A Theory of Narrative
The Logic of Literature
These discuss defining conventions
of genres. (See also Booth and Todorov.)
(esp. “Introduction to the
Structural Study of Narratives”)
Theory of Prose
Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method
Introduction to Poetics (Theory & History of Literature)
Poetics of Prose
Narratology: The Form and Functioning of Narrative (Janua Linguarum Series Maior)
Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film
All these participate to various
degrees in Formalist criticism: narratology, narrative structure, etc.
Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics, and the Study of Literature
The Pursuit of Signs: Semiotics, Literature, Deconstruction
On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism
Where lit-crit verges on philosophy.
The nature of textuality.
Is There a Text in This Class? The Authority of Interpretive Communities
The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response
Reader Response criticism.
All these fascinating works are much more impressive than most of the
pale, derivative NT books based on their methods.
LITERARY CRITICISM OF THE
Stephen D. Moore,
Literary Criticism and the Gospels: The Theoretical Challenge
the amateurish bungling of the huge raft of “Mark as Story,”
“Mathew as Story,” “Luke as Semaphore Code”
books. I read them all, not listed here, but save yourself the
Robert W. Funk,
The Poetics of Biblical Narrative
A genuine and insightful
adaptation of lit-critical theory to the Bible. I never said
it couldn’t be done.
Lynn M. Poland,
Literary Criticism and Biblical Hermeneutics: A Critique of Formalist Approaches (American Academy of Religion Academy Series).
*Robert M. Fowler,
Let the Reader Understand: Reader-Response Criticism and the Gospel of Mark
The scales will fall from your eyes! Fowler unlocks Mark’s rhetorical technique of talking over the heads of his
characters to his readers!
Ministers of Grace;: An Ethno-Psychiatrist's Contribution to Biblical Criticism
anthropologist shows how biblical “miracle births” presuppose women
with sterile husbands conceiving
after sex with wandering holy men or “angels.”
Raymond E. Brown,
Birth of the Messiah
commentary on Matthean and Lukan nativity stories and
genealogies. In the Middle Ages,
Fr. Brown would have been burnt at the stake!
The Illegitimacy of Jesus: A Feminist Theological Interpretation of the Infancy Narratives, Expanded Twentieth Anniversary Edition
that Matthew and Luke do not even try to recount a miraculous birth
of Jesus. For Matthew she was
raped. Luke half is weak. She had her car filled with buckshot in
when the book was published.
Mother of Jesus in the New Testament
Catholic critical scholarship explaining all viewpoints and exegetical
The Infancy Narratives: Studies in the Synoptic Gospels
and critical, like all his books.
John the Baptist
John the Baptist in the Gospel Tradition
Carl H. Kraeling, John the Baptist
Charles H.H. Scobie,
John the Baptist
but well worth reading.
Five Gospels: An Account of How the Good News Came to Be
on John the Baptist is especially interesting.
Gnostic John the Baptizer: Selections from the Mandæan John-Book
as a divine hero in Mandaean literature.
LIVES OF JESUS
The Great Higher Critics
Hermann Samuel Reimarus,
Fragments (Lives of Jesus series)
is ruthless and right on target in plucking the gospels like a chicken.
Sees Jesus as a failed
revolutionist, his disciples as connivers trying to salvage the situation and make a cool buck.
*David Friedrich Strauss,
Life of Jesus, Critically Examined (Lives of Jesus Series)
Shows the purely mythic
character of all gospel narratives. The best book on the gospels ever written, even today!
David Friedrich Strauss,
The Life Of Jesus For The People
A later work, supposedly not as critical (though I can’t
see it) and more popular.
The Life of Jesus
interesting as to Schleiermacher’s thought. He is strictly a Rationalist here.
History of Civilization [Christianity and the Middle Ages])
The Life of Jesus
These two, along
with Loisy, were the French Trinity of radical critics.
Liberal Lives of Jesus
Life of Jesus
novelistic, hardly scholarship, but important to read given its importance in getting historical
Jesus studies off the ground. If you like it, go on and read one of my favorites, the
admittedly fictional Jesus the Son of Man
by Kahlil Gibran.
What is Christianity?
Jesus as a
preacher of non-Christological, individual piety and the “higher righteousness.” Harnack was a student
of Albrecht Ritschl.
The Gospel and the church (Lives of Jesus series)
Modernist Loisy, far more radical than Protestant Harnack, challenges his view that Jesus teaching was
the kernel, with the Church being the mere husk. No, Jesus’ gospel was the acorn,
Catholicism the oak. But Loisy was excommunicated.
The Life Of Jesus
Liberal lives of Jesus such as Schweitzer attacks.
So-Called Historical Jesus and the Historic-Biblical Christ (Fortress Texts in Modern Theology)
the whole “historical Jesus” approach. A God-man cannot be adequately “psyched out” by
ordinary historical science.
The Kingdom of God and the Son of Man a Study in the History of Religion Revised Edition
Proclamation of the Kingdom of God (Lives of Jesus series)
The Mystery of the Kingdom of God: The Secret of Jesus' Messiahship and Passion
Problem of the Lord's Supper According to Scholarly Research of the 19th Century and Historical Accounts
The Quest of the Historical Jesus: A Critical Study of Its Progress from Reimarus to Wrede (The Albert Schweitzer Library)
Kingdom of God and Primitive Christianity
The Psychiatric Study of Jesus: Exposition and Criticism
scholars thought Jesus understood himself as the harbinger of the End, the messiah-elect. This belief colored
his ethics with an uncompromising absolutism that would be otherwise fanatical,
as Tolstoy learned the hard way. But, having divorced Jesus from the modern
mindset, Schweitzer then found he had to defend Jesus from charges of insanity! In
his famous Quest, Schweitzer showed
how previous Jesus scholars had remade
him in their own image. Otto suggested that “the Son of Man’ be understood as
reflecting Oriental “Primal Man” myths mediated by Zoroastrianism. Out of
fashion, but still quite possible!
