What Does Eusebius (300 AD) Say About the Gospels?
Eusebius of Caesarea was a Church Father who lived about 250-300 years after the death of Christ. Commissioned by the Emperor Constantine, he wrote the first history of the Christian Church. Below is a summary of what he wrote as to the authoring of the canonical gospels:
Matthew written by disciple Matthew in Hebrew, to the Hebrews (Bk III, Ch 24, v. 5)
Mark was written by John Mark in Rome. Mark was a disciple of Peter, and this book was based upon his sermons. Peter did not originally request Mark to write the book, but he verified that it was accurate.
- Not written in strict chronological order (Bk II, Ch 15, vv. 1-2)
- Mark was written after Matthew (Bk VI, Ch 25, vv. 4-10)
Luke was written by Paul’s associate Luke, as he interviewed eye-witnesses of the events and also relied on Paul’s testimony (Bk. III, Ch 4, v. 7)
Matthew, Mark, Luke written before Paul’s letters: When Paul says “my gospel,” he means Luke (Bk III, Ch 4, v. 8)
John was written at end of John’s life. John was familiar with the other gospels, but wished to speak more of Jesus’ divinity, and the events of the beginning of His ministry: that is, events before the imprisonment of John (Bk 3, Ch 24, 7)
This account is based on 1) a careful reading of Scriptures with 2) reference to some traditions and accounts from the Fathers. Most accepted it until the 1900’s.
Although I am not advocating a full acceptance of Eusebius’ beliefs, based solely on his antiquity and his position as a Church Father, I DO think that many people discount and disregard his witness too quickly. We must remember that he lived a mere two and a half centuries after the events, in a highly-developed society. It is quite likely that his information is more reliable than we give it credit for. Perhaps it is even more reliable than the reigning Liberal scholarship on the topic today.