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Jesus’ Birth: Some Comparisons

Here is another illustration of how the Comparative Method works with Luke, as described in my textbook on the New Testament. A personal anecdote. It was precisely the differences between Matthew and Luke in the birth narratives that led me to formulate the comparative method. Unlike the other methods I discuss in my book, this is one that is not widely discussed in scholarship. In fact, I had never heard of it until, well, I came up with it. But it occurred to me while thinking of the birth narratives (and genealogies) that it didn’t *matter* if Matthew and Luke had the same source for their narrative. If they did have, one could do redaction criticism on them; but they don’t have. Does that mean comparing their two accounts cannot yield results? I decided that in fact interesting results *did* matter. Their similarities and differences were important in and of themselves, and that this could be formulated into a method of study. (It may be that others had come up with a similar approach before: [...]

2020-04-03T17:17:48-04:00March 5th, 2014|Canonical Gospels|

The Comparative Method and Luke

In this post I continue discussing the “comparative method” of analysis (see yesterday’s post), by showing how it works in relation to the Gospel of Luke, again, as taken from my textbook on the NT. ********************************************************************* A Comparative Overview of the Gospel We begin by rehearsing several basic points that we have already learned about Luke's Gospel, in relationship to Matthew and Mark.  Like them, it is a kind of Greco-Roman biography of Jesus.  It too is anonymous, and like them appears to have been written by a Greek-speaking Christian somewhere outside of Palestine.  He evidently penned his account somewhat later than the Gospel of Mark, perhaps at about the same time as the Gospel of Matthew.  In the second century, the book came to be attributed to Luke, the traveling companion of the apostle Paul; we will consider the merits of this attribution in the following chapter. Perhaps the most obvious difference between this Gospel and all others from antiquity (not just Matthew and Mark) is that it is the first of a two-volume [...]

2020-04-03T17:17:55-04:00March 3rd, 2014|Canonical Gospels|

The Comparative Method

With this post I am returning to my discussion of methods available for studying the Gospels. I will devote probably three posts to a method that I call the “comparative method.” Like the other two methods I’ve discussed (the literary-historical method and redaction criticism) this method is not *at all* concerned with establishing what really happened in the life of Jesus. It is a method meant to help one understand a Gospel as a piece of literature, to see what its *portrayal* of Jesus is. In my textbook on the New Testament I show how the method works by applying it to the Gospel of Luke. It could obviously be used for any of the Gospels – or for any other literature, for that matter. Here is how I describe it in the book, in relation to the method that it most resembles, redaction criticism (remember: in redaction criticism one sees how an author has changed his source – by what he has added, deleted, or altered – so as to determine what his overarching [...]

2020-04-03T17:18:01-04:00March 3rd, 2014|Canonical Gospels|

More on the Response Book

Another post on the forthcoming “response book,” titled How God Became Jesus, written in reaction to my book How Jesus Became God. As I indicated in my previous post, I gave my publisher permission to share my manuscript with the five scholars who produced the response, so they were not simply guessing about what I had to say. They had it in their hands. They responded in kind and allowed their publisher to share with me their book. I haven’t read it yet. The reason that they shared their book with me in advance of its appearance is that we are being asked to do some media events that will require knowledge of each others’ books. The event that has been set up already is a kind of on-radio debate with one of the five authors, Simon Gathercole, who teaches at Cambridge University. Next week I’m heading over to London for Spring break, mainly to see family and so on. But I’ve agreed to do a taped radio show. Unlike the States, in England (as [...]

2020-12-17T16:34:31-05:00March 1st, 2014|Bart's Critics, Book Discussions, Historical Jesus|
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