Pious but Genuine Criticism
THE SAYINGS OF JESUS: AS RECORDED IN THE GOSPELS ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW AND ST. LUKE WITH INTRODUCTION AND COMMENTARY.
THE TEACHING OF JESUS: STUDIES OF ITS FORM AND CONTENT
Servant-Messiah: A Study of the Public Ministry of Jesus.
Work and Words of Jesus
The Life And Ministry Of Jesus
Jesus and the Message of the New Testament (Fortress Classics in Biblical Studies)
(compilation of Fortress Facet booklets The Search for the
Historical Jesus, The Sermon on the Mount, The Lord's Prayer, plus the book The Central Message of the New Testament
The Eucharistic Words of Jesus
The Prayers of Jesus
Jesus' Promise to the Nations
Theology: The Proclamation of Jesus (Hudson River Editions)
These scholars were not
particularly embarrassed by an apocalyptic Jesus, which they accept from
Schweitzer. They were reassured by Schweitzer’s vindication of a Jesus who was
interested in theology, not merely ethics, as the Liberals liked to think.
Their work breathes the atmosphere of Anglican and Reformed piety with its
solemn dignity and does not come off as apologetic spin. Jeremias has been
debunked at some points (e.g., Pharisees as oppressors), but is still extremely
valuable, as is the wise Manson (no relation to Charlie).
The New Quest
Jesus and the Word
Jesus of Nazareth
Studies of the Historical Jesus, Studies in Biblical Theology No. 42
Jesus: The classic article from RGG
Expanded and Updated
Jesus of Nazareth - the Man and His Time
Jesus Means Freedom
Eduard Schweitzer, Jesus
Kingdom of God in the Teaching of Jesus
Rediscovering the Teaching of Jesus
James M. Robinson,
A New Quest of the Historical Jesus: No. 25 (Studies in Biblical Theology)
Reginald H. Fuller,
The Mission and Achievement of Jesus, Studies in Biblical Theology No. 12
Werner Georg Kümmel,
Promise and Fulfillment: The Eschatological Message of Jesus
The Historical Jesus
*Van A. Harvey,The Historian and Believer: The Morality of Historical Knowledge and Christian Belief
Neo-Orthodoxy took Bultmannian skepticism as an excuse to bracket the historical Jesus in favor of the
Church’s Christ of Faith, several of Bultmann’s students decided to revive the
Quest, seeking evidence that Jesus’ own experience of God might be the basis for the
faith to which the preaching about Christ challenges us. Can we recover
Jesus’ existential self-understanding vis-à-vis God? Bultmann himself found his
skepticism need not be so near-absolute as it first seemed. (Perrin was a student of
Jeremias and Manson.) Van Harvey debunked the notion that one can psych out
any ancient figure of whom only fragments of evidence survive. He surveyed
recent major theologians to see if any were able to be consistent historians or whether
they began to cheat for the sake of their beliefs.
Jesus and Revolution
The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist
Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church;: A Study of the Effects of the Jewish
Overthrow of A. D. 70 on Christianity
Jesus and the Zealots
Jesus and the Revolutionaries
Hugh J. Schonfield,
The Passover Plot
Hugh J. Schonfield,
The Pentecost revolution: The
Story of the Jesus Party in Israel, AD 36-66
Richard A. Horsley,
Jesus and the Spiral of Violence: Popular Jewish Resistance in Roman Palestine (Facets)
Juan Luis Segundo,
The Historical Jesus of the Synoptics (Jesus of Nazareth Yesterday and Today, Vol II)
scholars, spanning decades, have regarded Jesus as a Zealot-like revolutionist against
They make a pretty convincing case. If there was a historical Jesus, this must have
been he. But I suspect the relevant gospel materials represent anachronistic
borrowing from the careers of prophets and messiahs around the fall of
especially Jesus ben-Ananias and Simon bar-Giora.
Jesus and Cynicism
Gerald R. Downing,Christ & the Cynics (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series, Vol. 4)
Gerald R. Downing,
Cynics and Christian Origins
John Dominic Crossan,
The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant
The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins
sayings attributed to Jesus in the Synoptic gospels make him sound much more like Diogenes and the
Cynics than anything else we know of. Was he a Cynic? Or did Cynic converts
(like Proteus Peregrinus) bring their sayings with them, later ascribing them to their
new Lord, Jesus?
Jesus and Magic
Jesus the Magician: Charlatan or Son of God?
Stevan L. Davies,
Jesus the Healer: Possession, Trance, and the Origins of Christianity
Jesus: A New Vision: Spirit, Culture, and the Life of Discipleship
gospels depict Jesus using healing techniques like those attested for Hellenistic
magicians of the day. Contemporary Jews, pagans, and even some Christians
understood Jesus as a magician. Maybe he was!
Jesus and Judaism
Jesus the Pharisee: A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus
Jesus the Pharisee
books observe that the opinions ascribed to Jesus in the gospels, not to mention his beliefs in the end-time
resurrection, etc., sound like Pharisee beliefs attested in the Mishnah. Was he a
Jesus the Jew: A Historian's Reading of the Gospels
Was Jesus a
charismatic Galilean hasid like
Hanina ben-Dosah, Honi the Circle-Drawer, and others? They, too,
called God “Father,” were announced from heaven as “my son,” and incurred
trouble from Jerusalem for not
being legalistically meticulous. If it
walks like a duck…
Jesus the Man: Decoding the Real Story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene (= Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls)
an Essene? Was he the “Wicked Priest” vilified in the
Dead Sea Scrolls? Revives the old
Rationalism, including Jesus surviving the cross alive and traveling elsewhere in the
empire. Fascinating and based on a command of ancient calendrical lore unmatched
by her critics.
Jesus and Judaism
The Historical Figure of Jesus
not preach repentance but did lead a movement for national renewal, culminating in the raid on the
temple. Explodes a number of Jeremias’s conceptions about contemporary
Judaism, esp., the Pharisees.
