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Since Matthew and John were disciples of Jesus Christ, many of their statements represent eyewitness accounts of what happened.

Likewise, Mark had close connections with Peter, and Luke was an intimate associate of Paul as well as a careful historian (Luke 1:1-4).

Information that the writers obtained verbally (oral tradition) and in writing (documents) undoubtedly played a part in what they wrote.

Perhaps the evangelists also received special revelations from the Lord before and or when they wrote their Gospels.

Mark's accounts are generally longer than those of Matthew and Luke, suggesting that Matthew and Luke condensed Mark. ]." This is an important statement for several reasons, but here note that Papias referred to Matthew's logia.

To them, it seems more probable that they condensed him, than that he elaborated on them. This may be a reference to Matthew's Gospel, but many source critics believe it refers to a primal document that became a source for one or more of our Gospels. They see in Papias' statement support for the idea that primal documents such as Matthew's logia were available as sources, and they conclude that Q was the most important one. The Tbingen school in Germany was also influential.

Given the critics' view of inspiration it is easy to see how most of them concluded that the Gospels in their present form do not accurately represent what Jesus said and did.

However, some conservative scholars used the same literary method but held a much higher view of the Gospel: for example, Vincent Taylor, who wrote The Gospel According to St. The next wave of critical opinion, "redaction criticism," began to influence the Christian world shortly after World War II. The German scholar Gunther Bornkamm began this "school" with an essay in 1948, which appeared in English in 1963.

They are the "source critics" and their work constitutes "source criticism." Because source criticism and its development are so crucial to Gospel studies, a brief introduction to this subject follows. He called this source the Gospel of the Nazarenes, and he believed its writer had composed it in the Aramaic language.They assumed that the process of transmitting this information followed patterns of oral communication that are typical in primitive societies. The critics also adopted other criteria from secular philology to assess the accuracy of statements in the Gospels.For example, they viewed as distinctive to Jesus only what was dissimilar to what Palestinian Jews or early Christians might have said.Redaction critics also characteristically show more interest in the early Christian community, out of which the Gospels came, and the beliefs of that community, than they do in Jesus' historical context.Their interpretations of the early Christian community vary greatly, as one would expect.

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