While many students at Fairfield may be able to name the four gospels off the top of their head, very few undergrads could explain what Matthew, Mark, Luke and John actually meant when they were writing the “Good News”. That’s where nationally-renowned author and current Northwestern University professor Garry Wills comes in. Wills spoke to a crowd of about 70 people in the Oak Room Tuesday night and discussed his latest book, “What the Gospels Meant”. Director of Catholic Studies Paul Lakeland introduced Wills to the crowd of comprised predominately of community members and only very few students. “Garry Wills has gone the extra hundred miles in his work,” said Lakeland. “He has written about presidents, actors, saints and has explained the works of numerous theologians throughout history.” Wills has written over 30 books and has published countless other research articles. Wills caused the crowd to erupt in laughter in the beginning of his lecture after telling a joke about the religious demographics of the U.S. “Someone once told Mark Twain that this country is predominantly Catholic,” he said. “Twain replied, ‘So is hell.'” In addition to his newly released work, he began to explain the motivation behind his books, which the titles of “What Paul” (the author of various letters in the Bible) and “What Jesus Meant.” Much of Wills’ works focuses on different biblical characters, and a main point of his discussion was to explain why the gospels written by the four apostles are based on the same story, yet differ slightly. “The gospels were different because each one was written for the community of the author,” he said. “Certain figures and stories were included if they were relevant to the people the books were directed at.” Wills then went on to discuss how culture was one of the reasons for why the gospels were written so long after the death of Jesus Christ. “Writing was extremely tedious in that time,” he said. “The culture was predominantly oral, and the stories of Jesus were carried through time as stories passed from generation to generation.” The author also spoke about the Sacred Books of the Prophets, and how they dictated the events in the gospel. “The gospels were not written to prove the story of Jesus,” he said. “The gospels were recollections of sources with mirrored the content early Christian texts which described the story of the Messiah.”

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