The First Biography of Jesus: Genre and Meaning in Mark's Gospel (Hardcover)

The First Biography of Jesus: Genre and Meaning in Mark's Gospel By Helen K. Bond Cover Image
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What difference does it make to identify Mark's gospel as an ancient biography?

Reading the gospels as ancient biographies makes a profound difference to the way that we interpret them. Biography immortalizes the memory of the subject, creating a literary monument to the person's life and teaching. Yet it is also a bid to legitimize a specific view of that figure and to position an author and his audience as appropriate "gatekeepers" of that memory. Biography was well suited to the articulation of shared values and commitments, the formation of group identity, and the binding together of a past story, present concerns, and future hopes.

Helen Bond argues that Mark's author used the genre of biography to extend the gospel from an earlier narrow focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus so that it included the way of life of its founding figure. Situating Jesus at the heart of a biography was a bold step in outlining a radical form of Christian discipleship patterned on the life - and death - of Jesus.

About the Author

Helen K. Bond is Professor of Christian Origins and Head of the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh. She is the author of Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation, Caiaphas: High Priest and Friend of Rome?, The Historical Jesus: A Guide for the Perplexed, and Jesus: A Very Brief History. She has also acted as historical consultant and contributor for a number of TV programs.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780802874603
ISBN-10: 0802874606
Publisher: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Publication Date: April 30th, 2020
Pages: 360
Language: English