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The dominant tradition will then be subject to drift as traditions grow and split in one place and are pruned in another. Much can be learned from what has been written about it in the preceding millennia. He converted to Christianity in middle life, but split away from the main church late in life largely because the church was not strict enough to suit him. Practically speaking, the vast majority of the canon was accepted as soon as it was written, but there were several books with more controversial histories that took longer to accept or reject.

Therefore, in order to keep the true story, it is critical that the tradition gets frozen before too much time has passed. Today's man is not so much more knowledgeable and less biased than ancient man. 213) was the head of the catechetical school in Alexandria. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke show dramatic similarities. We now know that the entire New Testament was written by first-, second-, and third-hand witnesses, in the range of 20-120 years after the death of Jesus.

For my purposes I will look at the most relevant information from before A. Unfortunately, the questions of New Testament authorship and dating are not cut and dried. There is substantial variation in the writings of the church fathers.

The church fathers did not have the current understanding of history and authorship. To determine New Testament authorship as best we can, we use the earliest of the patristic sources augmented by the internal evidence of the New Testament.

The authors must have clear links to the eyewitnesses (or be eyewitnesses) to reduce the possibility of communication mistakes.

We will learn that even in the most pessimistic, but rational, reading of the data, we come to the understanding that the authors of the New Testament are close enough to the events to be able to give an accurate picture of historical events.

Also apparent is that the author of John did not use the other Gospels as sources, and the other Gospels did not use John as a source.

John almost never uses the same words to describe events and only occasionally describes the same events. The Gospel According to Matthew, written by an anonymous Jewish Christian (A.

It is also often referred to as the two source hypothesis, where Mark and Q are the sources, and M and L are assumed. The traditions that get pruned will be those that are the least popular, but not necessarily the least true. He left there as a result of a conflict (more political than theological) with the local bishop, and founded a new school in Caesarea. He preserved much of the tradition that would have been lost otherwise. In this time (and largely under the influence of Jerome and Augustine) there were several councils that ratified the contents of the current Roman Catholic Bible.In summary, over time traditions split and are pruned. 225) was primarily a writer of which many works are preserved. As such, this is a natural time to end the discussion of the tradition.Below are the most important church fathers with respect to the authorship and dating of the New Testament. He wrote a five book series, Interpretations of the Sayings of the Lord, which has now been lost except for quotations in later books, which are referred to as the fragments of Papias. It is the oldest list of the books of the New Testament. Mark's language is awkward or problematic in many cases. For the most part, I will quote only these unless the record is thin or conflicting. The document itself is in bad shape, so for the most part it is difficult to interpret the absence of a particular book from this list. Both Matthew and Luke fix this language, but often in different ways.

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