The Quest of the Historical Gospel: Mark, John, and the Origins of the Gospel Genre


The Quest of the Historical Gospel explores the nature and origin of the gospel genre. After a review of the promises and difficulties of the designation of the gospels as biography, Wills compares popular, novelistic biographies, such as the Life of Aesop , with the gospels of Mark and John. He posits that they all belong to the same genre and comprise similar literary motifs; the cult biography of the dead, revered figure; the notion of the scapegoat and the character of the hero. Professor Wills also examines the relationships between the gospels of Mark and John arguing that they exist independently of each other and are derived from earlier, oral accounts. The Quest of the Historical Gospel offers a provocative and timely analysis of the figure of Jesus and the gospels depicting his life. It provides fresh perspectives on the origins of gospel genre and the analogies between Jewish and Greco-Roman literature and gospel narrative, and challenges the preoccupation of prior criticism with the placing of Jesus in a definitive historical context.This erudite and critically up-to-date book will be of interest to those concerned with the early traditions of Jesus and the origins of the narratives about his life.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • London
Publication year:
  • 1997


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