The Puzzle of Gospel Harmony
by Fred Hardwicke MD
Fred Hardwicke Books

"I hold to traditional Christian teaching, but all people, whether skeptics or seekers or believers, should wonder a bit at the puzzle of gospel harmonization."

Anyone who pores through the Holy Bible may encounter the dilemma that author Hardwicke describes: the four gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—emphasize different aspects of the life of Jesus Christ ("JC") presented in differing shades of intensity. Yet all four include similar points of chronology and recount the most critical incidents in the biblical story. Beginning with the "TE," or the triumphal entry, and ending with the "ET," or the empty tomb, multiple salient matters are treated by all four authors, with the largest gaps occurring in the writings of Luke and John. Matthew, whom Hardwicke calls "Matt," covers the greatest number of biographical scenes about JC. Later gospels were possibly based on earlier ones. Therefore, later writers might have condensed episodes already widely known. Mark, probably part of Peter's cohort, would have wanted to record Peter's accounts for the benefit of "literate people hungry to know more." Hardwicke asserts that there are forty-six crucial points on the gospel timeline covering the life of JC "from A to Zacchaeus and beyond."

Hardwicke, who is skilled in music, math, and memory and who has written numerous technical articles associated with his medical profession, has organized his theories here through simple alphabetical designations and chronological steps. This intriguing collection includes an enlivening essay, "Good Friday," written years ago by his mother, possibly inciting his abiding zeal to help guide others to a greater understanding of biblical truths. By homing in on the differences between and the similarities of the gospels, he speaks of his faith for those who share it while seeking to draw in those with fair and realistic uncertainties about the material. His book can be used for Christian study groups, not only for its well-posited questions but also for its subtly arrayed answers.

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