Pure Kingdom: Jesus' Vision of God (Studying the Historical Jesus)
The Temple of Jesus: His Sacrificial Program within a Cultural History of Sacrifice
Jesus as driven by purity concerns and as negotiating a novel path through a contemporary sacrificial
crisis at the temple, substituting the Eucharist for the officially sanctioned
Passover sacrifice: “This is my body. This is my blood.” Ahh, I can’t buy it, though
I only wish I were half the scholar Chilton is!.
We Jews and Jesus: Exploring Theological Differences for Mutual Understanding
several ways of positively estimating Jesus and even Paulinism from a Jewish perspective.
Memory and Manuscript: Oral Tradition and Written Transmission in Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity : With Tradition and Transmission in Early Christianity (Biblical Resource Series)
What if Jesus were like a Tannaitic
rabbi making his disciples rote-memorize his sayings, which eventually made it
into the gospels? Anachronistic and arbitrary, I think, but “How convenient!”
Conflict, Holiness, and Politics in the Teachings of Jesus
Sees Jesus as a religious reformer,
trying to move Israel
to abandon traditional prejudices in order to avoid conflict with Rome.
The Jesus the Jews Never Knew: Sepher Toldoth Yeshu and the Quest of the Historical Jesus in Jewish Sources
didn’t exist, and a microscopic scrutiny of Jewish sources often said to attest him shows they don’t, even that
first-century Jews had not even heard of Christianity, since it didn’t yet
Jesus as a 1st Century
Did Jesus live 100 B.C.?: An
Enquiry into the Talmud Jesus Stories, the Toldoth Jeschu, and Some Curious Statements of Epiphanius,
Being a Contribution to the Study of Christian Origins
discussion of numerous bits of evidence for a very surprising thesis.
Jesus: One Hundred Years Before Christ
basic idea, only argued via a reinterpretation of the Apostolic Fathers.
Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover,
and the Jesus Seminar,
The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? The Search for the AUTHENTIC Words of Jesus
Robert W. Funk and the Jesus
The Acts of Jesus, The Search for the Authentic Deeds of Jesus
helpful info, these volumes collect the results of Jesus Seminar deliberations.
The Silence of Jesus: The Authentic Voice of the Historical Man
(Jesus didn’t believe in God? The Prodigal’s dad and brother were codependent?), but with some
good insights about the parables.
Jesus After 2000 Years: What He Really Said and Did
The Parables Of The Kingdom
parables as lessons in “realized eschatology.”
Parables of Jesus (2nd Edition)
classic, even if there is room to disagree on individual points.
Jesus of the Parables
Bultmann disciple looks at the parables.
Interpreting the Parables
The Parables of the Gospels And Their Meaning of Today
The Parables of the
Synoptic Gospels,: A Critical Study
three embody that “sane” and pleasantly pious English approach.
Charles E. Carlston,
Parables of the Triple Tradition
In other words,
Markan parables plus their redactions by Matthew and Luke.
The Parables of Jesus (Studies in the Synoptic Gospels)
The Parables in the Gospel
them as part of the gospels in which they appear, not as alleged pre-gospel evidence for Jesus.
Jack Dean Kingsbury,
Parables of Jesus in Matthew 13;: A Study in Redaction-Criticism
Bernard Brandon Scott,
Hear Then the Parable: A Commentary on the Parables of Jesus
is a genius, but these readings of the parables seem to me utterly perverse.
John Dominic Crossan,
In Parables: The Challenge of the Historical Jesus
as a kind of Zen master, parables as koans.
Reginald H. Fuller,
Interpreting the Miracles
Problem of Miracle in Primitive Christianity
The Miracle-Stories of the Gospels
Arthur C. Headlam,
Miracles of the New Testament (Moorhouse Lecture)
C.F.D. Moule, ed.,
Miracles- Cambridge Studies In Their Philosophy And History
H. van der Loos,
Miracles of Jesus, (Supplements to Novum Testamentum)
books all partake of a kind of critical yet “believing” rationalism.
Hellenistic Magic and the Synoptic Tradition (Studies in Biblical
Theology, 2d ser)
work on how the gospels show Jesus acting like a magician.
David Lenz Tiede,
Charismatic Figure as Miracle Worker (Society of Biblical Literature. Dissertation series)
ancient philosophers made into wizards, or the other way around?
Miracle Stories of the Early Christian Tradition
of the best books of form criticism known to me.
Jesus the Exorcist: A Contribution to the Study of the Historical Jesus
Jesus the Miracle Worker: A Historical & Theological Study
of a conservative apologist, but the studies provide much detailed scholarship.
The Miracle Stories: Studies in the Synoptic Gospels
bravura performance: critical, concise, and thorough.
Jesus and His Sacrifice, a Study of the Passion-Sayings in the Gospels
The Passion Narratives (Studies in the Synoptic Gospels)
Raymond E. Brown,
Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave (2 Vol. Boxed Set)
micro-scrutiny of the Crucifixion accounts.
Mirza Gulam Hazrat Ahmad,
The Crumbling of the Cross
Ahmadiya case for Jesus being crucified, surviving, and ending up in Srinagar,
John Dominic Crossan,
The Cross That Spoke: The Origins of the Passion Narrative
interesting, esp. its focus on the “testimonia,” OT proof texts from which the crucifixion account may
have grown initially, rather than reflecting an historical event!
The Sacred Executioner: Human Sacrifice and the Legacy of Guilt
One of the
most fascinating books I have ever read! How the scapegoat becomes divided into a hero and his
betrayer, an evil twin, and so the process cont9inues, dividing characters as if by
mitosis. Maccoby sounds like Rene Girard w/o the apologetical nonsense.
*Sam K. Williams,
Jesus' Death As Saving Event the Background and Origin of a Concept (Harvard
Dissertations in Religion)
how a Hellenistic martyr-expiation doctrine allowed Hellenistic Jewish Christians to understand the
death of Jesus as a sacrifice cleansing Gentile believers of their defilement, so
as to include them alongside Israel
before God. Then it turned around to become, in
effect, a criterion for salvation excluding Jews from salvation!
