Who Chose the Gospels?: Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy

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It is now widely said that the four Gospels rose to prominence only after a long battle within early Christianity, a battle finally won in the fourth century, after the establishment of the Church by Constantine the Great. In Who Chose the Gospels? Charles E. Hill demolishes this claim, providing a more historically accurate, alternative account of how the Church came to acknowledge four, and only four, narratives of the life of Jesus. Hill offers not only an informed critique of recent, overtly "political" ...

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Who Chose the Gospels?: Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy

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Overview

It is now widely said that the four Gospels rose to prominence only after a long battle within early Christianity, a battle finally won in the fourth century, after the establishment of the Church by Constantine the Great. In Who Chose the Gospels? Charles E. Hill demolishes this claim, providing a more historically accurate, alternative account of how the Church came to acknowledge four, and only four, narratives of the life of Jesus. Hill offers not only an informed critique of recent, overtly "political" readings of early Christian history, but also a more nuanced analysis of how and why, out of all the Gospels written in the early centuries of the Church, just these four "made it" into the Bible. In fact, the author shows that despite the profusion of Gospels, there was wide agreement among church leaders, in diverse regions of the empire, at least from the second century onward, as to the authority of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Thus it was not a conspiracy but common consensus that determined the books of the New Testament.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Interesting and appealing...Hill's presentation of early Christian sources is informative, easy to follow for the layman, and offers a much needed counterbalance in scholarship. It cogently argues for the early ascendancy of the four canonical Gospels and lacks the sensationalism that pervades many recent studies of early Christianity."--BYU Studies Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199551231
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/30/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles E. Hill is Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, in Orlando, Florida.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Drowning in a Sea of Gospels
1. The Proof is in the Papyri: Gospel Bestsellers from Egyptian Garbage Dumps
2. Silencing the Bishop, Part I: The Lonely Irenaeus
3. Silencing the Bishop, Part II: The Ugly Irenaeus
4. Irenaeus' 'Co-conspirators': Clement, Serapion, and a Canon-list-maker
5. 'Packaging' the Gospels: of Harmonies, Synopses, and Codices
6. Preaching and Teaching the Gospels: Justin Martyr and the Apostles' Memoirs
7. Justin's 'Co-conspirators': The Gospels as Public Documents
8. Some 'Proto-conspirators': Two Forgers and an Apologist
9. Some 'Co-proto-conspirators': The Apostolic Fathers
10. The Search for an 'Arch-conspirator': A Bishop, an Elder, and an Elderly Apostle
11. Who Chose the Gospels?
Appendix: Dates of the earliest manuscripts of the canonical Gospels Glossary Index

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