Original Research

A stress test for the strong homogeneity thesis

Joseph R. Mulvihill
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 51, No 1 | a2294 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v51i1.2294 | © 2017 Joseph R. Mulvihill | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 June 2017 | Published: 29 September 2017

About the author(s)

Joseph R. Mulvihill, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa


Over the last 30 years, there has been an attempted return to a particular way of framing and interpreting the primary Jesus narratives. This approach contextualises Jesus against the backdrop of the wider religious world. Proponents claim that the primary Jesus data was culled from a wide pagan template or common stock of ubiquitous religio-mythic concepts. I refer to this position as ‘the strong homogeneity thesis’. Though this way of assigning literary causation and activity to the Gospel tradents has been largely rejected by scholarly community, it has been offered recently by some academics. In what follows, I offer a new way of evaluating this thesis that tends to avoid the shortcomings associated with past and present efforts to establish this way of explicating the Jesus tradition.


Myth and Gospel; New Testament Parallels; Method, Gospels and Secular Literature; Pagan Matching


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