*Reginald H. Fuller,
The Formation of the Resurrection Narratives
The Resurrection Narratives of the Synoptic Gospels (Studies in the Synoptic Gospels)
classics! The function and origin of various types of resurrection stories.
The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth
cause survives him as a kind of “immortality of influence.”
Andrew J. Wedderburn,
of traditional conservative and apologetic evasions.
J. Duncan M. Derrett,
The Anastasis: The Resurrection of Jesus as an Historical Event
the Swoon Theory as quite plausible.
Hugh J. Schonfield,
After the Cross
What else might have happened,
other than a resurrection. Tales Ahmadiyya claims seriously.
The Historical Evidence For The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ
Wrong Tomb Theory.
Joseph M. McCabe,
The Myth of the Resurrection and Other Essays (The Freethought Library)
Mystery Religion parallels but surprisingly does not opt for Mythicism. More like Bultmann: paganism supplied the
terms in which the historical Jesus was mythologized.
Resurrection and the New Testament (Studies in Biblical theology, 2d ser)
C.F.D. Moule, ed.,
The Significance of the Message of Resurrection for Faith in Jesus Christ
The Resurrection According to Matthew, Mark, and Luke
Edward Lynn Bode,
First Easter Morning: The Gospel Accounts of the Women's Visit to the Tomb of Jesus
Resurrection of Jesus: History, Experience, Theology
The Resurrection Of Christ: A Historical Inquiry
shows himself an unreconstructed Old School Rationalist: the guilt felt by both Peter and Paul caused their
(esp. Michael D. Goulder, “The Baseless Fabric of a Vision”)
*Robert M. Price and Jeffrey
Jay Lowder, eds.,
The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond The Grave
Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History and Development
I find Koester’s 2-vol. NT Intro to be overkill and with surprisingly dull opinions on this ‘n that. But
this book on the gospels shows his characteristic thoroughness, radical views, and
*Charles H. Talbert,
What Is a Gospel? The Genre of the Canonical Gospels
tomb is an “apotheosis narrative,” commonly told of
Mediterranean heroes and saints, ancient and
The Synoptic Gospels
classic treatment, often quoted.
School of St. Matthew
and Its Use of the Old Testament
the “formula quotations,” interpreting Matthew’s community as a scribal one like Qumran.
The Origins of the Gospel According to Saint Matthew
Benjamin W. Bacon,
Studies in Matthew
Bacon was a
creative critic and one of the chief conduits of German criticism to the USA.
M. Jack Suggs,
Wisdom, Christology and Law in Matthew's Gospel
Matthew consider Jesus Wisdom Incarnate? Maybe.
J. Andrew Overman,
Matthew's Gospel and Formative Judaism: The Social World of the Matthean Community
insights are questionable, but he nails the Sitz-im-Leben
David L. Balch, ed.,
Social History of the Matthean Community: Cross-Disciplinary Approaches
The Originality of St Matthew ... a
Critique of the Two-Document Hypothesis
O. Lamar Cope,
Matthew: A Scribe Trained for the Kingdom of Heaven (Catholic Quarterly Monographs, No 5)
and Cope both hold to Matthean priority. Cope develops interesting exegetical implications that may or
mat not stand or fall with his premise.
Arlo J. Nau,
Peter in Matthew: Discipleship, Diplomacy, and Dispraise...With an Assessment of Power and Privilege in the Petrine
neglected work showing how, after Mark took Peter down a peg, a Matthean redactor rehabilitated
Peter—but then another popped his bubble again!
Günther Bornkamm, Gerhard Barth and Heinz-Joachim Held,
Tradition and Interpretation in Matthew
classic redaction-critical study of Matthew!
Michael D. Goulder,
Midrash and Lection in Matthew
Matthew as rewritten OT lections for a Jewish-Christian calendar. Radical!
Hebrew Gospel of Matthew
medieval manuscripts for a Hebrew “original” of Matthew composed simultaneously with the Greek for a
-The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount. Studies in the Synoptic Gospels.
Hans Dieter Betz,
Essays on the Sermon on the
Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon On The Mount
Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount: An Exegetical
The Sermon on the Mount
A Pattern for Life: An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount
and Hunter try to make the Sermon a description of the blessed life of the one who has received grace
The Meaning of the Sermon on the Mount
how the Sermon presents conditions to be fulfilled before salvation.
Warren S. Kissinger,
The Sermon on the Mount: A History of Interpretation and Bibliography
Messianic Secret (Library of Theological Translations)
Mark is anything but unvarnished history as Liberals had supposed, but is an elaborate piece of
narrative theology trying to harmonize two competing early Christologies.
Benjamin W. Bacon,
The Gospel of Mark
Higher-Critical study of Mark.
Mark the Evangelist
redaction-critical study of Mark.
*Theodore J. Weeden,
Traditions in Conflict
scrutiny of Mark as virtually Marcionite in his treatment of the twelve.
Dennis R. MacDonald,
The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark
based on Homer. Some striking parallels!
Saint Mark (Westminster Pelican commentaries)
form-critical commentary on Mark.
Werner Kelber (ed.),
The Passion in Mark: Studies on Mark 14-16
demonstrating that the Passion is Mark’s own composition, not based on oral tradition.
*Robert M. Fowler,
Let the Reader Understand: Reader-Response Criticism and the Gospel of Mark
analysis of Mark
A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins (Foundations & Facets Series)
largely fictional and anachronistic.
Messianic Secret in Mark's Gospel
off and strong defense of Wrede’s theory for our day.
Luke: A Critical Study (Schleiermacher Studies and Translations, Vol 13)
better for understanding Schleiermacher than Luke. But it does show the severe limitations of
The Gospel According to St. Luke
Behind the Third Gospel. A Study of the Proto-Luke Hypothesis
Classic exposition and defense
of Proto-Luke hypothesis (i.e., Luke added Q to his own L material, then discovered
Mark and reworked his gospel to include some 60% if it.
