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What Are the Gospels?

A Comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography

Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition

Richard A. Burridge (author)

ISBN: 9781481308755

Publication Date: Mar 2020

Format: Paperback

The publication of Richard Burridge's What Are the Gospels? in 1992 inaugurated a transformation in Gospel studies by overturning the previous consensus about Gospel uniqueness. Burridge argued convincingly for an understanding of the Gospels as biographies, a ubiquitous genre in the Graeco-Roman world.
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  • Table of Contents
  • Author Biography
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The publication of Richard Burridge's What Are the Gospels? in 1992 inaugurated a transformation in Gospel studies by overturning the previous consensus about Gospel uniqueness. Burridge argued convincingly for an understanding of the Gospels as biographies, a ubiquitous genre in the Graeco-Roman world.

To establish this claim, Burridge compared each of the four canonical Gospels to the many extant Graeco-Roman biographies. Drawing on insights from literary theory, he demonstrated that the previously widespread view of the Gospels as unique compositions was false. Burridge went on to discuss what a properly "biographical" perspective might mean for Gospel interpretation, which was amply demonstrated in the revised second edition reflecting on how his view had become the new consensus.

This third, twenty-fifth anniversary edition not only celebrates the continuing influence of What Are the Gospels?, but also features a major new contribution in which Burridge analyzes recent debates and scholarship about the Gospels. Burridge both answers his critics and reflects upon the new directions now being taken by those who accept the biographical approach. This new edition also features as an appendix a significant article in which he tackles the related problem of the genre of Acts.

A proven book with lasting staying power, What Are the Gospels? is not only still as relevant and instructive as it was when first published, but will also doubtlessly inspire new research and scholarship in the years ahead.
Pages 524
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Mar 2020
Publisher Baylor University Press
Subject/s Literary studies: classical, early & medieval   The historical Jesus   Biblical exegesis & hermeneutics  
  • Preface to the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition
  • Foreword to the Second Edition
  • Preface to the Second Edition
  • Preface to the Original Edition
  • Abbreviations
  • [new to the 25th anniversary edition] Gospels and Biography, 2000-2018: A Critical Review and Implications for Future Research
  • A. The Literary Theory of Genre
  • B. Gospel Scholarship and Commentaries
  • C. Gospel Genre and Audience
  • D. The Genre of Acts
  • E. Roman Catholic Reactions
  • F. Biography and Historiography
  • G. Further Implications for New Research
  • Conclusion
  • Critical Review Bibliography
  • PART ONE: THE PROBLEM
  • 1. Historical Survey
  • 2. Genre Criticism and Literary Theory
  • 3. Genre Criticism and Graeco-Roman
  • 4. Evaluation of Recent Debate
  • PART TWO: THE PROPOSED SOLUTION
  • 5. Generic Features
  • 6. The Generic Features of Early Graeco-Roman Bioi?á
  • 7. The Generic Features of Later Graeco-Roman Bioi
  • 8. The Synoptic Gospels
  • 9. The Fourth Gospel
  • 10. Conclusions and Implications
  • 11. Reactions and Developments
  • Appendix I: Analysis Charts of Verb Subjects
  • Appendix II: Gospel Genre, Christological Controversy and the Absence of Rabbinic Biography
  • Appendix III: The Genre of Acts Revisited
  • Select Bibliography
  • Index of Passages
  • Index of Names and Subjects
Richard Burridge is Visiting Professor of Biblical Interpretation at King's College London.

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