Why Bíos? On the Relationship Between Gospel Genre and Implied Audience

Justin Marc Smith

Why Bíos? On the Relationship Between Gospel Genre and Implied Audience
Why Bíos? On the Relationship Between Gospel Genre and Implied Audience

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Justin Marc Smith argues that the gospels were intended to be addressed to a wide and varied audience. He does this by considering them to be works of ancient biography, comparative to the Greco-Roman biography. The earliest Christian interpreters of the Gospels did not understand their works to be sectarian documents. Rather, the wider context of Jesus literature in the second and third centuries points toward the broader Christian practice of writing and disseminating literary presentations of Jesus and Jesus traditions as widely as possible.

Smith addresses the difficulty in reconstructing the various gospel communities that might lie behind the gospel texts and suggests that the ‘all nations’ motif present in all four of the canonical gospels suggests an ideal secondary audience beyond those who could be identified as Christian.

  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations

  • 1. Assessing the relationships between gospel genre and audience
  • 2. Proposing a new typology for Graeco-Roman biography: genre, sub-genre and questions of audience
  • 3. Crafting authority in the patristic references to gospel origins: authoritative people, authoritative places and authoritative gospels
  • 4. Avoiding cross-generic comparisons: the role of genre in assessing audience in non-canonical and canonical gospels
  • 5. Defining gospel audiences: gospel communities, gospel audiences and ‘focused’ B???
  • 6. Envisaging gospel audiences in space and time: ‘contemporary’ B??? and the gospels for ‘all nations’
  • 7. Conclusion

  • Appendices: Introduction
  • Bibliography


Pages: 256
Publisher: T&T Clark
Published: 2014
ISBN-10: 0567656608
ISBN-13: 9780567656605

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