic teacher from Nazareth. The rest of the book studies the range of New Testament writings in their varied attitude towards Judaism. The concluding chapter is about how Christians might handle anti-Jewish texts in the Bible.

Peter Tomson is Professor of New Testament Studies at the Protestant Theological Faculty in Brussels.

Jesus, a Jewish Galilean: A New Reading of the Jesus Story

  • Author: Sean Freyne
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 224

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In his latest book, Sean Freyne draws on his detailed knowledge of Galilean society in the Roman period, based on both literary and archaeological sources, to give a fresh and provocative reading of the Jesus-story within its Galilean setting.

Jesus, a Jewish Galilean focuses on the religious as well as the social and political environment and examines the ways in which the Jewish religious experience had expressed itself in Galilee. It examines the ways in which the Jewish tradition in both the Pentateuch and the Prophets had constructed notions of an ideal Galilee. These provided the raw material for Jesus' own response to the issues of the day, from which he fashioned his own distinctive views of Israel's restoration and his own role in that project.

Although Freyne is in touch with all recent scholarship about the historical Jesus, he brings his own distinctive take on the issues both with regard to Galilean society and Jesus' grounding in his own religious tradition. His Jesus is both Jewish and yet distinctive in his concerns and the ways in which he responds to the ecological, social and religious issues of his own time and place. Freyne seeks to retrieve the theological importance of Jesus' own message, something that has been lost sight of in the trend to present him primarily as a social reformer, while acknowledging the dangers of modernizing Jesus.

Sean Freyne is currently Director of the Program for Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies at Trinity College, Dublin, where he occupied the Chair of Theology until his retirement in 2002. He has lectured widely to general audiences, and contributied to various television treatments of the historical Jesus. He is the author of several books and numerous articles on ancient Galilee, the Gospels, and Early Christianity.

The Criteria for Authenticity in Historical-Jesus Research: Previous Discussion and New Proposals

  • Author: Stanley E. Porter
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 304

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Historical-Jesus research continues to captivate the interests of scholars, and recently, there has been renewed discussion of the criteria for authenticity. The first half of this volume reviews the state of play in historical-Jesus research and examines the criteria in particular. One chapter is devoted to the so-called 'Quests', and a second critically charts the development of the criteria in the light of form criticism. One of the conclusions of this part of the volume is that several criteria, especially those based on linguistics, need reevaluation. The second half of the volume proposes three new criteria, based upon use of the Greek language. These criteria are: Greek language and its context; textual variance; and discourse features. The criteria are proposed as a way forward in historical-Jesus research.

Stanley E. Porter is Principal, Dean and Professor of New Testament, McMaster Divinity College, Canada. He is also the author of Christian-Jewish Relations through the Centuries.

Temptations of Jesus in Early Christianity

  • Author: Jeffrey Gibson
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 384

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This study lays the groundwork for establishing the validity of the thesis that the early church held a selective and unified view of the nature and content of the various temptations Jesus was regarded as having been subjected to in his lifetime. This leads to a clearer view of how the early church perceived the exigencies of its Lord’s mission and message, and provides fresh insights into such prominent New Testament themes as sonship, obedience, faithfulness and discipleship. It also opens up new possibilities for firmly establishing the occasion of those New Testament writings, such as the Gospel of Mark and even the Epistle to the Hebrews, where notice of and appeal to the example of Jesus in temptation appears as a prominent feature.

Jeffrey Gibson teaches at the Evelyn Stone College of Roosevelt University, Chicago.

The Understanding Scribe

  • Author: David Orton
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 280

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Matthew’s sharpening of Jesus’ attacks on the scribes and Pharisees is an embarrassment to many Christian interpreters and an outrage to some Jewish ones. It is commonly alleged that Matthew in fact has no particular knowledge of distinctions between the Jewish leadership groups. In a fresh examination of Matthew’s treatment of the scribes, the author argues that the first Evangelist is actually at pains to protect the esteem in which the office of the Jewish scribe itself was traditionally held, reserving Jesus’ direct criticism for the unenlightened Pharisees.

