RTS guys on the Gospels: November 1, 2011 by Michael F. Bird
Reformed Theological Seminary has some good guys who know their collection and canon of the New Testament.
First, Charles Hill has the book Who Wrote the Gospels? Probing the Great Conspiracy which argues that the canonization of the four Gospels to the exclusion of the “other” Gospels was not a power play by an ecclesial oligarchy imposed on a diverse church to create a narrow uniformity, but part of an emerging consensus in the early church. This is on my desk and I hope to read it very soon.
Second, Michael Kruger is a contributor to the book The Heresy of Orthodoxy which takes on Walter Bauer (and Bart Ehrman’s) view of the development of diversity in the early church. But Kruger also contributes to a video at the Ehrman Project where he argues that the Gospel titles (According to Matthew, According to Mark, etc.) are not late additions, but were part of the Gospels themselves. He points out: (1) While, the Gospels are formally anonymous, anonymity was widely practiced in ancient biography; (2) The attachment of the Gospel titles were not late, since the Gospel titles are extant in all manuscripts as far as know (in long and short forms); (3) If the Gospel titles were added later, then why is there unanimity on Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; (4) If the Gospels titles were invented, then why would anyone make Luke and Mark as authors, who were not apostles, when the tendency of apocryphal writings was to pass off writings under the names of Apostles like Peter; and (5) The testimony of the church fathers like Papias and Irenaeus, who stand in some “kind” of succession the apostles’, attribute the four Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. See the video: