Orthonymous, Homonymous, Anonymous, Pseudonymous, or Allonymous?!?
Scholars believe that there are essentially four different ways an author can be attributed to any given work: “orthonymous”, “homonymous”, “anonymous”, and “pseudonymous”. Orthonymous is by far the most common, defined as a work written by the person claiming to have written it. Homonymous is when the author shares his name with another writer (say, my name is Stephen King. I can legally publish under my legal, given name, but publishers would prefer if I published as Stephen Allen King to avoid any confusion with readers). Anonymous, also common, is defined as a work whose author has chosen, for one reason or another, not to identify themselves. Pseudonymous is writing a work under the name other than your own, usually a name that is false, a name that is attributable to no one.
But there is a fifth means to attribute a work, one that was shockingly common in the ancient world: “allonymous”. Allonymous is defined, in older, larger dictionaries, as writing under the name of someone else, particularly someone much more famous than yourself. You can begin to understand the historicity of “allonymous” works with the knowledge that students of Plato continued the write in their mentor’s name, long after his death; or The Federalist Papers by Roman aristocrat Publius was actually written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay; or the modern Biblical scholars belief that a few of St. Paul’s epistles, particularly the epistle to the Hebrews, and those to the Thessalonians were not written by Paul’s “God-breathed” pen, but were simply written in his holy name by another less holy author, but still “God-breathed” author.
If the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were not, as modern Biblical scholarship maintains, written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, nor John, then the Gospels were written allonymously in their name. Do devout Christians, or even Biblical scholars, believe any less in these Gospels because they may or may not have written by the Disciples attributed to them? Of course not. No one doubts the historicity and Biblical scholarship of the four canonical Gospels.
It is the later Gospels, particularly those considered authentic by Gnostic-Christians that have been doubted, demeaned, and destroyed by the ruling Christians. These Gospels were written a “little too late” to be considered “authentic” scripture.
Few modern Biblical scholars believe that the Torah was actually written by the hand of Moses, but instead they believe these books were instead written by the Jahwist, the Elohist, the Deuteronomist, and the Priestly source, hundreds of years after death of the historical Moses. Yet, Evangelical Christians continue to believe in a literal six-days of Creation, erect monuments to the Ten Commandments in United States’ courthouses, and decry homosexuals for violating a single line of scripture.
Much of the Hebrew scripture, or more crudely, the Old Testament, was written down by Jewish scribes during the Babylonian captivity (between 597 and 539 BC), again hundreds of years after the events chronicled take place.