This book comprehensively surveys the origin, production and reception of the canonical gospels in the early church. The discussion unfolds in three steps. Part One traces the origin of the 'gospel' of Jesus, its significance in Jewish and Hellenistic contexts of the first century, and its development from eyewitness memory to oral tradition and written text. Part Two then more specifically examines the composition, design and intentions of each of the four canonical gospels. Widening the focus, Part Three first asks about gospel-writing as viewed from the perspective of ancient Jews and pagans before turning to the question of reception history in the proliferation of 'apocryphal' gospels, in the formation of the canon, and in the beginnings of a gospel commentary tradition.