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 Post subject: Gospel Redundancy
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 1:04 pm 
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This is not necessarily a Catholic question per se, but it is obviously related. Why are the first 3 Gospels all included in the New Testament when they essentially rehash the same narrative? The Gospel of John is obviously different, but the other three are very similar.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 1:54 pm 
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Some put more focus on certain events than the others do. Besides, it's kinda nice experiencing the same events through different perspectives.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 2:01 pm 
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Max Majestic wrote:
Some put more focus on certain events than the others do. Besides, it's kinda nice experiencing the same events through different perspectives.


True - but when you think about it, it is pretty peculiar.

I guess a decision was made to keep Thomas' Gospel out by the early Church. :bag


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 2:14 pm 
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David Hopkins IV wrote:
I guess a decision was made to keep Thomas' Gospel out by the early Church. :bag



Yeah, the gnostic stuff doesn't fit too well with the history of Christianity. I haven't read Thomas, but I do have a copy of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Bland, superficial, new-age drivel if you ask me.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 7:06 pm 
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Quote:
This is not necessarily a Catholic question per se, but it is obviously related. Why are the first 3 Gospels all included in the New Testament when they essentially rehash the same narrative?


Just so professors in the future would go ballistic about Source Q and such.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 9:48 pm 
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Am I right about this? I am of the understanding that each of the Synoptic Gospels were intended (or written) for specific regional audiences: Mark, for the very first generation Christians in present-day Egypt and parts west and south-west of Alexandria, Matthew, for a Hebraic-Christian community in the Levant, and Luke/Acts, for the Hellenistic gentile communities of Asia Minor and Greece.

As the early Church developed, each of these regional Churches claimed the authority of "their" gospel as the true story of Christ. When the Petrine/Roman Church began to compile its canon of sacred scripture in freedom and without fear of repression following the legitimization of Christianity following the reign of Constantine, these testaments were given the stamp of approval by the early Church along with (eventually) the Gospel of John, the letters of Paul, Peter, and John. Some of the other books accepted as part of the New Testament canon (James, Jude, Hebrews and the Book of Revelation among them) were disputed openly but eventually accepted into the canon. This process took several generations before its completion.

Because (for instance) Matthew was such a part of its own community (the Hebraic-Christian community in and around the Levant), and in the absence of the other Gospels (Mark and Luke/Acts), this regional Gospel by Matthew was revered by its community for the inspired truth it so obviously contained. It was then copied and recited over and over again until it became the living Gospel for its people. This was done in regional isolation with little "bleed-through" from the other early Christian communities that surrounded the Levant. When the Church became (to use a modern term) "international", the truth and inspiration of the other regionally developed Gospels were openly recognized as being a heritage of Christ-inspired truth for all Christian peoples by the Petrine Church as well.

Some scholars (late 19th/early-to-mid 20th century) try to posit that there is an early tradition of an orally transmitted "Sayings of Jesus" that they call "Q" (which is German for the word "Quelle" which, I've been told, means "Source"). These mostly German scholars further posit that this "Q" document is the source for Mark -- which they claim is the "first" Gospel in the order of composition (though not of Canon) -- and that Matthew and Luke "borrow" from both Mark and the "Q" document. The Gospel of John, apparently, is in this "scholarly" light, different because it evidences a more developed Christology and also includes stories and sayings not found in the Synoptic Gospels.

All of this is highly speculative, and I think, ultimately, suspect. Nonetheless, this is what is being taught in Catholic colleges with few exceptions throughout the world today.

The "Thomas" gospel, as I understand it, is a fraud for a number of reasons. It's Gnostic, and it had no lasting legitimacy within the early Church because -- bottom line -- it lacks, in the opinion of the True and Catholic Church, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. If it's not inspired, it's not Gospel.


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