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The Cambridge Companion to the Gospels (Cambridge Companions to Religion) Paperback – December 11, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This wide-ranging and refreshing approach to gospel studies will only foster a greater appreciation of these sacred texts, rewarding the layperson student, and scholar alike." --Matthew R. Hauge, Azusas Pacific University: Religious Studies Review

Book Description

This introduction focuses not only on historical questions - authorship, date, historical setting and literary genre - but also considers the gospels as texts of Christian scripture which have inspired the faith and worship of the church down the ages. The contributors include theologians and ethicists as well as New Testament scholars.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Companions to Religion
  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (December 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521002613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521002615
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #771,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
It is relatively short (close to 300 pages) and starts by putting the gospels in their historical context - i.e. they make sense only when their backgrounds are appreciated (e.g. their relationship with the Hebrew Bible, close proximity to first-hand eyewitnesses, and their purpose). One should not interpret them in some totally random or ad-hoc ways, otherwise they do not make sense. This first part of the book (Ch. 1-5) also includes an interesting chapter (Ch.5) on hermeneutics which is useful.

After that comes four chapters on the the four gospels, expectedly. These are quite standard but at times there are interesting insights.

Finally, the last part of the book (Ch. 10-13) discusses the "use" of the gospels - how it is "performed", "contemplated upon" and "used" in ethics. The relationship between the gospels and the creed is also explained (Ch. 10).

Overall - easy reading, enough materials to fulfil one's inquisitive appetite. Four stars.
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While I'm familiar with the Bible I wouldn't consider myself anywhere near a scholar but with this book I found scholary conculsions were easy for me to grasp. The authors tied their far from exhaustive scholarly conclusions to obvious evidence which was good for me because otherwise I can't buy into it. It is a book for study not entertainment. It enlightened me which was good but didn't really entertain me. If it had been able to do both I would have given it five stars.
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This collection of learned essays starts off rather studious, with a lot of notes on the scriptural sources of Christological doctrines. But the later essays grow into a theme of how the Gospels have changed history. And here we see a record of people moved, not by doctrines and creeds, but by what Jesus actually taught. I'd especially recommend the inspiring essays, "The gospels embodied: the lives of saints and martyrs", by David Matzko McCarthy, and "Living the gospels: morality and politics", by Scott Bader-Saye.

--author of Correcting Jesus
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