Identity Formation in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew
This item is a print on demand title and will be dispatched in 1-3 weeks.
Paperback / softback
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of Pages: 384
Width: 13.8 cm
Height: 21.6 cm
A cultural and anthropological interpretation of Mark and Matthew, which examines their contribution to the formation of early Christian identity, world-view and ethos. John Riches studies the notions of sacred space and ethnicity in the Gospel narratives. He shows how early Christian group identity emerged through a dynamic process of reshaping traditional Jewish symbols and motifs associated with descent, kinship and territory. Ideas about descent from Abraham and the return from exile to Mount Zion are interwoven into early Christian traditions about Jesus and in the process substantially reshaped to produce different senses of identity. At the same time, he argues, the Evangelists were attempting to set forth a view of the world in a dialogue with the two opposing cosmologies current in Jewish culture of the time: one, cosmic dualist, the other, forensic. Riches shows how these two very different accounts of the origin and final overcoming of evil both inform Mark and Matthew's narratives and contribute to the richness and ambiguity of the texts and of the communities which sprang up around them.
"This strongly textual and historical view of the Gospels, as mediating between conflicts, [...] provides a powerful source of formative thinking for us on matters of corporate and individual identity." - Church Times, May 25, 2001 "Riches has made an important contribution to understanding the first two Gospels in terms of underlying mythological outlooks". -- Journal of Theological Studies, 53.1 (April 2002) "Able students will get a lot from it and all theologians and biblical scholars can learn something from its interdisciplinary approach." -- Theological Book Review Feed the Minds "This is a carefully arranged work, well thought out... this is a very well-informed book on the backgrounds to the gospels of Mark and Matthew, and on the manner in which Riches believes their authors expressed the identities of their communities against other groups of their own day. It should prove very useful to students of those Gospels, for students of Judaism and Christianity and also for all interested in the formation of the Gospel message and of the Christian theology in general." --Irish Theological Quarterly, vol 68/1 (2003)"