A thorough survey of biblical and intertestamental texts shows that typically the scribe, like the maskil, is associated with a charismatic gift of insight and inspiration, which usually results in the authorship of authoritative religious literature. The study includes a long-overdue treatment of the apocalyptic scribes, especially Enoch. Mt. 13:52 and 23:34 are exegeted in the light of the strikingly consistent intertestamental picture of the insightful scribe, and it is argued that Matthew sees the disciples, and finally himself – particularly in his concern for the teaching of righteousness and understanding – as standing squarely within this Jewish apocalyptic tradition. The scribal ideal could also offer a rationale for Matthew’s own creativity; as an understanding scribe he had the authority to “bring out of his storehouse new things.”

David Orton has served as a pastor, teacher, and ministry leader for over 30 years.

Mark

  • Author: Edwin K. Broadhead
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Pages: 168

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In this commentary, Broadhead explores the Gospel of Mark for literary designs which might guide modern readers. He gives special attention to structure, strategy, significance and the appropriation of meaning, and his analysis shows the Gospel as a sequential account which employs a strategy of reciprocity among its episodes. Clear signs are created within this Gospel, the meaning of which is negotiated by the first readers in the aftermath of the Temple's fall. Modern readers are encouraged to connect these signs to their own world and to initiate a new performance of this Gospel.

Edwin K. Broadhead is Assistant Professor of General Studies, Director of the Campus Christian Center and Campus Minister at Berea College, Berea, Kentucky.

The Way of the Lord: Christological Exegesis of the Old Testament in the Gospel of Mark

  • Author: Joel Marcus
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 256

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The New Testament’s messianic interpretation of the Old is an important key to its theology. This book examines the way the author of the Gospel of Mark uses the Old Testament to convey the identity of Jesus.

Joel Marcus examines in detail several important Markan passages which use the Old Testament. His central thesis is that Mark’s Old Testament usage follows paths already made by Jewish exegesis, particularly apocalyptic reinterpretations of Old Testament texts. Giving such eschatological exegesis his own characteristic twist, Mark presents Jesus as God’s true Messiah who brings the prophesied victory in eschatological holy war. Unlike the Jewish War against Rome in A.D. 66-72, however, the holy war portrayed by Mark is not fought with conventional weapons but won through the apocalyptic event of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

This thoroughly documented and closely argued study is an important contribution to our understanding of the Gospel of Mark.

Joel Marcus is Lecturer in the Department of Biblical Studies, University of Glasgow. He is also a series co-editor of the Studies of the New Testament and its World.

Mark: A Reader-Response Commentary

  • Author: Bas van Iersel
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 1997
  • Pages: 560

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The distinguished Dutch New Testament scholar Bas van Iersel offers us an incisive and comprehensive episode-by-episode commentary on the Gospel of Mark. His special focus is on the contribution of each episode to the overall meaning of the gospel, at both the level of the story and the level of the discourse. As a reader-response commentator, his concern is everywhere with the effect of Mark's story on its readers, engaging both with the situation of the original audience of Mark-Christians of Gentile origin in Rome shortly after the Neronian persecutions-and with that of the present-day reader. Even the introductions are reader-related: on the role of the reader, the original audience and the reader of today, the overall concentric structure of Mark, and the relation of Mark to the Old Testament.

Before his retirement, Bas van Iersel was Ordinary Professor of New Testament and Rector Magnificus of the Catholic University, Nijmegen.

The Double Message

  • Author: Turid Karlsen
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 320

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Turid Karlsen Seim’s study of the Lukan treatment of women is a landmark in feminist studies of the New Testament. In the Gospel women have considerable prominence: they occur in “gender pairs” with men in such a way as to show their active participation in the ministry of Jesus; they are shown to exhibit ideal virtues of leadership, though they are not actually allowed to exercise it; they are custodians of the word up to the resurrection and bear witness, unsuccessfully, to the men.

But while they are highly visible in the Gospel, in its sequel, Acts, they are silenced. Even though they could accompany Jesus on long journeys, they are not part of the church’s apostolic witness. Women are silenced as the preaching of the church moves out of the new “family” surrounding Jesus’ preaching of the word to the public sphere of the world of men. Only in so far as women embrace a form of asceticism and so free themselves of men’s control can they achieve a certain freedom. In this advocacy of asceticism Luke is strikingly different from the Pastoral to which he is often compared.

Professor Seim sensitively explores these tensions within Luke’s narrative. While Luke’s work demonstrates nicely the powers which silence women, the narrative of their participation in Jesus’ ministry keeps alive the memory of their active role in the beginnings of the church. It is a dangerous memory which can act as a critique of the processes of marginalization of women to which Acts bears witness.

