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For various reasons modern scholars are cautious of relying on them uncritically, but nevertheless they do provide a good idea of the public career of Jesus, and critical study can attempt to distinguish the original ideas of Jesus from those of the later authors.

In the immediate aftermath of Jesus' death his followers expected him to return at any moment, certainly within their own lifetimes, and in consequence there was little motivation to write anything down for future generations, but as eyewitnesses began to die, and as the missionary needs of the church grew, there was an increasing demand and need for written versions of the founder's life and teachings.

He preached first in Galilee and later in Jerusalem, where he cleansed the temple.

Luke, while following Mark's plot more faithfully than does Matthew, has expanded on the source, corrected Mark's grammar and syntax, and eliminating some passages entirely, notably most of chapters 6 and 7, which he apparently felt reflected poorly on the disciples and painted Jesus too much like a magician.

The synoptic gospels represent Jesus as an exorcist and healer who preached in parables about the coming Kingdom of God.

The Muratorian canon, the earliest surviving list of books considered (by its own author at least) to form Christian scripture, included Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Irenaeus of Lyons went further, stating that there must be four gospels and only four because there were four corners of the Earth and thus the Church should have four pillars.

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This article is about books written about the life of Jesus.

There is a near-consensus that this gospel had its origins as a "signs" source (or gospel) that circulated within the Johannine community (the community that produced John and the three epistles associated with the name), later expanded with a Passion narrative and a series of discourses.

Jesus's career in the synoptics takes up a single year while in John it takes three, with the cleansing of the Temple at the beginning of his ministry while in the synoptics it happens at the end, and in the synoptics the Last Supper takes place as a Passover meal, while in John it happens on the day before Passover.

Epiphanius, Jerome and other early church fathers preserve in their writings citations from Jewish-Christian gospels.

Most modern critical scholars consider that the extant citations suggest at least two and probably three distinct works, at least one of which (possibly two) closely parallels the Gospel of Matthew.

The creation of a Christian canon was probably a response to the career of the heretic Marcion (c.

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