The First Biography of Jesus: Genre and Meaning in Mark’s Gospel

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Reading the gospels as ancient biographies makes a profound difference in the way we interpret them. Biography immortalizes the memory of the subject, creating a literary monument to the person’s life and teaching. Yet it is also a bid to legitimize a specific view of that figure and to position the author and the audience as appropriate “gatekeepers” of that memory. Furthermore, biography is well suited to the articulation of shared values and commitments, the formation of group identity, and the binding together of a past story, present concerns, and future hopes.

Helen Bond argues that Mark’s author uses the genre of biography—while both utilizing and subverting its literary conventions—to extend the proclamation from an earlier narrow focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus to include his way of life. The First Biography of Jesus shows how this was a bold step in outlining a radical form of Christian discipleship, one patterned on the life and death of Jesus.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGrand Rapids
Number of pages360
ISBN (Print)9780802874603
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2020


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