He went to doctors who were of no help. He came to the prophet. He asked the prophet if he could heal deafness. The prophet said he could. The man asked for help from the prophet.
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Helms examines the New Testament gospels from the point of view of a literary critic. His primary thesis is that before writing the New Testament the early Christians wrote another new book called the Old Testament which consisted of reinterpreting the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible as actually being a book about or foreshadowing in "hidden" ways Jesus.
They then used this new understanding of the Hebrew Bible to either invent stories or fill in the details of stories in the New Testament. I already knew many New Testament stories were modeled on the Old Testament but it was surprising the extent to which this was so, often times even including the use of the exact same wording in both stories. The stories take place in Sarepta and Nain, respectively.
Both begin with the phrase "and it came to pass" and end with the prophet "giving him the son back to his mother". Both prophets are proclaimed by one of the crowd to be validated by the miracle as a prophet of God. But, the most interesting detail they share is that the prophet is met at the gates of the city by the weeping widow. So whether Luke just invented this story as something a messiah would have to have done, or he had the bare bones of an oral tradition, when it came time to write it down he just opened the Old Testament and lifted the details from there.
Time and again, quotes and scenes from the Gospels are found to have their counterparts in the older books which the early Christian cult combed to show Jesus was foretold all along. What did Paul say in his letters? That What the Christians did, was take the Old Testament and changed it from being a book on Jewish law and history, turned it into a predictive text for Jesus the Messiah.
That is the general conclusion of author, Randel Helms. This is not revolutionary. Scholars have known for a long time the New Testament is a re-write of earlier stories found in Exodus, Kings, Daniel, etc. The art of mimesis was very normal and expected in literature of those days. None-the-less, the take away is that the gospels and Acts are not histories. They are fictive works, meant to show an allegory not record historical facts. The New Testament, as a work of literature, is rather impressive for its time and Helms does an excellent job showing how it came together.
For me, another thing became very clear yet again. In order to really analyze the New Testament, one must have an understanding of Koine Greek.
Sometimes it comes down to a few words to understand a meaning and reference.
If this comes as a surprise, welcome to the cutting edge of modern biblical scholarship. There is a lot more to understanding and interpreting one of the most influential collection of works in Western history than the simple viewpoints we were taught as children. Nearly a century after the four Gospels were finished, Christians in the late second century, eager to give names to the anonymous manuscripts they possessed, selected traditional figures that they supposed should have written them -- the Apostles Matthew and John, Luke the "beloved physician" of Paul Col. According to Helms the gospels were written to convert or confirm their readers to Christianity surely no shameful project ; they are the highly colored arguments of powerful authors, not just transparent windows upon the historical Jesus. If we adjust our focus from the brilliant imaginative pictures to the imaginations that produced them, to the situations out of which they arose, we get to the point of this book -- a study of the minds of the authors we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The author makes it very clear that there is no evidence that they were written by the men who bear their