Conflicting Mythologies presents a cultural and anthropological interpretation of Matthew and Mark, examining their contribution to the formation of early Christian identity, world view and ethos. John Riches studies what sacred space and ethnicity meant to the authors of these two Gospels and how early Christian group identity emerged through a dynamic process of reshaping traditional Jewish symbols and motifs associated with descent, kinship and territory. Clearly influenced by their Jewish heritage, the Evangelists, according to Riches, attempted to propose a view of the world with opposing cosmologies. The title of Riches book reflects the struggle Mark and Matthew’s narratives faced in trying to make sense of the world and of human experience in terms of a paradoxical cosmology.
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John K. Riches is emeritus professor of divinity and biblical criticism at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of T&T Clark Study Guides: Matthew.