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Formation of the Gospels

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The first stage in the formation of the Gospels is the Period of Jesus' life. This corresponds to the public teachings or the sayings and deeds of Jesus. It was dated about 30-33AD. Jesus travelled around the country to speak, teach, heal people and perform miracles. These events became the basis for the Gospels. The Gospels are rather a part of a historical event than in catholic stories about the Gods. Although it doesn't mean that the Gospels must be simply seen as historical data or that the main function was to record history but it simply means that they are a part of God's self-revelation in human history.

We must not forget that Jesus didn't leave anything in writing. Nothing was written about Jesus during his time in the public ministry. The Gospels suggest that Jesus didn't instruct the disciples to write anything about him but he commanded them to preach and to teach the way he did.

The second stage of the development of the Gospels is the Period of oral tradition. This was the time of oral transition, preaching and teaching of the apostles about what Jesus said and did. It was dated to be about 33-70AD, not long after Jesus' death and resurrection. After the first Easter, the apostles started preaching to large crowds about Jesus. They began to proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus as the revelation of God's love for the world. The apostolic preaching is usually referred to as 'kerygma' which means 'preaching' because they do not simply repeat Jesus' sermons instead they proclaim the importance of the events that happened to Jesus and its significance as a new revelatory act of God in human history. The early preachers understood the significance of Jesus' identity and mission. They preached and taught in light of their Easter faith. The first preachers spoke Aramaic but as the preaching of the Gospels spread throughout Palestine, the tradition had to be translated to Greek. The preachers' main aim was to increase faith in others, in Jesus as the Christ, as Lord and Saviour.

The third and last stage of the development of the Gospels is the Period of the writing of the Gospels. It was the time of gradual collecting, editing and writing down of some of what had been preached and taught. This stage of development happened around 70-100 AD when the evangelist, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, recorded the Gospels in their written form. Although the evangelists were the next generation to the original eyewitnesses, they still inherited the tradition about Jesus that came from them. According to Luke 1:1-4, he confirms in this passage that the writer, since the gospels were written anonymously, of Luke's gospel was aware of other gospel writings and that he has great knowledge about Jesus' tradition. Through this passage, Luke acknowledges that his work is based on the tradition that was passed on by the original eyewitnesses who



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