Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ

Martin Hengel

Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ
Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ

Book Details

Book Information

Pages: 368
Publisher: Continuum
Published: 2000
ISBN-10: 1563383004
ISBN-13: 9781563383007

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5 out of 5 based on 1 user ratings
In this very appealing and strongly argued book Professor Martin Hengel examines the history of the origin and development of the four canonical Gospels relative to the one gospel of Jesus Christ. He presents a very careful discussion of the early history of the provenance of the documents. Hengel’s aim is “to give a plausible historical account of the historical development of this collection and to evaluate its historical and theological significance” (xi). The book has expanded on several of the author’s lectures and reflects his erudite scholarship that has been very well known for several decades. Hengel begins by explaining, in his short introductory chapter, specifically what he wishes to address by describing “An Aporia and Two Questions.” The aporia is that the four separate documents called “Gospels” in the New Testament canon tell the story of the activity of Jesus in frequently different, indeed contradictory, ways, yet in earliest Christianity there could be only one message of salvation called the “gospel.” This difficulty points to two very important questions: How did the original and singular gospel message about Jesus become written biographical narrative, and why are there four divergent documents and how old are they? In the second chapter, “The Authors of the Four Gospels and the Temptation towards Harmonization or Radical Reduction,” Hengel, coming first to issues concerned with his second question, points out that the existence of four differing Gospels was already an issue in the early church. [Full Review]

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