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Adult Education Series ~ Gospel Parallels/Parallel Gospels
September 13 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Join the Rev. Craig D. Townsend on the second Wednesday of each month, from September 13, 2023, to May 8, 2024, 7:00-8:00 pm, on Zoom, for the adult education offering, Gospel Parallels/Parallel Gospels. We’ll explore together why there are four different and differing gospels, and 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 book, 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 John’s parallels to the other three appear in footnotes, as do parallels from other first-century writings. Conspicuously absent, however, are the so-called “gnostic gospels,” the texts deemed heretical and lost for centuries until copies were found over the past hundred years. Yet also 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 Burton Throckmorton’s book, Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels, New Revised Standard Version (here), and join Fr. Craig for this monthly conversation. More information and the reading schedule can be found on the series website. Please contact Fr. Craig at . if you wish to participate so that your name may be added to the Zoom access list.
Image: William Jay Bolton and John Bolton, The Ascension, stained glass window at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, Brooklyn (1845-48)