Saturday, May 22, 2010
Note this new book which continues the debate started by Richard Bauckham on the Gospels for All Christians, about whether the Gospels were written for "communities" or for wide distribution amongst Christians.
(LNTS; London: Continuum, 2010).
Note: You can read part of the book via the Amazon.com link.
"Gospel Audience and Origin: The Current Debate"
Michael F. Bird
"Sectarian Gospels for Sectarian Christians? The Non-Canonical Gospels and Bauckham's The Gospels for All Christians"
Justin Marc Smith
"About Friends, by Friends, for Others: Author-Subject Relationships in Contemporary Greco-Roman Biographies"
"Is There Patristic Counter-Evidence? A Response to Margaret Mitchell"
Craig L. Blomberg
"The Gospels for Specific Communities and All Christians"
"Gospel Audiences: Variations on a Theme"
"Conclusion: The Origin and Function of the Gospels in Early Christianity"
My essay argues that appeals to the extra-canonical Gospels as a way of proving that all the Gospels were written for specific audiences does not hold water. I point out that the extra-canonical Gospels were probably reactions to the canonical Gospels in terms of supplementation, attempts to displace them, and strive to imitate their content and replicate their wide distribution. Furthermore, many of the extra-canonical Gospels were conducive to dissemination beyond their own original circle and were probably intended to circulate wider than a limited circle. The essay also includes some remarks about unity and diversity in early Christianity.