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Author Topic:   Authorship of the Gospels
Member (Idle past 11 days)
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From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005

Message 1 of 2 (877402)
06-15-2020 3:05 PM

In a coffee house forum I posted this. Ramoss then posted this which is in line with ringo's response.
ramoss writes:

That is the claim. I do not see any evidence that claim is actually true. If fact, the internal evidence shows the first is not true, and shows it is highly unlikely for the second.

It isn't actually Bible Study as such but that is the only forum that I can see that fits this subject.

The individual who has done the greatest amount of research into the authorship of the Gospels is Richard Bauckham. I have read his book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses where with extensive research Bauckham provides a detailed account of his conclusions as to who wrote the 4 Gospels.
One of the sources that he uses is Papius born 70AD was a contemporary of the surviving disciples in their later lives as well as with Polycarp. Here is one of the remaining pieces of what Papius wrote.

I shall not hesitate also to put into ordered form for you, along with the interpretations, everything I learned carefully in the past from the elders and noted down carefully, for the truth of which I vouch. For unlike most people I took no pleasure in those who told many different stories, but only in those who taught the truth. Nor did I take pleasure in those who reported their memory of someone else’s commandments, but only in those who reported their memory of the commandments given by the Lord to the faith and proceeding from the Truth itself. And if by chance anyone who had been in attendance on the elders arrived, I made enquiries about the words of the elders—what Andrew or Peter had said, or Philip or Thomas or James or John or Matthew or any other of the Lord’s disciples, and whatever Aristion and John the Elder, the Lord’s disciples, were saying. For I did not think that information from the books would profit me as much as information from a living and surviving voice.

Papius wrote this about the authorship of Mark.

The Elder [John the Elder]used to say: Mark, in his capacity as Peter’s interpreter, wrote down accurately as many things as he recalled from memory—though not in an ordered form—of the things either said or done by the Lord. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied him, but later, as I said, Peter, who used to give his teachings in the form of chreiai, but had no intention of providing an ordered arrangement of the logia of the Lord. Consequently Mark did nothing wrong when he wrote down some individual items just as he related them from memory. For he made it his one concern not to omit anything he had heard or to falsify anything.

Papius also wrote the following.
Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely.

So, Mark was written by a disciple of Peter with Peter as the source of his material and of course quite possibly other disciples as well.
The author who wrote both Luke and Acts starts off his Gospel this way.
Luke 1 writes:

1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

We learn from the book of Acts, 2nd Timothy etc, that Luke was a travelling companion of Paul. As such, he would not only have the accounts of Paul, but would in all likelihood have had contact with other disciples. Luke was a gentile and Theophilus was likely a rich patron of Luke. In the third century Eusbius wrote this”
“But Luke, who was of Antiochian parentage and a physician by profession, and who was especially intimate with Paul and well acquainted with the rest of the apostles, has left us, in two inspired books, proofs of that spiritual healing art which he learned from them. One of these books is the Gospel, which he testifies that he wrote as those who were from the beginning eye-witnesses and ministers of the word delivered unto him, all of whom, as he says, he followed accurately from the first. The other book is the Acts of the Apostles which he composed not from the accounts of others, but from what he had seen himself.”
When that was written Esuebius would have still had all the writings of both Papius, Polycorp and Irenaius to refer to concerning the source of the Gospels.
Of the 4 Gospels, Matthew is the one that is the least clear as to authorship. Tradition was from very early on that it was done by the apostle Matthew the tax collector but there is nothing in the Gospel itself that gives any indication of authorship.
Papius writes this:
So then Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able.” And the same writer uses testimonies from the first Epistle of John and from that of Peter likewise. And he relates another story of a woman, who was accused of many sins before the Lord, which is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews.
As shown in a previous quote Papius was careful to use the attestations of only the eyewitnesses so although not conclusive it is reasonable evidence that it was Matthew the tax collector who wrote the Gospel attributed to him. Although the fact that it was originally written in Hebrew and later translated into Greek would also lend itself to attributing it to Matthew the tax collector. However Matthew was a fairly common name.
The book of John ends this way.
John 21 writes:

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” 20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. 25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

The author is declaring the fact that he was a disciple. It has traditionally been assumed from fairly early on that John is the brother of James the sons of Zebedee. Recent scholarship, (particularly that of Richard Bauckham) has not ruled that out but shows that it is quite likely wrong. Bauckham with considerable scholarship behind it believes that the disciple is “John the Elder” that is referred to by Papius. Here is a piece of Papius’ writing that I quoted earlier.
Papius writes:

And if by chance anyone who had been in attendance on the elders arrived, I made enquiries about the words of the elders—what Andrew or Peter had said, or Philip or Thomas or James or John or Matthew or any other of the Lord’s disciples, and whatever Aristion and John the Elder, the Lord’s disciples, were saying.

There are 2 Johns mentioned who were both disciples although only John son of Zebedee was one of the 12. In addition to the 12, there were a number of disciples who travelled with Jesus. John the Elder would have been one of those. Evidence shows (using Bauckham as my source) that it is very likely that John the Elder was a Judean Jew and would have had a slightly different experience of Jesus than the Galilean disciples would have had.
Also the Johannine epistles believed to have been written by the same author are identified in the opening of both the 2nd and 3rd epistle as being written by John the Elder.

So, I hold to my statement that the Gospels were written by an eyewitness in the case of John or from authors using eyewitnesses as the source for the synoptic Gospels.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

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Message 2 of 2 (877420)
06-15-2020 11:06 PM

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