The Theology of Saint Luke
redaction-critical study of Luke.
Helmut Flender, St. Luke: Theologian of Redemptive History
alternative to Conzelmann.
Christ the Lord: A
Study in the Purpose and Theology of Luke-Acts
Luke wrote, accentuating the Ascension as the dawn of a special intermediate period of hidden glory
to encourage suffering Christians in the wake of the delay of the Parousia.
Luke and the People of God
back to Baur, Jervell emphasized neglected Lukan elements of Judaism and Jewish-Christian continuity.
Charles H. Talbert,
Luke and the
Gnostics;: An Examination of Lucan Purpose
Luke-Acts has an agenda precisely like that of the 2nd-century apologists: anti-Gnostic,
anti-docetic. Pagels and James M. Robinson will have more to say.
The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke
thorny issues of Pentecostal debate as to what pattern, if any, Acts sought to lay down for Christian
experience of Spirit-baptism. Case closed!
David L. Tiede,
Prophecy and History in Luke-Acts
A.J. Mattill, Jr.,
Luke and the Last Things: A Perspective for the Understanding of Lukan
to Conzelmann, depicting Jesus as a Zealot-like warlord.
Apostasy and Perseverance in the Theology of Luke
Richard J. Dillon,
From Eye-Witnesses to Ministers of the Word: Tradition and Composition in Luke 24
Thomas L. Brodie, “Luke the
Literary Interpreter” (Dissertation, University Microfilms)
suggests Luke scrambled and rewrote the Deuteronomic history to get most of his material. Disorienting,
dazzling, brilliant! See his other published book: The
Crucial Bridge: The Elijah-Elisha
Narrative as an Interpretive Synthesis of Genesis-Kings and a
Literary Model of the Gospels
Michael D. Goulder,
Luke: A New Paradigm
based on Mark-Q model.
The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel
through of themes in the gospel, plus comprehensive introductions to Hermetic, Gnostic,
Philonic, Qumran, and other influence-paradigms.
Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel
strong case for John’s independence from Synoptics and reliance on brief traditional units like the ones
they used, subsequently heavily redacted.
The Gospel of John: A Commentary
intuitive insight into John’s religious existentialism. Disengages Ecclesiastical Redactor’s padding
from original Gnostic gospel. The greatest!
The Gospel of Signs: A Reconstruction of the Narrative Source Underlying the
or The Fourth Gospel and Its Predecessor
Following Bultmann, he extends
the latter’s source criticism, reconstructing the underling Signs Gospel. Also
develops John’s Realized Eschatology—what sort of a community believed it and
lived it out?
JOHN 1 and JOHN 2 (2 Volume set)
An Ideology of Revolt: John's Christology in Social Science Perspective
inappropriate name designed to hook Liberation Theology fans, this is a great sociological study of the
increasing alienation of the Johannine community and the concomitant exaltation of
Jesus further and further toward Godhood.
Benjamin W. Bacon,
Gospel of the Hellenists
Wayne A. Meeks,
THE PROPHET-KING: MOSES TRADITIONS AND THE JOHANNINE CHRISTOLOGY
J. Louis Martyn,
History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel (New Testament Library)
gospel in the post Yavneh period, in the conflict with formative Judaism.
Stevan L. Davies,
The Gospel of Thomas and Christian Wisdom
not exactly either Gnostic or Encratite but embodies similar themes on display in Philo. Great!
Stevan L. Davies,
Gospel of Thomas: Annotated and Explained
Stephen J. Patterson,
The Gospel of Thomas and Jesus
Thomas as evidence for model of Jesus as itinerant radical.
Gregory J. Riley,
Resurrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy
case that Gospels of John and Thomas are aimed at refuting one another. (Pagels’s Thomas book seems to me
derivative from this.)
The Gospel of Thomas
methodological mountain labored and brought forth a mouse.
Risto Uro, ed.,
Thomas at the Crossroads: Essays on the Gospel of Thomas
ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
Zeller, The Contents And Origin Of The Acts Of The Apostles - Vol I
of Tübingen criticism! As good as F.C. Baur if not better!
*Ernst Haenchen, Acts of the Apostles: A Commentary
of Baur and Zeller—great stuff!
Hans Conzelmann, Acts of the Apostles: A Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles (Hermeneia: a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible)
comprehensive. Read it with Haenchen as I did in grad school.
Kirsopp and Lake,
The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles : Vol.1 .
(4 vols., though this link is for
the first volume.
All volumes are recommended.)
feast of informative articles.
*Henry Cadbury, The making of Luke-Acts
What didn’t this guy know about
Luke-Acts and its intricacies!
Leander E. Keck and Louis Martyn,
eds., Studies in Luke-Acts
important articles, including Vielhauer’s “On the ‘Paulinism’ of Acts,” where he shows the author of Acts
cannot have known Paul.
Gerhard Lohfink, The
Conversion of St. Paul: Narrative and History in Acts
study of one tradition complex.
J.C. O’Neill, The
Theology of Acts in its Historical Setting,
Acts was written in the 2nd century.
Martin Dibelius, Studies in the Acts of the Apostles
Historic study made absolutely
clear the literary (not historical) character of both narratives and speeches
Jack T. Sanders, The Jews in Luke-Acts
Luke was pretty darn anti-Semitic.
Gerd Lüdemann, Early Christianity According to the Traditions in Acts: A Commentary
treatment, examining each episode in Acts and trying to boil it down to
Richard I. Pervo, Profit With Delight: The Literary Genre of the Acts of the Apostles
kinship of Acts with both the ancient novels and the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles.
Pervo, Dating Acts: Between the
Evangelists and the Apologists
Acts was written in the 2nd
century—case closed. Pervo is like Michael Cisco’s The Divinity Student—with texts for innards!
