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The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2014 / Paperback

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Product Description

Balanced, comprehensive survey of the critical questions involved in studying the four Gospels

In this book Michael Bird describes how the canonical Gospels originated from a process of oral tradition, literary composition, textual development, and reception in the early church with a view to showing what makes them among the most important writings in the New Testament.

Bird explores how the Christian movement shaped the Gospels and, conversely, how these writings shaped the early church. He develops a distinctive evangelical-and-critical approach to the Gospels, deals with the Synoptic problem head-on, and explains the significance of the fourfold Gospel canon. The book includes a number of helpful excursuses on related topics.

All in all, Bird's Gospel of the Lord clarifies the often-confusing debates over the origins of the Gospels and offers informed and soundly argued explanations that account for the content of the Gospels in the context of the wider Graeco-Roman world.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 424
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0802867766
ISBN-13: 9780802867766
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Balanced, comprehensive survey of the critical questions involved in studying the four Gospels

In this book, through a distinctive evangelical and critical approach, Michael Bird explores the historical development of the four canonical Gospels. He shows how the memories and faith of the earliest believers formed the Gospel accounts of Jesus that got written and, in turn, how these accounts further shaped the early church.

Bird's study clarifies the often confusing debates over the origins of the canonical Gospels. Bird navigates recent concerns and research as he builds an informed case for how the early Christ followers wrote and spread the story of Jesus -- the story by which they believed they were called to live. The Gospel of the Lord is ideal for students or anyone who wants to know the story behind the four Gospels.

Watch an interview with Michael Bird from our Eerdmans Author Interview Series:

Author Bio

Michael F. Bird is lecturer in theology at Ridley Melbourne Mission and Ministry College in Australia. His previous books include Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction, Jesus Is the Christ: The Messianic Testimony of the Gospels, and Are You the One Who Is to Come? The Historical Jesus and the Messianic Question.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal (STARRED review)
"Bird is one of the younger leading scholars in New Testament studies, and this volume is one of the outstanding literary achievements of the year. With care, clarity, and thorough scholarship, the author discusses possibilities for the origins, the genre, and the goals of the four Gospels. . . . This work is scholarly but remarkably free of academese; it should be a perfect fit for seminary libraries, religious leaders, and scholars."

Choice
"[Bird] is more than capable of guiding readers through the tangled scholarly history of textual-critical hypotheses and methodologies that have made Gospel studies challenging for even the most seasoned students of these books. . . . Recommended."

Church Times
"A lively and fresh view of the evidence, backed up by scholarly detail. . . . This agenda covers virtually the full range of Gospel studies (no mean achievement in fewer than 350 pages plus bibliography and indices)."

Cataclysmic
"If you haven't started following Michael Bird's scholarship, you need to as soon as possible. Bird's latest book, The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus, is a tour-de-force of scholarship concerning the formation of the Gospels. His writing is engaging, witty, and incredibly thorough. The book is an explanation of the historical processes which took place from the time of Jesus' Kingdom announcement to the circulation of a collection of books describing Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection. The result is a must-read' work by all who are interested in the what, why, how, and where of the Gospels."

Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
"Bird masterfully brings to bear New Testament scholarship into conversation with first and second century traditions. . . . I highly encourage New Testament professors (undergraduate and graduate), all New Testament students, and the inquisitive pastor to consult this volume."

Bible Study Magazine
"A thorough, well-researched study of the origins of the four canonical Gospels. . . . The Gospel of the Lord covers a great deal of scholarly ground, but Bird's writing style is well-suited for pastors and curious laypeople interested in biblical study and biblical apologetics."

James D. G. Dunn in Journal of Theological Studies
"A full-scale, impressively clear, and very well-written discussion. The volume could well serve as a textbook for many courses on the Gospels, and university, college and seminary students will find it an invaluable aid. I commend it most warmly."

N. T. Wright
-- St. Andrews University
"Studying the Gospels is daunting for the beginner and difficult even for the seasoned scholar. Mike Bird here slices a path through the tangled mess of older hypotheses and offers clear guidelines for the way forward. . . . Everyone will profit enormously from wrestling with the issues presented here in a fresh and compelling manner."

Craig A. Evans
-- Acadia Divinity College
"Carefully researched and engagingly written. . . . Michael Bird asks all the right questions about the New Testament Gospels - what they really are, why they even exist, why these four Gospels and not others - and then provides very sensible answers. Bird shows that the Evangelists tell the stories of Jesus' life, teaching, and deeds because Christian faith ultimately is about following Jesus. Scholars and students alike will find new and refreshing ideas in this instructive book."

Robert H. Gundry
-- Westmont College
"In The Gospel of the Lord Michael Bird treats with acute perception not only the ways in which the early church wrote the story of Jesus but also the ways in which modern scholars have reconstructed those earlier ways. The treatment is wide-ranging, thoroughly documented, evangelical, and eminently fair in its presentation of opposing points of view. Ideal as a required textbook for seminarians and as a compendium for all others engaged in the academic study of Jesus' life!"

Jonathan T. Pennington
-- Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
"Well-researched and well-written, this book is a delightful read from beginning to end. It contains both a state-of-the-art discussion of many complex Gospel issues and several creative suggestions for new ways forward. A great resource for studying the Gospels."

Methodist Recorder (UK) —
"Bird sets out in detail why and how the church came to ’settle for’ just four Gospels. . . . A book which ministers, local preachers and students, in particular, will find an up-to-date, valuable discussion of important Gospel questions."

Theology
"Answers questions that many students do not even know they need to ask. . . . Bird is to be commended for his engaging writing style, his discussion of the oft-neglected relationship between John and the Synoptics, and his helpful orientation to key discussions in Jesus research."

Theological Studies
"A thorough introduction to the Gospels, suitable for theologically conservative graduate students, or for older academics and ministers who can use a refresher course on the subject, regardless of their theological bent."

Sharing the Practice
 "In one volume Bird has provided a well-researched examination of the Gospels including their historicity and the relationship of oral tradition to written document. . . . While this book would be appropriate as a seminary text, its compact clarity makes it an excellent resource for pastors who wish to prepare a sermon series or an adult education class on the Gospels, or who wish to answer lucidly questions from thoughtful church members."

Churchman
"Useful for those wishing to orientate themselves within current and historical academic debates about how and why the Gospels came to exist in their uniquely plural and yet unified form."

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