The Gospels And Christian Life reads the four canonical Gospels as handbooks for religious formation through communal practices. The book focuses on the communities that produced each gospel, the dynamic energy each gospel displays for creating and sustaining community life, the different interpretations of the person of Jesus, and the different systems of organization and leadership each gospel promulgated. The authors carefully describe the social context of each Gospel and delineate the practices the texts prescribe. Each gospel has an imaginative portal, an introductory chapter introducing the necessary background for understanding the social, intellectual, and religious setting for each gospel. Their reading of each Gospel builds on these foundations to illustrate the nature and scope of the community's practices. Their work starts from the assumption that the communities did not look to the Gospels for biographical data on the life of Jesus to offer the reader a powerful reading of each Gospel community, its unique practices, and the way people were trained to become members of it. This book is aimed at undergraduate and graduate teachers and students, pastors, and the general audience eager for new ways to understand the New Testament.
- A unique approach to the gospels, studied as windows on the communities that created them.
- The portal to each gospel offers the historical, social, political, and intellectual background necessary to understanding each gospel in its particularity.
- Treats the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles together as a unit.
- Incorporates information about non-canonical gospels such as the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Judas, as well as the apocryphal infancy gospels.
- The Introduction prepares readers for the study of Early Christian Literature in an historical context.
- Uses both ancient and modern analogous situations to make understanding the gospels more accessible.
About the Authors
Richard Valantasis is Co-Director of the Institute for Contemplative Living in Santa Fe, New Mexico and on leave as Professor of Ascetical Theology and Christian Practice and Director of the Anglican Studies Program at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He is an ordained Episcopal priest.
Douglas K. Bleyle is Co-Director of the Institute for Contemplative Living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He earned his M.Div. at Iliff School of Theology in Denver and his Th.M. from Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He is an aspirant to holy orders in the Episcopal Church.
Dennis C. Haugh is an adjunct professor at the Iliff School of Theology and a Ph.D. candidate in the joint Iliff-University of Denver doctoral program. He is a Roman Catholic lay person with extensive experience in the areas of adult faith formation.