The Authorship of the Gospels

Although it doesn’t seem to particularly impede @swamidass’s argument, I think it’s only fair to point out that massive uncertainties may not be an accurate portrayal of the situation. As far as I know all the evidence from recorded history is on the side of the Gospel’s being written by whom they are attributed to.

The massive uncertainties, as far as I know, are basically arguments from silence, which, in the face of actual positive evidence to the contrary, are pretty feeble arguments at best. So maybe what may be a better portrayal would be massive arguments from silence, although I’m also not sure if there are that many of those to qualify as massive.

And regarding when, the only evidence I’m aware of for late dating is based on the assumption of naturalism. The argument goes something like this. Because of the prophecy by Jesus in Mark of the destruction of the Jewish temple which happened in A.D. 70, Mark had to be written after that, since prophecy is impossible. And since Mark was the first of the Gospels, all the rest had later dates. If you don’t assume naturalism that argument doesn’t fly.

That is the precise opposite of the truth.


I didn’t say anything about what scholars say. I’m talking about actual evidence. If there are any accounts of recorded history close enough to the events that the Gospels weren’t written by whom they are attributed to, please tell me about it. So far I haven’t come across any.

You started by saying that afayk “… all the evidence from recorded history is on the side of the Gospel’s being written by whom they are attributed to.”

But there’s no evidence they were written by whom they are attributed to. You’d have to have independent sources saying that the gospels are written by their attributed authors. There is no such evidence, so you’re just wrong.

Now you’ve changed your tune and are demanding evidence AGAINST them being written by who they are attributed to. In other words, you’re going to believe they were written by who they’re attributed to despite having zero independent evidence for it, and you want evidence against it otherwise you won’t change your mind.

This is textbook “conventional vs religious logic” meme material.


Depends on what you want to call evidence. All evidence from recorded history testifies to the Gospels being written by whom they are attributed to. As far as I know they are all Christian sources. But as far as I’m aware, there is no one in antiquity who ever attributed the Gospels to anyone other than the four traditionally accepted authors.

If you’re interested I can find the actual texts that attest to the traditional authorship? The point I’m making is that there is no evidence from recorded history to the contrary. So I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong by saying what I’ve said. If you have evidence to the contrary, I’m happy to hear it.

The scholars are the people who best understand the “actual evidence.”

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Well, when there apparently isn’t any “actual evidence” one begins to wonder if there’s not something else going on. At least I for one am not going to buy into something in spite of a lack of evidence just because there are “experts” who say so. :slight_smile:

By the way, if we’re going to continue discussing this particular aspect, we may need to start a new thread so as not to be off topic.

Please elaborate. What do you suspect this “something else” might be?

Oh, I couldn’t say off hand. But seems the reasons would have to be somehow tied to either social or economic pressures, or personal biases. However, as the psychiatrist I’ll leave that up to you to figure out. :slight_smile: The point is, something is suspect.

Don’t see any reason to equate what I posted with paranoia. Maybe you could explain why you came to that conclusion. Seems to me this is possibly a case of being held captive by ones biases.

I think it’s obvious that it’s just common sense to suspect something is a foul when all the actual evidence leads in one direction, yet the conclusion drawn is in the complete opposite direction. Or am I missing something?

If you prefer, just forget I said anything. Talk among yourself.


You seem to have overlooked simple professional competence as a likely explanation.

You also seem to believe, for some reason, that those factors can only affect people on one side of this disagreement.


I would say that it’s a reflection of a lack of professionalism to set aside the actual evidence for speculation. But again, maybe I’m missing something?

Oh, I don’t know that I’ve ever said anything to that affect. In fact I’m on record as saying, besides the fact that I’m a Christian, I don’t side with any particular position, rather, whatever makes the most sense to me, that’s the side I come down on.

And what I’m most concerned with is, what is the actual evidence, and where does it take us if we follow it where it leads.

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What actual evidence? You mean that it says “The Gospel According to John” on top of the page?


That would be a small part of the evidence. Here’s a couple of links that provide more info. The first is a quick read. The second is a video by Tim McGrew who @vjtorley mentioned in the post from which this thread originated. It’s over an hour long.

LOL. That’s a list of people who insist, apparently on nothing more than their own opinion, that the authorship is real.


LOL? That’s just a classic case of an ad hominem. It’s not a matter of who, but a matter of what. The evidence speaks for itself. And nevertheless, Tim McGrew is a well credentialed and respected academic who cannot be dismissed as “somebody with his own opinion.” :slight_smile:

He is someone with his own opinion, appealing to a handful of other people insisting on the authority of their own opinion, that the authorship is real. That’s literally hilarious, and I laughed out loud.

That’s it, that’s your evidence. To state this is not an ad hominem, it’s just a fact. One guy’s opinion is the authorship is real, because these four or five other guys shares his opinion and held it before he did.

Wow. LOL


Have you listened to his lecture?

Yes. I also listened to this very revealing conversation he had with Bart Ehrman on Christian radio:

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