In response to yesterday’s post, I received a seemingly simple question that is both intriguing and complex.  I will devote two posts to giving an answer



Why were the gospels written anonymously? Was this the usual practice with this type of account in those times?



It’s a bit surprising that more attention hasn’t been paid to this question by scholars, who, as a rule, are *far* more interested in proving that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written by the people named in their (current) titles than in exploring the issue of why the authors never named themselves.   In this post I’ll deal with the phenomenon of anonymous writings *generally* in the ancient world; in the following post I’ll elaborate a suggestion I make here, but do not develop at any length, about the Gospels in particular.

The following has been drawn from my discussion in my scholarly book Forgery and Counterforgery.  But apart


There are far fewer anonymous writings from antiquity – and from Christian antiquity – than of other kinds of writing (orthonymous, falsely ascribed, forged).  The reason is quite simple: anonymous works were almost always…

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