- 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: #1,074,530 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
From the Back Cover
“Black's brief study of the composition of the Gospels summarizes early Christian evidence about their origins and history. He provides the interested non-specialist with a valuable survey of this wrongly neglected and unfashionable aspect of New Testament studies. His often-provocative pronouncements together with a healthy bibliography should stimulate much interest and further debate about the validity of early patristic testimony.”
—J. Keith Elliott
Professor of New Testament Textual Criticism
University of Leeds
“Those like myself who remain persuaded of the greater probability of the two-source hypothesis and do not find it to be incompatible with our understanding of the Gospels as divinely-inspired Scripture will nevertheless welcome Black's book as a clear and succinct statement of an alternative position that will greatly help students in their assessment of the various theories of the origins of the Gospels.”
—I. Howard Marshall
Honorary Research Professor of New Testament
University of Aberdeen
“One does not have to agree with everything Dr. Black has to say in this far-ranging book to recognize that he has made a real contribution to a central issue of New Testament research: the nature and origins of the Gospels. Not the least of the useful things Black has done is to give many ancient Christian writers renewed voice in the ongoing debate.”
—Rev. James Swetnam, S.J.
Professor Emeritus, Pontifical Biblical Institute
“Black has given us a refreshing reacquisition of the voice of the patristic fathers in the attempt to discover the origins of the four Gospels. While not all will be convinced of his reconstruction of the historical circumstances and sequence of the writing of the individual gospels, students and scholars alike will benefit from entertaining this alternative to the entrenched, mechanical Two/Four Source hypothesis.”
—Michael J. Wilkins
Professor of New Testament Language and Literature
Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
La Mirada, California
David Alan Black (D.Theol., University of Basel) is professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He is the author or editor of 16 books, including Learn to Read New Testament Greek, Interpreting the New Testament, and Rethinking the Synoptic Problem. He has written more than 100 articles in journals such as New Testament Studies, Biblica, and Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.(20061231) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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.
I read F. F. Bruce's book on the historical reliability of the New Testament, and he was for the priority of Mark, which he said that the argument for it gained as you looked at a Greek synopsis. Since I liked his writing, and I was not conversant with Greek at the time, I gave consideration to this view. However, being as the church fathers vouched for Matthew, at least in Hebrew/Aramaic to start with(this is Papias's view), it seemed clear to me that there was no good reason for putting aside the Gospel of Matthew as a late creation of some community north of Jerusalem and south of Antioch.
Mr. Black thinks that Matthew was written in Greek, but in a Hebraic style. That could mean that it is rather like the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew(and Aramaic) original. Or perhaps it means something else, Matthew being written in a Hebraic style. I am not sure what Mr. Black means by being written in Greek with a Hebraic style. I do read Greek, but I do not consider myself competent to have a good perspective on how Homer or one of the poets, or Herodotus or another Greek prose writer would differ from Matthew. Mark and John and Thessalonians are more simple to follow than the classical authors. 'Baby Greek', a classical professor would call the NT(not baby in content, but in terms of simpler writing). I can see that much.
I liked the fact that Mr. Black quoted from most of the early Christian authors going up to the fourth century, on who the writers of the Gospels were.
He puts forth a view on how the Gospels came to be, which he says that Griesbach, and especially Bernard Orchard were strongly influential upon him.
He also goes through and outlines the way Griesbach followed the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and where Mark is close to one and then the other. This was valuable.
This subject of the order of the Gospels and the Synoptic problem deserves to be looked at by each student of the New Testament, we needn't get all mixed up on it, if it bothers us and we are not able to sort things out in some fashion, well then its best to simply read the Gospels and take in God's Word and enjoy it. But if we are able to follow the subject, then we will find that it is a great joy, as we absorb the Gospel text and feed upon it. We can inwardly digest God's Word and find joy in it.
I don't know if things happened the way it is put in this book, but it is getting me to think it is possible.
I have to think that Peter, having preached the Gospel for his whole life(after Jesus called him), and especially after the death a nd resurrection of Jesus, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, that in Mark we see Peter's preaching, at least part of it. We don't see the resurrection in as much detail in Mark as in Matthew or Luke or John. This seems to be missing.
Well, this will be a thought provoking book to read, and we who are open to different views on the Gospels and their writing will be enriched to read it.
The book is helpful for the thinking church at large, I don't reckon it will convince those scholars who have formed their views, it may tweak their thinking.
Thanks to Mr. Black for bringing this volume.