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Gospel

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The word gospel [ˈɡɒspəl] derives from the Old English word gōdspell from gōd, meaning "good" and spell, meaning "message" or "news" - compare the Old Norse guthspjall, the Old High German guotspell or the Germanic gutspeil. Therefore the word gospel is the English translation of the Koine Greek εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion, εὖ eu "good" + ἄγγελος angelos "messenger"), Latinized evangelium.[1][2] Most well-known are the Gospels of the New Testament; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Acts of the Apostles are a continuance of the Gospel of Luke, documenting the history of the early Christian church, beginning immediately following Jesus' death and resurrection. Of the authors, only Matthew and John had met Jesus; they were among His disciples during His earthly ministry. Mark was a companion of Peter, and scholarship generally sees his gospel as the first to be written down approximately 65 AD. Luke is considered the author of both his gospel and the book of Acts and is generally referred to as Luke-Acts.

There is, I imagine, no body of literature in the world that has been exposed to the stringent analytical study that the four gospels have sustained for the past 200 years. This is not something to be regretted: it is something to be accepted with satisfaction. Scholars today who treat the gospels as credible historical documents do so in the full light of this analytical study, not by closing their minds to it.[3]

The kinds of material within the gospels are; parables, miracle stories, pronouncement stories which are anecdotes that preserve the memory of something Jesus said, and were also very popular in the wider Greco-Roman world as well. Individual sayings are also part of the gospels but do not have narrative context like pronouncement stories. And then there are passion and resurrection narratives, which are covered in far more detail than any other types of material found in the gospels.[4] (See: Ancient biography)

Types

The New Testament canon can be broken down into several sub-divisions. There is first the four gospels, which are divided into two types; canonical and synoptic. There is then the book of Acts that has a relationship with Luke. Then there are the letters; the Pauline epistles and then the general epistles to individuals and early Christian churches. Finally there is the book of Revelation.

Synoptic

Matthew, Mark and Luke share a lot of similar material when compared to the Gospel of John. When they are read in parallel they seem to have high correspondence with one another. This is called the synoptic problem. The synoptic gospels are the following books;

  1. Matthew
  2. Mark
  3. Luke

The Synoptic Problem

How and why the Synoptic Gospels relate to each other is called the synoptic problem. Which was written first and which gospel contained what material originally are also very important questions asked. There is what is called the two-gospel hypothesis, or Griesbach hypothesis that determines that the first written was Matthew and then Luke and then Mark. Luke used Matthew as a source, and Mark used Matthew and Luke as a source. There is also the Q source that posits a hypothetical document that once existed as the source for common material, dating Mark first.

The Synoptic debate of the late 20th century seems to hinge from the Griesbach hypothesis to a view that endorses Markan priority and the existence of the Q source.

Canonical

The canonical gospels add John as the fourth book;

  1. Matthew
  2. Mark
  3. Luke
  4. John

Apocryphal

A major difference between the gnostic apocryphal gospels and the NT gospels is when they were written and thus their historical value in historical Jesus studies. The gnostic apocryphal gospels were written in the second century and beyond, while the gospels of the New Testament, in fact the entirety of the New Testament canon was written by the end of the first century AD.

General

Judaistic

Major Gnostic Gospels

Dating and Authorship

The date of the composition of the gospels held by the majority of scholars is that they were completed between 60 to 95[5] or in other more skeptical circles represented by the views of G.A. Wells say 70 to 100 AD.[6] It is safe to say that before 100 AD the Gospels were completed. More specifically Mark was written around 65-70 AD, Matthew and Luke from about 80 to 85 AD. John was composed approximately 90-95 AD. The entirety of the New Testament even was completed before the end of the first century AD, or 35-65 years after the death and resurrection of Christ.

Methods of Reliability

There are two main forms or methods of reliability used within the study of the Gospels. They fall into historical categories of traditional and then modern methods of reliability.

Traditional

Harmonist

Tatian the Assyrian (AD 120–180) was a very early Christian ascetic and apologist. He produced a very important text called the Diatessaron which is "from the Greek phrase, 'through four [gospels]'".[7] The work of Tatian not only establishes that the four gospels being written before the second century, but it is also the most prominent gospel harmony created in history. Tatian seems to, at times during his attempts at reconstruction and harmonization, fit the gospel narratives and events into chronological order, while at other times creating highly improbable readings. Although fanciful readings were generated by the practices of Tatian, it was rare and the process systematized through other church fathers as history progressed.

