Canonical and non-canonical gospels are typically studied in relative isolation from each other. The book shows why this need not be the case. Early Christian authors produced a mass of gospel literature to meet the demands of a growing Christian reading public for ever more material relating to Jesus and his earthly existence, and out of that proliferating body of work a consensus formed around a fourfold gospel whose originally anonymous components were ascribed to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Yet a significant number of marginalized non-canonical texts have survived, in whole or in part, and the canonical boundary should not inhibit exploration of their relationship to their historically more successful counterparts. Thus the purpose of this book is to trace some of the many thematic similarities and differences within the field of early gospel literature, and to develop an interpretative practice that respects the integrity of that field.
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