Item description for What Are The Gospels?: A Comparison With Graeco-roman Biography (Biblical Resource) by Richard A. Burridge & Graham Stanton...
Overview Foreword by Graham Stanton Richard Burridge's acclaimed study of the Christian Gospels is significantly updated and expanded in this second edition. Here Burridge engages the field of Gospel studies over the last hundred years, arguing convincingly for viewing the Gospels as biographical documents of the sort common throughout the Graeco-Roman world. In pursuing the question of his book's title, Burridge compares the work of the Christian evangelists with that of Graeco-Roman biographers. Drawing on insights from literary theory, he demonstrates that the widespread view of the Gospels as unique is false and discusses what a properly "biographical" perspective means for Gospel interpretation. New to this second edition of What Are the Gospels? are a long final chapter detailing the recent paradigm shift in Gospel scholarship - a shift due in large part to this very book - a foreword by Graham Stanton, and an appendix on the absence of comparable early Jewish biographies.
Publishers Description Richard Burridge's acclaimed study of the Christian Gospels is significantly updated and expanded in this second edition. Here Burridge engages the field of Gospel studies over the last hundred years, arguing convincingly for viewing the Gospels as biographical documents of the sort common throughout the Graeco-Roman world. In pursuing the question of his book's title, Burridge compares the work of the Christian evangelists with that of Graeco-Roman biographers. Drawing on insights from literary theory, he demonstrates that the widespread view of the Gospels as unique is false and discusses what a properly "biographical" perspective means for Gospel interpretation. New to this second edition of What Are the Gospels? are a long final chapter detailing the recent paradigm shift in Gospel scholarship -- a shift due in large part to this very book -- a foreword by Graham Stanton, and an appendix on the absence of comparable early Jewish biographies.
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.22" Width: 6.24" Height: 1.02" Weight: 1.25 lbs.
Release Date Aug 9, 2004
Publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Series Biblical Resource
ISBN 0802809715 ISBN13 9780802809711
Availability 0 units.
More About Richard A. Burridge & Graham Stanton
Richard A. Burridge is dean of King's College London, where he is also professor of biblical interpretation and director of New Testament studies. His other books includeWhat Are the Gospels? A Comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography and Imitating Jesus: An Inclusive Approach to New Testament Ethics
Richard A. Burridge currently resides in London. Richard A. Burridge was born in 1955 and has an academic affiliation as follows - King's College London.
Reviews - What do customers think about What Are The Gospels?: A Comparison With Graeco-roman Biography (Biblical Resource)?
Sound argument - Way too long! Apr 5, 2008
This book was a required text for a course in the gospels at Dallas Seminary.
Strengths: Burridge has clearly done his homework, is well-versed in all the necessary sources, and makes a very strong argument for his central point that the gospels are greco-Roman bioi.
Weaknesses: I am a Ph.D. student and have read a lot of books in my life and this is probably the most boring. It could very easily have been 50% or 30% of the length it is, presenting content in a more concise way, and have been much more effective.
A Dry Scholarship? Come and You Will See Otherwise Jul 26, 2006
I wrote to Dr. Burridge recently that I wish I found the volume when I was a seminarian studying the Gospels. I am ministering youth and teens at a local Mennonite church in Indonesia. The volume is extremely enlightening. I prefer to reading Anglo-Saxon scholars to North American who are so often too simplistic and pragmatic (pardon me). Yet many times I find Anglo-Saxon writers are deep in exploring something but dry in nurturing soul. This book is an exception. It helps much in my ministry.
Here is Dr. Burridge's reply: "I'm glad to hear that you feel that the scholarship helps with your ministry - this is indeed the driving force behind most of my writing."
I humbly invite those who are keen on correct doctrinal teachings and preachings to submit once again to the study of the Gospels and grasp the book. He himself was to come back to the Gospels having written a massive monograph: WHAT ARE THE GOSPELS? to help his personal struggle in spiritual life.
The monograph is a groundbreaking study in the study of the Gospels. He is a classicist turned New Testament scholar. His graduate study in classic was done in Oxford, and the doctorate in Nottingham. He aptly demonstrates that the Gospels are a kind of ancient "Bioi." Find what the ancient "Bioi" with contemporary biographies. The technical work has been strongly condensed in FOUR JESUS, ONE GOSPELS?: A SYMBOLIC READING.
