Therefore, in order to keep the true story, it is critical that the tradition gets frozen before too much time has passed. Today's man is not so much more knowledgeable and less biased than ancient man. 213) was the head of the catechetical school in Alexandria. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke show dramatic similarities. We now know that the entire New Testament was written by first-, second-, and third-hand witnesses, in the range of 20-120 years after the death of Jesus.
If a tradition is not believed, or is considered unimportant, it will not be repeated. 253) was the head of the catechetical school in Alexandria after Clement. 263-339) was bishop of Caesarea and the first true church historian. He was the primary creator of the Vulgate, a key Latin translation of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew sources. He was one of the great theologians of the church, and he also reported on historical details.
The traditions that get pruned will be those that are the least popular, but not necessarily the least true. He left there as a result of a conflict (more political than theological) with the local bishop, and founded a new school in Caesarea. He preserved much of the tradition that would have been lost otherwise. In this time (and largely under the influence of Jerome and Augustine) there were several councils that ratified the contents of the current Roman Catholic Bible.
Much of the information we have about the authors of the New Testament comes from the church fathers, the leaders of the church in the post-apostolic age.
There is an unbroken chain of writers discussing the New Testament that goes back to soon after the Gospels were written.
The understanding here is that there is another source, called Q by scholars, that both Matthew and Luke had. It is not expected that Matthew or Luke used each other because of the significant number of otherwise inexplicable omissions and conflicts between Matthew and Luke in how they use Mark and Q.
Finally, there is material that is unique to Matthew and other material that is unique to Luke. What we have described is called the four source hypothesis, where Mark, Q, M, and L are the sources. The Gospel According to John, written by the Johannine community based on the testimony of John the apostle, (A. The writings of the church fathers are referred to as "the tradition" or as "patristic sources" in most discussions of this subject. All information from after this time either depends on earlier available sources or is suspect because we are unable to determine what the earlier sources are.For my purposes I will look at the most relevant information from before A. Unfortunately, the questions of New Testament authorship and dating are not cut and dried. There is substantial variation in the writings of the church fathers.It is dated because the author refers to the recent episcopate of Pius I of Rome, who died in A. That is to say, for passages that are in all three Gospels, Matthew agrees with Mark and Luke agrees with Mark much more than Matthew agrees with Luke against Mark. The second and third were written by the presbyter, which may or may not have been John, (A. Both Matthew and Luke agree with each other, however, on content that is not in Mark. The first was written by John the apostle, likely with the assistance of an amanuensis, (A. John almost never uses the same words to describe events and only occasionally describes the same events. The Gospel According to Matthew, written by an anonymous Jewish Christian (A.