I have received a number of questions from readers about my blog post that tried to explain why the Gospel writers wrote their books anonymously; some of the questions have concerned the titles of the Gospels: if they books were not *written* by named authors (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) why do the titles *indicate* they were, and could the titles be original to the books?

My view is that the books did not originally have titles, but – for reasons I explained in a different post (https://ehrmanblog.org/why-are-the-gospels-called-matthew-mark-luke-and-john/) – were given titles naming their authors years after they had been circulating anonymously.  I explain why I think that the Gospels were originally without titles in a couple of my books; here are a couple of extracts (slightly edited) taken from Jesus Interrupted and Forged that marshal some of the arguments that are often adduced.  There is some overlap between the two sets of comments, but together they pretty much make the point.




In our surviving manuscripts of the Gospels they are always called by the same names, with titles such as “According to Matthew,” “According to Mark,” “According to Luke,” “According to John” – never by any other names (although the way the titles are phrased do differ).  Some scholars have argued that this is evidence that the Gospels were always named these things, from the beginning.   That is not necessarily the case, however.  It needs to be pointed out that we don’t …

To read the rest of this post you need to belong to the blog.  If you don’t, now’s the best time to join.  If not now, when?  If not ever, well, your life will not have been complete.  Make your life complete.  Join today!