Friday, May 18, 2012

Jesus and the Gospels

An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels, by Frederick J. Murphy. Nashville: Abingdon, 2005. 394pp. $29.00. ISBN 0687496926.

This is the author's version of a work that was submitted/accepted for publication in the following source:

Shaffett, J. E. Christian Librarian 50:131-132 no. 3 2007.

            Murphy is a professor in the department of Religious Studies at the College of Holy Cross. His new book, An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels, is a useful undergraduate- level textbook intended “to enable its readers themselves to interpret the Gospels in ways that do justice to the nature of those texts as historical artifacts, as sources for understanding Christian origins, as expressions of faith, and as foundations of a living religion” (xii). Murphy mainly looks at the Gospels as “historical artifacts” and “sources for understanding Christian origins”. His main method for studying the gospels is the historical-critical method.
The first two chapters introduce the reader to the different critical methods of studying the Gospels and the historical context of the Gospels. The next four chapters cover the four canonical Gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. Each of these chapters provides an introduction (authorship, date, sources), overview of the Gospel’s structure, and a summary of the contents contained in each book. The final three chapters examine other Gospels, the historical Jesus, and canonization of the Gospels. Each chapter concludes with extensive bibliography for further reading.
An introduction to Jesus and the Gospels is a good introductory textbook for studying the canonical Gospels. Murphy does a good job of helping the reader to understand the Gospels as “historical artifacts” and as sources for understanding the origins of Christianity

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