Here is a study which is balanced, drawing freely on historical- and literary-critical methods of enquiry, not forcing its case but sensitive to the subtle tensions in Luke’s “double message.”

Turid Karlsen Seim is Professor of Theology (New Testament) and Dean of the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo.

Empowered for Witness: The Spirit in Luke-Acts

  • Author: Robert P. Menzies
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 296

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With this study, Menzies sets a new standard for pneumatology. Beginning with an overview of the pneumatological perspectives of intertestamental Judaism (including literature from the Diaspora, Palestinian, Qumran and rabbinic sources), the first section concludes that for the most part these sources “consistently identify experience of the Spirit with prophetic inspiration.”

The next section aims to uncover Luke’s distinctive pneumatology, employing a redaction critical method of analysis in order to illustrate Luke’s similarly consistent portrayal of the Spirit as the source of prophetic inspiration, rather than as the source of Christian existence. The final section goes on to explore how this conclusion impacts on contemporary theological reflection and spiritual life.

Robert P. Menzies is Lecturer in New Testament and Director of the China Studies Program at Asia Pacific Theological Seminary, Baguio City, Philippines.

Community-Forming Power

  • Author: Matthias Wenk
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 368

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In past years the controversy over Luke’s concept of the Spirit has centered on the ethical dimension of his pneumatology. Community-Forming Power sets out to address the issue by assessing the Lukan writings in the light of evidence from Second Temple Judaism and by applying speech-act theory to prophetic utterances. Wenk argues that the Spirit’s role in prophecy cannot be limited to the content of the speech, separating it artificially from the intention behind the speech. He further argues that the anointed church continues the liberating work of the anointed messiah in embracing the marginalized and thus is instrumental in “realizing Good News for the poor.”

Matthias Wenk is a part-time lecturer at Theologisch-Diakonisches Seminar Aarau and pastors a church in Hindelbank, Switzerland.

New Readings in John: Literary and Theological Perspectives

  • Editors: Johannes Nissen and Sigfred Pedersen
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 272

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This collection of essays from the Scandinavian Conference on the Fourth Gospel offers new studies on classical and modern problems in relation to the Fourth Gospel. There are essays on John and the Synoptics, and on John and the Qumran Scrolls. Other essays present new literary approaches such as the question of the 'implied reader', biblical imagery, and irony and sectarianism. Central theological issues are discussed, including the problem of anti-Judaism, the interpretation of the death of Jesus, the concept of mission, the relation between community and ethics, and the understanding of God in the Johannine writings.

Johannes Nissen is Associate Professor in the Department of Biblical Studies, University of Aarhus, Denmark.

Sigfred Pedersen is Associate Professor in the Department of Biblical Studies, University of Aarhus, Denmark.

Women and Men in the Fourth Gospel

  • Author: Margaret Beirne
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 272

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The fourth gospel presents the reader with an early Christian text in which women and men are treated as “a discipleship of equals.” Specifically, the gospel contains six examples of “gender pairs” of characters (a widely-accepted Lukan feature). The members of each pair are portrayed in a parallel or contrasting faith encounter with the Johannine Jesus that is of substantial theological importance to the gospel’s stated purpose (John 20:31). Through close examination of these pairs, Margaret M. Beirne offers a reading of the Gospel which gives support to the equality of women and men with respect to the nature and value of their discipleship.

Margaret Beirne received her Ph.D. in Theology from the Melbourne College of Divinity and is currently Principal and Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the Centre for Christian Spirituality at Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.

Prologue and Gospel

  • Author: Elizabeth Harris
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 224

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Elizabeth Harris demonstrates that a type of prologue found in ancient Greek literature could be the literary convention behind John 1:1-18. The structure and content of the Johannine prologue determine the structure and content of the whole Gospel. It provides the reader with seminal statements about the cosmic situation and God’s plan for mankind, statements which are explicated thereafter. This function of the prologue is explored through the three historical personages mentioned in that largely metaphysical construction about the Logos: John, Moses and Jesus Christ. The person and mission of Jesus Christ, cryptically stated in the prologue, are explicated through three Christological expressions: “the Son of Man,” “I am,” and “the Son (of God).” These require the Logos-creator conception in the background to give them theological coherence.

