Imagination and reality proclaim the gospel

Imagination goes a long way in understanding reality. This paradoxical experience belongs not only to Western culture, but also to Western culture from the very beginning: the Greek tragedy did not depict any real events. Instead, it was intended to illustrate the human condition through the sinister entanglement of illusory people due to their arrogance.

Christians are familiar with the explanatory power of fictional or fictional narratives, because parables are an essential part of Jesus’ preaching.

“Different traditions do not mean imagination.
Instead, they go to witnesses or different sources
as well as the different styles of individual missionaries.”

Whether or not the story of the prodigal son and the merciful father actually occurred as Jesus said, it makes no difference the purpose of drawing the attention of listeners (and future readers) to a particular doctrine. It also has nothing to do with whether there was a “good Samaritan” whose works Jesus narrates, or whether he “invented” the parable.

But if fictional or fictional narratives occupy a prominent place in a book that seeks to provide “an account of all that has happened between us” (Luke 1:1), the question arises as to what proportion of fiction and reality are connected in the Bible. Because the Gospels – like the Old Testament – are also literature and narrative rather than a kind of verbal recording, a comparison with known historical and literary works of antiquity and the Middle Ages can provide clues.

Great works of art don’t need real essence

At the beginning of Western literature, there are two epic works, “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey”, in which authorship (“Homer’s Question”) and its historical essence are discussed in the research. In the great epics of European literature, but also Japanese literature, such as “Heike Monogatari”, which is based on a collection of orally transmitted stories, mainly of blind dignitaries, about the struggle between two samurai clans for supremacy in Japan in the twelfth century – It turns out that the line between fantasy and reality is fluid.

The historical essence of each of the various versions of the Nibelungen and Arthurian epic is covered by written and oral versions of the epic. In the case of the French “Chanson de Roland” and the Spanish “Cantar de Mío Cid” the historical background is more clear, but here also the imaginative and imaginative elements are omnipresent. In fiction, the question of historical plays a secondary role. Is it Cervantes? Don Quixote, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, or Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment are based on “real facts” or were fictional, not critical to the depiction of the human condition contained in them. And whether or not it was based on “real facts” also had nothing to do with the quality of the movie.

How true are the historical dates?

The mixture of fictional, fictional, and historical elements also characterizes great ancient historical works. The monumental history of Rome by Titus Livius “Ab urbe condita” begins with the epic of the founding of Rome: the arrival of fleeing Trojans in Rome, Romulus and Remus, the abduction of the Sabine women … documented events, such as the Punic Wars, the Civil War and the rise of Augustus to power.

Much more history is attributed to the important historian of Greek antiquity, Thucydides, who established a historiography committed to the search for truth through the “Peloponnesian War”. However, Thucydides associates facts with fictional passages, not only because – as the author himself admits – he does not claim a literal presentation of the sermons in the sermons, which constitute about a quarter of the entire work, but above all because of the role that the author assigned to Pericles.

Fantasy and reality summary

On the question of “fictional, novelistic, and historical” in the Gospels, the first thing that makes sense is the distinction between the teachings that Jesus gives in different contexts and what is reported about him. Concerning Proverbs, Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI. In “Jesus of Nazareth” from “Historical Layers”. The term can also be applied to the interaction between purely fictional and historical images throughout the Gospels.

Luke, in particular, explicitly claims to narrate what is historically authentic: “Many have already undertaken to write an account of all that has happened and been accomplished among us. And in doing so, they have preserved the tradition of those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word from the beginning. Now I, too, have decided to study Everything carefully from A to Z that I write to you, dear Theophilus” (Luke 1: 1-3) and “In the first book, dear Theophilus, I reported everything that Jesus did and knew” (Acts 1: 1).

The historical life of Jesus is the framework of his mission

First of all, historical facts are the cornerstone of the Christian faith: the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity in Jesus, birth, passion, death and resurrection (“If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not risen either. But Christ has not, our preaching is empty, And your faith is also empty”, 1 Cor 15:13-14), establishing the “power of redemption” and the Eucharist and the Ascension of Christ as a prerequisite. To send the Holy Spirit. Historical facts also include the “signs,” the miracles that Jesus performed. Another thing is that there are individual problems of classification – such as the date of the Lord’s Supper – where many versions were handed down, for example to the multiplication of bread or the words of Jesus on the cross. Different traditions do not mean imagination. Instead, they go back to the different witnesses or sources and to the different methods of evangelical individuals.

The teachings of Jesus, included in it and partly covered by parables, are on a different level than what might be described as a “framework story.” Here, too, there are differences between, for example, the Sermon on the Mount and other statements in direct speech (“You are the salt of the earth,” Matthew 5:13) and the “narrations” by which Jesus wanted to illustrate these teachings: coming to the “frame story” horizontal”. “Vertical” plot lines – without mixing the level, the peculiarity of the Gospels in “dramatic” terms. It is only when both elements are considered together that the truth of the gospel reports comes to light. In the words of Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI. In “Jesus of Nazareth”: the deeper meaning is revealed “if we read only the Bible, especially the Gospels, as a unity and completeness, which in all its historical layers expresses an internally coherent message.”

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