Martin Hengel and R. T. France on the Gospel titles, κατα Μαθθαιον, κατα Μαρκον, κατα Λυκαν, κατα Ιωαννην

Ibn Issam wrote:
Sorry but Jesus did not “predict His own arrest, trials, crucifixion, death and resurrection several times.” The Gospels were written by unknown pseudepigraphal authors who were writing about the events after the fact.

I understand that argument, based on liberal scholarship, that Muslims use.

see discussion here.

Martin Hengel, an eminent scholar, (recently passed away) who I believe even Paul Williams used him at least once at one of his three blogs; wrote (in the quote):

As far as the title (“kata Markov” = according to Mark), Hengel insists that the lack of the smallest shred of any other name for the gospel is important. “The unanimity of testimony to the titles of the Gospels, for which there are still no variants of any kind in this early period, rules out a late origin” (p 66) for the title.

R. T. France has an extended discussion of this issue in his commentary on Mark, on pages 39-40.

France points out that:

“In contrast to this general skepticism, Martin Hengel’s Studies in the Gospel of Mark offers a robust argument for taking the patristic accounts of Mark seriously. Hengel is particularly scornful of the repeated assertion that the gospels are ‘anonymous’ documents, to which the names of authors were conjecturally attached sometime in the second century. his study on the titles of the Gospels argues that as soon as more than one written version of the ευαγγελιον was in circulation some label would be necessary in order to distinguish them, and the only such labels we know are the traditional terms κατα Μαθθαιον, κατα Μαρκον, etc. which are found with remarkable unanimity from as early as we can trace the titles of the books. Hengel points out how improbable it is that a late conjectural attribution could have produced such unanimity and left no trace of alternative attributions. He also quotes Tertullian, Adv. Marcion 4.2.3, as typical of the the view that a ‘gospel’ not bearing the name of its author could not be accepted as authoritative. It is thus altogether improbable that gospel books cold have circulated in the latter part of the first century without titles, and those titles took the form of a statement of authorship. The tradition that Mark was the author of this gospel therefore goes back even earlier than Papias, close to the time of the book’s own composition. ” (R. T. France, The Gospel of Mark, pages 39-40)

A footnote # 80 on page 39 says:

“. . . most modern books (including this commentary) are also ‘anonymous’; it is only on the title page and cover that the author is named. And ancient manuscripts regularly carried titles or colophons which might be expected to identify the word contained in them; it was in such titles rather than in the text itself that the author’s name would be found.”

In short, every evidence that we have when we have the title page of the gospels, κατα Μαθθαιον, κατα Μαρκον, Κατα Λυκαν, κατα Ιωαννην (John) are all there, when extant.

About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Bible is not corrupted, Canon of Scripture, Gospel according to John, Gospel according to Luke, Gospel according to Mark, Historical reliability of the Bible, Islam, Muslims, Reliability of the Bible, The 4 gospels and their titles. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Martin Hengel and R. T. France on the Gospel titles, κατα Μαθθαιον, κατα Μαρκον, κατα Λυκαν, κατα Ιωαννην

  1. Sam Shamoun says:

    Enjoy my latest article as I show how Satan trumped Allah and his “prophet” by producing verses identical to the Quran. Read this, use it in your witness and pass it on to others:

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