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The Emergence of the Gospel Titles

Since we have been looking at the traditional authorship of one of the four New Testament Gospels, I want to highlight a few of my previous posts on the emergence of the standard Gospel titles “The Gospel according to [name of the evangelist]” here and here. I tend to support the view that, though there is evidence for the titular use of the term “gospel” in earlier Christian sources (perhaps even in Mark 1:1), the standard titles were added when the four Gospels were collected together as an authoritative collection. This is often dated around 125 CE, though I suspect that it may have been more around the mid-point of the second century CE. For the manuscript evidence for the titles, check out Simon Gathercole, “The Titles of the Gospels in the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts” ZNW 104 (2013): 33-76; “The Earliest Manuscript Title of Matthew’s Gospel (BnF Suppl. gr. 1120 ii 3/p4” Novum Testamentum 54.3 (2012): 209-235.

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