Item description for Three Gospels by Reynolds Price...
Overview Offers new translations of the Gospels of Mark and John, based on the Greek originals, and introduces the author's own modern gospel, "An Honest Account of a Memorable Life"
Publishers Description A decade after he published his famous first novel, "A Long and Happy Life," Reynolds Price began a serious study of the Hebrew and Greek narratives which combine to form that crucial document of Western civilization we call the Bible. Since early childhood, Price had known Bible stories of patriarchs, kings, prophets, and the boldly assertive women of Ancient Israel, as well as the four-fold gospel story of the life of Jesus -- another Jew whose career has exerted immense fascination on subsequent history.
In Price's early middle age, however, he felt compelled to go further than simple reading; he began to investigate the rudiments of the Bible stories as deeply as possible. He focused on the Hebrew and Greek originals that are unquestionably the most discussed and annotated texts with the close assistance of other literal versions and of numerous scholarly commentaries, old and modern. He was likewise encouraged and helped by frequent discussions with distinguished scholar-colleagues at Duke University, where he has taught since 1958.
As the work continued over several years, Price expanded his translation attempts into the Greek New Testament. And soon he had begun an informal navigation of the shoals of Koine Greek -- that common Mediterranean dialect in which a good deal of the business of the Roman empire was conducted and in which the gospels and all other books of the New Testament were written. Gradually, his translations of separate incidents from the four gospels evolved into a literal translation of the whole of the oldest gospel, Mark. His first version of Mark appeared, along with other translations from the Old and New Testaments, in "A Palpable God" (Atheneum, 1978). The book met with a wide and favorable reception from scholars, writers, and critics.
Price's studies have expanded steadily in the intervening decades; and in recent years he has worked at both a revised version of his early translation of Mark and an entirely new literal version of the Gospel of John (John is the last published gospel and almost surely the one that comes, at its core, from an eyewitness of the life of Jesus). To his new translations, Price has added extensive prefaces, which he hopes will be of interest to scholars and casual readers alike. The prefaces are the result not only of his own work as a translator and his discussions with New Testament scholars of more than twenty years reading in textual exegesis, in the life of the first-century Roman world (including the immensely complicated realities of Roman Palestine), but also in consideration of the widespread and ongoing attempt to reconsider the historical bases of our knowledge of Jesus.
Finally, after twice teaching a semester-long seminar on the gospels of Mark and John at Duke University, Price has written a gospel of his own. The new gospel, which he calls "apocryphal" in a non-canonical sense, makes a fresh attempt at a compact narrative of the life and work of Jesus. Yet it is an attempt grounded meticulously in the earliest available historic, biographical, and theological evidence. In a third and final preface, Price describes the motive for writing a gospel of his own. In brief, his new gospel (like the whole of Three Gospels) aims to render the highest possible contemporary justice to a life lived two thousand years ago, a life presented in -- and, to a startling extent, still recoverable from -- documents that have proved the most influential in Western history.
Citations And Professional Reviews Three Gospels by Reynolds Price has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Wilson Public Library Catalog - 12/31/2008 page 100
New York Times - 06/15/1997 page 36
NY Times Notable Bks of Year - 01/01/1997 page 97
Quill & Quire - 12/01/2001 page 16
Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 76
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.04" Width: 5.02" Height: 0.73" Weight: 0.73 lbs.
Release Date May 14, 1997
ISBN 068483281X ISBN13 9780684832814
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More About Reynolds Price
Reynolds Price (1933-2011) was born in Macon, North Carolina. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he taught at Duke beginning in 1958 and was the James B. Duke Professor of English at the time of his death. His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his "Collected Stories". "A Long and Happy Life" was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. "Kate Vaiden" was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. "The Good Priest's Son" in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.
Reynolds Price lived in Durham, in the state of North Carolina. Reynolds Price was born in 1933 and died in 2011.
Reviews - What do customers think about Three Gospels?
Marvelous contribution to gospel scholarship; accessible to everyone Aug 21, 2005
Price has done a beautiful thing here with his dedicated and solid work on the gospels. And thank Heaven he speaks up for John bar Zebedee being the author of his gospel. The commentary is deeply moving -- some of the best writing on the gospels I've seen anywhere. I'm grateful for this book. I return to it again and again. Of late, academic scholarship has done so much to tear the gospels to shreds, to rob them of their intensity and depth, to deny their individual personality and power. Reynolds is a wonderful corrective to all this, a brilliant writer who approaches the texts we have with profound respect and fascinating insight, and his writing is truly elegant and expressive and sensitive -- an inspiration. This is a gem of a book.
A writer approachs these texts as only a writer can... Dec 25, 2002
Reynolds Price is a brilliant, prize-winning writer, an ancient languages scholar and Christian, apparently. His approach, from the literal translation of two gospels, to the writing of his own, is fresh and eye-opening. Highly recommended to those who choose to look deeper into Christianity and its founding texts.
