In chapter 1, ‘Marcion, his Gospel and the Gospels in the Sources’ (158 pp.), Vinzent provides an overview of his readings of the sources...
In French It's a most basic set of questions to ask: Who wrote the Gospels? And generally, is there any reason to suspect that they are full of fabrications?
Yet I have noted that in making this argument, critics never explain to us how their arguments would work if applied equally to secular ancient documents whose authenticity and authorship is never (or is no longer) questioned, but are every bit as "anonymous" in the same sense that the Gospels are.
If it is objected that the Gospel authors nowhere name themselves in their texts -- and this is a very common point to be made, even among traditionalists -- then this applies equally to numerous other ancient documents, such as Tacitus' Annals.
Only Pliny of Tacitus' contemporaries mentions him, and his writings and the evidence of subsequent use up to the time of Boccaccio is slight. Perhaps a hundred years or less after Cassiodorus, Jordanes wrote his De origine actibusque getarum which he took largely from Cassiodorus' history of the Goths. 102 refers to the Histories, ascribing them in the one case to Cornelius, in the other to Cornelius Tacitus. Comparably speaking, this evidence is vanishingly small compared to the incredible number of attestations and attributions by patristic writers, some few earlier than (but many as late as) those listed for Tacitus above.
It is not true, however, that Tacitus and his writings were practically unknown. That one or the other of these two must have known Agric. The first note is as follows: "Hunc incomparabilis vitae bello civili Vitellius vicit apud Bebriacum campum. How can someone dealing with the evidence fairly claim to be sure of Tacitus' authorship of his various works (where such external evidence is concerned) and dismiss the Gospels, which have far better external evidence?
With very, VERY few exceptions, critics and Skeptics have used the same arguments against the traditional data over and over and over.
In my survey of the literature, I have found that the standard critical arguments have been overused by Skeptics and sufficiently answered by traditionalists; yet the critics have not deigned to answer the counter-arguments, except rarely and then only with bald dismissals.
I wish to thank Roger Pearse for helpfully sending me copies of relevant pages from the works of the Tacitean scholar Mendell, from Tacitus: The Man and His Work.
Thus, even if the traditional authorship and earliest dates are disproved - and it is my contention that the arguments against them are inadequate - it matters very little, we may surmise, who wrote them and when.
(Hengel [Heng.4G, 6] notes that we have only one biography of Muhammed, written 212 years after his death, which used a source from about 100 years after his death, and yet "the historical scepticism of critical European scholarship is substantially less" where Muhammed is concerned.) Critical arguments about authorship and date of the Gospels revolve around the same data, and have revolved around it, for a long time.
Notwithstanding such titular subscriptions: How do secular historians determine authorship (and date) of an ancient document?
Since we have started with Tacitus' Annals, we'll work with that example where we can. If a work of Tacitus tells us that Nero opened a refrigerator, took out a burrito, and stuck it in the microwave oven, we have some cause to doubt a second-century author like Tacitus was responsible for that material.