Gospel (book)

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Oldest known fragment of a Gospel text, 52 ("Johannesfragment"), front side (recto), written around 125 AD.
New Testament
Acts of the Apostles
Paul's letters
Catholic letters

The term gospel comes from ancient Greek ( εὐαγγέλιον euangélion ) and means “good news” or “ good news ”. The gospels usually refer to the four gospels according to Matthew , Mark , Luke and John in the New Testament of the Bible . In addition, other Gospels have come down that do not belong to the biblical canon and are counted among the New Testament Apocrypha .

The authors of the four Gospels are also known as evangelists .

Concept history

In the Greek translation of the Old Testament , the Septuagint , the term evangelion is found several times in scenes in which news of a military victory is brought to a king. In post-exilic Judaism , the gospel primarily meant the message of salvation announced by the prophet Isaiah (40.9–12 EU ).

In the Imperium Romanum , this term was used to describe news from the imperial family that was considered “good news”. The oldest evidence can be found in the stone "Calendar Inscription of Priene " (dated 9 BC), which says about the birthday of the deified emperor Augustus (23 September 63 BC):

ἦρξεν δὲ τᾦ κόσμῳ τῶν δι 'αὐτὸν εὐαγγελίων ἡ γενέϑλιος τοῦ ϑεοῦ ...
"The birthday of the God has for the world to him to Socialize ends glad tidings [Gospel] brought up." Translation: Adolf von Harnack .

In Mark 1,1 EU the term has a contrasting meaning when applied to Jesus of Nazareth . It describes the good news of the salvation happening in Jesus Christ . Originally, this good news is not something fixed in writing, but an oral proclamation.

Some Church Fathers called the entire New Testament the gospel . The name gospel in connection with the canonical gospel scriptures can be found in the church father Irenaeus : The gospel as the one message of Jesus Christ in four forms - according to or according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The church father Justinus uses the term in both meanings.

The four New Testament Gospels

The four books at the beginning of the New Testament (NT) are regarded as gospels . They report on the ministry of Jesus and were created several decades after the ministry of Jesus.

According to the general consensus of biblical scholars, the original language of all four New Testament Gospels is Greek . The author's information (such as “Gospel according to Matthew” etc.) do not belong to the original text of the Gospels, but were added early and are consistent throughout the tradition. It is incomprehensible whether the names are actually the original names of the authors, or whether these names were secondary to an author who is not known by name.

  • Gospel according to Matthew
    • Author: traditionally Matthew , apostle and before that tax collector
    • Area of ​​impact: probably Persia, Caspian Sea, Greece, possibly Ethiopia
    • Addressees: mainly Jewish Christians with a good knowledge of the Jewish Bible
  • Gospel according to Mark
    • Author: traditionally John Mark , not an apostle, is said to have received material for his report from the apostle Peter
    • Scope: probably Asia Minor , Greece, Rome, Egypt
    • Addressees: especially Gentile Christians
  • Gospel according to Luke
    • Author: traditionally Luke , not an apostle, was a doctor and one of Paul's companions , his report differs from the others in its sophisticated language
    • Scope: probably Jerusalem, Asia Minor, Rome
    • Addressees: especially educated Gentile Christians
  • Gospel according to John
    • Author: traditionally Johannes , Apostle
    • Scope: probably Jerusalem, Asia Minor
    • Addressees: Christians in general, whose faith should be deepened

The time of origin of the New Testament Gospels lies between 30 or 33 AD (the year of Jesus' crucifixion) and around 120 AD (evidence from the early 2nd century: The Papyrus 52 ( 52 ), a fragment of the Gospel of John from that time Emperor Hadrian and Church Fathers - Quotes). In theological research hardly anyone advocates the “early dating” of a gospel to the 1930s, but the thesis of a primordial gospel has existed since ancient times . The discussions move in the area of ​​tension between a "middle dating" of the Gospels around AD 60 and a "late dating" around AD 85.

In spite of the only brief public activity of Jesus, there are more chronologically closer biographical accounts of him than of most ancient personalities, e.g. B. the earliest surviving biography of Augustus was written by Suetonius a century after his death , and about Mohammed two centuries after his death by Ibn Hisham .

The following criteria are used to determine when the Gospels were written: Stylistic peculiarities, reciprocal references between the texts, theological differences and references to historical facts. The following table shows some attempts at dating:

Gospel Adolf von Harnack (1851–1930) John AT Robinson (1919-1983) Werner G. Kümmel (1905–1995) Klaus Berger (1940-2020) Mostly today
Matthew 70-75 AD 40-60 + 80-100 71 80-90
Markus 65–70 AD 45-60 approx. 70 before 70 at 70
Luke AD 79-93 57-60 + 70-90 65-71 80-90
John 80–110 AD 40-65 + 90-100 68/69 at 100

Although the first three Gospels report many incidents in a similar manner, and the content of the shorter Gospel of Mark is largely contained in the longer Gospels according to Matthew and Luke, all four Gospels have been retained for ecclesiastical use. It was neither z. For example, the Gospel of Mark was omitted, nor was a Gospel Harmony (i.e., a continuous narrative compiled from the four Gospels) in the place of the Gospels (the Gospel harmony created by Tatian was popular in the Syrian Church, but did not supplant the original Gospels). The emerging major church decided to include these four Gospels used in the Christian communities separately in the New Testament canon . (See also New Testament Apocrypha .)