Charles H. Talbert, ed., Perspectives on Luke-Acts (Perspectives in Religious Studies : Special Studies Series, No. 5)
A number of
illuminating studies. Did Luke write the Pastorals? Do the “we” passages of Acts imitate ancient
Ferdinand Christian Baur, The Church History of the First Three Centuries
traces his insights in Paul through
the rest of the early church.
*Martin Werner, The
Formation of Christian Dogma: An Historical Study of its Problem
disciple of Schweitzer shows how the development of Christian doctrine was one long set of falling dominoes
following on the delay of the Parousia.
Henry Chadwick, The Early Church
overview, yet paradoxically detailed. And endlessly fascinating!
*Peter Brown, The Body and Society
Absorbingly interesting recounting
and explanation of early Christian sexual asceticism. Wider repercussions that
you ‘d ever guess.
Peter Brown, The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity (The Haskell Lectures on History of Religions)
Shows the jockeying over martyrs’
relics by country shrines vs. bishops because saints were more Christs, a
living succession of charisma for whomever was their custodian.
Hans von Campenhausen,
Ecclesiastical Authority and Spiritual Power in the Church of the First Three
Guess which one won out? This is
the story of early Christian authority in a
pardon the expression.
*Hans von Campenhausen, The Formation of the Christian Bible
and very detailed account of a mysterious and somewhat haphazard process.
*John Knox, Marcion and the New Testament: An Essay in the Early History of the Canon.
Revolutionary work to which Trobisch and
Tyson are today’s heirs. Marcion
the idea of the NT (Von Campenhausen knew this much), but Knox showed how
thoroughly anti-Marcionite reaction shaped the resultant Catholic NT canon.
*David Trobisch, The First Edition of the New Testament
Polycarp was the Ecclesiastic
Redactor envisioned by Bultmann and others, and he padded out the canon of Marcion, including Luke, as well as adding other gospels and epistles
*Joseph B. Tyson, Marcion and Luke-acts: A Defining Struggle
Acts as a
response to Marcion. (Peter represents not “Jewish Christianity” which
wanted to keep the Torah, as Baur supposed, but Catholicism which didn’t want to follow Marcion in cutting loose
*David L. Dungan, Constantine's Bible: Politics And the Making of the New Testament
closed debate on the canon and made it illegal to fiddle with the contents of
*Hans Joachim Schoeps, Jewish Christianity: Factional
Disputes in the Early Church
A taste of
the author’s longer work, yet untranslated. Tells the story of the Ebionites, Gnosticizing Jewish
Christians. The original Christians? For them, Moses was as good as Jesus and Paul
was Antichrist. Read this before Eisenman.
Richard N. Longenecker, The Christology of Early Jewish Christianity
conservative author (see his Paul,
Apostle of Liberty)
nonetheless does not miss the existence, e.g., of a
genuine angel Christology in this branch of early Christianity.
Richard N. Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period
demonstrates the totally alien assumptions and exegetical practices of the NT writers. There was a definite
method to their seeming madness.
Adolf von Harnack, Marcion: The Gospel of the Alien God
treatment of Marcion: “He was the only one who understood Paul, and even he misunderstood him!”
*R. Joseph Hoffmann,Marcion, on the Restitution of Christianity: An Essay on the Development of Radical Paulist
Theology in the Second Century
Better than Harnack! (If Joe sold
his soul to Satan for biblical expertise, it would sure explain a lot!)
*Walter Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity
Calling the bluff of Eusebian
propaganda, Bauer shows that “Christianity” meant very different things in
different places in the ancient world. Early diversity was clamped off rather
than stemming from a primordial unity.
Gerd Lüdemann, Heretics: The Other Side of Early
Great stuff from the master! We
know more than you’d think about some early figures, less than we’d thought
Walter Schmithals, Office of the Apostle in the Early Church
there were no “Twelve Apostles” (a Lukan construction). Rather, “apostles” were originally divine
incarnations from the Gnostic Pleroma. Jesus is still called an apostle in this
sense in Hebrews 3:1.
Walter Schmithals, The Theology of the First Christians
*Robert Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Takes seriously sources including
the Pseudo-Clementine novels, the Slavonic Josephus, and the DSS as sources for
early Christianity. Spells out the Jewish zealotism of James, an important
historical figure in his own right.
Robert Eisenman, The New Testament Code: The Cup of the Lord, the Damascus Covenant, and the Blood of Christ
A sequel showing beyond serious
doubt the 1st century CE date and setting of the Scrolls as the
library of Jewish Christians. Paul was “the Spouter of Lies,” Ananas “the
Wicked Priest,” and James “the Teacher of Righteousness.” Get used to it.
Stevan L. Davies, The Revolt of the Widows: The Social World of the Apocryphal Acts
a strange and remarkable light on aspects of the early church.
Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament
Shows how many
textual variants thought to be random slips of the pen were instead attempts to
make scripture safe for emerging Christology. If you’ve read this, don’t waste
the bucks for the Cliff’s Notes version, Misquoting
Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels
book, intuitively reconstructing the lived Christianity in which these texts took shape.
Gerd Theissen, Sociology of Early Palestinian Christianity
Gerd Theissen, Social Reality and the Early Christians: Theology, Ethics, and the World of the New Testament
Amazing illumination of the gospels
with broad sociological categories. Answers the question of how on earth the
ultra-radical “Give up your possessions” verses were ever preserved! And don’t
blink or you’ll miss his brilliant solution of the mystery of gospel
third-person Son of Man references!
*Ferdinand Christian Baur, Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ: His Life and Works
His famous treatment of Epistles
versus Acts, Peter (Torah-Christianity) vs. Paul (Gentile Christianity), Paul’s
authorship only of the Hauptbriefe
(Romans, Galatians, Corinthians), etc. Not based on Hegelianism, despite what
ad hominem apologists always bark.
*Hermann Detering, The Falsified Paul (Journal of Higher Criticism 10/2)
Revives, expounds, defends Dutch Radical Criticism: Paul wrote
none of the epistles! Available @
L. Gordon Rylands, A Critical Analysis of the Four Chief
Thomas Whittaker, The Origins of Christianity with an Outline
of Van Manen's
Analysis of the Pauline Literature. Two earlier
defenses of Dutch Radicalism.
