Who wrote the four books of the Gospel


#1

I would like to know exactly who are the four men who wrote the Gospel, and their interaction with our Lord.
Reason I am asking is, once an islamic apologist referred to the four Gospel writers as obscure men. And recently I honestly did not have a clear answer for my non-denominational Christian brother-n-law as to who the four Gospel writers were, not by name, but who they were.

Thanx.


#2

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Matthew and John were Apostles.

Luke was a disciple of Paul and Mark was a disciple of Peter.

They are far from being “obscure men” but what do you expect from those who do not believe and wish to lead others astray?


#3

Luke was also a great friend of Our Lady, hence his gospel having the fullest accounts of the Annunciation and other events from the early life of Christ.

And agreed, they are most definitely not obscure.


#4

Islam does have a certain advantage over Christianity in that its sacred book was apparently actually written by the man to whom it is attributed. The same is true of the Book of Mormon, and both “faiths” have about the same value, which is to say zero. Christians have the misfortune of knowing nothing about the writers of their scripture (except for St. Paul). We’re just stuck with that.

No modern scholar even of the deepest faith believes that any of the four evangelists was a direct disciple of Jesus. To the best of our knowledge and research, not one word of the New Testament was written by someone who knew Jesus personally. Who were they, then? After millenia of tradition, speculation, and scholarly research, your guess is as good as mine.


#5

Matthew (Levi)
Matthew was a Jewish tax collector who became one of Jesus’ disciples.

John Mark
He was not one of the 12 deciples, but he accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey.

Luke
A doctor, a Greek, and Gentile Christian. He is the only known Gentile author in the New Testament. Luke was a close friend and companion of Paul. He also wrote Acts, and the two books go together.

John the apostle
Son of Zebedee, brother of James, called a “Son of Thunder”.


#6

No modern scholar even of the deepest faith believes that any of the four evangelists was a direct disciple of Jesus. To the best of our knowledge and research, not one word of the New Testament was written by someone who knew Jesus personally. Who were they, then? After millenia of tradition, speculation, and scholarly research, your guess is as good as mine

So, who are these “modern scholars?” The Jesus Seminar people? The Catholic Encyclopedia says who they are. I would trust the 2,000 year old Tradition of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church before any “modern scholar.”


#7

“We don’t know” is a legitimate answer sometimes for Catholics, and we should not be ashamed of it. It is not, to my knowledge, a matter of either doctrine or authoritative teaching who actually wrote the gospels.l It is certainly not the folks named in the post prior to yours, which represents the state of the art at approximaetly 500 C.E.

Very orthodox Jews as well as some fundamentalist Christians still maintain that Moses (if he ever existed in the first place) wrote the Pentateuch. Even the Bible doesn’t say that he did, but it is a timeless notion for those who are devoted to it. I would remind everyone that no Gospel claims to be an eyewitness account except for John, the least likely candidate to be one and the most likely candidate to be a polemic disguised with a veneer of verisimilitude (which does not keep it from being perhaps the most important theological book of all time). And even in John, he does not literally claim that he is the third-person “disciple whom Jesus loved.” That’s just a traiditional interpretation, without much foundation.


#8

A fragment of the Gospel of John was recovered about 15 years ago, which has been dated to not later than 90 A.D. Since there are many fragments of Scripture that date VERY early, earlier than the earliest known complete NT, the 500 A.D. date is WAAAAYYY off. Even the Codex Sinaiticus dates from the early 4th Century.

You seem to be drawing upon scholarship that was current from 100-40 years ago. Considerable movement has been made since then that dates the NT much earlier than was thought when I was in seminary.


#9

90 AD (CE) is the classic dating for the Gospel of John. If we happen to have a fragment that actually dates to then, so much the better. It still makes the gospel approximately twenty years later than any of Jesus’ disciples could possibly have lived to produce such a work.

I am familiar with the school of thought to which you refer, and frankly, it is a stunning example of wishfull thinking. Text critical and religiously neutral scholarship does not negate theological value; it just makes us unhappy that we can’t point to historicity to back us up (an unnecessary goal in the first place). Would you rather have us dependent on the Koran or Book of Mormon, texts whose historicity is reliable but which teach manifest nonsense?


#10

If John was a beardless boy at the time of the Last Supper, as tradition holds, then he would have been about 14 or 15 years old in 33 AD, putting his birth at about 18 or 19 AD, making him 71 - 72 years of age in 90 AD - still pretty young for the times, since they tended to live into their 80s and 90s at that particular time in history. (Keep in mind that the “Dark Ages” were still 500 years in the future.)

It’s perfectly possible for him to have been alive, with his wits about him, and writing his books, in 90 AD.


#11

According to most theologians and biblical scholars, none of the original Apostles wrote the Gospels. The writers of the Gospels either were disciples of the Apostles or they received their information via Oral Tradition. Each Gospel was written for a certain group of people with a certain message for that group. For example, Mark’s Gospel was the first to be written, shortly after the destruction of the Temple. Mark’s message to his audience is to hold on just a little while longer and have faith in response to this destruction.

