Many are saying that the prevailing paradigm of New Testament origins is going nowhere. In its place, Brodie’s stunning book invites us to suspend all “knowledge” we already have about the history of the New Testament’s development and to be willing to entertain the following thesis. Everything hinges on Proto-Luke, a history of Jesus using the Elijah-Elisha narrative as its model, which survives in ten chapters of Luke and fifteen of Acts. Mark then uses Proto-Luke, transposing its Acts material back into the life of Jesus. Matthew Deuteronomizes Mark, John improves on the discourses of Matthew. Luke-Acts spells out the story at length. Add the Pauline corpus, the descendant of Deuteronomy via the Matthean logia, and the New Testament is virtually complete. This is a totalizing theory, an explanation of everything, and its critics will be numerous. But even they will be hugely intrigued and have to admit that Brodie’s myriads of challenging observations about literary affinities demand an answer.
Thomas L. Brodie is Director, Dominican Biblical Centre, Limerick, Ireland.
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