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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: January 2021

5 - The Gospels as Subversive Biography


Chapter 5 argues that the Synoptic gospels can be read as a “subversive biography” in the tradition of similar treatments of notable underdogs like Alexander the Great in the Alexander Romance or the notorious Aesop. Situating the gospels securely within a new genre classification demonstrates their engagement with the literary culture of the imperial period. Thus, specific characteristics of Jesus’ portrayal in the Synoptics need not be a function of oral tradition, but a reflection of the rational interests of elite, imperial writers.

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