Mistake Again! Apr 26, 2001
Ahem.Mr Price is not the Editor. He's the author! (I wonder if any one reads these reviews and notes its contents). Its still a wonderful book, with a fresh new look at the Gospels of Mark and John. And frankly, after reading it, one gets a new perspective of the relationship between God and man. It certainly gave me a stronger foundation and background to the two gospels and an insight into Christ.
Good translation, better commentary Mar 31, 2001
Reynold Price's translations of Mark and John are good in that they try to transliterate the style and feel of their Greek originals, but truth be told they just don't read as well as the translations to be found in other Bible tranlsations. But Price's commentaries on these two Gospels are the main factor in this book. He utilizes something that's missing from the "detective kits" of most other Biblical scholars: common sense. I've read a great majority of the books on the "Historical Jesus," each of which - as the old saying goes - reveals more about the author than the subject. Instead of going off into groundless supposition, as most other Historical Jesus questors are known to do, Price gives us the evidence that we have and makes common sense conclusions on who wrote the Gospels: when, where, how, and why. He doesn't make any mention of the so-called "Secret" Gospel of Mark, true; but I think this is less Price being unaware of it and more of him just realizing it's a phony and unworthy of mention. Read Akenson's Saint Saul, which brutally brings this forgery to light. Price's extra Gospel, which he wrote himself, is interesting, but ultimately the selling point of this book are his commentaries to the two ancient Gospels themselves.
mediocre May 14, 2000
Price does not offer anything new to the scholarship on the Gospels or Jesus. He takes the side of claiming "tradition" gives us the most historically accurate answers in Christian history, but that claim is rather confusing. Price is correct in saying how stories may be accurately trasmitted in 'oral cultures'; however he is severly flawed when he confuses that with the true historical accuracy of the actual texts themselves. Just because a text passes on with minimal corruption does not mean that the story itself is of the utmost historical accuracy. For example, he says, "Who was Mark, what did he know; when, where, and for whom did he write his gospel? The oldest surviving answer comes from Papias...Far from suggesting the possibility that Papias independently deduced the names of authors from anonymously circulated gospel texts, the passages quoted by Eusebius claim a direct transmission from disciples of Jesus to Papias" [he then quotes the fragment of Papias in Eusebius' Hist. Eccl.] "Eusebius, a careful and honest if not infallible scholar, also records that Jesus' disciple Philip (or perhaps Philip the evangelist, another early member of the Jesus sect) and Philip's daughters had settled in Hierapolis...." (pp. 61-62) He goes on and on. And even though he doesn't flat-out reject modern historical understandings, he sides with traditions of how we received the gospels (such as Mark was written down by a certain Mark, who sort of transcribed his gospel from the memories of Peter; and that various church fathers claimed a direct line to the very disciples). His evidence is wanting, and often times I find it self-contradicting. He insists upon things such as near-perfect internal consistency within Mark and John as proof for only one author (with possibly a few editors that only tweeked it) BUT elsewhere he applauds the J-writer of the Torah (I found that a bit amusing). Then to top it off, he admits in certain areas pecularities but then seems to forget it in favor of "tradition". Example: p. 171 he dismisses Raymond Brown's belief that within John 21 there were probably two original stories combined and then says "As a reader who has known the story for more than fifty years, who has read it dozens of times and translated it, I continue to respond to what I see as a patently seamless web of story--the large amount that is said so quickly, the larger amount that goes unsaid." He states there is no seams but then pg. 172-173 he quotes "'Simon Peter got up and dragged the net to the land full of a great many fish--a hundred fifty-three and with so many the net wasn't torn.' So Peter gets up---from where? I may be crossing legitamate bounds, but here again I suspect the skipping movement of an old man's memory." He then gives a rather odd explanation that John (which he claims is an eyewitness writing Gosp. John as an eyewitness account) was merely distracted, but then when Peter popped up again in his line-of-sight, he remembers his existance again, and thereby mentions that he "got up". These are the sort of gaps/seams that lead scholars like Brown to make deductions of combined stories, but Price seems to be so bedazzled by the story that he rationalizes things like seams and then apparently denies they exist. He does this again , to a degree, when mentioning the 'fleeing nude' of Mark 14:51-52. While one may disagree with the ideas of someone like John Crossan's reconstructions of a proto-Mark in "The Historical Jesus", Price seems oblivious to Secret Mark and the quite probable origin of that nude-man from a nude-baptismal scene in Secret Mark. All in all, Price's book succeeds when it comes to considerations of the literary and linguistic nature, but historically he fails. Reading his literal rendition of Mark and John was interesting, as was his own invented gospel (which is not original either, for countless others have already done that). It was definately not worth the full price of the book. I'm glad I bought it used.