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How the Gospels Became History: Jesus and Mediterranean Myths

by M. David Litwa Yale University Press
Pub Date:
09/2019
ISBN:
9780300242638
Format:
Hbk 312 pages
Price:
AU$105.99 NZ$109.56
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Did the early Christians believe their myths? Like most ancient—and modern—people, early Christians made efforts to present their myths in the most believable ways. In this eye-opening book, M. David Litwa explores how and why what later became the four canonical gospels take on a historical cast that remains vitally important for many Christians today. Offering an in-depth comparison with other Greco-Roman stories, Litwa shows how the early Christians used well-known historiographical tropes to shape myths about Jesus into historical discourse.
“Litwa offers a philosophically sophisticated yet immanently accessible explanation of the relationship between history and myth in the early Christian gospels.”—Clare K. Rothschild, author of Paul in Athens


 


“In this book Litwa introduces the category of “mythic historiography” and shows that it is a compelling description of what the Gospels are. He rightly argues that these narratives make truth claims about individual events. At the same time, many of the events cannot be accepted in our culture generally as historical fact. The qualifier “mythic” grasps this cultural situation while indicating the deep existential importance of the Gospels that engages many readers.”—Adela Yarbro Collins, Yale Divinity School


 


“In this remarkably clear and learned work, David Litwa shows himself once more to be one of the best scholars working today in the intertextual terrain that lies between Greco-Roman literature and the New Testament.”—William Hutton, College of William and Mary


 


 


 


 
M. David Litwa is a scholar of ancient Mediterranean religions and Research Fellow at the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry in Melbourne. His books include Desiring Divinity: Self-deification in Ancient Jewish and Christian Mythmaking and Hermetica II, among others.