Passion Narratives

Ellen B. Aitken

in Biblical Studies

ISBN: 9780195393361
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:
Passion Narratives

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The term “passion narrative” is used primarily to refer to the accounts given in the canonical gospels of the suffering and death of Jesus. Generally, scholars treat the passion narratives as beginning with Jesus’ agony and arrest in Gethsemane and concluding with his burial. The sections to which these narratives are typically assigned consist therefore of Matthew 26:30–27:66, Mark 14:26–15:47, Luke 22:39–23:56, and John 18:1–19:42. Those scholars who would include the Last Supper and the discovery of the empty tomb as parts of the passion narratives would expand this list of passages to reflect these additions. In addition to the gospels of the New Testament, noncanonical texts recounting the death of Jesus, of which the fragmentary Gospel of Peter stands at the forefront, have in recent decades occupied vital roles in scholarship on the passion. Nonnarrative material that discusses Jesus’ death has also contributed to the exploration of the development of early Christianity’s understanding of the passion; as the earliest extant reflections on Jesus’ death, the letters of Paul have proven to be essential to this area of study. In the past, research into the passion narratives greatly affected source and form criticism of the New Testament; it continues to inform scholarship on such topics as the historical Jesus, the development of anti-Judaism in early Christianity, and the theological orientation of early Christian texts.

Article.  9452 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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