How Early Christian Storytellers Exercised Creative License when Telling Tales about Jesus

Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group
Dr Julia Snyder, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge
Online (ask organizers for link)
Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 14:15 to 15:00

Many people assume that early Christian stories about Jesus were meant to be received as historically accurate accounts of things Jesus did and said. If two stories differ in detail, the later text is often interpreted as trying to correct or compete with the earlier account. But to what degree does this reading of the evidence reflect modern ideas about storytellers' motivations and intent? This talk will discuss the portrayal of Jesus in some intriguing narratives from Late Antiquity. We will see that some storytellers apparently felt free to invent entirely new stories about Jesus, as well as offering creative "remakes" of traditional tales. What can we learn from this about how early Christians thought about Jesus, and about the role of "tradition" and "history" in their experience of "being Christian"?

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