A Few Thoughts On Gospel Genre And Why It Matters

"If we are searching for a literary model readily available for our Gospel authors—three of whom were Jews—then we might ask why we would look to the broader Greco-Roman context when “much closer to hand is the Hebrew Bible” (Reading the Gospels Wisely, 26).

Or, as Loveday Alexander has argued, “It is to the biblical tradition, surely, that we should look for the origins of the ‘religious intensity’ of the gospel narratives and their rich ideological intertextuality with the biblical themes of covenant, kingdom, prophecy, and promise—all features hard to parallel in Greek biography” (“What is a Gospel,” 27-28).

So, while our gospels may be similar to Greco-Roman biography in terms of structure, they are indebted to the Old Testament in terms of their narrative. And when we consider the narrative features of the four gospels, it quickly becomes clear that they are stories of God’s eschatological, redemptive, covenant-fulfilling, activity through the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

Or, put differently, they are not merely history—which would be implied by the bios genre—but are, in fact, redemptive history. As Jonathan Pennington has observed, “This is good news, not just a biography!” (Reading the Gospels Wisely, 31)."

https://www.michaeljkruger.com/what-is-a-gospel-anyway-a-few-thoughts-on-gospel-genre-and-why-it-matters/

Comments

Jesse said…
https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2019/12/are-four-gospels-legends.html
Anonymous said…
Jesse: If we are searching for a literary model readily available for our Gospel authors—three of whom were Jews...

Right from the start, this seems flawed to me. I can accept the author of Mark was a Jew, but not the other gospels. I assume you believe Matthew and John are the other two.

The author of Matthew was clearly very familiar with the Hebrew Bible. However, the Jews were waiting for a messiah who necessarily had to be a descendant of David (via the male line). The inclusion of the Virgin Birth makes it pretty clear this author did not hold that view, so was very unlikely to have been a Jew.

John is even clearer. In numerous places the author draws a distinction between Jesus and the Jews as a whole. See, for example: 3:1-4; 6:52; 7:35; 8:57; 5:16-18; 7:1; 10:31, 39; 11:8, 53; 5:39-40; 7:19; 8:39-44; 10:31-39. Also, compare to Revelation, written around the same time, but here the author of that work was a Christian Jew. I would not go so far as to say the author of John was necessarily anti-Semitic, but there is no way he was a Jew himself.

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The author of Matthew was clearly very familiar with the Hebrew Bible. However, the Jews were waiting for a messiah who necessarily had to be a descendant of David (via the male line). The inclusion of the Virgin Birth makes it pretty clear this author did not hold that view, so was very unlikely to have been a Jew.

There are no scholars who say Matt and John are not Jewish. That's just standard that's more accepted and basic than saying Mark was written first. It's common knowledge. Matt's connection with the Phrasees, "they sit in Moses seat" pretty well connects it with Jews,

John is even clearer. In numerous places the author draws a distinction between Jesus and the Jews as a whole. See, for example: 3:1-4; 6:52; 7:35; 8:57; 5:16-18; 7:1; 10:31, 39; 11:8, 53; 5:39-40; 7:19; 8:39-44; 10:31-39. Also, compare to Revelation, written around the same time, but here the author of that work was a Christian Jew. I would not go so far as to say the author of John was necessarily anti-Semitic, but there is no way he was a Jew himself.

There were scholars in 19th century who thought that was dispelled by the discovery of the dead sea scrolls. After that scholars began commenting on how Jewish John was, one said "John is the most Jewish." The designation "the Jews" in John is probably due to the time of it's writing and Sameritan in the Johonnine community.

John was written between 90-110, By that time the Jewish Christian had developed a strong sense of themselves as opposed to strictly Jewish communities. There is a John/Samaritan connection in /acts.Baultmann argued fora Sameritain influencein John,
Jesse said…
Micheal J. Krugar is an excellent scholar who is right on target on this subject. Matthew, Mark, and John were Jewish, with Luke being a Gentile. What you present seems to me to come from some radically liberal scholarship.

Matthew focused on legal ancestors as he wrote Christ's genealogy. I am not really sure how or why John's recording of Jesus Christ's claims to deity or criticisms of Jewish practice proves him (the author of the fourth gospel) not to be a Jew.

There is no reason whatsoever to believe that Jesus Christ or the apostles were anti-Semitic. Christ derived His teaching straight from the Old Testament as He taught love of neighbor and love of enemies. Those who persecuted Jews in the name of Christ throughout history were wrong.

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