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Historicity of the canonical Gospels

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The historicity of the gospels refers to the reliability and historic character of the four New Testament gospels as historical documents. These gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John recount the life, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus.

Prominent, mainstream historians consider the synoptic gospels to have serious historical value. They affirm the historical existence of Jesus as a Galilean teacher[1][2] and of the religious movement he founded, and they look to the gospels for historical information about both. Historians subject the gospels to critical analysis, attempting to differentiate authentic, reliable information from what they judge to be inventions, exaggerations, and alterations.[3] The Gospel of Mark, the first of the four gospels, narrates the historically authentic baptism of Jesus, preaching, and crucifixion of Jesus. Matthew and Mark follow Mark's narrative, with some changes, and add substantial amounts of Jesus' ethical teaching, such as the golden rule. They also add some details that historians largely discount, such as the nativity of Jesus. The fourth gospel, John, includes a number of historically reliable details, but it differs greatly from the first three gospels, and historians largely discount it. The canonical gospels, overall, have more historically authentic content than the various noncanonical gospels.

Alternatively, some Christian scholars maintain that the gospels are inerrant descriptions of the life of Jesus,[4] while certain other scholars have concluded that they provide no historical information about his life.[5]


The historicity of the gospels refers to the historic character and nature of the gospels.[6] In evaluating the historical nature of the Gospels scholars consider a number of factors including:

  • Authorship and Date of composition;[7]
  • Intention and Genre;[8]
  • Gospel sources and oral tradition;[9][10]
  • Textual Criticism; (that is, do the extant copies accurately reflect the autograph (original) texts.[11])
  • Historical authenticity of specific sayings and narrative events.[12]

Authorship and Date

Although also dependent on sources and genre, the date and authorship of a historical source are determinant in evaluating its historicity.[13] For example, a source written by an eyewitness or within the line of reliable transmission of the content written close to the events would generally hold more historical value than a source written many years later by an author greatly disconnected from the event.

Christian views

By the second century there was a firm tradition associating each gospel to one of Jesus' apostles. Apostolic connection between the gospels and apostles was noted by numerous early church writers, such as Papias as well as Justin Martyr (c 100-165) who frequently referred to them as the “Memoirs of the Apostles." Justin also reports that these "memoirs" were read out at Sunday services interchangeably with the writings of the Old Testament prophets.[14][15][16]

The Christian authors of antiquity generally associated the gospels as shown on the table.[17]

Gospel Author and apostolic connection
Gospel of Matthew Saint Matthew, a former tax-collector, one of the Twelve Apostles.
Gospel of Mark Saint Mark, a disciple of Simon Peter, one of the Twelve
Gospel of Luke Saint Luke, a disciple of Saint Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles
Gospel of John Saint John, one of the Twelve, referred to in the text as the beloved disciple

Muslim view

Muslims acknowledge Jesus as a prophet who brought a written message to the faithful in the form of a Gospel which was subsequently lost, but which would not have been inconsistent with the Qur'an. Islamic tradition regards the four Christian gospels as corruptions of this original gospel.

Modern scholarly views

The four canonical gospels are anonymous, with no author identified in the text.[18] Scholars regard the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and John[19] not to have been written by their reputed authors. Scholars are divided over whether Luke, a colleague of Paul, authored the Gospel of Luke.

For decades after Jesus' death, his followers spread his message by word of mouth. Eventually they began writing down the words and deeds of Jesus. Most scholars agree the Gospel of Mark was the first canonical gospel written (see Markan priority). It was composed about the time of the destruction of the Jewish Temple by the Romans in the year AD 70. This gospel is well-suited to a Roman audience, and the author may have been from Rome, where there was a large Christian community. The next canonical gospel was Matthew, written for a Jewish audience. The author used Mark for his narrative structure and added substantial teaching material from a now-lost source, known as Q. Matthew was followed closely by Luke, the most literary of the gospels. Like Matthew, Luke basically follows Mark's order of events and incorporates material from Q. Like Acts, the Gospel of Luke emphasizes the universal nature of Jesus' message. Finally, around the year AD 90, the "beloved disciple" or his students composed Gospel of John, possibly in Ephesus. The fourth gospel tells a much different story from that found in the synoptic gospels. The Gospel of John is the only canonical gospel that identifies an author, described only as the "disciple whom Jesus loved." Scholars speculate that he might have been a disciple from Jerusalem. (See also Authorship of the Johannine works.)

