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Bible (New Testament): English Standard Version

Nonfiction | Scripture | Adult | Published in 1611

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Authorial Context: New Testament Attributions

The 27 books of the New Testament were written by several different authors. According to traditional attributions, nine authors are likely represented: (1) the disciple Matthew, author of the first gospel; (2) Mark, a younger member of the disciples’ wider circle, author of the second gospel; (3) Luke, a doctor who served with Paul’s missionary teams, author of the third gospel and the Book of Acts; (4) the disciple John, author of the fourth gospel, the epistles 1, 2, and 3 John, and the Book of Revelation; (5) the apostle Paul, author of all the epistles from Romans to Philemon; (6) the anonymous author of the epistle to the Hebrews; (7) James, a member of Jesus’s family, author of the epistle by that name; (8) the disciple Peter, author of the epistles 1 and 2 Peter; and (9) Jude, another member of Jesus’s family, author of the epistle by that name.

It is important to note, however, that some scholars dispute these traditional attributions. While all the New Testament’s books fall within the earliest corpus of Christian literature, the exact authorship of some of the books is a matter of dispute, and some scholarly literature argues that at least a few of the New Testament books are pseudonymous (that is, written by someone other than the person to whom it is traditionally attributed), while other scholars defend the traditional attributions.