The Dirty Little Secret About Dating the Gospels

Of the Gospels however, Synoptic Gospels plus the 4th Gospel, they begin with the book of Mark, the earliest of all the Gospels. General consensus among scholars is that it was written circa A. Browsing through the Synoptic Gospels, the first three gospels of the New Testament, we discover that the canonical order of these Gospels follows the tradition that the book of Matthew came first. This was originally proposed by the fifth century bishop Augustine of Hippo. He did so to try and explain the consistent relationships between the Synoptic Gospels by proposing that Matthew was written prior to Mark which in turn used Matthew as a source. Finally Luke was presumed to have been written using Matthew and Mark as its sources. The precise nature of the relationships between the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke is known as the Synoptic Problem. The recognition of the question, and attempts to resolve it, date to antiquity.

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Blomberg, The Case for Christ 26 Because of the lack of original texts, it has been very difficult to date the canonical gospels as to when they were written or even when they first emerge in the historical record, as these two dates may differ. According to this scholarship, the gospels must have been written after the devastation because they refer to it. However, conservative believers maintain the early dates and assert that the destruction of the temple and Judea mentioned in the gospels constitutes “prophecy,” demonstrating Jesus’s divine powers.

The substantiation for this early, first-century range of dates, both conservative and liberal, is internal only, as there is no external evidence, whether historical or archaeological, for the existence of any gospels at that time. Nevertheless, fundamentalist Christian apologists such as Norman Geisler make misleading assertions such as that “many of the original manuscripts date from within twenty to thirty years of the events in Jesus’ life, that is, from contemporaries and eyewitnesses.

Moreover, even the latest of the accepted gospel dates are not based on evidence from the historical, literary or archaeological record, and over the centuries a more “radical” school of thought has placed the creation or emergence of the canonical gospels as we have them at a much later date, more towards the end of the second century.

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Did a historical Jesus exist? The power of faith has so forcefully driven the minds of most believers, and even apologetic scholars, that the question of reliable evidence gets obscured by tradition, religious subterfuge, and outrageous claims. The following gives a brief outlook about the claims of a historical Jesus and why the evidence the Christians present us cannot serve as justification for reliable evidence for a historical Jesus.

All claims about Jesus derive from writings of other people. There occurs no contemporary Roman record that shows Pontius Pilate executing a man named Jesus. Devastating to historians, there occurs not a single contemporary writing that mentions Jesus. All documents about Jesus came well after the life of the alleged Jesus from either: Although one can argue that many of these writings come from fraud or interpolations, I will use the information and dates to show that even if these sources did not come from interpolations, they could still not serve as reliable evidence for a historical Jesus, simply because all sources about Jesus derive from hearsay accounts.

Hearsay means information derived from other people rather than on a witness’ own knowledge. Courts of law do not generally allow hearsay as testimony, and nor does honest modern scholarship. Hearsay does not provide good evidence, and therefore, we should dismiss it. If you do not understand this, imagine yourself confronted with a charge for a crime which you know you did not commit. You feel confident that no one can prove guilt because you know that there exists no evidence whatsoever for the charge against you.

Now imagine that you stand present in a court of law that allows hearsay as evidence.

Synoptic Gospels

The Gospel parallels provided here also include the Gospel of John for comparison. These first three books have been called the synoptic Gospels since the 18th century and are so called because they give similar accounts of the ministry of Jesus. The term is also applied to apocryphal works of the 2nd century e.

The fourth gospel the gospel according to john uniqueness of is the last gospel and, in many ways, different from the synoptic question in the synoptic gospels concerns the extent to which the divine reality broke into history in jesus coming, and the answers are given in terms of the closeness of the new age.

There is strong internal evidence that Luke had written and was distributing copies of his gospel prior to 56 a. In it Paul wrote that Titus, who had just returned from Corinth with comforting news to the apostle 2Co 7: That Paul by this statement was referring to Luke, who may well have been the brother of Titus, is probable for the following reasons: He then traveled with him to Philippi in Macedonia but did not continue on with him to Thessalonica, Berea, and Corinth.

