Revealing the Gospels: From the Secret Messiah to the Preexistent Son

Includes the NRSV Bible

For countless Christians, the gospels are the heart of the New Testament and the preeminent charter documents of Christianity. As such, they require informed, responsible engagement from Christians and non-Christians alike. Revealing® the Gospels is designed to equip students to engage appreciatively, knowledgeably, and critically with the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Students are skillfully and painlessly introduced to both the “old” and the “new” in gospel scholarship. They learn how and why these four texts were canonized; the main critical methods used to analyze them; how their similarities and differences are best explained; how to determine who wrote them, in what circumstances, and with what sources; how to sift out their (often contradictory) theologies and christologies; how to read them as plotted narratives; how to analyze representations and constructions of gender in them; how to understand their complex relations to Judaism; and how to discern their politics and ethics, especially with regard to issues of social justice and relations to empire.

Revealing® the Gospels aims to be the most accessible introduction to the canonical gospels available. No prior knowledge whatsoever of the gospels, or of the New Testament in general, is presupposed, nor is any familiarity with Christian church life and the biblical knowledge it generates through osmosis. But this introduction does not patronize the student either. Students are not required to accept on the authority of the author any position on any important textual matter independently of the evidence or reasoning that has led to it. The evidence and the arguments are clearly and meticulously laid out for students throughout, enabling them to draw different conclusions or construct alternative explanations. Ultimately, this introduction is designed to equip the student to become an informed participant in the vigorous, consequential, open-ended debate that is critical scholarship on the foundational texts of Christianity.

As courseware, in addition to the text content, which is as robust as that of traditional textbooks, Revealing® the Gospels contains integrated resources than no print textbook or e-textbook can match. Each biblical chapter-and-verse reference is linked to the text of the New Revised Standard Version, the English translation most biblical scholars prefer. Reading the primary source material thereby becomes an altogether more inviting experience for the student than having to trawl through a print biblical text separate from the textbook. Even extracanonical sources, such as the Didache, the Gospel of Thomas, Irenaeus’s Against Heresies, or Eusebius’s Church History, are linked to the text when they are referenced. Each technical or potentially unfamiliar term in the text is linked to a glossary definition, another feature that makes this introduction uniquely accessible. Each technical or potentially unfamiliar term in the text is linked to a glossary definition. Creatively designed activities distributed throughout each module facilitate understanding and retention by the student. Over a thousand images from ancient material culture and the history of biblical reception are also available to the reader and the entire text is narrated. Revealing® the Gospels imparts the basics of New Testament study engagingly and accessibly.

Revealing® the Gospels Modules:

  • Exploring the Gospels: Contents, Canon, Methods
  • A Secret Messiah: The Gospel of Mark 1
  • A Suffering Messiah: The Gospel of Mark 2
  • The Synoptic Problem: Who Copied Whom?
  • A Teaching Messiah: The Gospel of Matthew 1
  • A Torah-Abiding Messiah: The Gospel of Matthew 2
  • An Elite Evangelist: The Gospel of Luke 1
  • A Revolutionary Messiah: The Gospel of Luke 2
  • A Preexistent Messiah: The Gospel of John 1
  • Jews & Romans: The Gospel of John 2
Price: $38.00

Exploring the Gospels

Four Gospels, Composite Christ
  • Goals: Four Gospels, Composite Christ
  • Books of the New Testament
  • The Gospels
  • Jesus’ Early Life
  • The Mission Begins
  • The Miracle Worker
  • The Teacher & the Disciples
  • Three Years or One Year?
  • John’s Contributions
  • The Final Days
  • Resurrection & Return
  • Summary: Four Gospels, Composite Christ
  • Try It: Four Gospels, Composite Christ
Apostolic Acts, Apocalyptic Visions
  • Goals: Apostolic Acts, Apocalyptic Visions
  • Acts of the Apostles: A Sequel
  • Christian Beginnings
  • Persecution & Expansion
  • Paul’s Role
  • Questions & Problems
  • Acts & History
  • Revelation: An Apocalypse
  • Summary: Apostolic Acts, Apocalyptic Visions
  • Try It: Apostolic Acts, Apocalyptic Visions
Critical Approaches
  • Goals: Critical Approaches
  • The Historical & the Mythical
  • The Historical-Critical Method
  • A Multitude of Methods
  • Redaction Criticism & Form Criticism
  • Narrative Criticism
  • The Reader Writes Back
  • Feminist Criticism
  • Queer Criticism
  • Bible & Empire
  • Historical Criticism & Beyond
  • Summary: Critical Approaches
  • Try It: Critical Approaches
Back to top

