Jesus and Myth: The Gospel Account's Two Patterns

Jesus and Myth: The Gospel Account's Two Patterns

by Peter John Barber

NOOK Book(eBook)

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Is Jesus mythological? And is he a mere product of his cultural milieu? Through narratological and social-scientific analysis of the gospel account, Barber systematically demonstrates that there are two opposing patterns structuring the gospel. The first is the pattern of this world, which is the combat myth, with a typical sequence of motifs having mythological meanings. It is lived out by everyone else in the accounts except Jesus, because this pattern of the world is the pattern of myth-culture, which is the pattern of the old Adam and sin nature. The pattern of Jesus is the pattern intended for Adam to walk in, and is the unique pattern of the new Adam, Jesus Christ. Jesus's pattern inverts the sequence and subverts the significance of each and every motif and episode of the myth-culture's pattern. Barber shows that Jesus's "failure" to conform to this world's mythological pattern establishes that he is not mythological, and not a product of his culture. As the apostle Peter states, ". . . we did not follow cleverly devised tales [myths] when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty" (2 Pet 1:16).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781725253964
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 02/15/2021
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 354
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Peter John Barber is a professor of biblical and theological studies at Nipawin Bible College in Saskatchewan, Canada. He is a recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Award, and an authority on the relationships between the Gospels, myth, and culture.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“This is a significant book. It is not often that an idea comes along that helps you to read familiar texts in a new way, but Peter Barber’s work does just that. His careful engagement with the thought of René Girard and Bruce Malina has resulted in an original and creative discussion contrasting the patterns and structures found in the canonical Gospels with those found in myths. The outcome not only makes a significant contribution to the way we study the Bible but also has considerable apologetic potential.”

—Stephen Finamore, Bristol Baptist College

Jesus and Myth is a masterpiece of logic, common sense, and scholarly analysis. Dr. Barber engages the critics head on—the critics of the New Testament that is, who seek to show that the Gospels are myths, and their chief subject, Jesus, a mere mythological figure. . . . As Dr. Barber points out throughout his study, the Gospels defy and subvert the structure of mythology. They are as distinct from mythology as chalk is from cheese, and they follow none of its patterns or structure. . . . Jesus defies and subverts every criterion of the mythological model, following none of the structure and pattern of mythology. As part of his ‘de-mythologizing’ process of the critics’ cause, Barber lays out at some length statements of the critics, and then proceeds to dismantle their claims in a masterly treatment of logic and a very deep knowledge of his subject. This study is a rare treat indeed.”

—Wm. R. Cooper, ICR School of Biblical Apologetics

“Today more than ever we are confronted with criticisms that focus on the Bible, the Gospels within, and specifically towards Jesus himself. This book is a must-read when it comes to the challenge of answering the charge that Jesus is mythological. The reader need only rely on the capable model and evidences presented in this book to help prepare for a proper defense. Peter Barber aptly handles the Bible in such a way to give confidence when making application of the information within, and thus time with this book will be time well spent.”

—Joel Diamond, Nipawin Alliance Church

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