After this he [Celsus] says, that certain of the Christian believers, like persons who in a fit of drunkenness lay violent hands upon themselves, have corrupted the original text of the Gospel (τῆς πρώτης γραφῆς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον), to a threefold (τριχῇ), and fourfold (καὶ τετραχῇ), and many-fold degree (καὶ πολλαχῇ), and have remodeled it (μεταπλάττειν), so that they might be able to answer objections." [Origen, Contra Celsum 2:27]
- Writing between 177 and 180, just a few years before Irenaeus wrote Book in of the Adversus Haereses, Celsus knew all four gospels and had a particular interest in their early chapters ... I take this to be a reference to differences between the "three or four canonical gospels" [Graham Stranton, Jesus and the Gospel p. 70],
- the silence of Celsus as to other (heretical) Gospels, and his exclusive, or almost exclusive, references to the contents of our canonical Gospels, go far to show that when he wrote his attack, about 176 A.D., they were held among Christians to be of exclusive and para mount authority. [Nicol, the Four Gospels in the Early Church p. 43].
- [t]hough Origen uses the singular, 'the Gospel', he clearly means the four Gospels collectively(!)[Hill, Who Chose the Gospels? p. 134]