But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work (NRSVC 2 Timothy 3:14-17).In today’s world, if an author were to claim authorship of a text that he had not written the public outcry would be substantial. Society would consider the act fraudulent and unethical. While the usage
Source criticism is the search for evidence that the authors of the Bible may have been influenced by, or directly copied, text from another source. This works in conjunction with form criticism, which is the attempt by scholars to try to identify the oral tradition that the text is based on. Together with redaction criticism, a form of criticism deals more directly with the author's particular influence on the text, these three historical-critical methods serve to inform different aspects of the historical development of the Gospels. Using these methods affords us the ability to examine what we know and what can be deduced to try to answer questions about the authors of the Gospels. For example, it is more than plausible that Jesus' exploits had already been established as oral tradition prior to their being written down. Because of this sharing of information, through various orators, and the traditions that rose up around these stories, there would occasionally be what could be seen as discrepancies among the authors of scripture (source criticism). Also, if the oral history being maintained is attributed to a specific person or that person's school of thought, when that oral tradition is finally set in writing (form criticism) it would often be attributed to the person to whom the oral history is credited. This is why the authors of the Gospel would attribute them to somebody else. Redaction Criticism comes into play when trying to ascertain how each of the authors influenced the collected knowledge they set to paper. How does the author's intentions and interpretation color his writings. Redaction critics must try to understand whether or not the author took it upon himself to add or subtract from the writings or oral traditions that came before. This is why books that are attributed to the same author may vary in tone and message. Literary criticism can also help us identify differing authorship. Literary criticism is an effort to identify the literary form the author was utilizing when writing. Was the text in question meant to be literal, parable, or symbolic? Are the writings a poem, narrative, letter, or otherwise? A good example of this is how form and literary criticism together shape many of the arguments that scholars have that the Johannine works were written by different authors. Contextual Criticism involves the necessity to take the authors environment, time period, and cultural factors into account when studying the bible. When, where, and why did the authors wrote is perhaps the most telling part of why the Gospels may be credited to authors who did not write them. Simply put, the social, academic, religious, and literary norms of the Hebrews living in the Levant, and authoring these books support the claims that several various authors wrote the Gospels of the New Testament.