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The Historicity of the Gospels
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Jerome D. Gilmartin

Catholic Religious Studies - 101

“Welcome to this Catholic university and to Religious Studies 101 – The Gospels. I know that Christians in this class have been taught that the Gospels were written by apostle-eyewitnesses Matthew and John, and by Mark (Peter) and Luke (Paul). But most biblical scholars today are not sure who wrote these Gospels. There are historical indications that Mark wrote what he heard Peter preach, but evidence within the Gospel calls that into question. Whoever Mark may have been, most scholars believe Mark was the first Gospel written. Matthew, whoever he was, probably wrote next, using Mark as a source. Luke, whoever he was, wrote next using both previous Gospels as well as other sources. In addition to these Gospels, there is one more source we look to in our search for the historical Jesus. It is "Q," a hypothetical, never found list of sayings of Jesus. Later this semester we’ll consider The Gospel according to John, which was probably not written by John the apostle." "But professor, didn't the apostle Matthew write his Gospel in the Hebrew dialect before leaving Jerusalem?" "Maybe," the professor replies, "but biblical scholars believe that whoever wrote the only Matthew we have, the Canonical Greek Matthew, probably used Mark as a source. The apostle Matthew would not have needed a source. For this and other reasons scholars believe Matthew was written later, anonymously. These four Gospels are part of the biblical canon and the Church calls upon all Catholics to accept them on faith. In this class, however, we will study them not from the standpoint of faith, but primarily using the Historical-Critical Method; specifically, the Markan priority, Two-Source Hypothesis.”

The unwarranted dominance of Markan priority and the Two-Source Hypothesis

Are the canonical Gospels historically authentic? If so, why do great numbers of college students lose their faith in the biblical Jesus? Although scholars had long studied biblical Continue reading →