Gospel Parallels/Parallel Gospels
An Adult Education Offering for 2023-24
Join me, the Rev. Craig D. Townsend, on the second Wednesday of each month, from September 13, 2023, to May 8, 2024, 7:00-8:00pm, for next year's adult education offering, Gospel Parallels/Parallel Gospels. We'll explore together why there are four different and differing gospels, we'll compare other accounts and portrayals of Jesus' life and ministry - gnostic gospels, early orthodox writings, but also art, music, mystical commentaries and more - all to help us see what each of our own personal and parallel gospels look like. Who is Jesus to you?
A powerful way of doing a deep dive into the gospels is to look at them in comparison and connection to one another. Burton Throckmorton provided the best tool for the process: his Gospel Parallels, which puts Matthew, Mark, and Luke in parallel columns on the page, first came out in 1949, making it to its fifth edition (and moving from the Revised Standard Version translation of the Bible to the New Revised Standard) in 1993. It is a standard seminary text.
Why only those three gospels? They are clearly closely connected - most scholars believe that Matthew and Luke had their own copies of Mark and simply amplified it in their own ways - while John's has a very different chronology and narrative purpose. Hence his parallels to the other three appear in footnotes, as do parallels from other first-century writings. And added to the fifth edition are the so-called "gnostic gospels," the texts deemed heretical and lost for centuries until copies were found over the past hundred years. Yet absent, for logistical if not other reasons, are the versions of gospel stories that have been told and retold in painting, sculpture, and even architecture for two thousand years. And in music. And in sermons and essays and mystical writings and and and….
So get a copy of Throckmorton's book (here) and join me for this monthly conversation. A reading schedule is found at the tab above.
Since we'll be online, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to indicate your interest in attending, so I can add you to the list!