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.
Michael Bird is lecturer in theology at Ridley Melbourne College of Mission and Ministry in Australia. His previous books include 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.
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.
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).
If you havent started following Michael Birds scholarship, you need to as soon as possible. Birds 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.
[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.
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."
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