Photo by Scala/Art Resource, New York, NY

ON THE COVER: With rapt attention, the evangelists seem to ponder some literary point in the manuscript before them. “The Four Evangelists,” which hangs in the Louvre, was painted about 1625 by Jacob Jordaens (1593–1678), who may have originally intended it to represent Jesus teaching the Pharisees. (See the sidebar to “The Gospels”) Although there is no evidence that all four evangelists ever congregated, the Gospels were written in roughly the same period—the last third of the first century for Matthew and Luke, perhaps a little earlier for Mark, and perhaps sometime later for John. Long regarded as biographies of Jesus, the canonical Gospels have come to be viewed, by 20th-century scholars, as primarily theological documents. David Aune’s new assessment in “The Gospels—Biography or Theology?” may surprise scholars, if not the faithful.