Oral Tradition is Unfounded: from Kelber to Koester

My last post in this series ended with Thomas Brodie’s question: On what basis, then, is it possible to go on claiming oral tradition? Brodie asked this after surveying how Hermann Gunkel’s paradigm of oral tradition came to dominate biblical, and especially New Testament, studies, while at the same time pointing out the logical fallacies … Continue reading “Oral Tradition is Unfounded: from Kelber to Koester”


Frank Zindler’s Response to Bart Ehrman: The Parable of the Cheshire Cat

Frank Zindler’s response to Bart Ehrman is now online, Clarice O’Callighan of the JesusMysteries Forum alerts us. See his online article Bart Ehrman and the Cheshire Cat of Nazareth His opener: When all that is left of a Cheshire cat is its grin, how can we be sure it is in fact the grin of … Continue reading “Frank Zindler’s Response to Bart Ehrman: The Parable of the Cheshire Cat”


What Mark’s Episodes Do For Readers (and the real historiographical question to ask)

As with any magic the spell works best when the audience does not know how it is done. On the other hand, understanding the way literary and rhetorical devices play with how we respond to what we read does help remind us that we are reading a creation of the human mind. Even if the … Continue reading “What Mark’s Episodes Do For Readers (and the real historiographical question to ask)”


Second thoughts on the Gospel of Mark as Biography

Understanding the nature of a text is a significant factor in knowing how to interpret it and how to use it as historical evidence. Many scholars today, following Burridge, accept that the Gospel of Mark is a biography of the life of Jesus. The Gospel of Mark is widely considered to be the first written … Continue reading “Second thoughts on the Gospel of Mark as Biography”


Fiction in ancient biographies, histories and gospels

If the Gospels were written as “biographies” of Jesus, or were meant to be read as “history”, does this mean that we can expect to find only factual details in them? Or if not entirely factual, must we give the benefit of the doubt that beneath a certain amount of exaggeration there must have been … Continue reading “Fiction in ancient biographies, histories and gospels”


The literary genre of Acts. 10: historical novels – ancient cyrogenics and lost cities

Following is my own elaboration of Pervo’s introduction to a discussion of ancient historical novels. My Stadter citations are independent of Pervo’s book. I do not refer to Acts in this post. Others can think through the comparisons. But will discuss a few more historical novels before returning to Acts. The Cyropaedia by Xenophon – … Continue reading “The literary genre of Acts. 10: historical novels – ancient cyrogenics and lost cities”