Genre, Sources and Development

The genre of the gospels is essential in understanding the intentions of the authors regarding the historical value of the texts. New Testament scholar Graham Stanton summarises the current dominant view stating:

"The gospels are now widely considered to be a sub-set of the broad ancient literary genre of βιοι, biographies. Even if the evangelists were largely ignorant of the tradition of Greek and Roman bioi, that is how the gospels were received and listened to in the first decades after their composition."[20]

Charles H. Talbert agrees, but adds:

"It would seem, therefore, that early Christians were aware of the Mediterranean myth of the immortals and utilized it in one way or another in their proclamation of Jesus. When they employed this myth in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke-Acts as a principle by which to order the Jesus materials, they were doing what pagan and Jewish writers had already done and were doing. The sweeping statement that Graeco-Roman biographies were not mythical is inaccurate. The mythology of the immortals was used by some as the frame for their story—as do the synoptic gospels."[21]

He also states:

"It seems to me that it is the fact that John, like the synoptic gospels and certain Graeco-Roman biographies, is ordered by myth that is important rather than which myth is employed." [22]

Dr Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis states:

"We must conclude, then, that the genre of the Gospel is not that of pure "history"; but neither is it that of myth, fairy tale, or legend. In fact, evangelion constitutes a genre all its own, a surprising novelty in the literature of the ancient world."[23]

Most scholars understand Luke's works (Luke-Acts) in the tradition of Greek historiography.[24] The preface of The Gospel of Luke (1:1-4), drawing on historical investigation, is believed by some to have identified the work to the readers as belonging to the genre of history.[25]

Oral Gospel

At the inception of Christianity, the proclaimed gospel of Jesus was an oral gospel.[26] The contents of this oral gospel, recorded in part in the epistles of the New Testament as well as the speeches in the book of Acts, were like the written gospels in that they were both biographical and theological.[27]

In 1 Corinthians 15 the Apostle Paul records the pre-formulated oral tradition which he received and is now passing on to the Church at Corinth. This creedal summary includes historical claims about Jesus - that he died, was buried, raised on the third day and appeared to the Apostles and others. In addition, it contains theological claims - "that Chris died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures." (1 Cor. 15:3)[28] Scholars have noted that the structure and content of 1 Cor 15 is also reflected in Paul's preaching in the synagogue at Antioch recorded in Acts 13, as well as the Apostle Peter in Acts 10.[29]

Synoptic Gospels

The synoptic Gospels refer to the Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of Mark, and the Gospel of Luke, that display a high degree of similarity in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures. Most scholars understand these similarities as resulting from the synoptic problem which refers to the literary relationship among these three accounts. Most scholars accept that Matthew and Luke independently copied Mark for its narrative framework, and independently added discourse material from a non-extant collection of sayings, which they call Q. Eighty-nine percent of Mark's content was reproduced in Matthew, and seventy-two percent of Mark’s content was reproduced in Luke.[30] This is called the synoptic problem, and the material which is common to all three gospels constitutes the Triple Tradition.

Traditionally there are considered to have been four main sources for the synoptic gospels:

  • The Gospel of Mark - according to the dominant two-source hypothesis, both Matthew and Luke used parts of Mark.[31]
  • Q source - refers to common material which is found in both Matthew and Luke but which did not come from Mark.[32]
  • M Source - refers to material found only in the Gospel of Matthew.[33] The tone of the M material reflect a Jewish and Palestinian origin, and consist of a number of Jesus' teachings and parables.[34]
  • L Source - refers to material unique to the Gospel of Luke,[35] possibly from the eyewitnesses and ministers of the word referred to in the prologue.[36]

The reconstructed Q document appears to have been a collection of Jesus' parables and teachings. It has been argued by some that Q does not mention the nativity, the selection of the disciples, Jesus’ death or his resurrection[37][38][39][40]. Other scholars such as Maurice Casey argue that Q contained "at least part of a passion narrative"[41] as well as Jesus affirming his own personal resurrection.[42]

Most ancient historians and New Testament scholars hold the synoptic gospels as generally reliable and trustworthy ancient historical sources.[43][44][45][46] Prominent historical Jesus scholar, James D.G. Dunn believes that:

