Gospel [M.E.,=good news; evangel from Gr.,= good news], a written account of the life of Jesus. Though the Gospels of the New Testament are all anonymous, since the 2d cent. they have been named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The first three are called Synoptic Gospels because they agree in much of their subject matter, wording, and narrative order and so appear to be written from a common vantage point. Some Pseudepigrapha—e.g., the Gospel of Thomas—partly resemble the canonical Gospels. The solemn reading of the day's Gospel is a special feature of the liturgy in many churches. Formerly the Gospel (i.e., a book of the Gospels) was used instead of the Bible for the oath in courts in Christian countries. This sort of honor paid to the book resulted in some outstanding examples of illumination—e.g., the Lindisfarne Gospels (see Holy Island) and the Book of Kells (see under Ceanannus Mór). Sometimes the term "gospel" is used in a broader sense to indicate the Christian message of salvation.

See J. B. Green, How to Read the Gospels and Acts (1987); R. Price, Three Gospels (1996).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Gospels: Selected full-text books and articles

Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels By Pheme Perkins William B. Eerdmans, 2009
An Introduction to the Gospels and Acts By Charles B. Puskas; David Crump William B. Eerdmans, 2008
The Gospel in Brief By Leo Tolstoy; F. A. Flowers III; Isabel Hapgood University of Nebraska Press, 1997
Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective By Francis Watson William B. Eerdmans, 2013
The Gospels: Portraits of Christ By Wayne G. Rollins Westminster Press, 1963
The Missions of James, Peter, and Paul: Tensions in Early Christianity By Bruce Chilton; Craig Evans Brill, 2005
Librarian's tip: "James, Peter, Paul, and the Formation of the Gospels" begins on p. 3
The Theology of St. Luke By Hans Conzelmann; Geoffrey Buswell Harper & Row, 1961
Understanding the Fourth Gospel By John Ashton Clarendon Press, 1993
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