The New Testament

A Historical and Theological Introduction


7. The Origin and Reliability of the Gospel Tradition

Questions for Review

  1. What modern factors make our understanding of the reliability of oral tradition somewhat difficult?
  2. What role did memory play in people’s lives in and around the first century?
  3. How did Gerhardsson contribute to our understanding of oral tradition and its transmission?
  4. Where can we see evidence of the transmission of oral tradition in the NT? What about in the Apostolic Fathers?
  5. What is significant about the fact that Papias preferred the oral traditions about Jesus to the Gospels themselves?
  6. What role does Jesus as teacher or rabbi play in our understanding of the reliability of the oral tradition lying behind the Gospels?
  7. What role did the Apostles play with regard to the transmission of the Gospel tradition?
  8. Why is it important that the Apostles witnessed the ministry of Jesus as well as his resurrection?
  9. In what ways did Burney contribute to the discussion of oral tradition in the Gospels?
  10. It is said that the sayings of Jesus were easy to remember. In what ways is this true?