A robust scholarly defense of the distinctiveness of the canonical Gospels.
Is there anything that makes the four New Testament Gospels different from other early Christian Gospels? The tendency among biblical scholars of late has been to declare the answer to this question no—that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were grouped together by happenstance and are defended as canonical today despite there being no essential commonalities between them.
Simon Gathercole challenges this prevailing view and argues that there are in fact substantial differences of theological content between the New Testament Gospels and noncanonical Gospels. Gathercole shows how the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each include four key points that also formed the core of early Christian preaching and teaching: Jesus’s identity as messiah, the saving death of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, and Scripture’s foretelling of the Christ event. In contrast, most noncanonical Gospels—like the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Truth, and Marcion’s Gospel—only selectively appropriated these central concerns of early Christian proclamation.
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