Unfiled Note Cards
Created on: 22 mai 2003

 

 
Matthew, Gospel According to

first of the four New Testament Gospels (narratives recounting the life and death of Jesus Christ), and, with Mark and Luke, one of the three so-called Synoptic Gospels (i.e., those presenting a common view). It has traditionally been attributed to Matthew, one of the 12 Apostles, described in the text as a tax collector (10:3). The Gospel was composed in Greek, probably sometime after AD 70, with evident dependence on the earlier Gospel According to Mark. There has, however, been extended discussion about the possibility of an earlier version in Aramaic. Numerous textual indications point to an author who was a Jewish Christian writing for Christians of similar background. The Gospel consequently emphasizes Christ's fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies (5:17) and his role as a new lawgiver whose divine mission was confirmed by repeated miracles. After tracing the genealogy of Jesus back to Abraham, the evangelist mentions certain details related to the infancy of Christ that are not elsewhere recorded; e.g., Joseph's perplexity on learning that Mary is pregnant, the homage of the Wise Men, the flight into Egypt to escape Herod's soldiers, the massacre of the innocents, and the return of the holy family from Egypt. Matthew then describes the preaching of John the Baptist, the call of the Apostles, and major events in the public ministry of Jesus. The final section describes the betrayal, Crucifixion, burial, and Resurrection of Christ. Exegetes view the main body of the Gospel as five extended sermons, one of which includes the memorable Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5–7). Numerous parables are recorded, some very well known but not set down by the other evangelists. One passage, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” (16:18), has become the basis of Roman Catholic belief in the divine institution of the papacy. Matthew's version of the Lord's Prayer (6:9–15) is used in the liturgies of the Christian churches.   (1)


Mark, The Gospel According to

also called The Holy Gospel Of Jesus Christ According To St. Mark, second of the four New Testament Gospels (narratives recounting the life and death of Jesus Christ), and, with Matthew and Luke, one of the three Synoptic Gospels (i.e., those presenting a common view). It is attributed to John Mark (Acts 12:12; 15:37), an associate of Paul and a disciple of Peter, whose teachings the Gospel may reflect. It is the shortest and the earliest of the four Gospels, presumably written during the decade preceding the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Most scholars agree that it was used by Matthew and Luke in composing their accounts; more than 90 percent of the content of Mark's Gospel appears in Matthew's, and more than 50 percent in the Gospel of Luke. Although the text lacks literary polish, it is simple and direct; and, as the earliest Gospel, it is the primary source of information about the ministry of Jesus. Mark's explanations of Jewish customs and his translations of Aramaic expressions suggest that he was writing for Gentile converts, probably especially for those converts living in Rome. After an introduction (1:1–13), the Gospel describes Jesus' ministry in and around Galilee (1:14–8:26); his journey to Jerusalem (11–13); the Passion (14–15); and the Resurrection (16). The final passage in Mark (16:9–20) is omitted in some manuscripts, including the two oldest, and a shorter passage is substituted in others. Many scholars believe that these last verses were not written by Mark, at least not at the same time as the balance of the Gospel, but were added later to account for the Resurrection. Mark's Gospel stresses the deeds, strength, and determination of Jesusin overcoming evil forces and defying the power of imperial Rome. Mark also emphasizes thePassion, predicting it as early as chapter 8 and devoting the final third of his Gospel (11–16)to the last week of Jesus' life. One of the most striking elements in the Gospel is Mark's characterization of Jesus as reluctant to reveal himself as the Messiah. Jesus refers to himself only as the Son of Man, and while tacitly acknowledging Peter's declaration that Jesus is the Christ, he nevertheless cautions his followers not to tell anyone about him.   (2)