"The earliest tradents within the Christian churches [were] preservers more than innovators...seeking to transmit, retell, explain, interpret, elaborate, but not create de novo...Through the main body of the Synoptic tradition, I believe, we have in most cases direct access to the teaching and ministry of Jesus as it was remembered from the beginning of the transmission process (which often predates Easter) and so fairly direct access to the ministry and teaching of Jesus through the eyes and ears of those who went about with him."[47]

Another school of thought regarding the gospels and historical Jesus lead by North American scholars such as John Dominic Crossan propose that Jesus was an itinerant Jewish teacher, within the tradition of the Greek cynics.[48] This school is more sceptical of the gospels and their apocalyptic themes, preferring various versions and redactions of the hypothetical Q document and Gospel of Thomas. The assumptions and method of this school has come under increasing criticism by many leading historians.[49]

Gospel of John

Unlike the synoptic gospels, historians approach the Gospel of John in a different manner. Whereas the synoptic gospels are in some sense inter-related regarding written sources, John uses an independent oral tradition stream.[50][51] James Tabor describes the core narrative of John as "an independent account based on materials and testimony the authors (the “we” of John 21:24) attribute to the mysterious unnamed “disciple whom Jesus loved,” who only shows up at the “last supper” and appears again at the crucifixion, the empty tomb, and up on the Sea of Galilee when the disciples had returned to their fishing (John 21:24; 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7 & 20)."[52]

In contrast to the synoptic gospels, scholars are generally more sceptical towards the historical value of the fourth gospel.[3] As James D.G. Dunn notes, "few scholars would regard John as a source for information regarding Jesus' life and ministry in any degree comparable to the Synoptics."[53] However, to many scholars John does contain historically plausible elements.[54] Henry Wansbrough says: "Gone are the days when it was scholarly orthodoxy to maintain that John was the least reliable of the gospels historically." It has become generally accepted that certain sayings in John are as old or older than their synoptic counterparts, that John's knowledge of things around Jerusalem is often superior to the synoptics, and that his presentation of Jesus' agony in the garden and the prior meeting held by the Jewish authorities are possibly more historically accurate than their synoptic parallels.[55] And Marianne Meye Thompson writes: "There are items only in John that are likely to be historical and ought to be given due weight. Jesus' first disciples may once have been followers of the Baptist (cf. Jn. 1:35-42). There is no a priori reason to reject the report of Jesus and his disciples' conducting a ministry of baptism for a time (3:22-26). That Jesus regularly visited Jerusalem, rather than merely at the time of his death, is often accepted as more realistic for a pious, first-century Jewish male (and is hinted at in the other Gospels as well: Mark 11:2; Luke|13:34; 22:8-13,53) ... Even John's placement of the Last Supper before Passover has struck some as likely."[56]

Textual Criticism and Interpolations

Byzantinischer Maler um 1020 003

An 11th century Byzantine manuscript containing the opening of the Gospel of Luke.

Textual criticism is a branch of literary criticism that is concerned with the identification and removal of transcription errors in the texts of manuscripts. Ancient scribes made errors or alterations (such as including non-authentic interpolations).[57] With regard to the gospels, the ultimate objective of the textual critic's work is the production of a "critical edition" containing a text most closely approximating the original.[58]

According to scholars such as the late Sir Frederic Kenyon,[59] the New Testament sources were not significantly altered since they were first documented. Contemporary textual critic Bart D. Ehrman cites numerous places where the gospels, and other New Testament books, were apparently altered by Christian scribes.[60]

There are two main examples of narrative textual interpolations that came to be found within some copies of the gospels:

Markan Appendix

Many versions of the Bible specifically point out that the most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses did not include Mark 16:9-20, i.e. the Gospel of Mark originally ended at Mark 16:8, and additional verses were added a few hundred years later. This is known as the "Markan Appendix".[61][62][63]

The current consensus among scholars is that verses 9–20 were not part of the original text of the Gospel of Mark but represent a very early addition. The New American Bible translation includes the footnote: "[9–20] This passage, termed the Longer Ending to the Marcan gospel by comparison with a much briefer conclusion found in some less important manuscripts, has traditionally been accepted as a canonical part of the gospel and was defined as such by the Council of Trent. Early citations of it by the Fathers indicate that it was composed by the second century, although vocabulary and style indicate that it was written by someone other than Mark. It is a general resume of the material concerning the appearances of the risen Jesus, reflecting, in particular, traditions found in Luke 24 and John 20."

