(Original post by yawn)
Jesus told his disciples to go out and tell the world about his teachings. In those times, the way of finding out about His teachings was the traditional 'word of mouth' method which was very accurate, according to historians.
So you see, it doesn't matter who wrote the books, but rather that the authors learnt of Jesus' teaching by the traditional method of word of mouth from the mouth of those particular apostles.
In my Church, whenever one of the Gosepls is acclaimed, it is always prefaced "The Gospel according to ...." See the subtle difference?
If you're an unswerving believer it maybe doesn't matter, though why it wouldn't still be a matter of curiosity to you I don't know - aren't you interested in which individuals may well have taken part in its construction as far as writing stuff down is concerned? Anyway, as I'm sure you would agree, there is plenty of secular interest in the origins of ancient holy texts, among which the New Testament is a major example, so it's not an illegitimate object of inquiry. As for the 'word of mouth' method being 'accurate, according to historians' that's a bit of a generalisation. It's true that in some instances long oral traditions have proven remarkably accurate when tested against available evidence, but that doesn't mean it is always, or even usually, the case.
I don't think even Christian scholars interested in the matter would deny that the texts which we call the New Testament were written down at least two or three decades after the alleged events. Having said that, presumably there is an official Roman Catholic position on the matter - does the Church prefer there to be no discussion or do they maintain that the texts were written down while Jesus lived and by the indivduals named as the putatuive authors?
(Original post by Oswy)
Having said that, presumably there is an official Roman Catholic position on the matter
"Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven."
There you have it, Oswy...taken from the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation or ‘Dei Verbum.’ Here the Church is telling us what the nature of the gospels is and that it is historical. However, Dei Verbum and subsequent Vatican pronouncements have recognized the value of the historical-critical method, but they have also recognised its limits and its abuse by modern scholars.