As Armin Baum (“The Anonymity of the New Testament History Books,” pg.121) explains: While most New Testament letters bear the names of their (purported) authors (James, Jude, Paul, Peter, or at least “the Elder”) the authors of the historical books [the Gospels and Acts] do not reveal their names.Tags: How To Solve Bed Bugs ProblemDiscovery Essay TopicsNarrative AssignmentEssay On Youth ObesityPhd Programs Without DissertationSummary Of Findings In Research PaperExample Of Algorithm Problem SolvingPersuasive Speech Thesis And PreviewSmall Group Research Papers
The external evidence consists of whatever evidence we have a given text.
This can include another author quoting the work, a later critic proposing a possible authorial attribution, or what we know about the biography of the person to whom the work is attributed, etc.
As scholarly sources like the note, the Gospels are not historical works (even if they contain some historical kernels).
I have discussed elsewhere some of the reasons why scholars recognize that the Gospels are not historical in their genre, purpose, or character in my article “Ancient Historical Writing Compared to the Gospels of the New Testament.” However, I will now also lay out a resource here explaining why many scholars likewise doubt the traditional authorial attributions of the Gospels.
The traditional authors of the canonical Gospels–Matthew the tax collector, Mark the attendant of Peter, Luke the attendant of Paul, and John the son of Zebedee–are doubted among the majority of mainstream New Testament scholars.
The public is often not familiar, however, with the complex reasons and methodology that scholars use to reach well-supported conclusions about critical issues, such as assessing the authorial traditions for ancient texts.
These titles normally identify the traditional author.
The standard naming convention for ancient literary works was to place the author’s name in the genitive case (indicating personal possession), followed by the title of the work.
To illustrate this, I will compare the evidence for the Gospels’ authors with that of a secular work, namely Tacitus’ .
Through looking at some of the same criteria that we can use to evaluate the authorial attributions of ancient texts, I will show why scholars have many good reasons to doubt the authors of the Gospels, while being confident in the authorship of a more solid tradition, such as what we have for a historical author like Tacitus. There is no single “one-size-fits-all” methodology that can be used for every single ancient text.