In a few instances, Tatian anticipates an approach which has only really caught on in recent years - recognizing that many of the gospel passages are grouped together topically rather than chronologically.[8]

Origen of Alexandria continued the ancient harmonist tradition by reformulating the systematic process that is called gospel harmony.[9] By separating exegesis and gospel harmony into two levels the gospels were to be harmonized through allegory on one level and through literal history on another level. A highly influential way of approaching the process.[7]

A common task of the historian is piecing together different accounts of a person or event, forming historiography. In the case of the gospels the task is taking the different accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to, when necessary form gospel harmony.[7][10]

Discordant

The discordant tradition focuses on the different accounts and forms sophisticated arguments to show the contradictory nature of the gospels and thus their lack in historicity. It is especially highlighted within the philosophy of postmodernism and the Humean critique of miracle claims in the New Testament generally and the gospels specifically.

Modern

Gospel harmonization does remain important in the modern era, carrying over in different forms from the traditional era of gospel study. Modern methods focus on textual or lower criticism through a general reliability method as well as historical-critical exegesis.

General reliability method

Main Article: General reliability method

The general reliability method is apologetics from textual criticism that focuses on the textual features of the New Testament. As ancient literature the NT is compared with other literature from which there are surviving manuscripts. Specific categories of chronological criteria relative to biblical and non-biblical manuscripts are compared. The method formulated during the late 19th and early 20th centuries as archeological discoveries brought to light the manuscript and therefore textual data necessary to reason methodically. The general reliability method is underpinned by the whole range of practices within the field of textual criticism. So much so is the field of study so critical that the general reliability method can easily be referred to as textual criticism of the New Testament. The two terms are interchangeable. The general reliability method is used today by apologists, with sophisticated treatments connecting what was pioneered in the 1970's by Gary Habermas, called the minimal facts method.

Exegesis

Main Article: Exegesis

Exegesis of the gospel texts has to do with categories of historical-critical scholarship. Biblical criticisms like philological, literary and redaction inform the categories of historical criticism.

Literary Genre

See: Ancient biography

The literary genre of any text is important because it not only tells the reader what kind of literature it is, but also informs the reader as to how to read it and what to expect. This is even true during the ancient period of Greco-Roman influence within which the gospels were written. While there is focus on the differences of the gospels, they are, by just a generic outline, very similar and deserve to be cataloged within the same genre, regardless which. In more recent times, within the past two-hundred years, the gospels have been brought under intense scrutiny and analytic study.

The gospels as ancient biography was not always such a solidified position as it is today, and has been directly challenged several times as the accepted scholarly position regarding the literary genre of the gospels. At the turn of the 20th century up until the 1970's a dominant view emerged and was adopted by a majority of those reading and writing about the subject in peer-reviewed academic journals, debates and books. The sway in thought originated from within the significant scholarship of Rudolf Bultmann (1884 to 1976). His view of the New Testament and the gospels had a deep, influential effect, and still informs some liberal circles of Biblical criticism today. The general consensus developed a sort of Bultmannian maxim, that declared; "The canonical gospels are not biographies. They are the apostolic kerygma built up into vivid narrative form."[11] Kerygma being proclamation of the decisive act of God in Christ, of which all the gospel writers wrote about and declared.[12] The most substantial kerygma according to Bultmann, and rightfully so, was the deity, death and resurrection of Christ. It expanded in several stages and developed into the vivid narrative form that is the gospels. The early Christian community within the Jerusalem church needed to build up their central figure of devotion and salvation turned the fundamentals of the Christian faith, like the resurrection, into fictional myth. Thus the gospels were formed to rhetorically deal with the death of a major religious figure within their lives. In this way Christ was mythologized according to Bultmann. Taking cues from the social and cultural realities of the ancient Mediterranean world of which the authors lived, and substantial philosophical and religious influence of the wider Greco-Roman worldview the gospel writers naturally adopt and adapt certain literary forms and structures. According to Bultmann fictional mythology, with really no substantial bedrock in history, is the overriding principle by which the gospel authors molded their literary pursuits providing the, "outer form or structure" for the expression of inner content. The inner content dealt with other aspects of the life of Christ other than deity and resurrection. Deity and resurrection being essentially supernatural were then summarily dismissed by Rudolf Bultmann as merely pre-scientific thinking.[13] From this vantage point the resurrection is reduced from supernatural miracle to something more naturalistic in its presentation. The outer structure of myth provides the link to the foundation of the inner attitude, tone or mood. It is then from a mood of thought, characterized as such by Charles Talbert a critic of Bultmann, that a cultist figure is interpreted and identified by Rudolf Bultmann. The third and final foundation of Bultmann regarding literary genre has to do with the eschatology presented within the gospels and thus world negation. Early Christians put the immediate Earth in a less important role. What was of utmost importance was a new heaven and a new Earth. This is seen by Bultmann as world negating by the gospel authors. A significant feature in the gospels but not found in ancient Greco-Roman biography.

