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April 11, 2013

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It should be noted that many ancient non-Christian sources corroborated the traditional authorship attributions of the gospels (Marcion, Celsus, Porphyry, Julian the Apostate, etc.). Those today who reject the authorship attributions aren’t just disagreeing with the ancient Christians, but also with the ancient Jewish and pagan opponents of the religion. We find ancient non-Christian sources disputing the authorship of Old Testament books, such as the Pentateuch and Daniel, as well as some of the New Testament in a minority of cases, and the ancient Christians sometimes disputed the authorship claims among themselves (whether Peter wrote 2 Peter, whether John wrote Revelation, etc.). Thus, it can't be argued that they were just uncritically accepting whatever authorship claims were made or never thought of the possibility that the attributions were wrong. They knew that the attributions could be wrong, and they sometimes disputed them, yet we see widespread acceptance of the traditional authorship attributions of the gospels among both ancient Christians and non-Christians.

I really appreciate J. Warner Wallace's unique perspective on this.

I would also recommend Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. It was a real "eye-opener" on the subject of eyewitnesses.

As an amateur Christian apologist I found these arguments to be un-persuasive.

I will not try to make a complete argument but just to point out the problems. First, it is clear that the letters of John and Peter, while stating that they are authentic, do not complete the link by defining the authority of the matching Gospels. Second, if we do not know the author of a Gospel, then saying he got his information from the Apostle adds too little creditability to the undefined and untested author to assure accuracy as evidenced by the many Gnostic gospels. Third, the guidelines used in forming the canon depended on the author writing what he heard or saw the 12 teaching and not the actual performance of the described event.

God must have wanted us to depend on faith because we do not seem to have conclusive proof that would be acceptable in a court today

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