Saturday, March 01, 2008

What the Gospels Meant -- Garry Wills Interprets

John Spalding, editor of the eminently readable SoMA Review, an on-line journal that has published several of my own essays and reviews (so I'm biased about John's abilities). That said, John has written an excellent review of Garry Wills' latest book -- What the Gospels Meant (Viking 2008) for the LA Times. This book follows upon Wills's earlier books -- about Jesus and Paul.

I've not read the earlier books, nor have I read this one, but John's review suggests that this is something that should be read. It's not a radical treatment -- depending on Raymond Brown rather than John Dominic Crossan. He sees in the Gospels a high Christology and finds less differences between Gospels than do some scholars.

For Wills, the evangelists' perspectives differ more in degree than in kind. "The highlighted qualities of the individual Gospels are present in each one of them, just less emphasized in some," he writes. For all their idiosyncrasies, he sees the Gospels unified by a "high Christology," or belief in the divinity of Jesus, as it was experienced and articulated by the apostle Paul. In his letters, Paul's chief (some would say, sole) interest in Jesus was that his death and Resurrection proved him to be the Messiah. "This is the basic Announcement (Kerygma) that would be the test of orthodoxy," Wills writes. "It is the nucleus from which the Gospels were built up."

Whatever one's views of the Gospels or of Paul, this looks like something useful for the Christian community.

1 comment:

Josh said...

Very neat I might have to check it out.