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Featured Who wrote the Gospels

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by adrian009, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    Many Christian conservatives believe that two of the Gospels, Matthew and John were written by disciples who were first hand witness to the words of Jesus they heard. Many scholars argue that none of the Gospel writers were actual witnesses any of the events they wrote.

    What is the evidence that would support these conflicting views?

    To what extent if any does it matter whether the Gospels were eye witnesses or not?
     
  2. idav

    idav Being
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    Without an eye witness account you can pretty much scrap any of the miracles and resurrection which mainstream Christianity in the US has a hard time with.

    There is some verses in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19 which says if there was no death and resurrection of Christ then faith is futile. Personally I would think the life of Jesus is more important than that, as if his life and teachings don't really matter to the "no he had to die" crowd.
     
    #2 idav, Sep 9, 2017
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  3. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    There is irony in Paul's words about the futility of Christian belief without the resurrection. Paul never saw the resurrected Christ. His conversion experience was several years after Jesus's crucifixion and well after the alleged 40 days of resurrection experiences mentioned in the NT. Paul's conversion experience was a blinding vision on the road to Damascus, not experiencing Jesus as the other disciples did.
     
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  4. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon shunyadragon
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    The evidence indicates that the gospels, letters, epistles, and the Book of Revelation are the result of the compilers, editors, and redactors of the New Testament, the Church Fathers, after ~50 AD using possibly older simpler gospels, letters, and oral traditions.

    This does not mean the spiritual message of Jesus is not still found in the New Testament, but it undermines the doctrine and dogma of traditional Christianity.

    I prefer the Hebrew Theology that evolved into pure monotheism through Revelation, and that was the theism of Jesus Christ.
     
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  5. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    QUOTE:

    Over the course of the new few weeks, we will discuss the reasons for accepting the traditional viewpoints for New Testament authorship. We will begin with the Gospel of Matthew today and will then move towards the other three Gospels before looking at some of the letters in Revelation.

    The New Testament begins with the Gospel of Matthew. But, what do we know about the origin of the First Gospel? In a world where traditional scholarship is often questioned and too often disregarded, several theories exist as to whom the author of the First Gospel may be. Traditionally, the church has ascribed the First Gospel to the apostle known as Matthew. But, what evidence do we find about the author of the first book in the New Testament?

    [​IMG]

    Internal Evidence

    When we discuss internal evidence, we are speaking of the evidence that we find within the book in question. What clues do we find about the author of the First Gospel from the text? Like the other three Gospels, the First Gospel is anonymous.

    First, we find that the author of the First Gospel is thoroughly entrenched in Judaism. The author often quotes the Hebrew Bible (otherwise known as the Old Testament). He parallels the life of Jesus with the great prophets of Judaism. Additionally, he makes every effort to show that Jesus is the fulfillment of messianic prophecy. In many ways, the author of the First Gospel focuses on the Jewish aspects of the faith, even describing some areas such as Jesus’s exclusion clause for divorce. The writer of the First Gospel also focuses quite a bit more on Jesus’s messages than do some of the other Gospel writers.

    Second, the author focuses on Jesus’s work within Galilee and does not so much focus on Jesus’s work with Gentiles as does Luke. Thus, the evangelist is mostly concerned with Jesus’s ministry to the Jews.

    Finally, the author of the First Gospel adds financial details only found in the First Gospel. For instance, only the First Gospel records the incidence where those who collected the temple tax “approached Peter and said, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax” (Matthew 17:24)?[1]

    From all the details considered with the internal evidence (one who is thoroughly Jewish in scope of the messages presented by Jesus, one who focuses on the prophetic fulfillment of Jesus, one who focuses on the ministry of Jesus to Jews, and one who focuses on financial matters especially in the area of taxes), Matthew best fits as the author of the First Gospel. Matthew was a tax collector before accepting Jesus as Savior and his role as an apostle. Thus, Matthew’s knowledge of shorthand to take notes as well as finances would far excel most others.

    External Evidence

    When we speak of external evidence, we are addressing information we have about a document’s authorship from outside the document. What do others say about the author of the First Gospel?

