Item description for Fortress Introduction to the Gospels by Mark Allan Powell...
Overview Ideal for the classroom or self-study. Powell summarizes modern scholarship as it bears on our understanding of the Gospels, using numerous charts and diagrams, two dozen special topics, and a plethora of background information. Lucid, reliable descriptions that are smartly organized.
Publishers Description With clarity and verve, Mark Allan Powell describes the contents and structure of the Gospels, their distinctive characteristics, and their major themes. An introductory chapter surveys the political, religious, and social world of the Gospels, methods of approaching early Christian texts, the genre of the Gospels, and the religious character of these writing. Included also are comments on the Gospels that are not found in the New Testament.Special features, including illustrations and more than two dozen special topics, enhance this convenient volume.
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Studio: FORTRESS PRESS
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.49" Width: 5.49" Height: 0.44" Weight: 0.5 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 1998
Publisher Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN 0800630750 ISBN13 9780800630751
Availability 0 units.
More About Mark Allan Powell
Mark Allan Powell has published articles on contemporary Christian music in "Christian Century, Christianity Today, " and "Trinity Seminary Review." He is frequently interviewed in print and over the airwaves concerning the proliferation of rock, rap, and other popular genres of Christian music. He is Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and is the author of seventeen books, including the best-sellers "Jesus as a Figure in History" and "Narrative Criticism: A New Approach to the Bible."
Mark Allan Powell was born in 1953.
Mark Allan Powell has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Fortress Introduction to the Gospels?
Decent introduction, but sometimes presents his opinion as fact - 3 1/2 stars Dec 17, 2007
This is a decent introduction that covers a lot of basic facts about the Gospels. He covers stuff like the major themes of each Gospel, the probable authors, historical context, possible sources, audience, etc. A lot of his background information is quite helpful. His writing is concise and fairly clear, and he avoids using too much jargon.
My problem with this book is his bias. He gives a very one-sided view of certain issues and essentially ignores a lot of conservative scholarship and dissenting positions. For example, he uncritically accepts the Q source theory and unquestioningly gives post-A.D.-70 dates for Matthew and Luke, even though a lot of scholars have disputed both points. In particular, John A. T. Robinson (who was about as liberal as you get) leaps to mind as someone who disputes the later dates. In fairness to him, I guess there's only so much about disputes that you can cover; the thing I found frustrating is that he seemed to present his opinion as fact in many cases.
In any case, this book will give you the basics and he has done some good work, but keep in mind that he often presents one-sided views of issues.
A great introduction to the gospels Mar 31, 2002
Most biblical studies are quite frankly designed for scholars and seminary students. As a general reader, I can unhesitatingly recommend this small volume that helps you understand the basics of the Gospels.
There are three sections for each of the four Gospels, discussing Characteristics (what makes it different from the other three Gospels), Historical background (where, when and why they were probably written and whether Matthew, Mark, Luke and John actually wrote them) and Major Themes (the messages that each writer wanted to get across). Things that the general reader might not be aware of, like the phantom "Q" Gospel that probably provided Matthew and Luke with material and the controversy over whether John or Lazarus was the "Beloved Disciple", are introduced in easy to understand fashion without overwhelming non-scholars. There is also an appendix summarizing the "Gnostic Gospels" which, although I wouldn't count on finding them in new copies of the New Testament anytime soon, are gaining credibility with scholars (especially the Gospel of Thomas).
I found it interesting and informative.
A great textbook May 15, 1999
I have used Powell's book as a text for my undergraduate "Life and Teachings of Jesus" course during this past year. It is extremely well written and organized. Powell has a gift for presenting complex information in accessible form. The charts and tables in the book are particularly helpful and to the point. My students consistently compliment the book for its content and clarity. The only disappointment is that the chapters on each of the four canonical gospels are not structured in a way that mirrors their narrative shape. The struggle to lead students through the worlds created by the gospels and to present relevant critical issues at the same time is most difficult. Powell balances these concerns as well as anyone and much better than most. If only there was space in such a textbook to lead students to a discovery of the themes of the gospels instead of listing and describing them. That is a task still left to the instructor, but Powell's book provides excellent support.
Great Introduction Mar 16, 1999
This is a very good book for summarizing dozens of scholarly fields into a coherent 'Introduction' of the canonized gospels. Great starting poing if you don't know much about Q or the M and L material. Sufficient discussion about the characteristics and histories of the four gospels. My only knock against this book is that the author too often makes the statement 'most scholars' in order to back a particular hypothesis - refuting a quote from the book that evidence should be 'weighed, not counted.' Still, I learned a lot from the book and would recommend it to anyone interested in the history of the New Testament texts.