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The Historicity of the Gospels
Catholic? You can't be serious!

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As published in the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly • Fall/Winter 2017
(Overview added)

by Jerome D. Gilmartin
Author of The 7-Step Reason to Be Catholic, 2nd Edition:
Science, the Bible and History Point to Catholicism

Overview
From the time the Gospels were written in the decades after Christ’s death on the cross and Resurrection, few Christians doubted that eyewitness-apostles Matthew and John, and “apostolic men” Mark (Peter) and Luke (Paul), wrote them. In the late 1800s, however, soon after the First Vatican Council declared the Dogma of Papal Infallibility, biblical scholars using the historical-critical method developed the Markan Priority Two-Source Hypothesis (TSH). Virtually ignoring the early historical record, the TSH casts doubt on evangelists Matthew, Mark and Luke as writers of those Gospels and generally attributes them to later unknown writers who never heard Jesus.
The TSH — with doubt also cast on the apostle John as writer of the last Gospel — has been the dominant hypothesis taught in all but a few Catholic colleges, universities and seminaries for the past 50 years, the effects of which are everywhere apparent. After 40 years of such dominance Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “intimate friendship with Jesus . . . is in danger of clutching at thin air.”
The good news is that the dark night of TSH dominance is over. As this essay makes clear, professors in Catholic and other centers of higher learning now have the Matthean Priority Two-Gospel Hypothesis (TGH), a scholarly, peer-recognized, Gospel-affirming historical-critical hypothesis that, by any objective measure, is far more credible than the speculation-based TSH. Jesus is “thin air” no more.
“Dear Professor,” also posted on this web page, includes a 13-point refutation of the TSH. Religious Studies students may wish to use this or a similar email message to respectfully request classroom discussion of the merits of the TGH vs. the TSH.
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Catholic Religious Studies 101
Welcome to this Catholic university and to Religious Studies 101—The Gospels. I know that many in this class have been taught that the Gospels were written by apostles who were eyewitnesses (Matthew and John) and by Mark (Peter) and Luke (Paul). But most biblical scholars to­day say that they are not sure who wrote these Gospels. They may tell us that there are historical indications that Mark wrote what he heard Peter preach, but they usually claim that evidence within the Gos­pel calls that into question.1 Whoever Mark may have been, these scholars tend to believe READ MORE