A Secret Messiah

Outline: Mark
  • The Gospel of Mark
Reading Mark on Its Own Terms
  • Goals: Reading Mark on Its Own Terms
  • Skipping from Book to Book
  • Reading One Author at a Time
  • Mark Overshadowed
  • Mark as “Summarizer”
  • The Earliest Gospel
  • Mark’s Jesus & Other Characters
  • Summary: Reading Mark on Its Own Terms
  • Try It: Reading Mark on Its Own Terms
The Beginning of the Gospel
  • Goals: The Beginning of the Gospel
  • An Abrupt Beginning
  • An Apocalyptic Gospel
  • The Son of God
  • Mark & Empire
  • Recruiting Disciples
  • A Cosmic Battle
  • Summary: The Beginning of the Gospel
  • Try It: The Beginning of the Gospel
The Messianic Secret
  • Goals: The Messianic Secret
  • A Secret Messiah
  • A Theology of the Cross
  • An Awkward Secret
  • Elite Disciples
  • The Disciples’ Finest Moment
  • Jesus’ Mother
  • Summary: The Messianic Secret
  • Try It: The Messianic Secret
Disciples Running, Stumbling, Falling
  • Goals: Disciples Running, Stumbling, Falling
  • The Parables Discourse
  • Mark’s Parable Theory
  • A Cloud & a Storm
  • Casting Out Demons (and Romans)
  • Restoring Israel
  • Hard-Hearted Disciples
  • Jesus Outmaneuvered & Frustrated
  • Summary: Running, Stumbling, Falling
  • Try It: Disciples Running, Stumbling, Falling
Back to top

A Suffering Messiah

Outline: Gospel of Mark
  • Gospel of Mark
Jerusalem, the Cross & the Tomb
  • Goals: Jerusalem, the Cross & the Tomb
  • The Pivot of the Plot
  • Glory & Failure
  • The Passion Predictions
  • The Son of Man
  • Conflict at Jerusalem
  • Insiders & Outsiders
  • The Centurion
  • Female Followers
  • Summary: Jerusalem, the Cross & the Tomb
  • Try It: Jerusalem, the Cross & the Tomb
Who Was Mark & Why Did He Write?
  • Goals: Who Was Mark & Why Did He Write?
  • Endings of Mark
  • Who Wrote Mark?
  • Where Did Mark Write?
  • When Did Mark Write?
  • Destruction of the Temple
  • Jesus’ Imminent Return
  • Nero’s Persecution
  • Between Two Catastrophes
  • Anti-Imperial Ethics
  • Christianity & Empire
  • Summary: Who Was Mark & Why Did He Write?
  • Try It: Who Was Mark & Why Did He Write?
Back to top

The Synoptic Problem

The Problem & Why It Matters
  • Goals: The Problem & Why It Matters
  • The Lives of Jesus
  • Synoptic Gospels, Synoptic Problem
  • Main Solutions
  • Why the Synoptic Problem Matters
  • Ancient Solutions
  • Valuing Contradictions
  • Summary: The Problem & Why It Matters
  • Try It: The Problem & Why It Matters
How We Know They Copied
  • Goals: How We Know They Copied
  • Eyewitness Accounts?
  • Not Eyewitness Accounts
  • The Oral Tradition
  • Literary Dependence
  • Summary: How We Know They Copied
  • Try It: How We Know They Copied
The Solutions & Their Problems
  • Goals: The Solutions & Their Problems
  • Augustine’s Solution
  • Griesbach’s Solution
  • The Two Document Hypothesis
  • Mark’s Priority
  • Mark’s Obscurity
  • Minor Agreements
  • A Simpler Solution?
  • Summary: The Solutions & Their Problems
  • Try It: The Solutions & Their Problems
The Sayings Gospel Q
  • Goals: The Sayings Gospel Q
  • The Q Engima
  • The Sayings Gospel Genre
  • Dispensing with Q?
  • Was Q Written?
  • A Q Christology?
  • Did Mark Use Q?
  • M & L Material
  • Q, M, L
  • From 2DH to 4SH
  • Summary: The Sayings Gospel Q
  • Try It: The Sayings Gospel Q
Back to top

