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Rather than treating differences between the four Gospels as potential barriers to the truth (as mistakenly done by Augustine and other Gospel harmonizers, Enlightenment critics, and "historical Jesus" questers), the plural embodiment of the canonical gospel rejects equating truth with a singular and univocal set of empirical "facts.
As in the canonical Gospels, he says that a man cannot serve two masters and that the poor will be the first to find the kingdom of God.
Taking the form of a vigorous new translation of the four canonical Gospels plus the Gospel of Thomas, and giving a new wrinkle to old-fashioned red-letter Bibles (which printed the "words of Jesus" in red), it gives us a fascinating report on the search for the "authentic" words of Jesus.
Thus, it would be fair to assume that demonic possession may have entered the canonical Gospel materials through Mark; from Mark it made its way into Matthew and Luke.
A note by one of the series editors, who have yet to offer us a satisfying commentary on a canonical Gospel, declares that this bulky volume on the Matthean and Lucan "sermons" attests the editorial board's recognition of "the importance of oral tradition and written sources in the formation of early Christian writings" (xxxvii).
He has caught both criticism and public attention for some sensational speculations distilled, often by his critics, from hundreds of pages of carefully nuanced evidence, that, for example, the canonical gospel accounts of Jesus' death and burial were composed more out of prophecy fulfillment imagery than from any eye-witness accounts, that there may have been no burial at all (crucified corpses were dragged from their crosses by wild dogs or tossed into anonymous lime pits), and that the "bodily resurrection" of Jesus was originally and is now most meaningfully understood as part of the eschatological communal death and vindication of the just rather than a visible and witnessed miracle elevating Jesus individually and uniquely as savior.
makes the following decisions about the literary relationships of the Passion Narratives: there may have been pre-Gospel narratives of the passion, but whether or not there was a shaped pre-Marcan narrative is not certain, and it is futile to try to reconstruct one; Mark's narrative was the earliest of the canonical gospel narratives; Matthew and Luke were dependent upon Mark, but both had access to popular oral traditions, though not to other Passion Narratives; the Johannine Passion is not dependent upon the Synoptic Passion accounts.
What historically has been known as the Gospel of Thomas and is now called by many scholars the Paidika--doings of Jesus as a child--contains contradictory characterizations of Jesus that are difficult to reconcile, says Cousland, especially when compared with the Jesus of the canonical Gospels.
As with Mary's nativity, we encounter Mary's presentation in the temple not in the canonical gospels but only in apocryphal manuscripts.
It must be pointed out that the Canonical gospels have been subjected to much editing, censorship and mistranslations.
The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus is for scholarly Christian collections interested in a blend of evangelical and critical assessments of the historical development of the four canonical Gospels, and serves to clarify religious debates over the origins of the Gospels.
Robbins provides a classroom-friendly introduction to Q, the four canonical Gospels, and six noncanonical presentations of Jesus, including Thomas, Infancy Thomas, Infancy James, Mary, Judas, and the Acts of John.