The Gospels: Portraits of Christ

The Gospels: Portraits of Christ

The Gospels: Portraits of Christ

The Gospels: Portraits of Christ

Excerpt

Imagine a Syrian Orthodox scribe, an Italian civil service employee, a British man of letters, and a Franciscan monk writing simultaneously on a common subject of mutually immense significance, and you have approximated the differences that characterize the four Gospels. The dividing lines among Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are not so much a product of intention as of inevitability; each is a unique creature, writing in his own corner of the world, addressing a special culture in a unique historical situation. Even though a substantial block of common tradition is employed by each, the Gospel makers cannot help speaking in the forms and patterns that seem most compatible to their own religious and intellectual rhythms.

The present volume is concerned to explore the uniqueness that marks each of the Gospels. Although the special geographical, chronological, and professional characteristics of the four are important and obvious marks of their identity, emphasis will be placed on the intellectual, or what might be called "perspectual," differences among them: how each symbolizes God and his relation to the cosmos; how each characterizes human nature; how each diagnoses the essentials of Christian living; how each rehearses in name, story, and title the significance of Jesus for the human situation.

The method employed in piecing together these portraits . . .

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