Joseph of Arimathea: A Study in Reception History

Paperback | March 6, 2014

byWilliam John Lyons

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Joseph of Arimathea: A Study in Reception History examines the extensive and convoluted afterlives of a minor biblical character who nevertheless plays a major role in three pivotal scenes in the passion of Jesus Christ as presented by the four canonical Gospels: the request to Pilate for thebody, the descent from the cross, and the burial of Jesus' corpse. Characterised in subtly different ways by each Evangelist, these sparse biblical Josephs were expanded, expounded, translated, harmonised, and extended by early literary sources and developed thematically by the artistic traditionsof the Renaissance. In the Medieval Period, Joseph arrived, by 'fortuitous' accident, in the British Isles, becoming an iconic figure for English nationalists (through the Glastonbury tradition) and for British Imperialists (through Parry's musical setting of Blake's Jerusalem). Twentieth-century developments in church life, film, literature, spiritualism, and studies of the historical Joseph round out what such a minor character can accomplish, given a sufficient richness in original texts and the right opportunities afforded by later cultural developments. In Joseph ofArimathea's case, certain aspects proved highly adaptable, especially the sharp contrast provided by his portrayal as a bold active figure in the Gospel of Mark and as a fearful passive character in the Gospel of John, the attractiveness of his wealth and nobility to those who considered themselvesof similar (or much higher) status, and the opportunities provided by his swift appearance and departure from the most important event in Christianity's foundational documents.

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Joseph of Arimathea: A Study in Reception History examines the extensive and convoluted afterlives of a minor biblical character who nevertheless plays a major role in three pivotal scenes in the passion of Jesus Christ as presented by the four canonical Gospels: the request to Pilate for thebody, the descent from the cross, and the b...

William John Lyons is Senior lecturer in Biblical Interpretation at the University of Bristol. His publications include Canon and Exegesis: The Canonical Approach and the Sodom Narrative (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002) and three co-edited volumes: New Directions in Qumran Studies(London: TandT Clark International, 2005); T...

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Hardcover|Aug 5 2002

$216.59 online$280.00list price(save 22%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 7.99 × 5.31 × 0.68 inPublished:March 6, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019969592X

ISBN - 13:9780199695928

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Biblical Joseph2. The Early Joseph3. The Renaissance Joseph4. The Glastonbury Joseph5. The Jerusalem Joseph6. The Twentieth-Century JosephConclusion