Shipwrecked on a Desert Island: The Barren Isolation of “Christian Origins”
William E. Arnal [+]
University of Regina
This article argues that the unreflective categorization of ancient documents associated with Jesus-people as “Christian” serves to distort in fundamental ways our understanding of the circumstances and agenda of the production of these documents. Using the Gospels of Thomas and of Mark as test cases, the paper explores how bracketing the “Christian” status of these writings allows for new insights into the function and use of biographical writing about Jesus, a function and use that establishes the tradents of these gospels as enmeshed and engaged in the broader Graeco-Roman culture of their environment.