A Teaching Messiah

Outline: Matthew
  • The Gospel of Matthew
A New Moses
  • Goals: A New Moses
  • Matthew’s Preeminence
  • A Teaching Gospel
  • A Structured Gospel
  • A Revised Mark
  • Bookending Mark
  • Jesus’ Teaching in Matthew
  • Five Blocks, Five Books
  • Moses-Jesus Parallels
  • Israel-Jesus Parallels
  • Summary: A New Moses
  • Try It: A New Moses
A Divine Messiah
  • Goals: A Divine Messiah
  • Genealogy & Theology
  • Genealogy & Sexuality
  • Matthew’s Mary
  • Matthew & Scripture
  • A Sinful Jesus?
  • Matthew’s High Christology
  • Summary: A Divine Messiah
  • Try It: A Divine Messiah
Radical Ethics, Erratic Disciples
  • Goals: Radical Ethics, Erratic Disciples
  • The Sermon on the Mount
  • “You of little faith”
  • The Missionary Discourse
  • The Discourse on the Church
  • Cowardly Disciples
  • Comprehending Disciples
  • Peter’s Prominence
  • Female Disciples?
  • Summary: Radical Ethics, Erratic Disciples
  • Try It: Radical Ethics, Erratic Disciples
Back to top

A Torah-Abiding Messiah

Outline: Gospel of Matthew
  • Gospel of Matthew
Editing Mark, Authoring Matthew
  • Goals: Editing Mark, Authoring Matthew
  • Demystifying Mark’s Parables
  • Closing Mark’s Open Ending
  • Demystifying Mark’s Crucifixion
  • Glorifying Mark’s “Young Man”
  • Who Wrote Matthew?
  • When & Where?
  • Summary: Editing Mark, Authoring Matthew
  • Try It: Editing Mark, Authoring Matthew
A Jewish Gospel
  • Goals: A Jewish Gospel
  • Matthew’s Jewish Community
  • The Greatest Commandments
  • Observance in Matthew’s Community
  • Matthew & Paul on the Torah
  • Scribes & Pharisees
  • The Crisis within Judaism
  • Summary: A Jewish Gospel
  • Try It: A Jewish Gospel
Anti-Judaism & Anti-Semitism
  • Goals: Anti-Judaism & Anti-Semitism
  • “His blood be on us…”
  • An Anti-Semitic Gospel?
  • An Anti-Jewish Gospel?
  • Jesus, Moses, & the Torah
  • The Punishment of Jerusalem
  • “Go…to the lost sheep…”
  • The Great Commission
  • Summary: Anti-Judaism & Anti-Semitism
  • Try It: Anti-Judaism & Anti-Semitism
Back to top

An Elite Evangelist

Outline: Luke
  • The Gospel of Luke
Author & Audience
  • Goals: Author & Audience
  • The Author of Luke & Acts
  • What We Know About Luke
  • Luke, Companion of Paul?
  • The Two Pauls
  • The Authorship of Acts
  • Who Was Theophilus?
  • When Was Luke Written?
  • Luke & Gentiles
  • Summary: Author & Audience
  • Try It: Author & Audience
Evocations & Anticipations
  • Goals: Evocations & Anticipations
  • Luke’s Greek
  • Luke’s Infancy Narrative
  • John the Baptist in Luke
  • The Temple in Luke
  • Inconsistent Genealogies
  • Luke’s Universalism
  • To the Ends of the Earth
  • In Nazareth
  • Summary: Evocations & Anticipations
  • Try It: Evocations & Anticipations
The Disciples in Luke
  • Goals: The Disciples in Luke
  • Disciples on Supernatural Strings
  • Concealing & Revealing
  • Satan’s Return
  • Spirit Possession
  • Summary: The Disciples in Luke
  • Try It: The Disciples in Luke
The Gospel of Women?
  • Goals: The Gospel of Women?
  • Bringing Mary Forward
  • Pairing Women with Men
  • Jesus’ Female Followers
  • Taking Martha Out of the Kitchen
  • Women Disciples in Luke?
  • A Female Prophet in Mark
  • From Prophet to Prostitute
  • A Missing Woman
  • Summary: The Gospel of Women?
  • Try It: The Gospel of Women?
Back to top

A Revolutionary Messiah

Outline: Gospel of Luke
  • Gospel of Luke
Luke & Empire
  • Goals: Luke & Empire
  • Luke & Roman History
  • Counter-Imperial Christology
  • Pro-Roman Luke?
  • Anti-Roman Luke?
  • Ambivalence Toward Rome
  • Summary: Luke & Empire
  • Try It: Luke & Empire
The Gospel of the Poor
  • Goals: The Gospel of the Poor
  • Luke & Liberation
  • Peasant Beginnings
  • Sermon on the Plain
  • Reversals of Rich & Poor
  • The Two Teachings on Wealth
  • Summary: The Gospel of the Poor
  • Try It: The Gospel of the Poor
The Gospel of Prayer
  • Goals: The Gospel of Prayer
  • When Jesus Prays
  • Jesus’ Humanity
  • Summary: The Gospel of Prayer
  • Try It: The Gospel of Prayer
Luke & the End of History
  • Goals: Luke & the End of History
  • When Is the End Coming?
  • When Will Jesus Return?
  • The Present Kingdom of God
  • The Future Kingdom of God
  • Summary: Luke & the End of History
  • Try It: Luke & the End of History
An Exemplary Death
  • Goals: An Exemplary Death
  • Less of a Victim
  • Jesus’ Masculinity
  • Jesus’ Last Words
  • A Less Bleak Passion Narrative
  • Summary: An Exemplary Death
  • Try It: An Exemplary Death
Converging on Jerusalem
  • Goals: Converging on Jerusalem
  • Why Jerusalem?
  • Mentions of Jerusalem
  • The “Great Insertion”
  • Journey to Jerusalem
  • Destruction of Jerusalem
  • Centrality of Jerusalem
  • Summary: Converging on Jerusalem
  • Try It: Converging on Jerusalem
Back to top