    The early church is unanimous in their acceptance of Matthew as the writer of the First Gospel. Papias, Irenaeus, Pantaenus, and Origen all report Matthew as the writer of the First Gospel. Papias (c. AD 60-130) writes, “Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.”[2] While we do not have a Hebrew or Aramaic edition of Matthew’s Gospel, there are reports that one may have existed in the early church.[3]Regardless, one should not be surprised that Matthew, who would need to have great knowledge of Greek in the business world, originally wrote his Gospel in Hebrew or Aramaic, only to revise the Gospel in Greek. Even if his Gospel were written in Greek by another, even say an amanuensis,[4] this would not negate Matthew’s authorship. Craig Evans recently recorded a video where he claims that Matthew may have come about in phases.[5]

    Pantaenus also confirmed that Matthew was the author of the First Gospel. The great church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, writes that Pantaenus, a church leader in the late 2nd to possibly early 3rd century, came across the Hebrew version of Matthew’s Gospel. Eusebius notes that Pantaenus was “a man highly distinguished for his learning, had charge of the school of the faithful in Alexandria.”[6] The following is Eusebius’s report of Pantaenus’s encounter with the Hebrew edition of Matthew’s Gospel:

    “It is reported that among persons there who knew of Christ, he found the Gospel according to Matthew, which had anticipated his own arrival. For Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had preached to them, and left with them the writing of Matthew in the Hebrew language,6 which they had preserved till that time.”[7]

    With the addition of Origen and Irenaeus’s acceptance of Matthew writing the First Gospel, one is hard-pressed to dismiss their claims.

    In addition, scholars acknowledge that Matthew’s name was associated with the First Gospel from the earliest times. The writers of the CSB Study Bible denote that “the title that ascribes this Gospel to Matthew appears in the earliest manuscripts and is possibly original. Titles became necessary to distinguish one Gospel from another when the four Gospels began to circulate as a single collection.”[8]

    Date and Location of Writing

    It is certainly reasonable to accept that Matthew was written in the 50s due to the reasonable assumption that Acts was finished before AD 64, with Luke coming before Acts, and Matthew writing his Gospel before Luke’s. Scholars generally hold that Matthew composed his Gospel in or around Antioch of Syria.

    Conclusion

    Some may argue that a disciple like Matthew would not borrow material from Mark, if in fact it is true that Matthew did borrow material from Mark’s Gospel. However, when one considers that Matthew followed Jesus long after most of the apostles, and that Matthew was not an inner-circle disciple, then it stands to reason that Matthew would borrow material from Mark’s Gospel if it is true that Mark relayed information from Simon Peter—who was both an early apostle and inner-circle disciple.

    While some will still disagree, it seems strange to me to ascribe the First Gospel to Matthew of all people, especially when the First Gospel was used as a church manual in many cases. Matthew was a tax-collector. Tax-collectors were held in slightly higher esteem than pond scum…but not by much. So, why ascribe the First Gospel to a tax-collector unless there was at least some merit to the claim?

    In my humble opinion, I believe the First Gospel came to us in three phases. First, the apostle Matthew wrote the teachings of Jesus in Aramaic. Then, Matthew added the miracles and deeds of Jesus to his Aramaic and/or Hebrew edition of his Gospel adding his eyewitness testimony and the testimony of Simon Peter as found in Mark’s Gospel. Finally, either Matthew himself or a highly trained scribe translated the Gospel in Greek.

    Notes

    [1] Unless otherwise noted, all quoted Scripture comes from the Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017).

    [2] Papias, “Fragments of Papias,” in The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, vol. 1, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 155.

    [3] I believe it is Jerome who reports seeing a Hebraic Gospel of Matthew. But is this the same? We cannot know for sure.

    [4] That is, a scribe who writes down the words that are dictated to oneself. Some amanuenses were given freedom to add their own expressions to a degree.

    [5] Video recorded for Faith Life. I could not find the link. I will post the link if I am able to find it.

    [6] Eusebius of Caesaria, “The Church History of Eusebius,” in Eusebius: Church History, Life of Constantine the Great, and Oration in Praise of Constantine, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, trans. Arthur Cushman McGiffert, vol. 1, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1890), 224.

    [7] Eusebius of Caesaria, “The Church History of Eusebius,” in Eusebius: Church History, Life of Constantine the Great, and Oration in Praise of Constantine, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, trans. Arthur Cushman McGiffert, vol. 1, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1890), 225.

    [8] “Introduction to Matthew,” CSB Study Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017), 1494.

    Original Blog Source: Who Wrote the Gospel of Matthew?
     
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  6. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    Nobody knows any names or who even wrote them. It's all conjecture.
     
