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Who Chose the Gospels?: Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy
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Who Chose the Gospels?: Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  239 ratings  ·  32 reviews
The Bible contains four Gospels which tell the story of Jesus of Nazareth. And yet, many more Gospels once existed. Who, then, determined which Gospels would, for the next two thousand years, serve as the main gateways to Jesus and his teaching?
Recent books and films have traced the decision to a series of fourth-century councils and powerful bishops. After achieving vict
Hardcover, 295 pages
Published September 30th 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Robert Murphy
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What an excellent, enjoyable destruction of the stupid Da Vinci Code arguments. Thoroughly enjoyable read, fact-filled and winsome. Highly recommend to all.
Jacob O'connor
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
How do we know there are only 4 Gospels? After all, aren't there other Gospels written around the same time, like the Gospel of Thomas or the Gospel of Judas? Why not slap them into the New Testament with Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John?

Hill tackles this question, and he does a heck of a job. Liberal textual critics believe that those "other" gospels should be on equal footing with the big four. They also teach that the big four weren't decided upon until the 4th century. Hill points out that the
Todd Stone
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
first book of Seminary. its short, only about 250 pages, but dense. I'd recommend it for anyone who wants to seriously deal with the historical origins of scripture, specifically the Gospels.

for an academic book it is an easier read, actually enjoyable at times.
Brian Collins
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rex Blackburn
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great treatment of the title question: "Who chose the Gospels?"
Hill basically tackles the notion that the 4-fold Gospel canon was the product of some sort of mysterious and nefarious cabal, only interested in using the Gospels to gain political power. He backtracks through the early centuries of the Church, demonstrating how Christians into even the early second (and possibly first) centuries understood that they had 'received' these Gospels from authoritative, eyewitness, and apostolic sources.
Raymond Brown
Sep 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellent scholarly approach to the Gospels. The book is short and engaging, yet makes very compelling arguments backed up with solid research.

The fundamental premise is that the final selection of the Gospels was not necessarily the result of power politics pushing our more common writings representing alternative views - but was rather a more inevitable selection of dominant teachings.

