Understanding the Gospels as Ancient Jewish Literature places the Gospels in the context of contemporaneous Greco-Roman Jewish texts (4th cent. BC-3rd cent. AD), a collection that includes the Dead Sea Scrolls and the literature of the early Rabbis.
While decades of research into the "Jewish backgrounds" of the Gospels have proven to be fruitful, little attention has been given to their function as a witness to the evolution of ancient Judaism. Comprehending this evolution sheds new light and meaning on the Gospel narratives, as well as on the core message of the Jesus movement. This work argues that when viewed through the lens of ancient Judaism, the Gospels become a source for the geographical, historical, and religious reality of ancient Judaism, some of which would have otherwise been missing from the historical record. And in turn, the study of ancient Judaism clarifies some of the teachings attributed to Jesus by the Evangelists.
Jeffrey P. Garc a is Assistant Professor in Bible at Nyack College, New York City. His expertise is in Second Temple Judaism and the New Testament. His research interests include examining the Gospels and Acts as sources of ancient Jewish thought and practice, and the manner in which they preserve the traditions of the Sages and the Rabbis. He is co-editor (with R. Steven Notley) of The Gospels in First-Century Judaea (Brill, 2016) and has contributed to the Biblical Archaeology Review, Lexham Bible Dictionary (Lexham Press, 2016), and The Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions (Routledge, 2015).