Many scholars now doubt the traditional authorship attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

“Now, today, scholars of the New Testament wouldn’t agree with Irenaeus, because we don’t know who wrote the gospels we call Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, any more than we know who wrote the Gospel of Thomas. They’re all attributed to disciples of Jesus, but we don’t really know who wrote them.” (Elaine H. Pagels: The Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion Princeton University, Emergence of the Four Gospel Canon)

Even the Catholic Encyclopedia now states:

 “The first four  books of the New Testament are supplied with titles …which, however ancient, do not go back to the respective authors of those sacred writings. […] It thus appears that the present titles of the Gospels are not traceable to the evangelists themselves.”

“The traditional authors of the canonical Gospels—Matthew the tax collector, Mark the attendant of Peter, Luke the attendant of Paul, and John the son of Zebedee—are doubted among the majority of mainstream New Testament scholars.” (Matthew Ferguson – The Secular Web)

Regarding authorship of Matthew and Luke –  “Scholars doubt that the authors were the evangelists Matthew and Luke” (Burkett 2002, p. 174)

The Gospels themselves contain no attribution of authorship. The writings of  ‘Church Fathers’ provide great insight into how they came to be named. They endorsed  authors with apostolic connections just as they insisted that only  men with apostolic connections could be approved as Bishops  –

We lay it down as our first position, that the evangelical Testament has apostles for its authors, to whom was assigned by the Lord Himself this office of publishing the gospel. Since, however, there are apostolic men also, they are yet not alone, but appear with apostles and after apostles; because the preaching of disciples might be open to the suspicion of an affectation of glory, if there did not accompany it the authority of the masters, which means that of Christ, for it was that which made the apostles their masters.  Of the apostles, therefore, John and Matthew first instil faith into us; whilst of apostolic men, Luke and Mark renew it afterwards.

Marcion, on the other hand, you must know ascribes no author to his Gospel, as if it could not be allowed him to affix a title to that from which it was no crime to subvert the very body. And here I might now make a stand, and contend that a work ought not to be recognised, which holds not its head erect, which exhibits no consistency, which gives no promise of credibility from the fullness of its title and the just profession of its author.” Tertullian Against Marcion Book 4 chapter 2   (208 AD)

Marcion lived a generation before Tertullian (85-160 AD). Tertullian referred to his writings after he was dead.  Marcion used the 3rd gospel but attributed no author to it – it was known as ‘The Gospel of the Lord’ among those who followed his .teachings. It had minor differences regarding references to the Jews.

Tertullian was part of banning scripture to any but approved apostolic men –

            “We are therefore come to (the gist of) our position; for at this point we were aiming, and for this we were preparing in the preamble of our address (which we have just completed),–so that we may now join issue on the contention to which our adversaries challenge us. They put forward the Scriptures, and by this insolence of theirs they at once influence some. In the encounter itself, however, they weary the strong, they catch the weak, and dismiss waverers with a doubt. Accordingly, we oppose to them this step above all others, of not admitting them to any discussion of the Scriptures.

If in these lie their resources, before they can use them, it ought to be clearly seen to whom belongs the possession of the Scriptures, that none may be admitted to the use thereof who has no title at all to the privilege.”[1]

Small wonder then that Tertullian wanted named gospels with apostolic links.

Yet the writers of the gospels made the point within their gospels that it is not about our identity but that of giving glory to God – people defined by WHAT they are not WHO they are –

John the Baptist – A Voice I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness John 1:23

Pharisees questioned Jesus – “If you are the Messiah tell us plainly…

JESUS REPLIED -the works I do in my Father’s name testify about me.” John 10:24-7

2nd GospelThis is the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God

Author 4th Gospel ‘A Beloved Disciple’ rather than using own name

‘Another Disciple’  That disciple was known to the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. John 18:15


Luke seems an unusual  choice as the author of the 3rd Gospel. We know little more than him being the ‘beloved physician’.

Manaen on the other hand was a resident of Antioch when Acts was written, and had connections to Galilee when the 3rd Gospel was written – connections that could link him to Theophilus – the recipient of both both letters.


Archeological evidence in the form of an ossuary confirms the existence of Theophilus the High Priest as the grandfather of Joanna. The inscription on the ossuary reads –

“Yehoḥanah (Johanna) daughter of Yehoḥanan (Jonathan) son of Thefilus (Theophilus) the High Priest”.

The details of this ossuary have been published in the Israel Exploration Journal.  The connection of Joanna to Theophilus bring us a step closer to unravelling the background of the 3rd Gospel.