During the 1920s, form critics like Karl Ludwig Schmidt and Rudolf Bultmann rejected any notion that the Gospels were biographies: the Gospels appear to have no interest in Jesus' human personality, appearance or character, nor do they tell us anything about the rest of his life, other than his brief public ministry and an extended concentration on his death.[14]

Rudolf Bultmann's assumptions based on kerygma allow his literary critique to be informed and defined. Charles Talbert has criticized Bultmann's work in this regard. The generic similarities of the gospels and ancient Greco-Roman biography are clear. Charles Talbert articulates his views in detail in What is a Gospel?: The genre of the canonical Gospels. He underscores three fundamental assumptions in the work of Rudolf Bultmann. They are;

  1. The gospels are not biographies but rather should be viewed as mythical in the sense of no connection to actual historical events
  2. The gospels are cultist
  3. The gospels emerged from within a world negating community[11]

A criticism of C.H. Talbert is the result of taking his position that largely agrees with the outline of the gospels put forth by Bultmann. Talbert misrepresented the gospels and Greco-Roman biography, couching the findings not in kerygma like Bultmann, but ancient biography. This was a necessary thing to do, however it was done haphazardly by "lumping to many disparate texts into one broad category."[15] Another consequence of taking the view of Talbert was that it diminishes the historicity of the gospels. Talbert concentrated to much on an old version of form criticism. Seeing the literary genre being mostly created out of ritual and worship of early Christianity. This is at the expense "of more recent redaction criticism that play down this element."[15]

Richard A. Burridge in his work titled; What Are the Gospels?: A Comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography argued a sophisticated case with historical reasons why the gospels of the New Testament deserve to be considered as bioi. Samuel Byrskog in Story as History - History as Story: The Gospel Tradition in the Context of Ancient Oral History has pointed that the gospels are ancient historiography. Richard Bauckham has done a synthesis of the two scholarly views of Burridge and Byrskog as different types of histories, but forming a foundation. Bauckham uses the foundation to argue for the gospels as historical biography. At a more fundamental level the critic should interact with Burridge and Byrskog in the first place, when trying to situate the gospels within their proper literary context, according to Bauckham.[16]

Thus, Bauckham argues, the Gospels are historically reliable as (1) historical biography, (2) written close to the time of the events they narrate, (3) relying on the testimony of personal eyewitnesses, (4) who were personally present and involved in those events, (5) found those events to be of incredible significance, and (6) retold and rehearsed the events of the gospels regularly and repeatedly in oral form.[17]

Plutarch and the Gospels

A contemporary historical parallel of the gospels that is treated without doubt as ancient biography is called Parallel Lives, Plutarch's Lives, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans or Lives written by Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus (46 to 120 AD).[18] Therefore being contemporary with the gospels, Lives by Plutarch serve a two-fold purpose. First Plutarch can help establish the general outline of the ancient Greco-Roman literary genre called bioi or lives. Second, in turn comparing Lives with the independent accounts of the life of Jesus that are the gospels of the New Testament, a critical decision can be made as to whether to place the gospels within such a literary genre.