I am really happy to find the popular volume, since the explanation are employing the most popular literary and visual art works--as C. S. Lewis' NARNIA and Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS. Recently I wrote a paper for an academic journal on how to read the Bible with imagination, and I was helped by Tolkien's LOTR. And Dr. Burridge aptly provides me with samples.
Come to hear again the roar of the Lion in Mark, to sit under the wise teaching of the Israel Teacher in Matthew, to contemplate on the burden-bearer ox in Luke , and to soar high with the flying eagle in John. You and I will find that our lives are worth living!!!
Thanks so much, Dr. Burridge.
Excellent answer to the question of the Gospels' genre May 11, 2006
I have heard claims that the Gospels are "metaphor" or that they were never meant to be taken as biographical (and therefore don't have much or any historical data). This book ably debunks such claims.
The intent of this book is not to prove the historicity of Gospels, but to prove their genre. By establishing their genre, then we can better understand the intent of the authors.
The well reasoned conclusion in Burridge's book is: the Gospels fit the ancient genre of biography.
In doing so he discusses a lot about genre and analysis (this section was a bit tedious for me, but it was thorough). In all of the discussion and examples we learn how the ancient biographies are much different from modern ones. This is a key point, because I think much of the debates and criticisms of the gospels are done from the perspective of a modern biographical viewpoint. The ancients wrote biographies differently than those that are written today. But this does not make them more or less true. It is a matter of emphasis. Today we want to know the details about dates, eye color, and a year by year accounting of events. The ancients were more selective in their biographies, and often focused on character not a chronological "play by play" of a person's life. The ancient biographers did not just write to catalogue facts about a person, they often wrote to demonstrate why or why not we should emulate their subject. Moderns too have such motives, and even biases, but they are often less up front about them. In many ways the ancients are superior in this regard, because it makes it easier to distinguish between data and commentary.
In the end, Burridge gives several examples of biography from the ancient world, and demonstrates that the Gospels very clearly match their pattern. Though there is variety between each of the biographies and the Gospels, they are clearly demonstrated to be part of the same family of literature. This then establishes how the Gospel writers understood their own works to be - biographies of Jesus.
Careful and persuasive. Apr 10, 2004
What are the Gospels? Biography? Myth? A unique genre of literature, otherwise unknown to the ancient world?
Richard Burridge begins by discusses genre, how it develops and evolves. He offers a dozen or so characteristics by which we can judge the genre of a book. No one item by itself proves that a given book belongs to a certain genre, he argues.
Following a few longish sections that establish his methods of analysis, Burridge introduces ten works that belong to the category of Graeco-Roman bioi, five from before the time of Christ, five from shortly after. Applying the criteria he mentions earlier to these works, he establishes what an ancient biography was really like. Then he considers the Synoptic Gospels, concluding that they clearly fit into this category. Next he performs the same operation with the Gospel of John, and concludes that it is also an example of ancient biography.
I think Burridge proves his case, that the canonical Gospels do belong to the category of ancient bioi, or biography. (Be prepared for a few words of Greek in the text.) But what does that mean to call the Gospels "biography?" Among the examples of Bioi he considers are Tacitus' Agricola, a sober account of a Roman general written by his son in law a few years after his death, and Apollonius of Tyana, a tall tale loosely based on a New Age guru that talks about various breeds of dragon in India, and was written more than a hundred years after the alleged life it portrays. So the simple fact that a work belongs to the category of bioi, does not prove that it is true.
Burridge notes however that Apollonius is rather on the fringe of the genre. In some ways, the Gospels are closer to Agricola. Having closely compared these two texts with the Gospels on my own, I came to the conclusion that in terms of historical reliability, the Gospels are closer to Agricola, and hardly resemble Apollonius of Tyana at all. In fact,in some ways the Gospels seem more historical than Agricola.
But Burridge does not discuss the historicity of the books he reviews directly. Instead, he conducts a somewhat plodding, but careful, convincing, and I think useful argument that helps one better understand literary genre, ancient literature, the Gospels, and how they all fit together.