Category Archives: Literature

What is Ancient Biography?

Ancient biography or in the Greek language Βιοι, Bioi ; “Lives” was—by ancients like Plutarch, Tacitus, and Lucian—seen as very important literature during ancient times. It is handled today within the domains of New Testament and Greco-Roman literary criticism as an inclusive literary genre. Bioi was based on a particular individual, but not as a means to an individual self but against the social backdrop of family and community. The end result is that the writer purposefully presents a kind of anti-psychological person. What is highlighted is their, “character, achievements and lasting significance”[1] while at the same time deliberately setting them up as a public example. Bios, or Βιος (Greek for “life”), as literature is really a conduit that transmits, within a culture; social, religious and political heritage showing individuals as, “representative types rather than as unique individuals.”[2]

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What is mythology?

Mythology (Greek Mythos means “Myth” in English) has to do with the relationship of the human experience to, and subsequent attempt to explain, the realm of the divine. Myth usually connotes the time before human history, what is called prehistory. The primitive epochs of creation of the cosmos, and speculation on divine hierarchical structures even before such creation events are familiar ground for mythological thinking. Myths and mythology therefore can be generally considered as stories outside of, or before, human history.

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What is Q?

The Q source (also known as Q document, lost sayings of Q or just Q) is a hypothesized concept used by biblical and New Testament scholars to suggest a non-existent manuscript as the source of common material (logia) found in the gospels Matthew and Luke but not the Gospel of Mark.[1] John S. Kloppenborg, James M. Robinson and Burton Mack, according to Michael Licona (Research Professor of the NT), refer to the Q source as a “sayings gospel” or “Q gospel” with Mack particularly overreaching by concluding that Q is wholly different, in fact alien, from important events recorded in the canonical gospels like the resurrection.[2] The Q document is thought to be constituted of the sayings of Jesus called logia. Source criticism supporting Q also generally supports Markan priority, or the position that Mark was the first written of the canonical gospels. Accordingly if a tradition or particular logia is found consistent with all three synoptic gospels then Mark is considered the source not Q. Therefore not just Q, but Q and Mark were source material for Matthew and Luke which is why depending on the variation of argument it is referred to as the QM theory.

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What is exegesis?

Exegesis (from the Greek: ἐξηγεῖσθαι, exēgēisthai; “to lead out”) is a critical exposition, commentary or interpretation of ancient literature especially religious books such as the Bible or Qur’an.[1] The opposite of an exegetical reading of Scripture is eisegesis and instead of reading out what the text plainly presents it reads into the text what the reader is influenced by.

In order to understand a given passage one must reconstruct as much as possible the world of thought in which the NT writer lived. Since the NT frequently quotes the OT (hundreds of times) or alludes to it (thousands of times) and everywhere presupposes its language, concepts, and theology, exegesis should be particularly sensitive to its presence and careful to reconstruct the exegetical-theological context of which a given OT quotation or allusion may have been a part. A comparative approach is essential.[2]

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