Why the Gospels Are Historical Fiction

. A recent book by Jacob Licht, Storytelling in the Bible (Jerusalem, 1978), proposes that the “historical aspect” and the “storytelling” aspect of biblical narrative be thought of as entirely discrete functions that can be neatly peeled apart for inspection — apparently, like the different colored strands of electrical wiring. This facile separation of the … Continue reading “Why the Gospels Are Historical Fiction”


The Historical Jesus and the Demise of History, 2: The Overlooked Reasons We Know Certain Ancient Persons Existed

In the previous post in this series I concluded by pointing out the fundamental difference between the sources used by historians concerning nonbiblical historical figures such as Napoleon, Alexander or even Socrates, and those used by New Testament scholars for Jesus. In the former, the sources leave no doubt at all that certain individuals lived … Continue reading “The Historical Jesus and the Demise of History, 2: The Overlooked Reasons We Know Certain Ancient Persons Existed”


Historical Imitations and Reversals in Ancient Novels — and the Gospels?

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, but doesn’t quite quack like a duck, then maybe it is not a duck. Just because we see one or even a few features in the gospels that we recognize from historical or biographical writings, we cannot assume that the gospels are therefore history or … Continue reading “Historical Imitations and Reversals in Ancient Novels — and the Gospels?”


Ancient Novels Composed Like Gospels continued (2)

This continues the previous post that introduced Edmund Cueva’s study in the way our earliest surviving Greek novel was composed by combining historical persons, events and settings with fictional narrative details and characters that were inspired by popular myths. Cueva is not comparing these novels with the gospels, but I do think it is important … Continue reading “Ancient Novels Composed Like Gospels continued (2)”


Ancient Novels Like the Gospels: Mixing History and Myth

The earliest ancient novel we have is a tale of two lovers, Chaereas and Callirhoe, by Chariton. A summary of its plot can be found here. It is dated to the early second century. I have discussed or alluded to this novel in the various posts found on this page as a comparison to the … Continue reading “Ancient Novels Like the Gospels: Mixing History and Myth”