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Or does the evidence point to the gospels as anonymous compositions dating to the late "It's important to acknowledge that strictly speaking, the gospels are anonymous." Dr. Blomberg, The Case for Christ (26) Because of the lack of original texts, it has been very difficult to date the canonical gospels as to when they were written or even when they first emerge in the historical record, as these two dates may differ.The gospels have been dated variously from shortly after the crucifixion, traditionally placed around 30 Many reasons have been given for these dates, from one end of the spectrum to the other, the earliest dates being based on the events recounted in the gospels themselves.It is possible that this particular verse was not added until that time, which means that it is not original to the gospel and that Matthew certainly is not its author.Also, Luke's gospel discusses an apparent myriad of preceding gospels written "by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses…" The phrase "from the beginning" likewise implies a passage of time, as does the fact that there were "many" who preceded Luke in writing gospels.

As proof of the existence of the gospels prior to the end of the second century, it is claimed that Church father Justin Martyr (c. 165 ) that we can point to as real evidence of the existence of the canonical gospels, which is why Justin Martyr heads the chart in Mc Dowell's book.

Are we supposed merely to take Papias's word on what else he was told by these "former followers?

" Moreover, even Eusebius does not think highly of Papias, remarking, "For he seems to have been a man of very small intelligence, to judge from his books." …

Indeed, the term "according to" in the original Greek—kata—could be interpreted to suggest that the texts were understood to be relating a tradition of these individuals, rather than having been written by them.

In reality, none of the evangelists identifies himself as a character in the gospel story.

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