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Scripting Jesus : The Gospels in Rewrite - L. Michael White

Scripting Jesus

The Gospels in Rewrite

Paperback Published: 3rd May 2010
ISBN: 9780061228803
Number Of Pages: 516

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In Scripting Jesus, famed scholar of early Christianity L. Michael White challenges us to read the gospels as they were originally intended—as performed stories of faith rather than factual histories. White demonstrates that each of the four gospel writers had a specific audience in mind and a specific theological agenda to push, and consequently wrote and rewrote their lives of Jesus accordingly - in effect, scripting Jesus to get a particular point across and to achieve the desired audience reaction.

The gospel stories have shaped the beliefs of almost two and a half billion Christians. But the gospel writers were not reporters - rather, they were dramatists, and the stories they told publicly about Jesus were edited and reedited for the greatest effect. Understanding how these first-century Christians wanted to present Jesus offers us a way to make sense of the sometimes conflicting stories in the gospels.

One gospel's version of events will be at odds with another. For instance, in Jesus's birth narrative, there is no mention of a stable in Matthew or Luke, but then there are no wise men in Luke and no shepherds in Matthew. Jesus has brothers in some gospel accounts, and sisters in others, and their naming is inconsistent. Depending on which gospel you are reading, the disciples shift from bumbling morons to heroes of faith. Miracles alter or disappear altogether, and whole scenes get moved around. Such changes from one gospel to the next reveal the shaping and reshaping of the basic story in the living world of the first followers of Jesus.

With his usual engaging style, White helps us read the gospels with fresh eyes, giving us a clearer idea of what the gospel stories meant to people in ancient times, and offering insight for how we can understand Jesus's story today.

Prefacep. vii
Prologue: Scripting Jesus: The Storyteller's Artp. 1
Casting Characters
Acting the Partp. 19
Messiah
Logos and Wisdom's Childp. 39
Divine Manp. 51
Saviorp. 66
Crafting Scenes
Orality, Memory, and Performancep. 87
Heralding the Crucifixionp. 106
Marking the Passionp. 124
Casting Spellsp. 161
Spinning Parablesp. 188
Potting the Nativityp. 226
Staging Gospels
The Misunderstood Messiahp. 259
The Gospel of Mark
The Righteous Teacher of Torahp. 290
The Gospel of Matthew
The Martyred Sagep. 318
The Gospel of Luke
The Man from Heavenp. 345
The Gospels of John and Thomas
Gospels and More Gospelsp. 374
Epilogue: Tales of Fancy, Acts of Faithp. 405
Appendices
The Geography of Jesus's Worldp. 423
Solving the Synoptic Problemp. 428
The Gospel of Peterp. 432
A ôTranscriptö of Qp. 437
Mapping the Narrative World of Lukep. 449
Notesp. 455
Ancient Writings Indexp. 499
Subject Indexp. 507
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780061228803
ISBN-10: 006122880X
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 516
Published: 3rd May 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.3  x 3.7
Weight (kg): 0.56

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