No Other Gospel
Despite the appearance of Gnostic "gospels," the early church decided that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were without rival.
from Issue 96: The Gnostics Hunger for Secret Knowledge
It turns out that Nick was at school with Dan Brown; and he admits to being "one of the few literate adults living who has not read Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code". Count me in the same club; and I have no intention of ever reading it. The short article is nicely written, and it provides a good introduction to the issues from a conservative perspective, though it side steps some of the issues that scholars might wish to highlight. It does not, for example, make clear that the issues under discussion are controversial within the academy, even if it is universally acknowledged in the academy that Dan Brown has no serious understanding of these issues. The most problematic paragraph is this one:
Historically speaking, those touting the apostolic origins of the apocryphal gospels had little to stand on. These texts came much later than the four-fold gospel collection. The canonical gospels were all first-century documents; all four offer credible eyewitness accounts of Jesus of Nazareth. The apocryphal gospels, written generations later, can barely compete with this claim.This drives too strong a wedge between "canonical gospels" and "apocryphal gospels". We may not be talking about "generations"; that sounds a bit like overstatement. In contemporary New Testament scholarship, the idea that "all four offer credible eyewitness accounts" is a highly dubious claim, and one that should not be made with so little qualification. It is true that there is now a case that the canonical gospels are reliant on eyewitness testimony (Richard Bauckham) but as far as recent New Testament scholarship is concerned, this is a new and highly controversial claim that is only now beginning to be tested, and even Bauckham does not claim that the four are written by eyewitnesses (except perhaps John).