  Who cares who wrote what. What's important is that our Mother Church had the authority and guidance to sift through the hundreds of "Gospels" that were floating around by the 4th century. Should we include the Gospel of Peter and Mary, or just Mark and Matthew?

#12

jbuck919;

I agree. It seems an exercise in frustration to fix every word with the purported author.

The Oxford Companion to the Bible (ISBN0-19-504645-5, 1993, Oxford University Press) has an excellent article about the Johannine authorship tradition and evidence. The author’s conclusion (Stephen Smalley) is that John’s church in Ephesus and his community of followers, in all likelihood, committed to writing the Apostle’s teachings about Jesus and the Apostle’s views of christian theology AFTER the passing of St John in 85 to 100 AD. Smalley references the archeological and textual evidence.

That said, I think it instructive to note how Henry VIII claimed authorship of “Greensleeves.” Pity the poor Court musician, forever nameless, who wrote it and had to verify to any and all who asked that indeed His Majesty the Orotund One did in fact pen such a pleasant aire!

Whenever a person of public or artistic stature dies, there arises a flurry of lost (letters and speeches of Lincoln; plays and poems of Shakespeare) manuscripts vying for the public’s appetite. Recently (well, a few decades past!) I remember the hundreds of purported Picasso drawings and artworks the master never brought to the light of day.

The traditional Gospel authors dovetail with the understanding and beliefs of their early audiences. There are enough textual problems and (seeming?) contradictions in Jesus’ ministry accounts and attributed phrases to keep self-appointed, bible-thumping, Sole-revelation-to-me Prophets of God ministers rolling in greenbacks through to the next millennium.

Let’s avoid the Protestant pitfalls of personal exegesis and continue to understand the WHOLE context and intent of God’s Cycle of Redemption as revealed through our Church.

Good discussion here, everyone!

Happy New Year and Pax Christi (or, “Peace on earth to men of good will!”)


#13

Actually, that is not true of the Koran either. The method of the transmission of the Koran is not much different from that of the fours Gospels. Mohamed himself did not compile an “official edition” of the Koran. That was done by a four man committee after his death—who then conveniently destroyed all the manuscripts that they had used to compile the book. Thus we have no way of knowing what was omitted from the book (intentionally or inadvertently), or whether the most correct versions were preserved, or even for that matter if deliberate changes were not made in the book.

The same is true of the Book of Mormon, . . .

You have a valid point about that one. We have a pretty good idea of how the book was originally published; and we even have copies of the first edition to go and have a look at. Even the printer’s copy has largely survived intact, as wall as much of the original manuscript written as dictated by Joseph Smith.

zerinus


#14

You have a valid point about that one. We have a pretty good idea of how the book was originally published; and we even have copies of the first edition to go and have a look at. Even the printer’s copy has largely survived intact, as wall as much of the original manuscript written as dictated by Joseph Smith.

zerinus

Zerinus;

I have a copy of the first edition. It’s instrumental in proving to missionaries and their “bishops” the contradictions and changes to current editions of the Book of Mormon.

The KJV figures prominently in the original BofM.

Funny, the language and whole passages are deleted from newer editions.

Same language: different beliefs. That’s Mormonism!


#15

My friend, I have no idea what you are talking about. You provide no substance for what you say that can be discussed and debated. If this is your style of debate, then I am afraid you are right, we do not have a lot to talk about.

zerinus


#16

It is generally held that John did survive until about that date.


#17

I don’t know what C.E. stands for, but you are wrong it says Matthew was written approximatly A.D. 60-65, Mark was written between A.D. 55 and 65, Luke was written about A.D. 60, and John was written probably A.D. 85-90. Your 500 is way off.


#18

500 CE is completely out to lunch; St. Jerome had already translated the entire New Testament into Latin by 405 CE.

Even if he wrote it himself, that’s still nearly a century earlier than what you’re saying.


#19

C.E. stands for Common Era, or Current Era. As I understand it from college, it is the pc way of saying A.D. It means the same thing.

Please someone correct me if I am wrong, but this is what I was taught in college a few years ago. :slight_smile:


#20

Let me guess - without the help of millenia of tradition, speculation, and scholarly research - what Muslims and skeptics would say about the New Testament if the Evangelists had added their signatures into the texts of their testimony: “The New Testament could not have been written by these people! The fact that the Gospels have the name of certain disciples for authorship proves they were written by others that tried to authorize their teaching through the name of some apostles & disciples” :smiley: Dear bro, I have already seen this film! :wink:

As for Islam, the only advantage they have is that their Scripture is comparatively newer than Jewish & Christian Scripture. However, that advantage pathetically turns into a disadvantage when the following fact is taken into account: the Quran fails to have the least historic accuracy about Judaism & Christianity as a book written six hundred years after the Bible!

Finally, there are many modern scholars who claim that the Quran reached its latest form during the reign of the third Chaliph Uthman, after many revisions & editions.

According to you, who is the writer of the Islamic Scripture? I must say “writers” because I have been making the textual analysis of the Quran and that study has so far convinced me that Mohammed’s book was written by many independent authors! :wink:

Peace,
Angelos N.


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