Presentation on theme: "Who Wrote the Gospels?. Traditional Authorship Attributions: Mark was Peter’s interpreter. Matthew was one of Jesus’s disciples, but Matthew was also."— Presentation transcript:
Who Wrote the Gospels?
Traditional Authorship Attributions: Mark was Peter’s interpreter. Matthew was one of Jesus’s disciples, but Matthew was also a tax collector. Luke was a doctor and one of Paul’s traveling companions (Colossians 4:14). John was one of Jesus’s disciples.
Bart Ehrman’s Objections: “None of these Gospels makes any such claim about itself. All four authors chose to keep their identities anonymous.” “The disciples appear to have been uneducated peasants from Galilee. Both Simon Peter and John the son of Zebedee, for example, are said to have been peasant fishermen (Mark 1:16-20) who were ‘uneducated,’ that is, literally, unable to read and write (Acts 4:13).”
Bart Ehrman’s Objections: “Jesus and his apostles spoke Aramaic, the common language of the Jews in Palestine…the authors of the Gospels, are absolutely fluent in Greek.”—Bart Ehrman, The New Testament. Fourth Edition (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008),
“None of these Gospels makes any such claim about itself….” Tacitus was a second century Roman author, who wrote the Annals to serve as one of Rome’s historical accounts. Authorial attributions are found not in the text proper, but in the title, just like the Gospels.
“The disciples appear to have been uneducated peasants from Galilee…” They could have used scribes, even if some of the gospels’ authors were illiterate. Paul sometimes utilized a scribe: Romans 16:22 says: “I, Tertios, the one writing this letter, greet you (plural) in the Lord.” According to Papias (2 nd century), Mark wrote down Peter’s account for Peter.
Papias, in Eusebius, Church History : “The Elder used to say: Mark, in his capacity as Peter’s interpreter, wrote down accurately as many things as he [Peter?] recalled from memory—though not in an ordered form—of the things either said or done by the Lord.”
Jesus’s Apostles Would Not Have Known Greek…. “The common language of the Jews of the Roman empire (perhaps including Palestine) was Greek. Literate Jews (like Philo) spoke a literate Greek, wile illiterate Jews spoke a Greek that was the target of sneers from the educated…Jews spoke Greek like everyone else.”—Shaye J. D. Cohen, The Beginnings of Jewishness (University of California Press, 1999), 35.
Jesus’s Apostles Would Not Have Known Greek…. The Jews in the first century C.E. used the Septuagint (LXX), a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in Greek. Paul was a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5), but he wrote his letters in Greek.
The Jewish Historian, Flavius Josephus: “So for the benefit of the Emperor’s subjects I have decided to translate into Greek the books which I wrote some time ago in my native language for circulation among non-Greek speakers inland. I myself, Josephus, son of Matthias, am a Hebrew by race, and a priest from Jerusalem;” Josephus, The Jewish War, Book One, Chapter One, Section One.