The author builds the case steadily and offers a good counter-balance to more popular (or conspiratorial) v
Jan 07, 2013 rated it liked it
I would like to have rated this book higher, as the author has much good information and reasoned scholarship on the origin of the canonical gospels. However, there is a lot of bile expressed toward "some scholars", who seemingly have argued in favor of a supposed "conspiracy" by 4th-5th century politicians and churchmen to have "chosen" the gospels. One cannot help feeling after reading this book--including the footnotes--that the real problem for this author (and a few other conservative schil ...more
Rudolph P. Boshoff
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A must read for any Biblical Scholar & Christian. The central theme Dr Hill postulates was to research ancient history and especially the way in which the earliest Church Fathers perceived and viewed the four canonical Gospels. The central axis resolves the whole idea that the Four Gospels were a later collection of biographies and seemingly dictates that it was a know idea that the four distinct from all other "pseudepigraphal Gospels" were seen as uniquely divinely inspired as well as collecti ...more
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Hill provides a solid set of arguments for the historicity and canonicity of the four Gospels. He sometimes leans a little too much on conjecture as he brings the book to a conclusion. Nevertheless the book, as a whole, if full of useful information for those wanting a more solid foundation on the canonicity of the Gospels.
Pig Rieke
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The title is deceptive and provocative; however, the contents are orthodox and plain. Hills book consists of a strong historical (and partially theological) defense for orthodoxy in regards to the Church receiving the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as the Word of God. The issue that this book centrally addresses is the Church’s reception of the Gospels from their origin to the 3rd Century. Hill proves persuasively that the Gospels we have with us today are not the result of conspiracy ...more
Drew Martin
I’m no fan of organized religion, but I’m a fan of the history behind organized religion. I’m interested in how and why these beliefs came into being and spread. As is, I don’t read religious books so much as I read books about religion. The Easter season, while loaded with documentaries and films, also gives rise to an inspiration to read. Searching through my collection of eBooks, I picked C.E. Hill’s 2010 work, Who Chose the Gospels?: Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy. I made it through, ba ...more
Braley Chambers
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The most entertaining read I have read in seminary thus far. Hill does a great job of showing why there are only 4 gospels and why their "selection" wasn't arbitrary. The four Gospels weren't "chosen" by the early church but "received" by the church fathers likely from the apostles themselves. If you love books that crush conspiracy theories, this is for you.
Eric Fults
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great biblical cover of the topic. The arguments in this book are extremely logical but also accessible. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has wondered about this question or who longs for a thorough (and enjoyable) treatment on the topic.
Michael Kenan  Baldwin
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very good. Solid research and very well-written!
Caleb Batchelor
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think D.A. Carson gives the best recommendation for this book. He says, "Not many books that are so informed are such a pleasure to read."
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Compelling scholarship and history that makes a important and convoluted topic accessible. Found the Chapters on Irenaeus and Justin to be the most helpful/important, along with the final chapter.
Greg Bailey
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Solid scholarship mixes with a lively writing style in this interesting book about why we have four Gospel—and only four—in the New Testament canon.
Marc Sims
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Good argument, well-written, but a dry subject. A good book to have on hand if someone is struggling with skeptical arguments - last chapter is best.
Good Michigan Reads
Protein for orthodox faith. Winning research concerning the historical, regular, reasonable acceptance of, and only, the four Gospels by the early church. Surprisingly fun, with a pinch of witty sarcasm.
Chris Walker
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
A compelling discussion of the origins of the four canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Hill takes aim at recent scholarship that asserts that these gospels were just 'four among many' such writings about the life and sayings of Jesus, until the orthodox Christianity emerged, centuries after they were written. Hill methodologically works through evidence from mainly the 2nd Century that suggests that the widespread acceptance of the four traditional gospels as authoritative occurre
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
An accessible book compared to a lot of academic texts, but one that isn't lacking in well-researched information. It is presented as an answer to the conspiracy theories that have abounded over the choosing of the canonical gospels, and as such can be slightly combative in places. However, that said, it both points to holes in the arguments of those who hold to a 4thC choosing of the gospels by 'the winners', and argues very ably for a well-attested use of the four canonical gospels right throu ...more
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It is difficult to read this book because it gets into the details of what the early church fathers said about the four gospels. However, this is what leads to the five stars. It is a needed refutation of the common myth that the gospels were chosen in the fourth century by the church and that the other gospels were suppressed by this winning faction of Christianity. Actually Hill demonstrates convincingly that the four gospels in modern Bibles were in fact used and affirmed by church leaders ea ...more
John Brackbill
Engaging and witty writing on an important topic. Technical yes but in his apprach he obviously works at making the details engaging. This book certainly shows the bankrupt nature of the Dan Brown type conspiracy theories. The last chapter is an excellent concluding climax and defence of the book's argument and of the early church recognizing not declaring the four gospels to be authentically revealation from God about Jesus Christ.
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
A solid (though not spectacular) and charitable refutation of the nonsense peddled by those who think that the reception of the four canonical Gospels was the result of nothing more than power politics.
Thing Two
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Thing Two by: Meghan Killingsworth
If Charles E. Hill was giving a lecture on this subject, I'd be all ears. Reading it, however, was challenging - not because he doesn't present some very interesting facts, but because it's pretty dry.
Interesting subject matter, nonetheless.
Stuart Jennings
Jun 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
A scholarly and well argued account of the origins of the Scriptures that should debunk a lot of the rubbish currently doing the rounds. Not an easy book to read, but its short size (293 pages) and mass of information make the task both possible and rewarding
Peter Stonecipher
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Solid, thorough answer to the question at hand. Explores loads of early Christian and non-Christian writings to wrestle with the question of how we arrived at accepting the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Troy Gibson
This books should (but won't) put to rest all the mythology and conspiracy theories regarding the four-fold gospel standard that Christians embrace.
David Kakish
Aug 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
If the topic suits your interest, I find that Hill's work is concisely thorough while maintaining a modicum of enjoyability.
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