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Further Reflections on the Fourfold Gospel Canon

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Chapter Summary

The canonical gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, were all composed at an earlier period, namely during the second half of the first century. The process of deciding which gospels were to be included in the church's fourfold gospel canon was not the result of some well-thought-out plan made by a centralized ecclesiastical authority. The advantage enjoyed by the Marcionites in having a single gospel that was free of discrepancies and alleged "Judaistic" additions was very real. The strong preference that was shown in Justin's school and in Tatian's Diatessaron for Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John over all competing gospel texts was shared in all parts of the church which rejected Marcion and the Gnostics. Trust in God's promise to save the nations, set forth in the book of Isaiah, is basic to Christian faith.

Keywords: book of Isaiah; Christian faith; fourfold gospel canon; John; Luke; Marcion; Mark; Matthew

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