This article gives a short impression concerning my book “Jesus’ Stenographers”. In it I show that a new approach to the gospels is necessary. Much has been written about the gospels, but never that writers followed Jesus systematically. This insight is not based on a sketchy idea, but on relevant texts from the New Testament.
Trust in Jesus’ Authority
It is generally accepted in orthodoxy that the gospel writers used the oral tradition as a source for the presentation of Jesus' sayings. This approach means that we apparently don’t possess the original words of Jesus in the gospels. The loss of the authority of Jesus’ sayings is a serious problem in many Christian lives and churches, I feel. Many Christians feel hesitation in trusting the gospels, in trusting Jesus’ words, due to the doctrine of the oral tradition. It is high time to encounter obscure theories concerning the center of the Christian faith: Jesus and his words. We not only want to believe in him and his sayings, we also need an adequate theology to fully justify that faith. For that reason I wrote this book.
Stenography in the Roman Empire
The Prologues of Luke’s Gospel and John’s First Epistle and a passage in the Letter of the Hebrews contain the information that Jesus was followed about by writers. Shorthand writing was developed in the Roman Empire by slaves in the first century B.C. This important art of writing was able to spread over the entire Roman Empire from the east to the west. When Jesus – about 90 years later – taught the multitudes, everything was ready to preserve his words.
New Model of Gospel Explanation
Jesus’ writers generally made three types of reports shortly after an occurrence: teaching records, public records and remnant records, which were used by Matthew, Luke and Mark, respectively, in their gospels. They avoided presenting repetitions of the spoken word in their reports and consequently parallel stories in the gospels do not present precisely the same sayings of Jesus. This was never the result of an oral tradition preceding the gospels. John’s gospel is composed of reports that didn’t receive special editing after the first writing activity.
The documentation theory contains a tsunami of exegetical implications – all presented in the book – but the main point is that it will be a must for the Christian testimony in a modern and globalising world, in a world in turmoil.
In preparing this work I had in mind not only those who in some way make Christian work their profession. To make the documentation theory accessible to many people, I have thus tried to present a text that is readable by everyone. It is my wish that many may be strengthened in their faith in the reliability of the Biblical words of Jesus Christ, and in the reliability of the New Testament as a whole.