Over at Books at a Glance I did a review of Mike Bird’s The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Told the Story of Jesus. I begin saying:
A myriad of questions surround the formation of the Gospels: questions such as, how was the tradition passed on? What role does memory play? Who controlled it? What is the relationship between the Gospels? Mike Bird’s latest book seeks to answer these questions, surveys recent research on these issues, and provides some of his own critical feedback. This book is not about the Gospels per se, but rather about the formation of the Gospels.
I was so pleased with this book and recommend it to all. I only had one critique, which was minor.
My only critique of Bird’s book is that he could have thought more (for pedagogical purposes) about a “loose” blueprint. In other words, why not move towards a categorization of the stages of transmission as Watson has done. Obviously much of this is guess work, but a good guess can be given for the passing on of any tradition.
My (initial) preferred outline would be the following with a smaller “interpretation + reception” listed in between each stage.
Event > Memory > Tradition > Inscription > Normativization
My point is that Bird could have more explicitly structured his book around something like this. Titles like “The Formation of the Jesus Tradition” could be conceived as being located in any of these steps and leaves something wanting in a conceptual framework for the book.
Read the rest of the review here.