I’m going to review an Oxford University Press book I picked up at SBL called The Son of God in the Roman World, and the preface begins with an interesting invitation: Imagine yourself as a first century Jew living somewhere in the Mediterranean and seeking to spread the word of Jesus, the Son of God. How do you write his story? It concludes,
One main problem you have, as a Jew, with portraying God’s “son” is that God does not have a partner. For this reason, among others, your God is unusual in the Roman world. But if the paternal God does not procreate, how do you portray the divine sonship of Jesus? Again, where do you begin? Put yourself in Mark’s shoes—how do you narrate the life of God’s son?
A helpful exercise, but it seems to me to indicate the author imagines his audience to be a little leery of the notion that a Gospel author would appropriate Greco-Roman literary conventions and imagery.