Albert Schweitzer, The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle (The Albert Schweitzer Library)
Albert Schweitzer, Paul and His Interpreters: A Critical History
Schweitzer was about the only one
to take Dutch Radicalism seriously, and the only way he could avoid their
conclusions was to reinterpret Pauline mysticism as an “eschatological”
mysticism, which he dubiously claims to find in the NT and Pseudepigrapha.
Charles Guignebert, Christ
exposition of the syncretistic origin of Paulinism as missionary indigenization, as we should call
Hugh J. Schonfield, The Jew of Tarsus,: An
Unorthodox Portrait of Paul
Argues that Paul first thought
himself to be the messiah, then yielded to claims for Jesus.
Authority in Paul and Peter: The Identification of a Pastoral Stratum in the Pauline Corpus and 1 Peter (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series)
William O. Walker, Jr., Interpolations in the Pauline Letters (Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement)
scholars provide reasons to think the epistles were interpolated, as well as
criteria for detecting them.
Anthony Blasi, Making Charisma: The Social Construction of Paul's Public Image
Part of that charisma was the
notion of a miraculous turnabout, when Blasi points out neglected evidence that
he joined relatives already in the Christian ministry!
Hyam Maccoby, THE MYTH-MAKER
Hyam Maccoby, Paul and Hellenism
Takes an almost
uncritical view of Pauline authorship of anything (Pastorals, Acts speeches,
etc.), but very effective on the Mystery Religion and Mystical origin of Paul’s
Gerd Lüdemann, Opposition to Paul in Jewish Christianity
this with either Baur on Paul or Eisenman on DSS. Things will click.
Walter Schmithals, Paul
and the Gnostics
A “united front” theory of Paul’s
“opponents,” seeing them all as Jewish circumcising Gnostics.
E.P. Sanders, Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People
Paul reasons backward from effect
(Christ died) to cause (we must have needed it). He is rationalizing as pint
man of a new religion, not reasoning within the context of an old one.
Heikki Räisänen, Paul and the Law
was mass of contradictions, his writings incoherent.
Hans Joachim Schoeps, Paul: The Theology of the Apostle in the Light of Jewish Religious History (Library of Theological Translations)
Schoeps sees a major turning point
when Hebrew Torah (“Instruction”) was
rendered by the Greek Nomos (“Law”),
making Judaism look falsely legalistic, esp. in Paul.
Adolf Deissmann, Paul:
A Study in Social and Religious History
Convincing portrait of Paul as a
typical Hellenistic mystagogue and missionary, more of a mystic than a
Johannes Munck, Paul and the Salvation of Mankind
Based on Romans 19-11, Munck sets
out what he regards as Paul’s plan to save the world. Also initiated what would
later gain strength as the theory (see John G. Gager, Reinventing Paul) that Paul did not require Jews to believe in Jesus, only Gentiles.
Lloyd Gaston, Paul and the Torah
Astonishing set of studies
reinterpreting Pauline texts on Jews, Gentiles, and the Law.
Ernst Käsemann, Perspectives on Paul
This author writes with rare
theological richness and depth on Paul, as well as a razor-sharp insight into
the evolution of “early Catholicism” and “eschatological enthusiasm” as Paul’s
Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters
the Gnostics seem to have picked up on theology in Paul that others just left behind. Pagels shows the
naturalness of Gnostic interpretations.
Francis Watson, Paul, Judaism, and the Gentiles: A Sociological Approach (Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series)
plus modern sociology.
Abraham Malherbe, Paul and the Popular Philosophers
permeates the Pauline Epistles.
J.C. O’Neill, Paul’s Letter to the Romans
Best display of O’Neill’s
text-critical radicalism, which leads him to chop whole chapters and verses
*Walter Schmithals, Gnosticism in Corinth
Shows how much sense virtually
everything in 1 Corinthians makes as addressed to Gnostics in the church. A
strong implicit argument for a 2nd century date for the epistle,
though the author himself doesn’t think so.
Dieter Georgi, The Opponents of Paul in Second Corinthians
A radical Bultmann disciple, Georgi
here reconstructs the “super-apostles” preaching “another Jesus” in Corinth.
This book fits ideally with Schmithals’s Office
of Apostle in the Early Church as well as Theissen’s articles about
*P.N. Harrison, The
Problem of the Pastoral Epistles,
The definitive argument that Paul
could not have written the Pastorals (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus) from vocabulary,
theology, and ecclesiology.
Stephen G. Wilson, Luke and the
didn’t write them, who did? Luke, as Wilson
Dennis R. MacDonald, The Legend and the Apostle: The Battle for Paul in Story and Canon
He argues that the Pastorals and
the apocrypha Acts of Paul and Thecla represent
opposite sides of a debate between radical Encratites and the emerging
Orthodox, both claiming Paul’s authority.
CHRIST MYTH THEORY
The Christ Myth (Westminster College-Oxford Classics in the Study of Religion)
Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus
Bruno Bauer, Christ & the Caesars: The Origin of Christianity from Romanized Greek Culture
Paul M. Couchoud, The
Creation of Christ: An Outline of the Beginning of Christianity, (2 vols)
William Benjamin Smith, The
Birth of the Gospel: A Study of the Origin and Purport of the Primitive Allegory of the Jesus
William Benjamin Smith, Ecce Deus,: Studies of
L. Gordon Rylands, Did Jesus
James M. Robertson, Pagan Christs: Studies in Comparative Hierology
James M. Robertson, Christianity And Mythology
Gerald Massey, The Historical Jesus
and the Mythical Christ
the classic Christ-Mythicists, drawing heavily on world mythology and the hypothesis of a pre-Christian
Jesus/Joshua cult. Too much of this has been forgotten.
*G.A. Wells, The Jesus of the
Early Christians: A Study in Christian origins
Did Jesus Exist?
