The Influence of the Romantic Genius in Early Christian Studies

Robyn Faith Walsh


This article proposes that critical scholarship of the New Testament has inherited from German Romantic and Idealistic thought a number of presumptions about the role of the author that have contributed to idiosyncratic approaches to these texts when compared with allied studies of ancient literature. Namely, ``critical'' scholarship has continued to impose anachronistic, Romantic ideas of an implicit Volk (people, nation) or inspirational Geist (spirit) onto early literature about Jesus. I offer an alternative reading of the authorship of the gospels that reads them like other ancient literature, centered on concrete evidence for ancient literary practices.


Religion; Early Christianity; Authorship; Romanticism

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