The Canonical Gospels

Explore the New Testament and its authors in the BAS Library

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—the four canonical Gospels—have come down to us in Greek. From old Greek manuscripts, the Gospels we use today have been translated countless times, into countless languages. These translations all differ from one another, allowing for multiple versions of the same writings. With so many variations of each text, is any one version of a Gospel more accurate than the next?

In contrast, the Hebrew Bible was written in Hebrew, with a few short sections in a sister language called Aramaic. Were the canonical Gospels really originally written in Greek? In “Was the Gospel of Matthew Originally Written in Hebrew?” Biblical scholar George Howard presents formidable evidence from a little-known 14th-century manuscript that at least one of the Gospels, and perhaps more, may originally have been written in Hebrew!

“To Be Continued…: The Many Endings of the Gospel of Mark” by Michael W. Holmes explores the nine versions of the last chapter of the Gospel of Mark that we have today. The shortest version ends with the empty tomb; Jesus is never seen again. In the longest, Jesus reappears three times before he rises to heaven.

The difference is critical—to Bible scholars trying to determine which ending is the earliest, to biographers mapping the course of Jesus’ life, to historians trying to trace how it came to be recorded, to theologians contemplating Jesus’ resurrection, and to curious readers who simply want to know how the story ends.
 


 

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Who Really Wrote Luke?

In “Who Wrote the Gospel of Luke?” Mikeal Parsons investigates a seemingly obvious question: Who is Luke? The gospel itself never reveals the author’s name.

Over the centuries, numerous traditions have evolved around this somewhat shadowy evangelist: Luke is credited with writing not only his gospel but the New Testament Book of Acts as well. He is portrayed as a physician, a friend of Paul’s and even a painter, and is described as a gentile writing for a gentile audience. Parsons examines the author of two of the most significant contributions to our understanding of the founders of Christianity and its first followers.

John and Jesus

Commentators have long debated whether John provides the truest portrait of Jesus or the least accurate. But perhaps they should be asking another question altogether: What kind of book is the so-called Gospel of John?

The brisk dialogue and memorable sayings of the Synoptics give way to a handful of elaborate set pieces in John. In “The Un-Gospel of John,” Robin Griffith-Jones considers this more spiritual gospel. While the other gospels tell Jesus’ stories from the outside, John reveals the heart of Jesus.

You can discover the details of the language used, the authors of the gospels, and even learn about the nature of Jesus—as well as much more—by diving into the Biblical Archaeology Society’s renowned library, including the Special Collection The Canonical Gospels.
 


 

Explore the world’s most intriguing Biblical scholarship

Dig into more than 7,000 articles in the Biblical Archaeology Society’s vast archive with a Library Explorer pass.

library-explorer-pass-button
 


 
Read all of these eye-opening articles and more from the pages of Biblical Archaeology Review and Bible Review:

But the Biblical Archaeology Society has created its extraordinary, 40+-year-old archive from more than just BAR. And The Canonical Gospels—just one of 38 Special Collections—itself includes just a fraction of the incredible insights to be found in the BAS Library.

The BAS Library includes online access to more than 7,000 articles by world-renowned experts and 22,000 gorgeous color photos from…

  • • 40+ years of Biblical Archaeology Review
  • • 20 years of Bible Review, critical interpretations of Biblical texts
  • • 8 years of Archaeology Odyssey, exploring the ancient roots of the Western world
  • • The fully-searchable New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, an authoritative work of the past century of archaeological study
  • • Video lectures from world-renowned experts
  • • Four books published by BAS and the Smithsonian Institution

And all of this rich and detailed scholarship is available to you—right now—by buying a special Library Explorer pass.

For less than $30, you get a ticket to four decades of study, insight and discovery. Why not join us right now and start your own exploration?

Whether you’re researching a paper, preparing a sermon, deepening your understanding of Scripture or history, or simply marveling at the complexity of the Bible—the most important book in history—the BAS Library is an invaluable tool that cannot be matched anywhere else.

And the Library is fully searchable by topic, author, title and keyword, as well as the Special Collections like The Canonical Gospels. Our Special Collections allow you to study specific topics easily and conveniently.

One last word: Please note that studying Biblical history and archaeology with our Library Explorer pass can lead to uncontrolled diversion from your original search, excessive browsing and the swift passage of surprising lengths of time.
 


 

Explore the world’s most intriguing Biblical scholarship

Dig into more than 7,000 articles in the Biblical Archaeology Society’s vast archive with a Library Explorer pass.

library-explorer-pass-button
 


 

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