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BACKGROUND TO THE GOSPELS

J.N.M. Wijngaards
published by TPI Bangalore 1986

Contents

Most scripture quotations are taken from Today's English Version,
American Bible Society 1966 and 1976 and used with permission.

1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ  

The Name: Gospel (s) — Inspiration of the Gospel accounts — The Date of Writing — Apocryphal Gospels

— Textual Tradition — Reading aids — Versions.

2. The Gospel according to St. Matthew 

The Evangelist — Process of growth of the Gospel — The Gospel in the Tradition — Structure — Purpose and principal doctrines — Passages proper to Matthew Matthew's interest in Jesus' words — Typical Jewish ways of speaking.

3. The Gospel according to St. Mark  

The Evangelist— Structure —- St. Peter's Testimony

Phases introducing Christ — Characteristics of the Gospel — Passages proper to St. Mark.

4. The Gospel according to St. Luke

The Evangelist —- The Composition and structures of the Gospel — Salvation for all mankind — Passages proper to St. Luke — Good Tidings of great joy.

5. The Gospel according to St. John

The Evangelist — The Structure of the Gospel — Purpose — John's personal Testimony — The four evangelists.

6. The Geography of Palestine 

Geological shape — The provinces of Palestine in Jesus' time — Roads and distances — The northern shore of the lake of Galilee — The climate of the Palestine region.

7. Chronology and Politics 

Christian chronology — The family of Herod the Great

Roman rule in Palestine — Date of Jesus' Public life —Political situation during that time — Jesus' relationship to political rulers
— Jesus and Jewish nationalism.

8. The Temple of Jerusalem

A brief history — The outer parts of Herod's temple

—The inner courts of the temple — The sanctuary — Jesus and the new spiritual temple.

9. Religious Leadership of the Jews

The origin of opposed religious groups — High priests, priests and levites — Sadducees — The scribes or teachers of the law — Hie Pharisees— Jesus' attitude towards the teachers of the law — The Sanhedrin.

10. Jewish Feasts

The yearly calendar — Brief characterizations of the feasts — Time calculation during the day —• The hours of day time — The watches of the night — The Passover — The Sabbath — Our Sunday celebration.

11. Religious practices of the Jews 

The Synagogue — Its origin, place in Jewish life, ' building & furniture — Synagogue service — officials of the Synagogue — Law and Prophets — Prayers, fasting and almsgiving — Clean, unclean, purification, ablution

—Circumcision — Diaspora — Proselytes — Blasphemy.

12. Articles used in daily Life

Dress — Every day food — official meals — Lamps — Making fire — Keys and Lock — Agricultural tools — Our Lord: the carpenter — Weights and measures — Money, coins and values.

13. Jesus's character

What is character? — How to know Jesus' character? — The Psychological approach — The Existential approach

—How to study Jesus' life — Knowing Jesus.

14. The language Jesus spoke

Aramaic — Forms of speech—- Idiomatic Expressions.

—Political situation during that time — Jesus' relation­ship to political rulers — Jesus and Jewish nationalism.

15. The Parables of the Gospel

Figures of speech — Interpreting the parables — Purpose of teaching in parables — Parables introduced with the phrase "The kingdom of heaven is like" — Do the parables contain a deeper meaning?

16. The Miracles

Miracles as signs —Survey of Jesus' miraculous signs — Meaning of the miracles — Some difficult passages.

17. Jesus' relationship with the Father and the Spirit

The Trinity — Jesus and the Father — Jesus and the Spirit — The Trinity in the teaching of catechism.

18. Jesus reveals Himself

Jesus' divinity in the foregoing chapters — Jerusalem: city of Jesus' self-revelation — Jesus was from all eternity with the Father — Jesus the Divine Judge of all mankind — He is one with God the Father — Bound by an oath, Jesus states that He is God — Discussion of some difficult texts.

19. The history of the "Our Father"

The "Synoptic question" — Study of the texts of the "Our Father" — The history of the Our Father — Other forms of the Our Father.

20. The transmission of Jesus' teaching

A reconstruction of the origin and growth of the "Our Father" — Problems arising from the history of the "Our Father".

21. The accuracy of the Gospel accounts

The cursing of the fig tree: observations and exegetical conclusions.

22. The Gospels and Oral Tradition

"Situation-in-life" — The dispute about traditions — The stages of Gospel formation.

23. Jesus' Passion

Jerusalem as the scene of the passion — Time- scheme - Jesus in the house of Caiaphas — Jesus in Pilate's civil court — The Crucifixion.

24. Jesus' Resurrection

The site of Jesus' tomb — History of the tomb — Apparitions of the Risen Lord — The meaning of the resurrection: The Paschal Mystery — The Paschal Mystery and the Jewish Passover.



Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars' declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

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