Plutarch understands the need for a critical eye as he constructs his biographies. There is necessary reason for a firewall against fable and outright lies. What can be considered non-historical myth in other words. Plutarch also concedes though that embellishment through different types of rhetorical devices tends to happen. A common feature of Greco-Roman biography. The utilization of rhetorical devices such as figures of speech for fictitious narratives, was done always within a historical context to describe a definite person. Such was used to display a more "idealistic than realistic" subject as a "model of virtue".[19] The demarcation of non-historical myth and history however does not seem to be lost at any point within his work. It is interesting to note that within the writings of Plutarch, while he tries to capture individuals other than himself to present models of virtue. It is observed by Plutarch that through his writings on famous Greeks and Romans in the first century AD that he, himself has a personal debt to the virtues of history. Plutarch perhaps is setting himself up as the individual who is the model of virtue within the realm of biographical writing. This is recognized within the Life of Timoleon;

I began the writing of my "Lives" for the sake of others, but I find that I am continuing the work and delighting in it now for my own sake also, using history as a mirror and endeavouring in a manner to fashion and adorn my life in conformity with the virtues therein depicted.[20]

In any event, setting up models of virtue instead of dry chronologies, Plutarch still sought the importance of some form of genealogy. Especially to highlight and correct misrepresentations. On the Life of Themistocles Plutarch states;

1 In the case of Themistocles,1 his family was too obscure to further his reputation. His father was Neocles, — no very conspicuous man at Athens, — a Phrearrhian by deme, of the tribe Leontis;...

...
2 Phanias, however, writes that the mother of Themistocles was not a Thracian, but a Carian woman, and that her name was not Abrotonon, but Euterpe. 112And Neanthes actually adds the name of her city in Caria, — Halicarnassus.[21]

It is clear that Plutarch produce a biography that tries to convey as much history as possible. The gospels are concerned with genealogy as well. The Gospel of Luke wants to grasp the content of the life of Christ in an even more detailed fashion than what Plutarch explicitly says. Plutarch seems to want to fashion his life in the virtues of history while the point of the biographers of the gospels, is that they always hold fast to the subject they covered. The authors were transformed of their experiences with Jesus and so molded themselves after a God-man rather than an idea. Luke covers the life of Jesus in a way Plutarch could not have attempted due to lack of sources for one and being far removed from actual eyewitness testimony for another. Luke is trying to define the historical and thus chronological nature of his biography it would seem. Covering the life of Christ by testimony from "eyewitnesses" that will be presented in "consecutive order" to the reader.

In Luke 1 it states;

1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. Luke 1:1-4

Then Luke continues to depict the history and events prior to and around the birth of Christ. This continues right up until the baptism of Christ, when His essential life ministry had become established. In Luke 3 the genealogy is presented;

23 When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli, Luke 3:23

Even a quick critical view of Plutarch and the gospels clearly show similarities, even if it is just that both are trying to represent the life of an individual. The differences are not because of literary genre, but are the degrees to which ancient Greco-Roman bioi is pushed within the independent gospel accounts. While Lives by Plutarch is a single author work of biography, the NT gospels are a multiple author work. Presenting not one, but four independent and at times conflicting accounts of the life of Jesus. Along these lines there are some main points of Plutarch's and the NT authors use of the literary genre bioi.

Differences

  • There is no comparable religiously significant person like Jesus Christ within Greco-Roman biography. It usually covered the lives of politicians, kings, philosophers and the like. The gospels content is wholly different. Jesus Christ within the gospels is the pre-existent incarnate Son of God who came into history and established the Kingdom of God to further the eschatology of Judaism within the sociocultural context of first century Palestine. Plutarch never touches upon any kind of historical character the likes of Jesus Christ.
  • Within Greco-Roman biography there is interaction with not only genres, but as a genre it contains sub-genres. Contemporary biography is a sub-genre, while another sub-genre can be called later biography. The gospels when compared to Lives by Plutarch, being written within the lifetime of eyewitnesses to the life of Christ, are considered contemporary. The difference along the contemporary-later comparison of Lives and the gospels ultimately bore out the substantive biographical nature of the gospels.[16]
  • The four gospels are separate accounts of the life of the same person, namely Jesus Christ. Unlike other contemporary Greco-Roman bioi which only have a single author. The dynamic nature of biographies as a genre is uniquely on display within the four separate gospels of the New Testament, written during the first century AD. Gospel harmony is a necessity for two reasons. First, the intrinsic nature of ancient biography has sub-genres, and also interacts with other genres. Secondly, the multiple contexts brought forth due to the authors and the intended audiences of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John inevitably lead to differences as well.