Elizabeth Harris gained her PhD at King's College, London.

The Fourth Gospel and Its Predecessor: From Narrative Source to Present Gospel

  • Author: Robert Fortna
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 352

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In 1970, Robert Fortna published The Gospel of Signs. This attempt to reconstruct the text of the Fourth Gospel’s “predecessor” has since become a vital tool for research into the origins of the Gospel. Now, with The Fourth Gospel and its Predecessor, he provides a further important contribution to Johannine theology by returning to the source of the Fourth Gospel and comparing it to the present text.

In the first section, Professor Fortna traces as many as twenty narrative passages in the Gospel of John to an early, pre-Johannine literary source, or “Signs Gospel.” He then explores how this narrative material (the Johannine Redaction) was edited by the Evangelist to produce the Fourth Gospel as we now know it. Here, the author examines the Signs of Jesus in both Galilee and Jerusalem and then the death and resurrection of Jesus. His subsequent analysis of the literary history of the text helps illuminate the creative theological accomplishments of the Fourth Evangelist.

Professor Fortna concludes by evaluating the development of the theological themes (both Biblical and Johannine) which unite the finished Gospel – messiahship; Signs and Faith; Salvation; the death of Jesus; eschatology and community and the theological locale.

Robert Fortna is Weyerhaeuser Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York.

Footwashing in John 13 and the Johannine Community

  • Author: John Christopher Thomas
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 184

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There is good evidence that the Christian community where the Gospel of John was written practiced footwashing as a religious action. However, few scholars have studied the practice or meaning of the rite. This book undertakes the most comprehensive study so far of the practice of footwashing in the ancient world, unearthing many fascinating parallels to the early Christian act.

John Thomas next studies the footwashing in John 13 with the tools of modern literary analysis, asking what the text was intended to mean to the readers implied by the Gospel. He then turns to a study of the actual readers in John’s community to reconstruct what they believed about it and how they carried it out, before concluding that the purpose of footwashing in the community was to act as a sign of the cleansing of post-conversion sin committed by a disciple after baptism.

John Christopher Thomas is Professor of New Testament at the Church of God Theological Seminary, Cleveland, Tennessee.

Characterization in the Gospels: Reconceiving Narrative Criticism

  • Editors: David Rhoads and Kari Syreeni
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 304

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This volume examines characterization in the four Gospels and in the Sayings Gospel Q. Peter in Matthew, Lazarus in John, and Jesus as Son of Man in Q are examples of the characters studied. The general approach is narrative-critical. At the same time, each contribution takes special effort to widen the scope beyond the narrated world to include the text's ideological and real-life setting as well as its effective history. New ways of doing narrative criticism are thus proposed. The concluding essay by David Rhoads delineates the development and envisions the future of narrative criticism in Gospel studies.

David Rhoads is Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago.

Kari Syreeni is Professor of New Testament at the University of Uppsala, Sweden.

Poetics for the Gospels?: Rethinking Narrative Criticism

  • Author: Petri Merenlahti
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 192

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Poetics, the study of the making of literary works, regards the gospels as literature, in contrast to the historical-critical approach. Petri Merenlahti makes the case that poetics offers a vital critical tool to interpreting the gospels. But he argues that poetics must also be 'historical', as perceptions of literary form and value are not fixed, but evolve and develop from one time and culture to another. Merenlahti provides a comprehensive account of the development and the state of the art of poetics and narrative criticism. Through scrupulous methodological discussion and detailed analysis of gospel narratives, he also offers a potentially highly productive future program for historical poetics in gospel studies.

Dr. Petri Merenlahti teaches in the Department of Biblical Studies, University of Helsinki.

The Gospels in Context

  • Author: Gerd Theissen
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 336

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This pioneering investigation of social and political history illuminates the prehistory of the Synoptic texts from their beginnings up to the writing of the Gospels. Theissen focuses on Galilee, Judea, and beyond Palestine, with their historical crises under Caligula (39-41 C.E.) and in the Jewish War (66-74 C.E.). He is able to distinguish between the bearers of tradition – common people, communities, disciples – in their adaptation and transmission of the tradition in their societies.

Gerd Theissen is Professor of New Testament at the University of Heidelberg.

Product Details

  • Title: Studies in Jesus and the Gospels
  • Publisher: Continuum
  • Volumes: 23
  • Pages: 7,368