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The Gospels: Some Reading Suggestions

May 21, 2018

In light of the kind of comments and questions that have come in over the past week or two in response to my recent postings about the Gospels, I think that a few reading suggestions are in order.  It is rather tiresome to have individuals making confident claims about this or that, which only reveal their lack of acquaintance with the rich body of scholarly work that has gone into almost any historical question about the Gospels.

As I’ve said before, questions are always welcome.  But bold, sometimes strident, claims that rest obviously on ignorance are  . . . just tiresome.  And, despite the convenience of the Internet for many things, it’s still unavoidable (!) to have to sit down and do some serious reading if you want to investigate anything seriously.  So, a very few initial key reading suggestions on a few matters.  They in turn have rich further bibliographical resources.

  • On the formation of the fourfold Gospel, the origins of the traditional authorship ascriptions, and related matters, a good place to start is this one:  Martin Hengel, The Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ (London: SCM, 2000).   Hengel was a prolific NT scholar, in my view perhaps the most impressive NT scholar of the late 20th century.  Some of his views are contestable, to be sure, but to do so you would have to develop an equivalent wide acquaintance with the data (and that won’t come easy!).
  • On the early history of the textual transmission of the Gospels and other NT writings, this multi-author volume is now the “go-to” work:Charles E. Hill and Michael J. Kruger, eds., The Early Text of the New Testament (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).  This collection of 21 essays covers these major topics: “The Textual and Scribal Culture of Early Christianity,” “The Manuscript Tradition” (analysis of the early manuscript evidence for NT writings, book by book), and “Early Citation and Use of New Testament Writings” (with a particular focus on 2nd century figures and sources).

     

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One Comment
  1. Rather remarkably, the whole text of _The Early Text of the New Testament_ 2012
    is available as a pdf right now here:

    Click to access 0199566364.pdf


    I suspect this will be removed soon; the book new or in used condition is about $50 on Amazon

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