1. What role does the idea of the Abrahamic covenant play in the Gospels' historical depiction of identity? Frame a response in reference to the quotation: "History is the stories that men tell to give themselves an identity.”
2. Please compare how the New Testament records history with how the Greeks recorded history with examples from Greek historians, for example, Flavius Josephus, (37–100), Jewish historian.
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God's covenants give people direction and it is God's promises and expectations that have influenced man's interpretation of events since His covenant with Abraham. Whilst man is in no position to negotiate the terms of any covenant with God, God involves him in the development of his identity through a mutually beneficial plan, confirmed with the covenant of Moses and replaced with the covenant of Christ. The Covenant is God's means of exerting his authority but at the same time empowering mankind through free will. To be created in God's image places a huge responsibility on mankind to mold himself in the image of God and to strive for a realization of God's "plan." Following on from the grace bestowed in Abraham's covenant with God, establishes identity.
The enduring message reflects God's desire to have a relationship with mankind and the Gospels allow mankind to draw strength from the concept of Jesus as a person and not an abstract, albeit divine, concept. The gospels are intended to inspire and encourage on an individual level and also to recognize human failings. There is a collective identity that shapes mankind and from which man can draw strength in upholding Jesus's teaching, making it pivotal in explaining the manner in which the gospels are presented as historical facts. John confirms that there were many stories but those that were most insightful "are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life..." (John 21:25)
One of the differences between the Greek authors' recording of history and the Gospels, lies in the lack of specific references to sources in the Gospels which concentrate on Jesus's teaching and healing ministry. The authors of the Gospels did not have the academic background of Greek authors nor were they intended for the same audience, directed mainly at potentially uneducated people not other scholars. In discussing ancient events from the Greeks' perspective, there are always reliable sources to confirm those events.
Aristotle based all his writings on his grasp of logic and the Scientific Method has its beginnings in Aristotle's works. Aristotle and others like him, based their findings in the realm of natural sciences. He was not influenced by talk of the Bible or of a theory of one god but came to his conclusions and his belief in one god, his Aristotelian Theology, based on his capacity to observe and, from that, to make reasonable suppositions upon which to reflect.
Herodotus, the "father of history," ensured that all his writing had a factual basis whilst at the same time, discussing the divine., distinguishing him from storytellers who wrote mythical tales,
Thucydides was also a renowned historian, and his accounts were factual, unlike Flavius Josephus who was known for exaggeration. and useful in establishing strategy for war. His visual imagery inspired many and his words still have relevance today.
The Gospels are sometimes regarded as reflecting a romanticized ideal of Jesus, as viewed through the authors' eyes, and not creating an image of the whole person. There are, however, indisputable historical facts that reinforce their authenticity and the fact that stories of a religious man have so much significance when historical stories of this time period are mostly concerned with conquests, is testament to their legitimacy. Luke writes to Theophilus,“You may have certainty of the things you have been taught. “(Luke 1:3-4).
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