Before they were written in the Gospels, the teachings and deeds of Jesus were preserved in human memory—with all its frailties and strengths—for perhaps as long as 30 to 60 years. Much can happen to traditions preserved in memories for so long, and this groundbreaking work addresses the impact that the qualities of human memory would have had on the traditions of the historical Jesus found in the Synoptic Gospels. It uses the insights gained from over a century of psychological experimentation to investigate the qualities and potential reliability of individual and collective memories underlying the various elements that make up the Gospel traditions.
“McIver's study fully (and finally!) brings psychology and human memory into the discussion of Jesus and Christian origins. What does human memory have to do with Jesus and the Gospels? McIver's assessment is sure to spark debate.” — April D. DeConick, Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies, Rice University
“Robert McIver's book is an outstanding example of interdisciplinary research. In a competent and original way, he brings the insights of the psychology of memory to the study of the Synoptic Gospel tradition.” — Rainer Riesner, Professor of New Testament, University of Dortmund
“The craft of biblical interpretation has for two centuries set forth the critical criteria for analyzing the biblical text as literature, history, and narrative, carefully protecting the process from considerations of memory problems in the ancient sources. McIver has done us a signal favor in assembling the scientific data and argument from memory analyses and biblical studies to make our biblical hermeneutics ever more wise and trustworthy scientifically. With a thorough, systematic approach, McIver sets forth the best understanding scholarly research can offer regarding the science of memory and the science of critical analysis of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.” — J. Harold Ellens, Founding Editor, Journal of Psychology and Christianity
Robert K. McIver is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Head of School of Ministry and Theology at Avondale College of Higher Education in Cooranbong, Australia. He is the editor of Avondale Academic Press and the author of a number of academic articles and several books, including The Four Faces of Jesus (Pacific Press).
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