Eddy and Boyd, The Jesus Legend Dec 7

Darrell L. Bock's picture

I have completed the Eddy and Boyd book which is a thorough and careful study of many aspects of the Jesus traditon and its reliability. This book is not for the light hearted. It is full of detail and covers many key areas. Two questions that get special attention are the issues tied to the claim of pagan parallels and how Paul handles Jesus material. The best section is section 3 on orality (the fact the gospels were originally formed and passed on in a predominantly oral environment), which has come in for fresh attention in New Testament in the last decade or so. The best chapter, however, is in section 4 when the genre of gospel is treated. They argue that a mixed gospel is present with unique features, something like ancient biography and others like ancient historiography. This chapter is especially well done. The possibility of orality involving narrative carefully passed on gets presented with examples, especially from contemporary oral cultures in Africa. The one thing not covered in any detail was the link between that oral tradition and gospel authorship (except in the case of Mark, where a good argument is made that if one were picking a Petrine connection to write the gospel, as non-conservatives claim, Mark would not be a natural choice, a point that speaks for Mark being the real author.) I am making this book a text in some of my Jesus classes. It is nicely done.

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