Luke, Gospel According to

third of the four New Testament Gospels (narratives recounting the life and death of Jesus Christ), and, with Mark and Matthew, one of the three Synoptic Gospels (i.e., those presenting a common view). It is traditionally credited to Luke, “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14), aclose associate of the Apostle Paul. Luke's Gospel is clearly written for Gentile converts: it traces Christ's genealogy, for example, back toAdam, the “father” of the human race, rather than to Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. The date and place of composition are uncertain; many date the Gospel to AD 63–70, others somewhat later. Like Matthew, Luke derives much of his Gospel from that of Mark, generally following Mark's sequence and incorporating about 50 percent of Mark's material into his work. The Gospels of Luke and Matthew, however, share a good deal of material not found in Mark, suggesting that the two evangelists may have had access to another common source. Despite its similarities to the other Synoptic Gospels, however, Luke's narrative contains much that is unique. It gives details of Jesus' infancy found in no other Gospel: the census of Caesar Augustus, the journey to Bethlehem, Jesus' birth, the adoration of the shepherds, Jesus' circumcision, the words of Simeon, and Jesus at age 12 in the temple talking with the doctors of the Law. It also is the only Gospel to give an account of the Ascension. Among the notable parables found only in Luke's Gospel are those of the good Samaritan and the prodigal son. Luke's Gospel is also unique in its perspective. It resembles the other synoptics in its treatment of the life of Jesus; but it goes beyond them in narrating the ministry of Jesus, widening its perspective to consider God's overall historical purpose and the place of the church within it. Luke, and its companion book, Acts of the Apostles, portray the church as God's instrument of redemption on Earth in the interim between the death of Christ and the Second Coming. The two books combined provide the first Christian history, outlining God's purpose through three historical epochs: the epoch of the Law and the prophets, which lasted from ancient Israel to the time of John the Baptist; the epoch of Jesus' ministry; and the epoch of the church's mission, from the Ascension to the return of Christ.   (3)


Synoptic Gospels

the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke in the New Testament. Since the 1780s, the first three books of the New Testament have been called the Synoptic Gospels because they are so similar in structure, content, and wording that they can easily be set side by side to provide a synoptic comparison of their content. (The Gospel of John has a different arrangement and offers a somewhat different perspective on Christ.) The striking similarities between the first three Gospels promptquestions regarding the actual literary relationship that exists between them. This question, called the Synoptic problem, has been elaborately studied in modern times.   (4)


John, Gospel According to

fourth of the four New Testament narratives recounting the life and death of Jesus Christ; John's is the only one of the four not considered among the Synoptic Gospels (i.e., those presenting a common view). Although the Gospel is ostensibly written by John, “the beloved disciple” of Jesus, there has been considerable discussion of the actual identity of the author. The language of the Gospel and its well-developed theology suggest that the author may have lived laterthan John and based his writing on John's teachings and testimonies. Moreover, the facts that several episodes in the life of Jesus are recounted out of sequence with the Synoptics and the final chapter appears to be a later addition suggest that the text may be a composite. The Gospel's place and date of composition are also uncertain; many scholars suggest that it was written at Ephesus, in Asia Minor, in about AD 100 for the purpose of communicating the truths about Christ to Christians of Hellenistic background. John's Gospel differs from the Synoptic Gospels in several ways: it covers a different time span than the others; it locates much of Jesus' ministry in Judea; and it portrays Jesus discoursing at length on theological matters. The major difference, however, lies in John's overall purpose. The author of John's Gospel tells us that he has chosen not to record many of the symbolic acts of Jesus and has instead included certain episodes in order that his readers may understand and share in the mystical union of Christ's church, that they “may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name” (20:30). This motive pervades the narrative, as do a kind of mystic symbolism and repeated emphasis on the incarnation. The author begins his account with a pronouncement on the incarnation that clearly intimates Genesis (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”). The author continually adds interpretative comments of his own to clarify Jesus' motives. In the narration of certain miraculous deeds, for example, the feeding of the 5,000 (6:1–15), which appears in all four Gospels, John's version is explained as symbolic of a deeper spiritual truth (“I am the bread of life; . . .”). Throughout John's Gospel, Jesus openly presents himself as the divine Son of God, not hiding his identity as he does in Mark. Thus, the author of John's Gospel does not merely narrate a series of events but singles out details that support an ordered theological interpretation of those events. Because of its special theological character, the Gospel According to John was considered in ancient times to be the “spiritual Gospel,” and it wielded a profound and lasting influenceon the development of early Christian doctrine.   (5)


End Notes
 
  1. "Matthew, Gospel According to." Encyclopędia Britannica from Encyclopaedia Britannica Deluxe Edition 2004 CD-ROM. Copyright © 1994-2003 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 20 mars 2009.
  2. "Mark, The Gospel According to." Encyclopędia Britannica from Encyclopaedia Britannica Deluxe Edition 2004 CD-ROM. Copyright © 1994-2003 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 20 mars 2009.
  3. "Luke, Gospel According to." Encyclopędia Britannica from Encyclopaedia Britannica Deluxe Edition 2004 CD-ROM. Copyright © 1994-2003 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 20 mars 2009.
  4. "Synoptic Gospels." Encyclopędia Britannica from Encyclopaedia Britannica Deluxe Edition 2004 CD-ROM. Copyright © 1994-2003 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 20 mars 2009.
  5. "John, Gospel According to." Encyclopędia Britannica from Encyclopaedia Britannica Deluxe Edition 2004 CD-ROM. Copyright © 1994-2003 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 20 mars 2009.