Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Who Wrote the Gospels?

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Who Wrote the Gospels?

Article excerpt

My brother was born prematurely during a blizzard. Mom made it to the hospital in time to deliver, but Dad was stuck in a snow bank, the tires of our Chevy spinning as he shoveled cinders furiously. My sisters and I were bundled in snowsuits in the backseat, going nowhere as the cold crept into the car.

That night looms in my memory like it happened last week. Yet depending on who tells the story--Mom, Dad, my sisters, or me--the details change, sometimes dramatically. Our personal experience of these events--what was most important to us--and the passage of time both affect how we tell the story. As does who we are telling it to and why.

The four gospel writers tell the story of Jesus differently for similar reasons. They were probably not eyewitnesses to the events they describe. They wrote a generation beyond the time of Jesus. Writing for different communities, they underscored themes significant for their audience. What prompted each to commit his story to the record?

Literacy was rare. People relied on oral tradition to carry wisdom forward. No one wrote down the words of Jesus as he spoke them. But later, as the gospel eyewitnesses were martyred, it became clear that someone ought to write down the story for future believers. Mark made the first attempt, between 64 and 70 A.D. Mark may have been Peter's interpreter and "son in faith," mentioned in 1 Peter. Or he may have been a Greek convert of Paul's named John Mark in Acts. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.