Thought, Word Watch

Are the four Gospels biographies of Jesus? At one level, this can be answered by New Testament scholars who study the genre of biographical writing in the first century. But there is also a linguistic answer to this question—and linguistically, all four Gospels are most definitely biographies.


Thomas Cranmer’s Preface to the Great Bible, 1540

A prologue or preface made by the most reverend father in God, Thomas Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan Primate of England

For two sundry sorts of people, it seemeth much necessary that something be said in the entry of this book by the way of a preface or prologue, whereby hereafter it may be both the better accepted of them which hitherto could not well bear it, and also the better used of them which heretofore have misused it. For truly some there are that be too slow and need the spur, some other seem too quick, and need more of the bridle; some lose their game by short shooting, some by overshooting; some walk too much on the left hand, some too much on the right. In the former sort be all they that refuse to read or to hear read the scripture in the vulgar tongue; much worse, they that also let or discourage the other from the reading or hearing thereof. In the latter sort be they which by their inordinate reading, indiscrete speaking, contentious disputing, or otherwise by their licentious living, slander and hinder the word of God most of all other, whereof they would seem to be greatest furtherers.