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  7. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    The evidence suggests that Matthew, like Luke, got his material from Mark (not necessarily directly), something called the Q document, which provides material found in Luke and Matthew, but not Mark, and a third source, one each for both Matthew and Luke, to account for material in Matthew but not in either Mark or Luke, and material in Luke not found in either Mark or Matthew. That can be shown graphically like this (the image won't reproduce in this post, so please click on link):

    File:Synoptic problem two source colored.png - Wikipedia

    "The Gospels of Matthew and Luke were written independently, each using Mark and a second hypothetical document called "Q" as a source. Q was conceived as the most likely explanation behind the common material (mostly sayings) found in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke but not in Mark."

    This argues very strongly against the authors of either Matthew or Luke being first hand witnesses. They're obviously repeating material from sources other than Jesus.
     
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  8. Faithofchristian

    Faithofchristian Well-Known Member

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    The four Gospel's were Written by Holy men of God, which were instructed by God what to write down.
    As were all Scriptures that make up the bible.

    Bible means, Book's within a Book.
     
  9. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    Hi Ken, what do you think about the authorship of Matthew? You haven't provided anything in your own words. Am I to assume you have nothing to say and are in agreement with the one you have quoted?

    At least you have included a link to what you gave posted and it is clear that the author is a Christian apologist. Lets consider the arguments:

    So the author is a Jew who knows Judaism. An assumption is made that he quotes from the Hebrew bible, but this could be from the Greek translation the Septuagint. The author clearly is a Christian who is emphasising Jesus's fulfilment of prophecy being the Messiah. This point emphasising the Galilee period adds little if any weight to the argument for Matthew as with the reference to temple taxes.

    I think it is unlikely that the author wrote versions in both Greek and Hebrew, and the earliest reference to gospel of Matthew is from Papias who refers to a Hebrew, not Greek text. Eusebius then quotes Papias. However the gospel of Matthew is written in Greek, not Hebrew, so the whole argument about Matthew being the author based on Papias essentially collapses.

    'The Gospel of Matthew is anonymous: the author is not named within the text, and the superscription "according to Matthew" was added some time in the 2nd century. The tradition that the author was Matthew the Apostle begins with Papias of Hierapolis (c. AD 100–140), an early bishop and Apostolic Father, who is cited by the Church historian Eusebius (AD 260–340), as follows: "Matthew collected the oracles [logia: sayings of or about Jesus] in the Hebrew language [Hebraïdi dialektōi], and each one interpreted [hērmēneusen—perhaps 'translated'] them as best he could." On the surface this could imply that Matthew's gospel itself was written in Hebrew or Aramaic by the apostle Matthew and later translated into Greek, but nowhere does the author claim to have been an eyewitness to events, and Matthew's Greek "reveals none of the telltale marks of a translation." Scholars have put forward several theories to explain Papias: perhaps Matthew wrote two gospels, one, now lost, in Hebrew, the other the surviving Greek version; or perhaps the logia were a collection of sayings rather than the gospel; or by dialektōi Papias may have meant that Matthew wrote in the Jewish style rather than in the Hebrew language.The consensus is that Papias does not describe the Gospel of Matthew as we know it, and it is generally accepted that Matthew was written in Greek, not in Aramaic or Hebrew.'

    Gospel of Matthew - Wikipedia
     
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  10. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    This is a very powerful argument as you say. 90% of the material from Mark is included in Matthew. There can be little doubt that Matthew was drawing on Mark as a primary source , rather than vice versa.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    Do you think it is a meaningless question for a Buddhist to ponder? It feels like its a meaningful question to me, and assists me to better understand the gospels. I'm interested in the origins of Buddhist sacred writing too so I can better understand what Buddha taught.

    So God told them what to write. How does that work? Do you think recalling the stories of Paul and some of the other early Christians may have been part of the process?
     
    #11 adrian009, Sep 10, 2017
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  12. Faithofchristian

    Faithofchristian Well-Known Member

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    Whether it be Old or New Testaments, all was given to the Holy men by God, to write down what God instructed them what to write down in Scriptures.

    We have to day many Bible's, all because the Roman Catholic Church did not like the fact that King James had taken the scriptures had them translated into English, So all English speaking people could read the scriptures in their own language.
    Before this the scriptures were in Greek and Hebrew. And the people had to go a Catholic Priest to know what the word of God said.
    The Roman Catholic Church wanted to keep people in darkness what God's word actually would say.
    Until king James taken some 40 men that was well known in the Greek and Hebrew language.
    And had them to translate the Greek and Hebrew into English.
    But many attempts were done to try and kill king James to prevent king James from having the scriptures translated into English.
    That now we have the KJV 1611, which has been the all time best selling Bible to have.
    While all the other Bible's were a product of the Roman Catholic Church to discredit the king James bible 1611.

    king James and those men that he chosen to translate the Greek and Hebrew into English, did the best they could with what tools they had.
    It took them 7 yrs to complete the translations from Greek and Hebrew into English language.
    Of both Old and New Testaments into English language.
     
