The Muratorian Fragment is said to be evidence that the Gospel of Luke was in fact written by him:

Tradition unanimously affirms this author to be Luke. This is attested by the early heretic Marcion (who died c. AD 160; Luke was the only Gospel in his canon), the Muratorian Fragment (a list of the books accepted as belonging to the New Testament; it is usually held to express Roman opinion at the end of the second century)Luke, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries

Why is this evidence? Why does the fact that it's included in an early canon such as the Muratorian Fragment automatically provide validation for Luke's authorship?

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    Contrary to what is stated in your quotation from the "Tyndale New Testament commentaries" there is absolutely no evidence that the "heretic" Marcion regarded Luke to be the author of the third gospel. The fragments of the Marcionite gospel quoted by Tertullian and by Epiphanius do not contain the name Luke anywhere. (The fragments are collected in Harnack's book "Marcion, das Evangelium vom fremden Gott", 1924.)
    – fdb
    May 26, 2014 at 13:34
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    @fdb This site gives an extensive look at the relation between Marcion's gospel and Luke's gospel. It (1) confirms as you state here that Marcion did not attribute authorship to Luke, (2) does demonstrate there is a history of seeing parallels between Marcion and Luke, but (3) does contain in its conclusions that there is "greater similarity between Mcg [Marcion's gospel] and Mk [Mark's gospel] than between Mcg and Lk [Luke's gospel]."
    – ScottS
    May 26, 2014 at 15:23
  • Given fdb's answer, it would be interesting if someone could demonstrate any proof supporting the Tyndale assertion that Marcion "attested" to Luke as the author of his gospel. It seems that might be critical to their statement that "tradition unanimously affirms," as it may not be so unanimous (for it appears they are taking early unanimity to be confirmed between the Muratorian Fragment and Marcion's witness, which are roughly contemporary).
    – ScottS
    May 26, 2014 at 15:28
  • @fdb although I've converted your answer to a comment here, it would form the basis of an excellent answer on the new question I've posted here specifically about the "This is attested by the early heretic Marcion" part of the quote from this commentary. Jun 22, 2014 at 16:55
  • Life is too short to answer the same question twice.
    – fdb
    Jun 22, 2014 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


The Muratorian fragment isn't simply a list of books included in the canon, but also a description of them. It's description of the Gospel of Luke makes it very clear that they believed it was written by Luke:

The third book of the Gospel [is that] according to Luke. Luke, "the" physician, after the ascension of Christ, when Paul had taken him with him as a companion of his traveling, [and after he had made] an investigation, wrote in his own name — but neither did he see the Lord in the flesh — and thus, as he was able to investigate, so he also begins to tell the story [starting] from the nativity of John. (from the translation by Theron)

If it was written in AD170, then that is evidence that within 100 years the gospel had been attributed to Luke. It's not conclusive proof but it is good evidence.

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