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Cradle Catholic with a lot of questions; such as, why am I just figuring this stuff out now?

December 17, 2010

Who wrote the gospels?

Christ never wrote a word of Scripture – nor did he tell his Apostles to write anything.  Most of his followers were illiterate.  Simply put, we have no information about Jesus written during his own lifetime.  In fact, most scholars date the writing of gospels somewhere between 45 and 120 years after the death of Christ.  It is commonly believed that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John did not actually write the Gospels attributed to them.  It is believed that the gospels bear these names because, in ancient times, it was common for literary works to bear the name of the person of whom the teachings were based.  In other words, the book would be recognized as the teachings of a particular person - rather than the author.  The writers of the gospels were educated Greeks that heavily relied on the oral tradition of the time in which they lived.  Want a little more information?  Here's a quick wrap-up.
Gospel of John
  • John was - one of the twelve original apostles
  • Based on - the teachings of John
  • Date of writing - near the end of the first century
  • Differs significantly from the other three gospels
Gospel of Matthew
  • Matthew was - a tax collector turned apostle
  • Based on - Gospel of Mark, “Q" (info shared by Luke and Matthew but not found in Mark)
  • Date of writing - 80-90 AD
Gospel of Mark
  • Mark was - a companion of Peter and Paul.
  • Based on - teachings of Saint Peter
  • Date of writing - 50-70 AD
Gospel of Luke
  • Luke was - Paul’s physician, mentioned only once in the New testament
  • Based on - Gospel of Mark, “Q" (info shared by Luke and Matthew but not found in Mark)
  • Date of writing - 80-90 AD
In the words of the First Vatican Council, the Church’s position on Scripture is that “having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author.”

References: Expressions of the Catholic Faith by Kevin Orlin Johnsom; Catholic Q & A: All You Want To Know About Catholicism by Father John J. Dietzen; Jesus Under Fire by Michael J. Wilkins and J.P. Moreland

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