This work provides insight into how the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke came to be written, and conveys modern scholarship in a clear and interesting manner. The book opens with a discussion of the complex origins of the written Gospel traditions and the consequences of this complexity for modern readers. Part One then investigates each synoptic Gospel in turn, highlighting the unique style and interest of each evangelist. Furthermore, Part One shows how the needs and questions of each of the evangelists' church communities shaped their conceptions and portrayals of the ministry of Jesus. Part Two moves from the time of the Gospel writers back to the earlier decades of the first century and sketches a reconstruction of the ministry, death, and raising of Jesus himself. Four chapters consider the characteristic features of His ministry, the principal message which He taught, and the causes and aftermath of His death. The book concludes with a discussion of how important it is for modern believers to be able to read the Gospels in an intelligent and critical fashion. Numerous charts and diagrams will enable the reader to come to know each Gospel on its own unique terms.
Originally published in 1988 by Paulist Press.