There is evidence that the four New Testament gospels were hidden in the writings of St Justin Martyr. He knew nothing of Acts a book that was never quoted until 177 AD (page 150, 225, The Jesus Mysteries). And our four gospels were certainly unavailable to him for what he has got differs a lot (ibid, page 224). He never mentioned Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (page 224, The Jesus Mysteries). He quotes what may come from the heretical Gospel of Peter on one occasion (page 200, The Canon of Scripture). But Justin did know the four gospels before he died in 165 AD for it was his disciple, the Encratite Tatian who merged the gospels into one heretical and condemned book called the Diatessaron. Tatian might have put in quotes in Justin's books. If so, it is no wonder they differ so from the four gospels and contradict Justin's statements for they were inserted in a hurry. When Justin had a heretic who taught that it was a sin to eat meat or drink wine and discouraged and frequently forbade marriage as a disciple, the gospels must have been censored for they do not sanction such asceticism at all but quite the opposite.

Justin said in his book for the Emperor that the Memoirs of the Apostles, which are frequently taken to refer to the four gospels, were read publicly in the Churches. “He tells how the compositions of the prophets were read in the weekly meetings of Christians along with the memoirs of the apostles; the memoirs of the apostles indicated the lines along which the prophets’ words were to be understood” (The Canon of Scripture, page 70). The Memoirs must have been incomplete for who is going to write out full books or purchase them when all that is needed are some quotes that fit the Old Testament’s so-called predictions? The early Church did everything in the light of the Old Testament. We are clearly told that only the bits that fitted the prophecies were read. But if it were right to assume that he is saying that the gospels whole and entire were read in public, then this would have been a lie or an altered and inauthentic insertion. All Justin would have had to do was to go to his preacher to get accurate quotations for his writings. The evidence says that even Justin could not get the full and accurate version of the gospels which is a sure sign that they were top secret for the Church. There is no need to believe that these Memoirs contained historical matter.
One must remember that Justin quoted these Memoirs to the Emperor and the Emperor had a body of men who could have checked them out so if Justin had our gospels he had to be more specific as to what gospel the quotation he used was in. Even if Justin's book was not for the Emperor and Justin saying it was for the Emperor was a lie, Justin had to act as if it was. So the Memoirs of the Apostles are just collections of sayings attributed to Jesus. They are not the Gospels. When the Memoirs were lost that means the Church did not think much of them. Justin uses the names of Old Testament authors in his book when he quotes them which proves the Memoirs were not the Gospels. When Justin used a collection like that it tells you that there were no gospels.
Would Justin really call the four gospels the Memoirs of the Apostles without giving a shred of evidence that they came from the apostles in case the Emperor would be sceptical? This indicates that he was lying about them or he could find no evidence for an apostolic origin. It is a serious problem if Justin was really able to write to the Emperor and testify that the Christians used the Memoirs as holy books if not scripture every week when the emperor wanted rid of Christianity. He knew that the Church could be destroyed best by destroying the books. Near the end of the book is a plea for the execution of Christians to be ended. My bet is the Emperor never heard of Justin’s wacky book. Justin was a dishonest person. He said that the Memoirs were composed by the apostles but Luke and Mark were not apostles and Matthew never claimed that it was apostolical and neither did John. This would indicate that he did not have the four gospels at all.
To recap, Justin never refers to the gospels but to what he calls the Memoirs of the Apostles and he quotes these. The Christians say the Memoirs were the gospels. But there is no evidence that this title was used for them by anyone other than Justin so it is most probably a gospel on its own. The Memoirs are too different from the Gospels to be the Gospels. Christians say that Justin was quoting from memory and that was why there was inaccuracy. They say it was too hard to go through scrolls to get the exact wording. This is the excuse they apply to all the Apostolic Fathers none of whom quoted the gospels exactly or gave any clear indication that they were quoting our four gospels at all. But remember this, the likes of Justin must have gone through the scrolls often enough to be able to remember anything like the text so why not when they were writing? Commonsense tells you that these teachers would have went through the scrolls once if they had access to them and taken notes of portions they wanted to remember and use these notes in writing and so the wording would be an exact match for the gospels if they had them.

It is insanity in any case to depend on Justin as evidence for the existence of the gospels in those days for when an apologist as bad and woolly thinking as him was the only one to survive from the earliest period it reflects terribly on the other apologists and on the intellectual climate in the Church. He was the best then. The best apologist might get access to the gospels so even if he knew them that does not mean anybody else did or that he was allowed to tell everything that they contained.

It is certain that the later Church tampered with the Apostolic Fathers’ writings, and likely Justin's, but even now as they are they do not hold out much hope for those who want to find evidence for the existence and publication of the gospels by the time they were written.


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WHO CHOSE THE GOSPELS? C E Hill, Oxford University Press, New York, 2010




The “Historical” Jesus by Acharya S


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