In the records left by the ancient historians, a sharp distinction is made between two sets of gospel authors Ė the Apostles and apostolic men. The Apostles referred to Christís eyewitness companions - Matthew and John, while Ďapostolic mení referred to Luke and Mark who used secondary sources. If all four had depended on secondary sources, there would have been no reason for the historians to make a distinction.

Vatican II made the same distinction and stressed that the Apostles were authors.

In Dei Verbum verse 7, we read that: the Apostles handed on what they had received from the lips of Christ, from living with Him and from seeing what He did. These and Ďapostolic mení, committed the message of salvation to writing.

Verse 18 says the Apostles preached and, afterwards, they and Ďapostolic mení, handed on the four Gospels in writing.

Verse 19 stresses that the Gospels are an historical record of what Christ did and taught. It is difficult to see how this can be, unless at least some of the authors were eyewitnesses to Christís life. Yet according to the Markan Priority theory, all the authors of the four Gospels had to use second or third-hand sources.

Quotations have been taken from the English translation on the Vatican website.

This version: 22nd September 2012