In summary, the differences between the gospels and bioi are;

  1. No other Greco-Roman biography covered the life of an individual quite like Jesus'. (Negative against gospels as biography)
  2. A contemporary biography contains eyewitness testimony, a powerful evidence, and so was (during ancient times) and still is (during modern times) more credible than later biographies of an individual. (Positive for gospels as biography)
  3. Systematic harmonization may be necessary if independent written accounts of the same person are part of the relevant historiography. (Neutral, because it is the case of multiple authors not strictly the genre)

Similarities

  • Genealogies are for obvious reasons present in ancient biography. A type of peripatetic or chronological feature often seen in the works of Plutarch.[22][23] Such is the case with Matthew and Luke as well. The focus is clearly to reveal the prophetic human lineage of Christ. Mark and John although do not contain the human lineage of Jesus, they do however trace the divine genealogy whenever they express the Christ as Son of God.[24][25]
  • Myth and legend with no basis in history and history itself was an acknowledged demarcation in the minds of ancient biographers as well as it is for modern historians (See: Historical method). Weaving mythical legendary accounts, with no basis in history, was typically not done by authors of Greco-Roman biography. In fact the fine line is traversed by Plutarch, so that at times, when reason cannot grasp and illuminate the actual history, there is room left for the "indulgence" of the reader. This is also in effect with the gospels.[26] Craig Blomberg comments in The Historical Reliability of the Gospels in regard to Luke;
The parable begins, ‘A certain man was.’ This is the exact formula which Jesus employed in the two preceding parables of the prodigal son (15:11-32) and the unjust steward (16:1-13) and seems to correspond to the modern ‘Once upon a time.’ Just as people today recognize such a phrase as the opening of a fairy-tale, so Jesus’ audience would have been prepared by the start of a parable to recognize it as a fictitious narrative.[27]
  • The gospels are at times chronological (peripatetic) in one gospel, but this cannot always translate over in like manner to another gospel and form a chronological narrative. This is not due to a lack of historicity or being full of contradiction. The gospels were in part written chronologically. More importantly though the authors of the gospels wrote about the life of Jesus Christ topically or thematically. A thematic or topical narrative structure is less coherent. The gospels like John, may begin at creation, while Mark and Luke have the freedom to begin with events prior to the birth of Christ, and yet still Matthew starts immediately with the human genealogy of Jesus.

All the above are positive points for placing the gospels as lives or bioi as ancient Greeks would call them. In summary, the similarities between the gospels, and Plutarch as the representative ancient biography, are;

  1. Genealogies are utilized at the discretion of the author with varying degrees of complexity.
  2. Separating fable from history was and still is a pursuit for truth for ancient biographers and modern historians. Fictitious narratives are used though, if couched within true contexts that highlight the true essence and nature of the subject.
  3. Strict chronology is but one way to address the life of the subject. Topically was also used (significantly in the authorship of the gospels).

The gospels when compared with Plutarch's Lives show incredible similarity. The gospels even fulfill some elements of Greco-Roman biography better than Plutarch's Lives, in terms of contemporary or later biography. The New Testament gospels being contemporary biography, as well as maintaining other positive implications demonstrates why it is necessary to categorize the gospels as the bioi (lives) of Jesus Christ.[28][29]

In the 21st century there is widespread recognition, among critical scholars who actively research, write and debate in the field of ancient biography studies, that the canonical gospels fit within and are understood by realizing that they are ancient Greco-Roman biography.[30][31][32][33][34][35][16][36] A literary genre called lives (Greek: bioi; Latin: vitae). Greco-Roman culture of the first century AD is understood to have influenced the gospel writers, giving a realm of literary freedom of expression necessary for their goals pertaining to their subject of interest. Therefore, in accord with scholarship the gospels should not be read with skepticism, nor with kerygma as the linchpin of all criticism, but rather with the assumption that each authors intent was to convey the life or bios of Jesus Christ.

Religious Significance

The gospel in the singular refers to the Good News stated by the Holy Scripture, the Bible. In the plural or in conjunction with a human writer it refers to the account of the birth, lifework, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ written about by the Four Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, also referred to as the Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John. The Gospel is the heart of the Christian belief which is founded in the Bible. The Saviour, Jesus Christ the sinless Son of God, has come into this world and gave His life and shed His blood on the Cross of Calvary for many for the remission of sins [37]. The resurrection of Jesus Christ confirms and reveals this unique victory over the impact of the Fall of man [38].