G.A. Wells, The Historical Evidence for Jesus
G.A. Wells, Who Was Jesus?: A Critique of the New Testament Record
The Jesus Myth
G.A. Wells, The Jesus Legend
the debate on a new footing, bypassing the Mystery Religions for the Jewish Wisdom Myth as the basis for
a purely mythic Christ. Why so many books? He has to keep correcting
idiotic misrepresentations of his work by half-awake critics. And he reviews the
latest historical Jesus stuff and apologetics.
*Earl Doherty, The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus
Doherty is the successor to Wells,
who has moved a bit from pure Mythicism. Doherty believes the early Christians
did not believe Christ ever came to earth, but was sacrificed by spiritual
entities on a higher cosmic plane. Wells
thought the early Christians believed in a Jesus who had been on earth long
before, but that he hadn’t.
Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God?
slightly annoying journalistic tone, the authors compile much striking ancient lore and large Jesus began
as an allegorization of the OT Joshua (himself perhaps a mythic version of King
Josiah!). Their more recent books are more therapeutic, less historical.
Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled
Buddha and Krishna, started out as a solar myth. Acharya
revives the old solar-stellar mythology
approach unjustly abandoned long ado. Bravo!
Tom Harpur, The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light
Summarizes and endorses the
neglected works of comparative religion Jesus-Mythicists Gerald Massey, Alvin
Boyd Kuhn, and Godfrey Higgins. Jesus was Osiris. Numerous points of dubious
scholarship. And he shortchanges some great theologians, though. Is Orthodoxy
the only heresy?
Barbara G. Walker, The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets
(see articles “Jesus Christ” and “Mary
Magdalene”) Extremely speculative Christ-Myth
theory, connecting dots with intuition where hard evidence is lacking. Yet I
find her reconstruction as compelling as it is striking! Dare you read it?
New Testament Christology
Oscar Cullmann, The Christology of the New Testament
title by title. Too systematic, but still great scholarship.
*Reginald H. Fuller, The Foundations of New Testament Christology
Maybe best statement of how
Christology developed on the assumption of a historical Jesus becoming more and
Christ, Lord, Son of God: Studies in Biblical Theology
comprehensive analysis of Pauline Christ language than you’d have thought possible! Shows, e.g., how there is
not one single instance in Paul where “Christ” need denote anything but a proper
name, so far from Jewish messianism has he gone.
*Ferdinand Hahn, The Titles of Jesus in Christology: Their History in Early Christianity
Cullmann as to titular approach, but a more radically Bultmannian approach. Great classic.
William Bousset,Kyrios Christos: A
History of the Belief in Christ from the Beginnings of Christianity to Irenaeus
greatest of several great Christologies, traces “Lord/kyrios” to bilingual Syrian Mystery Religion
influenced Christianity. Fantastic range and detail. Conservative claims to have
refuted him are so much Bullgeschichte.
H.E. Tödt, The Son
of Man in the Synoptic Tradition
Bultmannian classic: did “Son of man” denote “me,” “people in general,” or an apocalyptic deliverer?
Maurice Casey, Son of Man: The Interpretation and Influence of Daniel 7
This exhaustive study shows how
Jews did not use “Son of Man” as a title but did use it as a shorthand
reference to Daniel 7:13, an allegory for Messiah. Hair-splitting? Not really.
Maurice Casey, From Jewish Prophet to Gentile God
Gordon D. Fee,
Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study
This great conservative scholar
accepts way too much as authentically Pauline, but he does have a fine-tuned
New Testament Theology
*Rudolf Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament- Two Volume Set
Werner Georg Kümmel,
The Theology of the New Testament According to Its Major Witnesses: Jesus-Paul-John
explore Jesus as a precondition of NT theology but not one of the voices in it. Paul and John are the
two great NT writers, maybe including Hebrews, with everything else as
declension toward the Catholicism of the 2nd century church.
Hans Conzelmann, An Outline of the Theology of the New Testament.
Ethelbert Stauffer, New Testament Theology
Stauffer made masterful use of the
whole Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphical range to fill in the strange worldview
to which the NT writers refer. Too bad he was a Nazi and is now burning in
Hell, even though there isn’t one.
Oscar Cullmann, Christ and Time: The Primitive Christian Conception of Time
Oscar Cullmann, Salvation in
In this pair of works, Cullmann
sets forth his “inaugurated eschatology model” (also the view, sometimes, of
Joachim Jeremias): Jesus won the decisive victory against the Powers on the cross
(D Day), but that leaves an undetermined period of “mopping up” till VE Day
arrives. This greatly helped conservatives to assimilate Schweitzerian
apocalyptic and the delay of the Parousia.
C.H. Dodd, The
Apostolic Preaching and its Developments: Three Lectures,
Set up the distinction between the
original apostolic preaching (kerygma)
and the follow-up teaching (didache)
as more or less a distinction between the revelation and the human inference
from it, the coin of the contemporary Biblical Theology Movement. This left
wiggle room for theological reinterpretation for Christians of subsequent ages.
A.M. Hunter, The Message of the New Testament (= The
Unity of the New Testament)
Adolf Schlatter, New Testament Theology (2 vols)
Alan Richardson, An Introduction
to the Theology of the New Testament
Joachim Jeremias, The Central Message of the New Testament
scholars contribute many solid insights, but their basic enterprise seems to be to harmonize the texts
into one solid core theology of early Christianity by which subsequent
Christian belief may be measured.
John Charlot, New Testament
Disunity;: Its Significance for Christianity Today
*James D.G. Dunn, Unity and Diversity in the New Testament: An Inquiry into the Character of Earliest Christianity
Heikki Räisänen, Beyond New Testament Theology: A Story and a Programme
Robert Morgan, ed.,
Nature of New Testament Theology
These scholars minimize any
common denominator between NT writings. The last two (I am thinking of Wrede’s
essay in Morgan) stress the fragmentary nature of the NT documents and how this fact undermines
the possibility that we really possess representative witnesses to “primitive