WHO WROTE THE NEW TESTAMENT?

The Making of the Christian Myth

By: Burton L. Mack

The New Testament is commonly viewed and treated as a charter document that came into being much like the Constitution of the United States. According to this view, the authors of the New Testament were all present at the historic beginnings of the new religion and collectively wrote their gospels and letters for the purpose of founding the Christian Church that Jesus came to inaugurate. Unfortunately for this view, that is not the way it happened.

–From the prologue.

With innovative scholarship and aan engaging, detective-like style, an eminent and controversial scholar of Christian origins presents the first comprehensive yet popular explanation of who wrote the New Testament-------and why.

Burton L. Mack (John Wesley Professor of the New Testament at the School of Theology at Claremont and the author of The Lost Gospel, The Book of Q , and a Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins.) Scrupulously examines the Christian Testament and fleshes out both the social and the cultural context from which it emerged.

In contrast to the widely held view of the gospels as complementary accounts of a single set of events, Mack offers a history of divergent Christian communities and their anonymous writers who wrote widely different chronicles for distinct purposes and audiences over a period of more than one hundred years.

He delineates how Christians in later centuries assigned the name of the apostles and disciples to the anonymous stories about Jesus and his teachings, adjusted the chronology, and erased cultural differences in an effort to present a coherent history of the faith and invest the new church with authenticity.

This trail-blazing reconstruction of early Christianity, which makes cutting-edge scholarship thoroughly accessible to a popular audience, reveals how the Christian Bible was created.

Who Wrote The New Testament? challenges us to envision the New Testament as dynamic myth, reinterpreted many times through the course of Western cultural history, rather than as the static statement of any one truth. Much as the Illiad and The Odyssey mythologize events and figures in the remote Greek past, the New Testament writings, Mack shows, transform the historical Jesus, a counter-cultural philosopher with no grand messianic pretensions, into the Christ, the dying and rising son of God.

Ultimately, then, the New Testament consists of a powerful religious mythology comparable to those of other great religions.

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