Friday, October 13, 2006

Gospel as a Literary Genre

I think that the gospel is its own literary genre. After all, how could one even possibly experience Christ in the flesh, and then go and write a biography? Or even a tribute? No, to tackle Christ requires a whole genre unto itself.

The problem I often see is that this idea is taken to an almost grotesque extreme. In academia, it seems that often the idea of the gospel as a unique literary genre is used to explain away its fantastic elements, rather than stemming from them. It's like they say "oh, well this or that apocalyptic or prophetic element was not historical, but rather was added by the later Christian community to explain something or other.

It's amazing to me that people who study scripture for a lifetime can become so sucked into the world's way of looking at things that they start disbelieving the resurrection, and start believing that the unexplainable is merely a literary device, rather than an act of God among us.

When you remove the supernatural as an available category, I guess all that you have left is false reports of the supernatural, the supernatural as a literary device, and supernatural occurrences which are best explained non-supernaturally. Oh, well.


At 10/14/2006 9:34 AM, Blogger Larry McCallister said...

Oh, this annoys me, too.

I want to say, "Hey, either believe the gospels or don't.
Stop wasting our time on some convoluted hermeneutic that tries to "correct" the early church's corruption of the Messiah's life.

At 2/16/2007 7:54 AM, Blogger John Wilks said...

It seems fairly obvious to me that the Gospels at least employ elements of the Greek Bios genre.

That said, both Luke and John expressly state that their Gospels are written to encourage the faith of the reader- a sentiment which I'm sure Matthew and Mark shared. So all this talk of literary genre is well and good, but the main thing is faith!

BTW- I recently transfered from Asbury to Brite, so I know what you mean about being a conservative at a more liberal seminary. It ain't all bad- in fact I enjoy Brite quite a bit. But there are many things I miss about my time at Asbury.


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