    #12 Faithofchristian, Sep 10, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  13. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon shunyadragon
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    Considering how Matthew and Luke were composed it is most likely that Mark existed and was used directly, and all indication are Matthew was compiled in Greek likely from one or more older Aramaic/Hebrew gospels (Q?).

    I consider it likely that a separate document Q, possibly two a simply biography and a sayings gospel like Thomas, existed and used as source for later gospels, but its existence is open to question.

    There are a number of issues with the gospels that negate them as first person authorship. For example; The authors did not have knowledge of when the Roman census took place in relation to the birth of Jesus.
     
    #13 shunyadragon, Sep 10, 2017
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  14. Tmac

    Tmac Active Member

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    Please don't think I'm picking a fight, I don't understand what you mean by, "evolved into pure monotheism through Revelation". Inspiration is felt when an answer is realized, they had to be working on the problem of the many different God led tribes they encountered and when they figured it out, they could now defend their idea not only spiritually but intelligently (God by logic has to be singular) Inspiration, like the monolith in 2001 the movie can seem as though in came from somewhere else. I do believe God sustains existence.
     
    #14 Tmac, Sep 10, 2017
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  15. Kelly of the Phoenix

    Kelly of the Phoenix Well-Known Member

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    And since they STILL didn't know Greek or Hebrew, they had to trust what James' translators were paid to say. Convenient, no?

    Sales don't equal truth.
     
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  16. Faithofchristian

    Faithofchristian Well-Known Member

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    Now that's amazing.
    So what your saying, is that No translators can be trusted.
    Let's for say,that a translator did not give the correct interpretation to their leader, but gave his own interpretation to his leader.
    What do you suppose would happen to that translator, for not giving his leader the correct translation?
     
  17. David T

    David T Well-Known Member
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    One person wrote the gospels without touching quill to scroll and did it feom beyond the grave.
     
  18. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    Yes, I thought it was a good starting point

    I'm not sure how this makes it irrelevant. The Septuagint is supposedly translated by Jewish people. Additionally, the references to the OT were still from the Hebrew book. In other words, if I refer to the OT but speak in English, it is still referencing the Jewish scriptures.

    Obviously it is a Christian perspective but the detail of Hebraic understanding is still unmistakeable.

    I think it all depends on how one views the information. IF one is viewing it with the position that Matthew isn't the author, then one can make their case with what we have in evidence, a Greek transcript. However, one must realize that if one holds to the position of "emphasising the Galilee period adds little weight" remains very subjective

    However, if (as sited by the apologist) he did write it in Hebrew but the reality that Greek was the universal language, one could also hold to the position that the original Hebrew version is simply gone because of 2,000 years of deterioration along with whatever effort there was to destroy Christianity. It remains one of those things that only time can tell in as much as fragments continue to be discovered--perhaps one will be found in Hebrew. But certainly there are points to the possibility that it was also in Hebrew

    We must remember that
    "The OGM represents what the early church identified as the original work of Matthew in Hebrew. The Ebionites maintained custody at a library in Caesarea which Jerome was granted access to, and he did a complete translation around 390 AD. While that translation manuscript was lost, over 49 quotes of that OGM were made by the early patristic commentators including over 20 by Jerome. Rives has built his reconstruction of the OGM based upon those 49 quotes along with various Hebrew versions of Matthew that have portions which scholars contend are from the OGM." (emphasis mine)

    To ignore these points, IMV, would be wrong.

    Original Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew



    To say that "The Gospel of Matthew is anonymous" when the Patriarch Papias said differently already puts this quote in Wikipedia under suspect.

    Likewise, the rest of this quote can be dismantled as it is obvious that this person has formed his opinions and isn't honest enough to point to this fact.
     
  19. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    Some people would argue that this was more of a blessing in as much as Jesus said "Blessed are those who believe but have not seen". He may not have seed the crucifixion and resurrection but apparently he did see the resurrected Christ.
     
  20. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    Then we can agree to disagree :D Especially since the evidence is highly debated.
     
    #20 KenS, Sep 10, 2017
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