I think it will simplify our search if you understand the basic assumptions I am making.

None of the New Testament Books are by the People They Claim

We have dozens of books that have come down to us, both directly and through archaeological discovery.

Many of them are clearly falsely attributed and none of them is beyond suspicion.

If I wrote a book condemning slavery it is likely no one would read it.

But if I say I found the book and that it was written by Abraham Lincoln, it would get much more attention.

In our world this would be considered fraud, but in the ancient world this appears to have been common place.

We must accept the Bible as it is. We have no right to impose our standards on the past or pretend they held to our sensibilities.

None of the four Gospels ever claims to be by the traditional authors, but the Pauline Epistles do and we need to look past that.

The Recovery of the 'Q' Gospel is Legitimate

Since 1838, many scholars have come to believe that Matthew and Luke wrote their Gospels using the Gospel of Mark and another document referred to as 'Q' (from the German word "quelle" meaning "source").

The 'Q' Gospel has not survived but has been reconstructed from Matthew and Luke.

It is predominately a list of sayings attributed to Jesus rather than a narrative story like the Gospel of Mark.

A similar document called the Gospel of Thomas was uncovered in the Nag Hammadi library.

While it showed that such sayings collections existed early on it should be noted that the Gospel of Thomas is NOT the 'Q' Gospel.

Return to "Origins of Christianity"

(c) 2004 Thomas F. Swezey All rights reserved.