Dating the writing of the gospels
According to the declaration of the Second Vatican Council, a faithful account of the actions and words of Jesus is to be found in the Gospels; but it is impossible to reconcile this with the existence in the text of contradictions, improbabilities, things which are materially impossible or statements which run contrary to firmly established reality.If, on the other hand, one chooses to regard the Gospels as expressing the personal point of view of those who collected the oral traditions that belonged to various communities, or as writings suited to an occasion or combat-writings, it does not come as a surprise to find faults in the Gospels.Tricot states that Matthew's, Mark's and Luke's Gospels were written before 70 A.D.: but this is not acceptable, except perhaps for Mark.They resort to these to produce texts which "are suitable for various circles, which meet the needs of the Church, explain observations on the Scriptures, correct errors and even, on occasion, answer adversaries' objections.Thus the evangelists, each according to his own outlook, have collected and recorded in writing the material given to them by the oral tradition".
The sayings of Jesus were transmitted, in particular, in the teaching of the catechism of the early Church."This is exactly how the commentators of the Ecumenical Translation of the Bible (Traduction oecumnique de la Bible) describe the writing of the Gospels: the formation of an oral tradition influenced by the preachings of Jesus's disciples and other preachers; the preservation by preaching of this material, which is in actual fact found in the Gospels, by preaching, liturgy, and teaching of the faithful; the slender possibility of a concrete form given by writings to certain confessions of faith, sayings of Jesus, descriptions of the Passion for example; the fact that the evangelists resort to various written forms as well as data contained in the oral tradition.
great many of Paul's letters." These observations are set out in the Introduction to the Ecumenical Translation of the Bible, New Testament (Introduction la Traduction oecumnique de la Bible, Nouveau Testament) edited 1972 .
They are worth mentioning from the outset, and it is useful to point out here that the work referred to is the result of a collective effort which brought together more than one hundred Catholic and Protestant specialists. canonic, did not become known until fairly late, even though they were completed at the beginning of the Second century A. According to the Ecumenical Translation, stories belonging to them began to be quoted around the middle of the Second century A. Nevertheless, "it is nearly always difficult to decide whether the quotations come from written texts that the authors had next to them or if the latter were content to evoke the memory of fragments of the oral tradition.""Before 140 A.
At all times and in all places the Church has maintained and still maintains the apostolic origin of the four Gospels. The sacred authors therefore composed the four Gospels in such a way as to always give us true and frank information on the life of Jesus".
What the apostles actually preached on Christ's orders, both they and the men in their following subsequently transmitted, with the divine inspiration of the Spirit, in writings which are the foundation of the faith, i.e. The Gospels "are not to be taken literally" they are "writings suited to an occasion" or "combat writings".