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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
January 2022
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Book description

Before the early Christian evangelists were Gospel writers, they were Gospel readers. Their composition process was more complex than simply compiling existing traditions about Jesus, then ordering them into a narrative frame. Rather, these writers were engaged in a creative and dynamic act of theological reception. 'Gospel reading' refers to this innovative and often artistic use of source materials -- from Israel's Scriptures to pre-existing narratives of Jesus-- to produce updated, expanded, or even alternative renditions. This volume explores that process. The common thread running through each chapter is the conviction that the early Christian practice of writing 'gospel' and the 'Gospels' was one of the most hermeneutically creative exercises in ancient literary culture, one that was prompted by the perceived theological significance of Jesus. The contributors seek to demonstrate the intricate dynamics of this controversial figure's theological and textual reception through foundational essays on specific texts and themes.

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