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Three Gospels

Three Gospels

  • reading group guide
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  • Scribner | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451603149 | 
  • June 2010
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Chapter 1

I am hardly alone in the world in saying that the central narratives of the Old and New Testaments -- especially the four life stories called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John -- drew early at my mind and have kept their magnetism for me. In my case, their hold has lasted undiminished nearly six decades. Before I could read I often turned the profusely illustrated pages of Hurlbut's Story of the Bible, imagining what tales had produced such swarming pictures. By the age of eight, I had begun making drawings of my own from the knowledge I gained in reading the tales with my new-won literacy and yielding to the pull of their... see more

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Discussion Points

  1. One of the prime purposes of the gospels, obviously, is to induce belief in the reader -- belief that the man Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, the only Son of God. If you resist that purpose (as millions of people do) what changes might you have made in the manuscripts of Mark and John -- changes that would have made their central contentions more convincing to you?
  2. Though Mark and John do not set out to give you a detailed, intimate biography of the birth, career, and death of Jesus of Nazareth, deduce from your study of their central figure whatever you can honestly find of biographical and/or physical distinctiveness. Does the fact that Jesus could cover large distances on foot in rocky landscapes suggest that he was an especially robust man, for instance; or does the fact that he died on a cross in about three hours suggest the opposite -- that he was frail and quickly succumbed to torture? Deduce, as well, any mental and emotional traits you find implicit in what the gospels tell you about their main figure.
  3. Given the immensely broad effects of Christianity (for good and for havoc) on the planet and on the lives of all living creatures, what changes do you think Mark and John might make in their works if they could return now and see the result of their efforts some two thousand years ago?
  4. Is there any convincing evidence in either Mark or John that Jesus of Nazareth intended to f
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About the Author

Reynolds Price
Photo Credit: Sara Barrett

Reynolds Price

Reynolds Price (1933-2011) was born in Macon, North Carolina. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he taught at Duke beginning in 1958 and was the James B. Duke Professor of English at the time of his death. His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. Kate Vaiden was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Good Priest's Son in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.

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