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BYU Studies Quarterly

BYU Studies Quarterly

Abstract

In Who Chose the Gospels? Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy, C. E. Hill, professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, challenges the seemingly pervasive view in scholarship that it was not until the fourth century, when Christian "orthodoxy" began to be firmly entrenched, that the four canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were selected by the church and raised to a status above all other competing Gospels. Hill argues that while this paradigm has become increasingly widespread in scholarship and is often propagated by the media or in popular culture (as in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code) because it presupposes conspiracies and cover-ups by the early church, it is flawed and belies the actual evidence. Hill argues that when one looks at the evidence for the use of the four Gospels, it is clear that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John had already achieved an unrivaled position of prominence among early Christian texts prior to the fourth century. Consequently, their inclusion in the New Testament canon was not the result of ecclesiastical politics or the imposition of emerging Christian orthodoxy but simply the natural end of a process.

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