Roman Influence on the Birth of Christianity
Dating the Gospels
There is disagreement whether the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and
John) were written in the first or second century ACE.
Some scholars feel the Gospels are filled with
folklore, which takes time to develop.
Other scholars believe that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were
written relatively soon after the time of Christ and potentially depict
observations of real human events.
Most scholars agree that John was written several
decades after the other three.
The first three Gospels provide a relatively consistent
chronology of major events in Jesus’ travels/ministries. In the Gospel of John these
events become disjointed, when trying to relate to the other three.
The Gospel of John has several very important
differences from the other three:
John is the only Gospel that
mentions any type of physical violation to Jesus while he was on the cross
(i.e., the stabbing of Jesus in the side with a spear after he was
The stabbing results from Jewish demands that the legs of the prisoners be
broken and Rome’s reaction with breaking the other two, but not Jesus’. The
account of fluid expulsion from a corpse
is medically improbable. Why does this story not occur in the
In the first three Gospels,
the Romans direct Simon of Cyrene to carry Jesus’ cross. John is the only
Gospel that states Jesus carried his own cross.
John is the only Gospel to
mention that women and his acquaintances were near the cross,
which contradicts all of the other three, which state they watched from a
The Gospel of John never uses
the Greek term, evangelion (see the menu button for “The Term Gospel”).
Many theologians surmise that the author of John was sensitive to the use of
this term and that it may have come from Jesus’ lips. The
author’s sensitivity may have been associated with the timing of the writing of that
Gospel and the spread of Christianity to Rome.
This quote is completely missing from the Gospel of John, probably when it
became all too apparent in later years this was not going to happen.
The first three Gospels quote
Jesus as promising his disciples his “Second-Coming” would occur
within their lifetimes.