7. The Gospels Story
Philip R. Davies† [+]
University of Sheffield, (Emeritus)
The books of the Old Testament are either anonymous or pseudonymous and mostly rewritten and edited more than once. They are also varied in their interests and ideas. The New Testament books are not anonymous (with the exception of the Letter to the Hebrews), but mostly pseudonymous. They all focus on the deity Jesus Christ and were written within the space of a century. The Jewish scriptures are the work of scribal schools, finally given an official authorization (probably by the Hasmonean rulers). No scribal schools or political authorities account for the growth and canonizing of the New Testament; local Christian communities (‘churches’) at first adopted their own list of books, but as these communities developed into larger organizations and hierarchies emerged, culminating with the dominance of the church in Rome, the contents of the New Testament became more widely agreed.