A Preexistent Messiah

Outline: John
  • The Gospel of John
Why John Is Different
  • Goals: Why John Is Different
  • John & Imperial Christianity
  • A Divine Jesus
  • John’s Independence
  • A Jesus Older than the Universe
  • What John’s Jesus Teaches
  • A Different Chronology
  • The Lamb of God
  • The Johannine Language
  • John’s Jesus & History
  • An Evolving Gospel
  • Summary: Why John Is Different
  • Try It: Why John Is Different
Who Wrote John?
  • Goals: Who Wrote John?
  • The Beloved Disciple
  • Not an Apostle?
  • Who Was the Beloved Disciple?
  • The Beloved Disciple as Symbol
  • The Beloved Disciple as Author
  • Gospel of the Beloved Disciple
  • Summary: Who Wrote John?
  • Try It: Who Wrote John?
The Preexistent Son
  • Goals: The Preexistent Son
  • High versus Low Christology
  • Preexistence Christology
  • Divine Sonship
  • Preexistent Divine Sonship
  • Paul & John
  • John 1 & Jewish Scripture
  • The Preexistent Messiah
  • Summary: The Preexistent Son
  • Try It: The Preexistent Son
Back to top

Jews & Romans

Outline: Gospel of John
  • Gospel of John
Disciples & Other Characters
  • Goals: Disciples & Other Characters
  • Wrestling with John the Baptist
  • Perceptive Disciples
  • Courageous Disciples
  • A Dumbed-Down Peter
  • Male Insider, Female Outsider
  • Summary: Disciples & Other Characters
  • Try It: Disciples & Other Characters
John & Judaism
  • Goals: John & Judaism
  • A Troublesome Theme
  • Wedding at Cana
  • Seven Signs
  • Seven “I Am” Sayings
  • Superseding Judaism
  • Is John Anti-Jewish?
  • Who Are “the Jews” in John?
  • Summary: John & Judaism
  • Try It: John & Judaism
John & Empire
  • Goals: John & Empire
  • The Political Gospel
  • The Trials of Jesus
  • No Punishment for Rome
  • John’s “World”
  • King Jesus
  • Features of a Resurrected Body
  • Scarred by Empire
  • Summary: John & Empire
  • Try It: John & Empire

About the Author: Stephen D. Moore, Ph.D. (Drew University)

Stephen D. Moore is Edmund S. Janes Professor of New Testament Studies in the Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey. A native of Ireland, he received the Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Dublin (Trinity College) long ago. He is the author or co-author, editor or co-editor of around two dozen books, including Literary Criticism and the Gospels: The Theoretical Challenge (Yale University Press, 1989); The Postmodern Bible (Yale University Press, 1995); God’s Gym: Divine Male Bodies of the Bible (Routledge, 1996); God’s Beauty Parlor: And Other Queer Spaces in and around the Bible (Stanford University Press, 2001); Empire and Apocalypse: Postcolonialism and the New Testament (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2006); Mark and Method: New Approaches in Biblical Studies (with Janice Capel Anderson; Fortress Press, 2008, 2nd ed.); The Invention of the Biblical Scholar: A Critical Manifesto (with Yvonne Sherwood; Fortress Press, 2011); and Untold Tales from the Book of Revelation: Sex and Gender, Empire and Ecology (SBL Press, 2014). He has served on the editorial boards of many journals, including the Journal of Biblical Literature. He has been learning from teaching the New Testament for more than thirty years, and his most treasured professional achievements are the teaching awards he has won.

Privacy Preferences

When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in the form of cookies. Here you can change your Privacy preferences. It is worth noting that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we are able to offer.

Click to enable/disable Google Analytics tracking code.
Click to enable/disable Google Fonts.
Click to enable/disable Google Maps.
Click to enable/disable video embeds.
Our website uses cookies to enhance user experience. Define your Privacy Preferences and/or agree to our use of cookies. Thank you.