How the Gospels Became History

How the Gospels Became History

Yale University Press

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A compelling comparison of the gospels and Greco-Roman mythology which shows that the gospels were not perceived as myths, but as historical records

Did the early Christians believe their myths? Like most ancient—and modern—people, early Christians made efforts to present their myths in the most believable ways.
 
In this eye-opening work, M. David Litwa explores how and why what later became the four canonical gospels take on a historical cast that remains vitally important for many Christians today. Offering an in-depth comparison with other Greco-Roman stories that have been shaped to seem like history, Litwa shows how the evangelists responded to the pressures of Greco-Roman literary culture by using well-known historiographical tropes such as the mention of famous rulers and kings, geographical notices, the introduction of eyewitnesses, vivid presentation, alternative reports, and so on. In this way, the evangelists deliberately shaped myths about Jesus into historical discourse to maximize their believability for ancient audiences.

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M. David Litwa is a scholar of ancient Mediterranean religions and Research Fellow at the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry in Melbourne. His most recent books include Desiring Divinity: Self-deification in Ancient Jewish and Christian Mythmaking and Hermetica II: The Excerpts of Stobaeus, Papyrus Fragments, and Ancient Testimonies.


Pub Date: 2019
Format: Hardback
Pages: 312
Size: 6.75 x 9.75 inches

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