Scholars such as N. Clayton Croy have suggested that the Gospel of Mark originally contained a birth narrative and longer ending which was, however, lost in an early manuscript. Croy draws analogy to an old comic book losing the front and back page.[64]

Pericope Adulterae

The Pericope Adulterae is a traditional name for the passage (pericope) in the Gospel of John7:53-8:11 which describes a confrontation between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees over whether a woman, caught in an act of adultery, ought to be stoned. In this incident Jesus challenges the crowd to “cast the first stone”. Most scholars agree that it was "certainly not part of the original text of St John's Gospel".[65][66][67]

Although not originally found within the written Gospel text, it has been suggested that the pericope may represent an instance where a historical tradition survived outside of the bounds of the canonical literature.[68]

Criteria of Authenticity

Critical scholars have developed a number of criteria to evaluate the probability, or historical authenticity, of an attested event or saying represented in the gospels. These criteria are applied to the gospels in order to help scholars in reconstructions of the Historical Jesus. For the application of these criteria to the gospels see the ministry of Jesus. Six of the criteria applied to the gospels regarding historical-Jesus studies are as follows:

Criterion of dissimilarity

This criterion argues that if a saying or action is dissimilar to, or contrary to, the views of Judaism in the context of Jesus or the views of the early church, then it can more confidently be regarded as an authentic saying or action of Jesus.[69][70]

Criterion of embarrassment

The criterion of embarrassment holds that the authors of the gospels had no reason to invent embarrassing incidents such as the denial of Jesus by Peter, or the fleeing of Jesus' followers after his arrest, and therefore such details would likely not have been included unless they were true.[71] As an extension of the criterion of dissimilarity, it is often applied to Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist. Bart Ehrman favouring historicity believes that, "It is hard to imagine a Christian inventing the story of Jesus' baptism since this could be taken to mean that he was John's subordinate."[72]

Criterion of multiple attestation

When two or more independent sources present similar or consistent accounts, it is more likely that the accounts are accurate reports of events or that they are reporting a tradition which pre-dates the sources themselves.[73]

Cultural and historical congruency

A source is less credible if the account contradicts known historical facts, or if it conflicts with cultural practices common in the period in question.[74]

Linguistic criteria

There are a number of conclusions that can be drawn from linguistic analysis of the gospels. The criterion of "Aramaisms" as it is often referred[75] holds that if a saying of Jesus has Aramaic roots, reflecting Jesus' Palestinian context, the saying is more likely to be authentic.[76] This criterion acts as an extension of the criterion of dissimilarity whereby the recorded saying is dissimilar to the early Greek speaking church.[77] A limitation of this criterion is that it cannot determine whether the Aramaic original was from Jesus, or from among early Aramaic speaking Christians.[78]

Author's Agenda

When the presented material serves the perceived purpose of the author or redactor (editor), it is more suspect.[79] For example, various sections of the Gospels, such as the Massacre of the Innocents, portray Jesus' life as fulfilling prophecy, and in the view of many scholars, reflect the agenda of the gospel authors rather than historical events.

