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Yeshua in Context » Beginners, Gospel Genres, Study Tips » What are the elements of the gospels?

What are the elements of the gospels?

When studying the gospels, it helps to know the kinds of material you will find and to think about classifications of different passages. I made this imperfect list for myself toward the beginning of my study. It is included in the (upcoming) Yeshua in Context Sourcebook. I think it is helpful for beginners (and not-so-beginners) to think about the differences in kinds of material we find about Yeshua.

Some of these categories overlap, but perhaps there is a reason for the differentiation into categories. For example, some of Yeshua’s sayings occur in miracle narratives or in dispute narratives, but others are included in teaching narratives (the Sermon on the Mount is the most famous of the teaching narratives, by which I mean a longer account of Yeshua’s teaching with multiple sayings strung together). Anyway, these are some categories I see:

Infancy narratives
John the Baptist narratives
Teaching narratives
Enactments and symbolic actions
Miracle narratives
Healing (and exorcism) miracles
Nature miracles
Identity stories
Messianic secret thematic elements
Dispute narratives
Passion narratives
Resurrection narratives

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2 Responses to "What are the elements of the gospels?"

  1. Suzie Payne says:

    I have a dumb question: what’s the difference between a parable and saying? I hate to confess that I’ve been in church for 8 years now and do not know the answer to that question. Also, what is a sourcebook?

    1. yeshuain says:

      A parable is a kind of simile (the kingdom is like…). I had planned to release a Yeshua in Context Sourcebook with lists and background information. This blog has essentially become the sourcebook, though someday I still may publish one.

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