Another blog post on gospel genre

Another Freethought Blog to cite, this time Jon Cavaz writes a neat introductory piece on Gospel Genre highlighting the ahistorical character of the gospels: Gospels as Legendary Biographies I’m of a different opinion but my views are probably more technical and interested in nuances of little relevance to most of the real world. Check the … Continue reading “Another blog post on gospel genre”


A New Genre for the Gospels? It’s not so unusual. And Imitation and Intertextuality? A necessity!

Maybe it’s just me and the particular apologists I have encountered over the years, but I seem to have run into a claim that the authors of the canonical gospels found themselves moved to write about Jesus in a completely new literary genre that we call “the gospels”. The four gospels certainly are unlike other … Continue reading “A New Genre for the Gospels? It’s not so unusual. And Imitation and Intertextuality? A necessity!”


Genre of Gospels, Acts and OT Primary History: INDEX

Genre can be a highly fluid concept. In studies of Gospels I’ve noticed that discussions of genre sometimes overlap with intertextuality. Moreover, we may conclude that an ancient narrative belongs to the genre “history”, but once we learn what “history” could mean to the ancients we quickly move into discussions about the place of fictional … Continue reading “Genre of Gospels, Acts and OT Primary History: INDEX”


The Enigma of Genre and The Gospel of John

In an earlier post, I wrote: Seen from the perspective of believers, the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of John are disconcertingly different. On the other hand, if we clear our minds of the anxiety of historicity, we see that Mark and John resemble one another much more than they do any “other” Greco-Roman … Continue reading “The Enigma of Genre and The Gospel of John”


Bart Ehrman: Jesus Before the Gospels, Basic Element 4: Genre

In the last installment, we covered oral tradition. As I look over the post now, I see that I missed several opportunities to add the adjective, “rich.” Biblical scholars love to write the words “rich oral tradition.” How, you may ask, do they know such details about something based mostly on conjecture? Watch out! If you keep asking questions like … Continue reading “Bart Ehrman: Jesus Before the Gospels, Basic Element 4: Genre”


Genre of Gospels, Acts and OT Primary History: INDEX

Genre can be a highly fluid concept. In studies of Gospels I’ve noticed that discussions of genre sometimes overlap with intertextuality. Moreover, we may conclude that an ancient narrative belongs to the genre “history”, but once we learn what “history” could mean to the ancients we quickly move into discussions about the place of fictional … Continue reading “Genre of Gospels, Acts and OT Primary History: INDEX”


The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 9)

Part 9: “A searching critical blitz of the Schmidt hypothesis” The previous post in this series began a critical analysis of an essay by John C. Meagher, delivered at the Colloquy on New Testament Studies back in 1980, before such well-known figures in the New Testament world as Charles H. Talbert, Vernon K. Robbins, and William R. … Continue reading “The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 9)”


The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 8)

Part 8: Attacking the foundations: The “uniqueness” of the gospels A meeting of the minds The form-critical consensus about the nature of the gospels had begun to crumble by the 1970s. No clear new way forward had emerged, but discontent with the current consensus was clearly growing. By the start of the next decade, the … Continue reading “The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 8)”


The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 7)

Part 7: The Uniqueness of the Gospels What Schmidt said While researching this topic, I found an unexpected great source (for this and for other topics) in New Synoptic Studies: The Cambridge Gospel Conference and Beyond, edited by William R. Farmer. Inside, an essay by Joseph B. Tyson entitled “Conflict as a Literary Theme in the … Continue reading “The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 7)”


The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 6)

Part 6: Criticisms of Schmidt’s Literary Designations In this post, we’ll cover some of the more recent negative assessments of Karl Ludwig Schmidt’s designation of gospel texts as Kleinliteratur versus Hochliteratur. A cultural insult? As you recall, the reason Schmidt categorized the gospels as Kleinliteratur had to do with their structure and their core characteristics. It also made … Continue reading “The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 6)”


The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 5)

Part 5: More on Karl Ludwig Schmidt’s ideal types At the close of the previous post in this series I promised we’d talk about the modern critique of Hochlitertur (high literature) and Kleinliteratur (low literature), but first I want to explain better why these categories are important to understanding the genre of the gospels. Philip Jordan’s comment … Continue reading “The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 5)”


The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 4)

Part 4: Hochliteratur (high literature) and Kleinliteratur (low literature) Translations To understand Karl Ludwig Schmidt’s argument concerning the genre of the canonical gospels, we need first to understand his usage of the terms Hochliteratur and Kleinliteratur. These terms are difficult to translate into English, because we lose the nuance of the German words, while picking … Continue reading “The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 4)”


The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 3)

Part 3: K. L. Schmidt: Placing the Gospels When it comes to the form critics, NT scholars don’t know Schmidt. But to be fair, for a long time — all of the twentieth century in fact — they had a reasonable excuse. None of Karl Ludwig Schmidt’s works had been translated into English, and unless … Continue reading “The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 3)”


The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 2)

Part 2: Two Parables Before we discuss Karl Ludwig Schmidt’s views on the genre of the canonical gospels, I want to present two parables that I hope will drive home some basic concepts. A review of the recent scholarship on the subject reveals a distressing amount of misunderstanding here. I hope the following illustrations will … Continue reading “The Genre of the Gospels: How the Consensus Changed (Part 2)”