- Paperback: 124 pages
- Publisher: Energion Publications; 2nd Revised edition (October 20, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1893729877
- ISBN-13: 978-1893729872
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #826,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Why Four Gospels? 2nd Revised Edition
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David Black opens up a whole new world of understanding as he traces the history, origin and development of the four NT Gospels. With a clear and firm belief in divine inspiration and the authority of these writings he encourages the reader to think of the rapid growth of the early church and the need for the gospel story in words and forms that the differing cultures and contexts could understand and embrace. . . . Black mainly uses Patristic documentation to support his hypothesis, asserting that the unhesitating support by the church fathers for the historicity and authorship of the four Gospels can no longer be doubted. (Randy Sizemore Evangelical Journal )
This book is a welcome David going against the Markan priority Goliath, and Black gives valuable reasons from patristic and textual studies to re-evaluate the Synoptic problem. --Southwestern Journal of Theology
About the Author
Dr. David Alan Black has taught New Testament Greek for over 30 years. He holds a Doctor of Theology from the University of Basel and is currently professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC. He has published over 20 books, including The Myth of Adolescence, Interpreting the New Testament, It's Still Greek to Me, and The Jesus Paradigm. He and his wife, Becky live on a 123-acre working farm in southern Virginia.
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Black refutes the Markan Priority after doing extensive research on the development of the Gospels. His study includes interior textual criticism of the New Testament and exteriorly researching statements made by recent scholars as well as the early fathers of the Christian faith.
Black makes it transparent that Mark, a non-apostle, basically wrote down verbatim when the Apostle Peter gave lectures to a Roman audience about the life of Jesus. Black states, “It is thus clear that Peter was personally responsible for the text of our Gospel of Mark and that it was composed not only after Matthew and Luke, but also with their aid.” Early church fathers confirm that Mark had faithfully recorded exactly what Peter had preached. Mark captured Peter’s spoken word and wrote it down word-for-word the way in which Peter addressed the crowds. More specifically, the Book of Mark is the “result of a series of lectures given by Peter to a distinguished audience that included a number of high-ranking officers (and Caesar’s knights) from the Roman Praetorium.”
In contrast, Matthew is a Jewish apostle who wrote the book of Matthew for the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea. Matthew was motivated to write his eyewitness account to “demonstrate to the Jewish authorities that Jesus had literally fulfilled all the prophecies about the Messiah.” The Book of Matthew is thought to be the fundamental, most important Gospel, which Black says was most likely written first. Black refers to early church fathers to find the claim that the Book of Matthew was the first of the four Gospels to be written and that it was first written in a Hebrew dialect. Bishop Papias of Hierapolis (A.D. 60-130) states that Matthew composed the sayings (of Jesus) in a Hebrew style. Irenaeus (A.D. 130-200), Origen (A.D. 185-254), and Augustine (A.D. 354-430) agree. Augustine concluded that out of the four Gospels, Matthew’s was written first. Even though the Book of Matthew is longer and written for a different purpose than Mark’s book, it is more likely that Matthew wrote the Gospel message before Mark.
Black referenced at least twelve early church fathers. They all confirm the apostolicity and origins of the four canonical Gospels. Between A.D. 40-65, the synoptic Gospels were carefully written, published, and used by missionaries such as Peter and Paul under divine inspiration.
The four Gospels have two common messages: 1.) Salvation through faith in Christ and 2.) How to live out the Christian faith. Black successfully evaluated the authenticity of the Gospels by investigating the source of each book and how they connect with one another. Black’s book can educate all people on the development and origins of the Gospels. It is probable that Matthew wrote the divine Gospel message first in his book to the Jews.
* The Jerusalem Phase (30-42 AD; Acts 1-12). He views the Gospel of Matthew was the manifesto of the mother church of Jerusalem.
* The Gentile Mission Phase (42-62 AD; Acts 13-28). This Gospel of Luke was written to (1) to produce a version of Matthew's Gospel that would meet the spiritual needs of the Gentiles. (2) To make sure the modified version would be acceptable to Peter and the Twelve.
* The Roman Phase (63-67 AD). Written by Mark as a joint action by Peter and Paul to help verify Luke's Gospel. The Gospel of Mark was Peter's record to add another eyewitness of the written record.
* The John supplement. Written to make clear the primary objective of Jesus throughout his public ministry is to win over the spiritual authorities in Jerusalem. John supplements what is not in the synoptic Gospels.
Black views Matthew as the priority Gospel, and states that this hypothesis does away with the need for the so-called Q document, as well as Markan priority. He sees Luke using Matthew and Mark using both Matthew and Luke. The weakness is that the presentation is brief and concise [only 78 pages]. Also it is not clear how he comes to some conclusions or speculations concerning Mark. The detail for support is limited, giving only the major arguments. This is because it was written as an introduction or handout for teaching a course. However, there is enough to whet the appetite of the student and stimulate his thinking. I hope he expands his views in a deeper in further publication of the hypothesis. There is a good biography and footnotes for students to use to explore the synoptic problem. For those who have an interest in this subject this work should not be overlooked, even if there is little or no agreement with his views. I found the ideas interesting and worthy of consideration. It also left me with questions and a desire for more study of the subject. It is a succinct alternative position to the popular view of the synoptic problem.
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Overall this is the most evidence based critical theory I have read.