The Fellowship of Scientists

Bibliography, Part 4

Sources and History of the Gospels and Other New Testament Books


This listing is offered as a sample of sources likely to be helpful for reflection; it is neither exhaustive nor prescriptive. Books are listed alphabetically by authors; those marked with (P) are available in paperback.

Burridge, Richard A. What are the Gospels?
Burridge addresses the question to what genre the gospels belong. He begins with a clear and helpful discussion of the concept of genre and compares ten bioi (biographies or"lives of...") that flank the period of the gospels to determine what the specific characteristics of Graeco-Roman bioi are. He then exams the gospels for these characteristics, and concludes that all four gospels would have been recognized by readers of the time as"lives of Jesus."

Hengel, Martin, Studies in the Gospel of Mark
Hengel presents historical and philological evidence that Mark was written in Rome, probably in the year 69, and makes a case that the titles of the gospels are original, not assigned later.

Mack, B. L., Q: The Lost Gospel
Mack attempts to reconstruct Q, the hypothetical source used by Matthew and Luke, and then draws theological conclusions from the reconstructed text, which he proposes was a"Cynic"gospel. He does not note that if the authors of the canonical gospels were substantially constrained by their audiences that any"Cynic"author would be equally constrained.

Orchard, Bernard and Riley, Harold, The Order of the Synoptics; Why Three Synoptic Gospels?
Orchard and Riley discuss internal and historical evidence for the Owen-Griesbach hypothesis, which proposed that Matthew was the first gospel, Luke was written second as a"Gentile gospel,"and Mark was written third, combining elements of both. This is a highly readable presentation of the modern evidence supporting the Owen-Griesbach hypothesis, and suggests a motivation for the writing of Mark. They propose that Luke or Paul brought the gospel of Luke to Rome for Peter's approval, which they suggest took the form of public presentations showing the compatibility of Matthew and Luke. This explanation also accounts for the colloquial and lively character of Mark.

Reicke, Bo, The Roots of the Synoptic Gospels
Reicke offers a new synoptic table from which he concludes that the order of Matthew and Luke cannot be explained by their using Mark as a source. He further concludes that the three used traditional oral units, writing independently and close to each other in time (however, his synoptic table is also consistent with the Owen-Griesbach hypothesis: see Orchard and Riley).

Riley, Harold, The First Gospel
Riley presents a reconstruction of a proposed Proto-Matthew, which he suggests was the first gospel written and then used for Luke and Mark.

Robinson, John A. T., Redating the New Testament
Robinson uses higher criticism to explore the possibility that many or all the books of the New Testament were written at earlier dates than the current consensus would yield. While some of the proposed dates are probably too early, he explores a large amount of historical and textual evidence, and it is interesting to see the same tools usually used to date these books later as supporting earlier dates.

Robinson, John A. T., The Priority of John
Robinson uses higher criticism to arrive at the conclusion that portions of John were written as early as 40 A.D., and that the author of John was the disciple John. He goes on from the textual discussion to a somewhat idiosyncratic Christology.

Romer, J., Testament (P)
A popular history of both the Old and New Testaments which also deals with the context and impact of the major translations.

Strange, W. A., The Problem of the Text of Acts
Strange explores the"Western text"of Acts and proposes that the differences can be accounted for if the text used for copying Luke had the author/editor's interlined changes, and two approaches to using the interlined notes were used. Uses extensive Greek.

Torrey, Charles Cutler, The Composition and Date of Acts
Torrey presents philological evidence that Luke used Aramaic sources for the first half of Acts, which focuses principally on the Jerusalem church. Uses extensive Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic.

The Fellowship of Scientists
Form of Practice