The New Testament

A Historical and Theological Introduction

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7. The Origin and Reliability of the Gospel Tradition

Questions for Research and Discussion

  1. Imagine you have a friend who is skeptical regarding the oral tradition behind the NT. How would you present a case defending it to her?
  2. Trace a hypothetical saying of Jesus from the lips of Jesus to the original copy of the Gospel according to Matthew.
  3. How has Gerhardsson’s work regarding oral tradition been criticized, as presented in the chapter? What do you make of these criticisms?
  4. What impact on the reliability of the Gospels can be gleaned from the fact that the oral traditions about Jesus remained popular even after the written Gospels were widely circulated?
  5. Paul appears several times throughout this chapter. Trace his influence on our understanding of the oral tradition behind the NT.