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Verbum et Ecclesia

versão On-line ISSN 1609-9982

Verbum Eccles. (Online) vol.30 no.1 Pretoria  2009

 

ORIGINAL RESEARCH

 

Challenging Biblical fundamentalism by seeking the influence of the synagogue in the formation of the synoptic gospels

 

 

J S Spong

University of South Africa

 

 


ABSTRACT

Taking cues from Michael Goulder 's book Midrash and Lection in Matthew the author argues a case for taking the context of the synagogue seriously as the place were the story about Jesus was recalled and passed on for a minimum of forty years. By using primarily the gospel Mark as frame of reference he illustrates how this context left its mark not only on the gospel of Mark but on the other two synoptic gospels as well. In the synagogue the Hebrew Scriptures were "wrapped around" the story of Jesus. Readers should therefore not read the gospels as historical accounts of his life but as interpretations of his life and acts. A historical-literal reading of the synoptic gospels distorts the message which the authors tried to convey about Jesus.


 

 

Full text available only in PDF format.

 

 

Consulted literature

Bonhoeffer, D 1971. Letters and Papers from Prison. London: SCM.         [ Links ]

Ehrman, B D 2008. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Now York: Oxford University Press.         [ Links ]

Goulder, M D 1974. Midrash and Lection in Matthew: The Speaker's lectures in Biblical Studies, 1969-1971. London: SPCK.         [ Links ]

Olson, R G 2004. Science & Religion, 1450-1900: From Copernicus to Darwin. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.         [ Links ]

Ratzinger, J (Pope Benedict XVI) 2007. Jesus of Nazareth: From baptism in the Jordan to the transfiguration.New York: Doubleday.         [ Links ]

Scholder, K 1990. The Birth of Modern Critical Theology: Origins and Problems of Biblical Criticism in the Seventeenth Century. London: SCM.         [ Links ]

Spong, J S 2007. Jesus for the Non-Religious: Recovering the Divine at the Heart of the Human. San Francisco: HarperCollins.         [ Links ]

 

 

1 The author read this paper on Sunday 28 October 2007 at the University of South Africa. It was deliberately planned to coincide with Protestant churches celebration of the Reformation on the last Sunday of October. It was decided to keep to the wording of the paper as it was delivered on that day and not to adjust it to a more elevated style normally required for scholarly articles.
2 Research Associate, Department of Old Testament & Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Department of New Testament, University of South Africa.

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