Who Wrote the New Testament?: The Making of the Christian Myth Test | Final Test - Hard

Burton L. Mack
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What collection of early Christian texts does the Didache now belong to?

2. What does Mack say about the letter of Jude?

3. What was Valentinus' claim about what Christ made possible, in terms of knowledge of God?

4. Whose conversion eventually led to the creation of the New Testament?

5. How many miracles occur in the Gospel of John?

Short Essay Questions

1. Explain Mack's discussion of when the Epistles of Peter and Jude were written. What references does he use to attempt to date the pieces?

2. What did the Jewish scripture available to early Christians consist of?

3. Describe Mack's observations about James as an author in the first three centuries.

4. What were the two key arguments that the centrists tried to use against the non-centrist positions of Valentinus and Marcion?

5. What were the four ways of reading the scripture that supported the Christian inclusion of Jewish scripture in their religion?

6. Explain the conversion of Constantine, and why it was pivotal in the creation of the Bible.

7. How does the Gospel of John differ from that of Mark?

8. What were the common values contained in both the temple system of sacrifice and the family system of rituals that allowed the translation of one into the other?

9. What was Valentinus' story of the tragedy of the birth of the world?

10. What are the three themes that dominate the story of Jesus and his resurrection in the Gospel of Luke?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss Mack's interpretation of Paul's argument to the Thessalonians in terms of the question of those who had already perished. What was the original intent of the question, according to Mack? How did Paul respond? What were his arguments? How did he alter the message of the Christ myth to fit his argument? Why was the question of a concern for the dead a common issue in the Easter Mediterranean? Why does Mack argue that Paul's response to the question indicates the question was really about belonging? How did Paul's answers lead to an idea of eternal life?

Essay Topic 2

Compare and contrast the ideas of Marcion of Sinope to the ideas of Valentinus. Who were these individuals? What were their arguments against the centrist concept of Christianity? How do their arguments differ? How are they similar? Combined, how did their ideas influence the rest of the world? How did their ideas lead to the concept that the Jewish scriptures were "really" about Christians?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss Mack's three arguments about why the Bible has survived unquestioned throughout history. Why does he say this has happened? Be sure to discuss Mack's views of the Bible as an oracle, the Bible as the ritual text of Christianity, and the Bible's function as an epic for the American dream. What are each of these, and why do they help to position the Bible in a high, unquestionable place of power?

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