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." - John 3:36 (KJV)

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." - John 3:14-18 (KJV)

The good news is that everyone has the precious opportunity to escape Hell by repenting and asking Jesus Christ for forgiveness and a new, eternal and capable life in the discipleship of his Redeemer now and here and for all eternity in Heaven.[39][40][41]

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References

  1. The word "gospel" on Dictionary.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gospel
  2. Good News By Wikipedia
  3. Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (IVP Academic, 2nd Edition 2007), pg. IX
  4. Mark Allan Powell, Introducing the New Testament: A Historical, Literary, and Theological Survey (Baker Academic 2009), pgg. 85-92
  5. Kyle Keefer, The New Testament as Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press 2008), pg. 20
  6. George Albert Wells Can We Trust the New Testament?: Thoughts on the Reliability of Early Christian Testimony (Open Court 2004), pg. 1
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (IVP Academic, 2nd Edition 2007), pg. 9-11
  8. Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (IVP Academic, 2nd Edition 2007), pg. 3
  9. Gospel harmony By Wikipedia
  10. Harmonizing the Gospels: Principles, Practice, and Examples By JP Holding. Tekton Ministry
  11. 11.0 11.1 Charles H. Talbert, What is a Gospel? The Genre of the Canonical Gospels (Fortress Press 1977), pg. 2
  12. Craig A. Evans, The Historical Jesus: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies (Routledge University Press 2004), pg. 332
  13. Charles H. Talbert, What is a Gospel? The Genre of the Canonical Gospels (Fortress Press 1977), pg. 6
  14. Stanley E. Porter, Handbook of Classical Rhetoric in the Hellenistic Period, 330 B.C.-A.D. 400 (Brill Academic Publishers 2001), pg. 507
  15. 15.0 15.1 Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (IVP Academic, 2nd Edition 2007), pg. 302
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 The Gospels as Historical Biography By Dr. Richard Bauckham. February 15, 2011.
  17. Richard Bauckham Lectures – What Sort of History are the Gospels? Richard Bauckham on the Gospels as (Reliable) Historical Biography
  18. Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans[1]
  19. David E. Aune, Greco-Roman Literature and The New Testament: Selected Forms and Genres (Society of Biblical Literature 1988), pg. 110
  20. Plutarch, Life of Timoleon[2]
  21. Plutarch, Life of Themistocles[3]
  22. Plutarch, Life of Pericles[4]
  23. Plutarch, The Life of Cato the Younger[5]
  24. Mark 1:1 (NASB)
  25. John 1:34 (NASB)
  26. Questions on Evidence for the Resurrection by William Lane Craig
  27. Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (IVP Academic, 2nd Edition 2007), pg. 23
  28. Graham Stanton, Jesus of Nazareth in New Testament Preaching (Cambridge University Press 1974), pg. 186; Graham Stanton establishes the exact point this article attempts to define in regard to the comparison of Lives by Plutarch and the gospels. "For, in spite of all qualification, the gospels, including John, look very much like the lives of Jesus."
  29. When the Saints Go Marching In A paper by Mike Licona delivered at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society in San Francisco on November 18, 2011 in response to recent criticisms by Norman Geisler regarding The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach by Licona. Licona posits in his book that the raised saints of Matthew 27 are in fact a fictitious narrative, or apocalyptic symbolism, rather than an actual historical event. A sound conclusion reached within Greco-Roman bioi.
  30. Charles H. Talbert, What is a Gospel? The Genre of the Canonical Gospels (Fortress Press 1977), pg. 193
  31. David E. Aune, Greco-Roman Literature and The New Testament: Selected Forms and Genres (Society of Biblical Literature 1988), pg. 121
  32. Subject: Establishing the Gospels’ Reliability By William Lane Craig; "Something of a consensus has developed within New Testament scholarship that the Gospels are closest in genre to ancient biographies ( "Lives," as they are called, as in Plutarch’s Lives of Noble Greeks and Romans)."
  33. J. W. Rogerson and Judith M. Lieu, Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies (Oxford University Press 2008), pg. 437
  34. Mark Allan Powell, Introducing the New Testament: A Historical, Literary, and Theological Survey (Baker Academic 2009), pg. 82
  35. Michael R. Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (IVP Academic 2010), pg. 127
  36. Craig S. Keener, Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts (Baker Academic 2011), pg. 35; Keener states; "The Gospels and Acts belong to the biographic and historical genres, respectively, with the Gospel of Luke possibly straddling both."
  37. Matthew 26:26-28 (KJV)
  38. I_Corinthians 15:12-28 (KJV)
  39. Romans 10:9-13 (KJV)
  40. Romans 5 (KJV)
  41. Revelation 20-22 (KJV)

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