David Litwa is brilliant, well-informed, and widely knowledgeable. He displays far more direct acquaintance with a range of Greek and Roman sources than is usual among NT scholars. Despite my criticisms of its thesis below, the book is more nuanced than its title, and Litwa’s larger contributions do not always depend on his particular examples. Despite his focus on wider Greco-Roman parallels, he readily and frequently acknowledges OT templates (e.g., pp. 93, 132). He also rightly warns against assuming that similarities with OT patterns mean that these patterns are causes of the Gospel material (pp. 31–32, 37). Although it is not his focus, he acknowledges that the Gospels are historical biographies (pp. 6–8, 53), that they reflect some information (pp. 9–10, 18–19, 29) and that the Evangelists believed that they reported actual events (p. 3). Many readers will profit from Litwa’s critique of mythicists (ch. 1). A major thrust of...

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