What are the ‘M’ and ‘L’ Sources?

I've been writing about the Gospels, and last week I wrote about the Q Source Hypothesis (a.k.a. Document Q). The Q Source Hypothesis proposes the Gospel of Mark was written first, and the Gospels of Matthew and Luke used Mark as a primary source, while also using the hypothetical source Q for material common to both Matthew and Luke, but not Mark.

My article this week will be short, as I'm just including this for completeness. There is material...

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What is the Q Source Hypothesis?

In my last two articles I've researched What is the Synoptic Problem? and Which Gospel was Written First?. It is frequently accepted by modern scholars that Mark was written first, and the Gospels of Matthew and Luke used Mark as a primary source. 

There is material common to both Matthew and Luke which is not in Mark, so where did they get that material? It is generally believed Luke was written third, so either Luke copied the...

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Which Gospels was Written First?

(This post was supposed to go out last Saturday, but I realized yesterday it hadn't.)

The order of the Gospels in the New Testament is Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, however, scholars typically believe they were written in a different order. How did they come to this conclusion?

In my article What is the Synoptic Problem?, I showed there is so much in common between the Synoptic Gospels that the later...

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What is the Synoptic Problem?

The first three Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) are called the Synoptic Gospels. The term synoptic comes from the words meaning "same" (syn) and "sight" (optic), or "to see together". There is quite a bit of overlap with what these three books report, while about 90% of the Gospel of John contains different information.

There are different views on how Christians should view the overlapping information. On the one hand, if the authors are...

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Why are there Four Gospels?

The Gospels describe Jesus's ministry, death and resurrection, but why are there four Gospels? Why didn't one person write a comprehensive biography of Jesus's life?

Suppose that today four men should undertake to write a “life” of ex-president [Theodore] Roosevelt, and that each one designed to present him in a different character. Suppose that the first should treat of his private and domestic life, the second deal...

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Can We Trust the Gospels?

Christianity is based on historical events. Throughout the Bible, there were eyewitnesses to events, and those people reported what happened. The Gospels, in particular, have extra-Biblical sources which help confirm their accuracy. First century non-Christian historians who refer to events in the Gospels include Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, Tacitus, Thallus, and Emperor Trajan.

Ancient Historians

The testimonies...

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What are the Gospels?

I wrote several articles about the Torah, which is comprised of the first five books of the Old Testament. Now I want to move several hundred years later and research the Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament.

The word Gospel comes from an Old English translation of the Greek word euaggelion (εὐαγγέλιον; Strong's G2098), from which we get the English words evangelize, evangelist and Evangelical. Gospel means "good...

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Documentary Review: Fragments of Truth

I had planned on
seeing the new documentary Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy
on opening night and writing a review for today's article, but the projector in
the theater wasn't working, so my plans have changed. The Moses Controversy is scheduled to be shown again on
Saturday, March 16th, and Tuesday, March 19th, so hopefully I'll be able to
write a review for next weekend, but by then it will be to late to see it in
the theater.

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Could the Gospel Message have been Accurately Transmitted Orally?

Pastor and theologian Rainer Riesner concludes in his doctoral dissertation Jesus as a Teacher the disciples could have received Jesus's teachings orally, and passed those lessons on to others without corrupting the message.

  1. Jesus spoke with authority to command respect and concern to safeguard his teachings.
  2. Jesus's claim to be the ...
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Were the Gospels Transmitted like the “Telephone” Game?

In the "Telephone" game, people start by sitting in a circle. One person makes up a sentence and whispers it into the next person's ear, and the second  person whispers what was heard into the third person's ear, and so on. This process continues until the last person says the sentence out loud, and the person who started the game says the original sentence out loud. Usually the sentence get changed during the game, and the starting sentence and ending sentence...

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