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In fact, prior to the end of the second century, there is no clear evidence of the existence of the canonical gospels as we have them. In other words, we do not even know who this person is whom Eusebius is allegedly quoting regarding these purported earlier texts.
Christian apologetics for the early gospel dates rely on the slimmest of evidence, including a very late third-hand testimony of a late second-hand testimony that "Mark" had written a narrative, supposedly based on the experiences of Peter as related by the apostle himself. According to Eusebius—in disagreement with Irenaeus, who suggested Papias had known the apostle John—Papias had no direct acquaintance with any of the apostles: …Papias himself in the preface to his work makes it clear that he was never a hearer or eyewitness of the holy apostles, and tells us that he learnt the essentials of the faith from their former pupils.
It is possible that this particular verse was not added until that time, which means that it is not original to the gospel and that Matthew certainly is not its author.
Also, Luke's gospel discusses an apparent myriad of preceding gospels written "by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses…" The phrase "from the beginning" likewise implies a passage of time, as does the fact that there were "many" who preceded Luke in writing gospels.
Next, upon close inspection, the material from Justin Martyr—such as the "Memoirs of the Apostles"—does not correspond well enough to that found in the canonical gospels and is likely from another common source text or texts.In the fourth century, Church historian Eusebius quoted early Church father and bishop Papias of Hierapolis (c. The assumption that the "presbyter John" with whom Papias apparently had a relationship was the same as the apostle John is evidently incorrect….