Evangelist (New Testament)

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Jakob Jordaens : The Four Evangelists (around 1620)
Christ with evangelist symbols from a psalter, (around 1250)

The term evangelist primarily refers to the authors of the four biblical gospels about the life of Jesus . As names of the four evangelists are

handed down, of which the Christian tradition equates Matthew and John with the apostles of the same name .

Representation in the Gospels

The liturgical book, which contains only the four Gospels, is called the Gospels . Him, the book painting from the 6th century often the representations of the four authors above, each writing at a desk their gospel. For example, they are in the Reichenau Gospels of Otto III. which is kept in the Bavarian State Library in Munich , as well as in the Black Book of Hours of Charles the Bold , Duke of Burgundy , in the Austrian National Library in Vienna . Similar scenes are known from ivory carving and the decoration of choir stalls , pulpits , baptismal fonts and the like.

Evangelist symbols

From the 4th century onwards, the four evangelists are also represented by evangelist symbols. Usually a person symbolizes Matthew, a lion Markus, a bull Luke and an eagle John.


  • Hiltgart L. Keller: Reclam's Lexicon of Saints and Biblical Figures. Legend and representation in the fine arts. Philipp Reclam Jun., Stuttgart 1968, new edition Stuttgart 1979, ISBN 3-15-010154-9 .
  • The evangelists . In: World and Environment of the Bible. Issue 2/14, Katholisches Bibelwerk Stuttgart, ISBN 978-3-944766-43-0 .

Web links

Commons : Evangelists  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. Dei Verbum n.18
  2. Reclam's Lexicon of Saints and Biblical Figures, p. 190