When did the Gospels get their names?

Bart Ehrman explains why the gospels are anonymous documents. It is time for Christians to come to terms with the facts.

Blogging Theology

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In this series of posts on the authors’ names associated with the New Testament Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – we have so far seen that the texts themselves are completely anonymous. The authors of two of these works (Luke and John) do speak in the first person in a couple of instances, but they do not say who they are. By the end of the second century, roughly a century after the books were written, they were being called by the names that are familiar to us today. So naturally one might wonder, when were they given these ascriptions?

Contrary to what you may sometimes have heard, there is no concrete evidence that the Gospels received their familiar names early on. It is absolutely true to say that in the manuscripts of the Gospels, they have the titles we are accustomed to (The Gospel according to Matthew…

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