In addition to the four mentioned gospels, many pseudepigraphic gospels were circulating from the 2nd century onwards , which are later not included in the canon and are called apocryphal gospels. Of them are u. a. handed down the Gospel of Thomas , the Gospel of Peter , the Gospel of Judas , the Gospel of Truth and the Gospel of Philip . Of these Gospels are e.g. In some cases only fragments or quotations have been received from church fathers.

See also

Wiktionary: Gospel  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


→ For introductory basic biblical information, see the biblical manuals listed under Bible

  • Johannes Joachim Degenhardt, Hans Thimme, Reinhard Wegner (eds.): The Dating of the Gospels - Symposium of the Institute for Basic Research on Philosophy of Science from 20. – 23. May 1982 in Paderborn 3rd edition, German Institute for Education and Knowledge, Paderborn 1986.
  • Detlev Dormeyer : Gospel as a literary and theological genre (= income from research. Volume 263). Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1989.
  • Dirk Frickenschmidt: Gospel as biography - the four Gospels within the framework of ancient storytelling (= texts and works on the New Testament age. Volume 22). Francke, Tübingen 1997, ISBN 3-7720-1873-4 .
  • Martin Hengel : The four gospels and the one gospel of Jesus Christ. Studies on their collection and creation (= Scientific Studies on the New Testament. Volume 224). Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2008, ISBN 3-16-149663-9 .
  • Kilian Ruckstuhl, Hans Weder: New Zurich Gospel Synopsis. Theological Publishing House, Zurich 1996.
  • Dirk Wördemann: The character image in the bíos according to Plutarch and the image of Christ in the Gospel according to Markus (= studies on the history and culture of antiquity. New series 1/19), Schöningh, Paderborn 2002, ISBN 3-506-79069-2 .
  • The evangelists . In: World and Environment of the Bible. Edition 2/14, Katholisches Bibelwerk Stuttgart, ISBN 978-3-944766-43-0 (recent research results on the biographical data of the four evangelists).

Web links

Commons : Gospels  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. If the evangelist Mark wrote his gospel in AD 69, he may have thought of the news of Vespasian's enthronement as emperor.
  2. Oliver Achilles: A matter of interpretation. A blog about interpreting the Bible. - The birth of God . On: auslegungssache.at of January 6, 2015.
  3. Martin Ebner : The Gospel of Mark and the rise of the Flavians. A political reading of the oldest “gospel”. In: Bible and Church. 2nd quarter 2011, p. 64 ff.
  4. The Gospel of Mark ( Memento of September 13, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  5. Francis Peloubet, Mary Peloubet: A dictionary of the Bible: Comprising its antiquities, biography, geography, natural history and literature. Porter & Coates, 1884. p. 367.
  6. Geoffrey W. Bromiley: The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Eerdmans, 1959, ISBN 978-0-8028-3785-1 , p. 281 ( books.google.com.au ).
  7. Bruce Metzger : The Text of the New Testament. Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. Fourth Edition, Oxford University Press, New York 2005, ISBN 0-19-516122-X .
  8. Kurt Aland, Barbara Aland: The text of the New Testament: an introduction to the critical editions and to the theory and practice of modern textual criticism. 2nd, rev. and enlarged edition, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids 1995, ISBN 0-8028-4098-1 .
  9. Martin Hengel : The four gospels and the one gospel of Jesus Christ. Tübingen 2008, pp. 170, 99, 72.
  10. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica. (Edition 1913): “In fact, in none of the books is the author more clearly defined than in the book of Matthew. Starting with Papias, Justin the Martyr, Irenaeus, Tatian, Theophilus, Clemens, Tertullian and Origen, this is unanimously recognized. "
  11. Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer : In Search of the Historical Jesus - About the Credibility of the Gospels and the Doubts of the Skeptics , Heroldverlag, Leun 2013, ISBN 978-3-88936-074-8 , p. 40 f.
  12. Martin Hengel, Anna Maria Schwemer: Jesus and Judaism (= history of early Christianity. Volume 1), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-16-149359-1 , p. 197. Compare with other personalities such as Augustus or Mohammed: pp. 193–198.
  13. ^ Albert Huck, German Gospel Synopsis, JCB Mohr, Tübingen 1928, p. IX.