HEROD ANTIPAS – Ruler of Galilee – exiled to Spain 39 AD

MANAEN – (disciple) ‘brought up’ with Herod Antipas Acts 13:1. Lived in Antioch when Acts 13 was written, may have lived with Herod in Galilee when the 3rd gospel was written.

CHUZA – Herod’s steward – Married to JOANNA. Chuza may have lost his job in 39AD when Herod exiled. May have been the nobleman who’s son was healed at Cana.

JOANNA – Granddaughter of Theophilus (according to ossuary) – Family of Ananus –  one of the wealthiest and most influential Jewish families in Iudaea Province during the 1st century

                             – Known to Caiaphas (his sister was Joanna’s great aunt)

May have gone to Rome and used the latin version of her name (Junia) after Herod was exiled. Her husband Chuza may have adopted the Latin name Andronicus.

THEOPHILUS ben AnanusHigh Priest (37-41AD)

Herod Antipas was sent to Rome as a child and educated there.  Manaen was ‘brought up’ with Herod (Acts 13:1). If they shared the same tutors, then Manaen would have had the best education money could buy. Luke and Acts share a high degree of sophisticated language by a well-educated author meticulous in documenting history.


If Manaen remained in Herod’s household it’s likely he was interested in the Jesus movement at the same time as Joanna who was married to Chuza, Herod’s steward. Its likely he knew Theophilus personally via Herod or Joanna and understandable that he would write to him as a friend or close acquaintance.

According to Josephus, the peaceful interlude in Acts 9:31 coincides with the reign of Theophilus (Antiquities of the Jews 18.123-124)

Only the 3rd gospel mentions Joanna – a relevant point if the author was writing to Joanna’s grandfather.

The point is made that Joanna was among those who provided for Jesus’ ministry from her own funds – in the line of Annas she would have been independently wealthy and not reliant on Chuza.

Acts 13:1 – Manaen a member of church at Antioch.

Acts 15 speaks of Paul returning to Antioch then leaving with Silas to strengthen the Churches – no mention of Manaen. This doesn’t mean that Manaen wasn’t present as well as there was a point to mentioning Silas. The Bible is full of this type of record where only the relevant are mentioned. It is only the 3rd gospel that tells us that women were included as Jesus travelled around Galilee (Luke 8). Only one of the 4 gospels tells us that there were women and children besides the 4,000 men that Jesus fed. The gospels only name the 12 men of Jesus’ inner circle at the last supper, yet it’s obvious his mother was present  as the ‘certain one’ He told his disciples to invite [2].  Thus, when Acts 16 includes the author as ‘we’, it’s probable that they were with Paul from the time he left Antioch – the city of Manaen (Acts 13:1).


If Manaen wrote to Theophilus while he was High Priest, then we would have addressed him as ‘most excellent Theophilus’ – 3rd Gospel. If he wrote to him when no longer the High Priest then he would drop the ‘Most Excellent” title – which occurs in the introduction to Acts.


Manaen seems a far more likely candidate as the author of the 3rd gospel than Luke.

See YOUTUBE for more detail      

See also:  Mary Magdalene Author of the 4th Gospel

[1] Tertullian The Prescription Against Heretics, Chapter XV, Translated by Peter Holmes

[2] The gospel of Matthew only mentions one person the disciples are to find.
“Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house (should read “toward you”).’” Matt. 26:18
In this passage the phrase ‘certain man’ or ‘certain one’ is deliberately not identifying who the person is. This word for ‘certain one’ occurs only once in the New Testament.  Strong’s definition – such a one, a certain one, i.e. one whose name I cannot call on the instant, or whose name it is of no importance to mention.
The disciples are to give this deliberately unidentified person the message that “my appointed time is near”. Who would this statement be most relevant to? Surely it would be to Jesus’ mother. At the wedding in Cana Jesus said to her “what have I to do with you, my hour has not yet come”. How appropriate to tell her now– this is it – now is the time – my appointed time is near.
The rest of Jesus’ message was that He would celebrate the Passover with this person. The phrase “at your house” is not correct. The word ‘house’ does not appear in the original Greek in the Matthew account. It would be more correct to say “I will keep the feast of the Passover with you or “toward you” with my disciples”. Youngs Literal Translation reads – “Go away to the city, unto such a one, and say to him, The Teacher saith, My time is nigh; near thee I keep the Passover, with my disciples”. This shows that this person was an ‘extra’ at the Passover, there were not just the 12. It would seem right that Jesus told His mother his hour was near and He would share this Passover with her, she was part of the destiny – the Woman and the Son together.

About alsowritten

Another voice in the wilderness
This entry was posted in Case for Manaen as Author Luke Acts, Manaen and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


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