See also


  1. "The nonhistoricity thesis has always been controversial, and it has consistently failed to convince scholars of many disciplines and religious creeds. ... Biblical scholars and classical historians now regard it as effectively refuted."—Van Voorst, Robert E. Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), p. 16.
  2. "The denial of Jesus' historicity has never convinced any large number of people, in or out of technical circles, nor did it in the first part of the century." Walter P. Weaver, The Historical Jesus in the Twentieth Century, 1900-1950, (Continuum International, 1999), page 71.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sanders, E. P. The historical figure of Jesus. Penguin, 1993.
  4. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), pages 90-91
  5. Howard M. Teeple (March 1970). "The Oral Tradition That Never Existed". Journal of Biblical Literature 89 (1): 56–68. doi:10.2307/3263638. 
  6. "Historicity", The Oxford English Dictionary.
  7. Craig L. Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey (2nd Edition).425.
  8. Paul Rhodes Eddy & Gregory A. Boyd, The Jesus Legend:A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition. (2008, Baker Academic).309-262.
  9. Craig L. Blomberg, Historical Reliability of the Gospels (1986, Inter-Varsity Press).19-72.
  10. Paul Rhodes Eddy & Gregory A. Boyd, The Jesus Legend:A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition. (2008, Baker Academic).237-308.
  11. Craig L. Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey (2nd Edition).424.
  12. Craig L. Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey (2nd Edition).425.
  13. Craig L. Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey (2nd Edition).425.
  14. ”The Canon of the New Testament: its origin, development, and significance”, by Bruce Manning Metzger, pg. 145 etc
  15. Justin Martyr – Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter CIII and Chapter CVI, among others
  17. See the commentary by St. Augustine on; also see the fragments in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.39.1, 3.39.15, 6.14.1, 6.25.
  18. Mack, Burton L. (1996), "Who wrote the New Testament" the making of the Christian myth" (HarperOne)
  19. "Although ancient traditions attributed to the Apostle John the Fourth Gospel, the Book of Revelation, and the three Epistles of John, modern scholars believe that he wrote none of them." Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985) p. 355
  20. Graham Stanton, Jesus and Gospel. p.192.
  21. Charles H. Talbert, What Is a Gospel? The Genre of Canonical Gospels pg 42 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977).
  22. Charles H. Talbert, What Is a Gospel? The Genre of Canonical Gospels pg 78 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977).
  23. Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word (Vol. II): Meditations on the Gospel According to St. Matthew – Dr Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, Ignatius Press, Introduction
  24. Grant, Robert M., "A Historical Introduction to the New Testament" (Harper and Row, 1963)
  25. Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. 117.
  26. Paul Barnett (2009), Messiah: Jesus- the evidence of history.p.164.
  27. Paul Barnett (2009), Messiah: Jesus- the evidence of history. pp. 164-172.
  28. Paul Barnett (2009), Messiah: Jesus- the evidence of history.p.164-172.
  29. Paul Barnett (2009), Messiah: Jesus- the evidence of history.p. 166;168-170.
  30. Honoré, A. M. "A Statistical Study of the Synoptic Problem." Novum Testamentum 10 Aug.-July (1968): 95-147. On page 96 Honoré compares the similarities between the three Gospels with the number of words in common.
  31. Bart Ehrman (2003), The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. (Oxford University Press, USA). 72-73.
  32. Bart Ehrman (2003), The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. (Oxford University Press, USA). 75.
  33. Bart Ehrman (2003), The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. (Oxford University Press, USA). 77-78.
  34. Paul Barnett (2009), Messiah: Jesus- the evidence of history. p. 146.
  35. Bart Ehrman (2003), The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. (Oxford University Press, USA). 77-78.
  36. Paul Barnett (2009), Messiah: Jesus- the evidence of history. p. 145.
  37. The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins, Burton L. Mack, HarperOne; 1994
  38. The Lost Gospel Q: The Original Sayings of Jesus, Marcus J. Borg, Mark Powelson; Ray Riegert; Trinity Press, 1996
  39. Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel; John S. Kloppenborg
  40. An Introduction to the New Testament ; Raymond E. Brown, Doubleday, 1997
  41. Maurice Casey, An Aramaic Approach to Q. 32.
  42. Paul Barnett (2009), Messiah: Jesus- the evidence of history.p.144-5. "In sum, the Q Source quotes Jesus affirming both the future general resurrection and his own personal resurrection."(p.145)
  43. James D.G. Dunn, "Messianic Ideas and Their Influence on the Jesus of History," in The Messiah, ed. James H. Charlesworth. pp.371-372. Cf. James D.G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered.
  44. E.P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus (New York: Penguin, 1993), 54. "We should trust this information unless we have good reason not to do so, that is, unless the stories in the gospels contain so many anachronisms and anomalies that we come to regard them as fraudulent."
  45. C. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1987), 256.
