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§ 4. Traditional Origin of the Synoptical Gospels.

IN using the authorities, I shall follow the general rules of historical criticism, and seek the truth by comparing the individual accounts with themselves and with each other. A correct judgment of the nature of the authorities may be derived from thus examining them in detail.

The settled result of my investigations on this subject may be stated as follows: The historical remains, as well as the nature of the case, show that the writing of the Gospel history did not originate in any design to give a connected account of the life and public ministry of Christ as a whole, but rather grew out of a series of traditional accounts of separate scenes in his history. These accounts were partly transmitted by word of mouth, and partly laid down in written memoirs. The commission of the whole to writing naturally soon followed the spread of Christianity among the Greeks, a people much accustomed to writing. There can be no doubt that Paul made use of written memoirs of the life of Christ.2828   See my Apostol. Geschichte, 3d edit., p. 131. The objections of Weisse against this view are of no importance. Our first three Gospels resulted from the compilation of such separate materials, as Luke himself states in his introduction.2929   Luke, i.. 1, 2. Matthew’s Gospel, in its present form, was not the production of the apostle whose name it bears, but was founded on an account written by him in the Hebrew language, chiefly (but not wholly) for the purpose of presenting the discourses of Christ in a collective form.

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