Are the Gospels ancient early-empire histories/biographies of Jesus?

“Yes, after all…
  • Ancient bios and letters predominated

      Among the various kinds of literature that circulated, Greco-Roman biographies was fairly dominant.1 This is relevant because, even absent their resembling biographies so much, it would recommend for us to take the gospels as biography as a matter of default, provided they are not letters.

      1. Craig Keener: “[b]iographies, like letters, were among antiquity’s most common genres…” [Christobiography, 41.]
  • The Gospels internally match ancient bios

      The Gospels fit as biographies, internally exemplifying the quintessential family characteristics. The Gospels fit as biographies, internally exemplifying the quintessential family characteristics. This page analyzes 11 evidences:
      • Bios are around 10-25k words long.
      • Bios continually focus on a main character.
      • Bios focused on an influential figure.
      • Bios gave a telling sample of the character’s life.
      • Bios illuminate via narrating key words & deeds.
      • Bios consist of, anecdotes, and speeches.
      • Content-Arrangement prioritizes character-illumination.
      • Bios don’t opine on the words & deeds.
      • Bios on miracle-working sages were hot.
      • The gospels claim to be histories.
      • The Gospels internally match ‘histories’.
      This is relevant because they specifically super-resemble early empire biographies, and were written in the early empire. And of course, absent word of the author's own explicit testimony, super-resemblance and bearing of the relevant features is the most you can ask for in determining a work's genre.

      But no...
      • Gospels are not literarily sophisticated.
      • Mt and Lk borrowed much from Mk.
      • Gospels didn’t discuss their sources.
      • Gospels were Jewish documents.
      • The Gospels include propaganda.
      • Gospel’s main character was flawless.

  • Gospels are honest historical accounts of Jesus’ life

      Rather than inventing Jesus-biography, the authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—as editors/redactors—were honest in writing their Gospel reports.
      This page analyzes 8 evidences:
      • The originating Gospel/NT content seems honest.
      • Gospel authors faithfully copied their sources.
      • Gospels relayed Jesus-bio info (didn’t create it).
      • Readers took them as bios. • Gospel authors wouldn’t lie-invent Jesus-bio.
      • Mt/Mk/Lk/Jn are accurate where checked (trend).
      • Gospels display sacrificially honest restraint.
      • Gospel authors strove for witness-based Jesus-bio.
      This is relevant because biographies are histories, and being a history was in fact the defining characteristic biographies (along with its emphases).

  • Gospel authors strove to relay only witness testimony

      The gospels strove to be witness-based, recording witness testimony as closely as possible. This page analyzes 6 evidences:
      • Gospel claims are all inherited/sourced.
      • Early Empire biography self-identifies as witness-based.
      • Gospels did check with witnesses.
      • Esteemed Christians’d hate to be exposed.
      • Gospels authors prized witness testimony.
      • Gospels were big projects (honor).
      This is relevant because historiography in general labored to be witness-based. (Relatedly, the gospels prized witness testimony, as did histories.)

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