What Are the Gospels?: A Comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography

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Cambridge University Press, May 11, 1995 - Religion - 292 pages
In this work Dr Burridge contends that scholarly study of the genre of the Gospels has gone full circle over the last century of critical scholarship. The question of how the Gospels should be categorised is still a vexed one and - surprisingly - there is still no consensus. This book analyses and evaluates the debate over the course of the last century. It shows that while the nineteenth-century assumption that the Gospels could be likened to biographies has been denied by the mainstream scholarship of this century, in recent years a biographical genre has begun to be assumed once more. Dr Burridge provides a good foundation for the re-introduction of this biographical view of the Gospels by comparing the work of the Evangelists to the development of biography in the Graeco-Roman world, and by drawing on insights from literary theory. The author shows that the view that the Gospels are unique, which is still widespread among biblical scholars, is false: a first-century reader would have seen the Gospels as biographies, or 'Lives' of Jesus, and they must therefore be interpreted in this light.
 

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Contents

Historical survey
3
A The turn of the century
4
B The rise of form criticism
7
C Redaction criticism and the return of the author
13
D The search for a genre
17
Conclusion
24
Genre criticism and literary theory
26
A Historical background
27
C Subject
134
D External features
138
E Internal features
145
Conclusion
152
The generic features of later GraecoRoman Bioi
154
A Introducing the examples
155
B Opening features
160
C Subject
162

B Purposes and functions
32
C Definitions and levels
38
D Development and relationships
45
E Interpretation and evaluation
49
Conclusion
53
Genre criticism and GraecoRoman biography
55
B The genre of GraecoRoman biography
61
C Greek and Hellenistic biography
70
D Roman biography
75
Conclusion
80
Evaluation of recent debate
82
B The response
90
C The new orthodoxy?
96
Conclusion
105
THE PROPOSED SOLUTION
107
Generic features
109
A Opening features
112
B Subject
113
C External features
117
D Internal features
122
Conclusion
126
The generic features of early GraecoRoman Bioi
128
A Introducing the examples
129
B Opening features
133
D External features
168
E Internal features
177
Conclusion
189
The synoptic gospels
191
A Opening features
192
B Subject
195
C External features
199
D Internal features
206
Conclusion
217
The fourth gospel
220
A Opening features
222
B Subject
223
C External features
225
D Internal features
230
Conclusion
238
Conclusions and implications
240
B Generic implications
243
C Hermeneutical implications
255
Conclusion
258
Analysis charts of verb subjects
261
Select bibliography
275
Index of passages
285
Index of names and subjects
289
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