Problems with the New Testament Canon Part 3: Authorship Unknown


The traditional authorship of the Gospels are given the names Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. However, this is an empty claim with no hard evidence. Same goes with the Paulian letters. Scholars unanimously agree that 7 of the 13 letters are attributed to Paul however there is discussion on this as well.

I will focus specifically on the discussion of the gospels. Why? The Gospels contain the information on Jesus.

Tangent – I dismiss that Paul was an apostle of Jesus for a simple reason – how do we know Paul really saw the historical Jesus besides his claim of seeing the historical Jesus. Paul never met the historical Jesus when he was alive and for all we know he could have seen a hallucination, a devil, or nothing, etc.  What is our evidence he was truthful? Again if we were to take on blind faith Paul’s testimony then we should take all religious figures on blind faith.

Why is this important? If we do not even know who wrote the gospels, then why should we even read them. I mean if we do not have any information on who the authors were then how do we know what there credibility was for transmitting the truthful depiction of the historical Jesus? Now many evangelical christians like to claim the gospels were a genre of ancient biographies to give credibility to the gospels but again this is another conjecture.

We do not know how the theology of these anonymous gospel authors correlated with the true Jesus’s theology. What did these anonymous authors believe and what was there source of their theology? We know they believed in a dying and rising Jesus (which never occurred in the true historical past) but why what was there reasons?

Here is an analogy to help understand the reasoning: Let’s say that you received a copy of the Great Gatsby but never knew who the author was. Now you could argue that this may be a real historical event or not. However, if you know the author for the Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), then you could examine the author’s reasoning for writing the content. And we know that the Great Gatsby is a fictitious narration. I could have easily applied to analogy to more far-fetch science-fiction, fantasy, etc books.

The gospel authors are anonymous. And we cannot claim they contain any information from the apostles.


1) The gospels are formally anonymous. The gospels do not state that they were written by the authors who are assigned to them.

2) We do not know what exactly what language(s) the apostles spoke. The apostles “most likely” spoke Aramaic but this is circumstantial. The reason behind this evidence is that apostles were from rural Galleli.


Proof: Here are multiple scholars who address these issues but in my humble opinion


NT Wright pretty much sums it in the opening minutes of his presentation in 30 seconds. Realize NT Wright has written a voluminous commentary on a fictious non-historical event to defend christianity.

b) Dr. Ehrman sums it pretty nicely in this debate:

Here are some evangelical perspectives that discuss their view:

a) (Listen from 5:17- 6:02) – [We don’t know for sure (for sure =Doubts) who wrote the gospels…] But please listen to it in its entirety]

b) [Flaw: He cites that there were no contradictory claims to the tradition] However, apostolic authority for the gospel of matthew was given by papias. And if we also take up Papias claims as true than the original gospel of matthew was written in hebrew not koine greek.

c) (Describes the evangelical perspective pretty well)


We do not know with 100% (meaning there is doubt) about the authorship of the gospels. Both evangelicals and non-evangelical scholars will admit to this position. As shown above with some premiere scholars as stated above.  Even the evangelical works to do damage control they will openly confess they do not know for sure (meaning there is doubt to their tradition). Evangelicals assume there church tradition was meticulous and careful but this is a bogus assumption. What is there proof?


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