  46. R. T. France, “Postscript—Where Have We Got To, and Where Do We Go From Here?” in Gospel Perspectives (ed. France and Wenham), 3:297, 298.
  47. James D.G. Dunn, "Messianic Ideas and Their Influence on the Jesus of History," in The Messiah, ed. James H. Charlesworth. pp. 371-372. Cf. James D.G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered.
  48. John Dominic Crossan (1991), The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant.
  49. Maurice Casey, An Aramaic Approach to Q.; Gregory A. Boyd, Cynic, Sage or Son of God? Recovering the Real Jesus in an Age of Revisionist Replies.; Ben Witherington, The Jesus Quest: The Third Quest for the Jew of Nazareth.; Luke Timothy Johnson, The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels.; James D.G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered.; Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium.
  50. Brown (1997). "Introduction to the New Testament". (New York: Anchor Bible, 1997) p. 362–364
  51. Paul Barnett (2009), Messiah: Jesus- the evidence of history.p.146.
  52. James D. Tabor, The Gospel of Mark: Priority Does not Mean Primacy.
  53. James D. G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered, Eerdmans (2003), page 165
  54. Theissen, Gerd and Annette Merz. The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide. Fortress Press. 1998. translated from German (1996 edition)
  55. Henry Wansbrough, The Four Gospels in Synopsis, The Oxford Bible Commentary, pp. 1012-1013, Oxford University Press 2001 ISBN 0198755007
  56. Marianne Meye Thompson, The Historical Jesus and the Johannine Christ in Culpepper, R. Alan, and Black, C. Clifton, eds. Exploring the Gospel of John. Westminster John Knox Press, 1996. p. 28
  57. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus (2005), p. 46
  58. Vincent. A History of the Textual Criticism of the New Testament
    "... that process which it sought to determine the original text of a document or a collection of documents, and to exhibit, freed from all the errors, corruptions, and variations which may have been accumulated in the course of its transcription by successive copying."
  59. "The interval then between the dates of the original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established." As quoted in Bruce, F. F.: The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, p. 20, InterVarsity Press, USA, 1997.
  60. Ehrman, Bart D.. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN 978-0-06-073817-4
  61. Guy D. Nave, The role and function of repentance in Luke-Acts,p. 194
  62. John Shelby Spong, "The Continuing Christian Need for Judaism", Christian Century September 26, 1979, p. 918. see
  63. Feminist companion to the New Testament and early Christian writings, Volume 5, by Amy-Jill Levine, Marianne Blickenstaff, pg. 175
  64. N. Clayton Croy, The Mutilation of Mark's Gospel. Abdingdon Press, 2003.
  65. "NETBible: John 7". Retrieved 2009-10-17.  See note 139 on that page.
  66. Keith, Chris (2008). "Recent and Previous Research on the Pericope Adulterae (John 7.53—8.11)". Currents in Biblical Research 6 (3): 377–404. doi:10.1177/1476993X07084793. 
  67. 'Pericope adulterae', in FL Cross (ed.), The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).
  68. B. D. Ehrman, "Jesus and the Adulteress," NTS 34 [1988]: 24–44)
  69. Norman Perrin, Rediscovering the Teaching of Jesus 43.
  70. Christopher Tuckett, "Sources and Method" in The Cambridge Companion to Jesus. ed. Markus Bockmuehl. 132.
  71. Meier, John P., A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Doubleday: 1991. vol 1: pp. 168–171.
  72. Bart D. Ehrman, The New Testament:A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.194-5.
  73. The criteria for authenticity in historical-Jesus research: previous discussion and new proposals, by Stanley E. Porter, pg. 118
  74. The criteria for authenticity in historical-Jesus research: previous discussion and new proposals, by Stanley E. Porter, pg. 119
  75. Bart D. Ehrman, The New Testament:A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.193.
  76. Stanley E. Porter, The Criteria for Authenticity in Historical-Jesus Research: previous discussion and new proposals.127.
  77. Stanley E. Porter, The Criteria for Authenticity in Historical-Jesus Research: previous discussion and new proposals.128.
  78. Bart D. Ehrman, The New Testament:A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.193.
  79. Funk, Robert W., Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar. The five Gospels. Harper SanFrancisco. 1993. page 21.


Some or all of this article is forked from Wikipedia. The original article was at Historicity of the canonical Gospels. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

v. 1, The Roots of the Problem and the Person, 1991, ISBN 0-385-26425-9
v. 2, Mentor, Message, and Miracles, 1994, ISBN 0-385-46992-6
v. 3, Companions and Competitors, 2001, ISBN 0-385-46993-4
  • Sanders, E.P. Jesus and Judaism. Augsburg Fortress Publishers: 1987.
  • Wright, N.T. Christian Origins and the Question of God, a projected 6 volume series of which 3 have been published under:
v. 1, The New Testament and the People of God. Augsburg Fortress Publishers: 1992.;
v. 2, Jesus and the Victory of God. Augsburg Fortress Publishers: 1997.;
v. 3, The Resurrection of the Son of God. Augsburg Fortress Publishers: 2003.
  • Wright, N.T. The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering who Jesus was and is. IVP 1996

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