It was in Troas that Paul had so confidently expected to find Titus after leaving Ephesus on his 3rd missionary journey 2Co 2: This indicates a close association between Luke, Titus, Macedonia, and Troas. Thus the evidence Paul had planned to present to the Jewish nation of the veracity of the gospel he preached to the Gentiles was in danger of unraveling. Notice also in Acts Sopater representing the church in Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus representing the Thessalonians, Gaius and Timothy of Derbe representing the churches of Galatia, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia representing the churches around Ephesus where Paul had just ministered for three years.

Timothy was well known among the churches Paul had planted as his helper, but it is clear the brother referred to is distinct from Timothy, who is named in 2Co 1: Since Luke did not enumerate himself in this list but did in fact travel with Paul, it is almost certain that he did so as a representative of the Philippian church and is who Paul refers to in 2Co 8: The book of Acts ends abruptly with Paul under house arrest during his first Roman imprisonment Acts Since Luke is known to have been with Paul several years later during his second Roman imprisonment 2Ti 4:

Dating the New Testament

The dates provided by scholars appear in textbooks and dictionaries as though they are based on concrete historical information; however, most readers of the New Testament would be surprised to learn how little is actually known about when the books of the New Testament were written. Dating any text from antiquity should proceed from physical to literary evidence, with preference being given to such historical factors as location of the manuscript find, time needed for a text to circulate, and number of manuscripts found.

Surprisingly, one of the texts typically assigned the latest date in the New Testament-the Gospel of John-is the first physically attested book.

But this lecture did not address the dating, chronology, or redaction of the Gospels, as that would only come after going through the Synoptics themselves. So, .

In analyzing why certain critical scholars may be inclined to favor later dates, the first reason that would come to mind is, as a liberal biblical critic, one may be trying to find a way to shake the historicity and reliability of Gospel claims. The reason why they would seek to separate the writing of the documents to the life of the original disciples has to do with the concept of the Gospels containing mythology.

Some of these scholars enter the dating arena with the notion that the gospels contain a degree of mythology miracles, virgin birth, resurrection, etc , and because of this they date the books with an innate bias for later dates. Sadly, some scholars build from this bias when the reverse should be attempted. This then allows them to analyze certain scriptural claims in light of mystified information, and thus oversee certain crucial Christian and biblical statements.

With these two opposing views, and the importance not only behind the dates, but the ramifications dating itself brings to their opposing arguments, we can understand how important it is to explore the possibility of dating the Gospels. Of these Gospels, conservative scholars in particular have championed one as the historical narrative, and its author as the biblical historian himself. This is none-other than Luke the Physician, and his writings of Luke-Acts. In analyzing Luke-Acts we will get a feel for both the dating and historicity of the Gospel documents, and thus come to a conclusion regarding the conservative and liberal scholarly traditions.

This paper will explore the possibility of dating Luke-Acts, and will conclude as later argued and illuminated through various professionals and their observations, that the traditional dating estimate is most accurate, while the critical argument for a second century date results from ignored internal and external evidences.

Gospels – New Testament

Though for much of Christian history the gospel of Matthew has been given primacy that honour actually belongs to the gospel of Mark, the shortest and least sophisticated of the Jesus stories. Mark’s literary creation was the starting point for both Matthew and Luke. Contrariwise, where Matthew and Luke differ most from each other — in the nativity and resurrection episodes — it is in material not found and not copied from Mark.

Thus, to understand the trajectory by which the Jesus tale developed from an original hero — a righteous man infused by God’s holy spirit— through a hybrid godman possessing powers, to find final form as God incarnate on earth, one is best advised to begin with Mark’s pithy masterpiece. The expectation was thus of someone in the imminent future, no doubt of ‘Davidic’ or even ‘divine’ lineage but otherwise, human. Respectively, these three conflicts:

A number of readers have asked about Thomas’s relation to the Synoptic Gospels and the famous Q source — that is, the lost source that both Matthew and Luke used for many of their sayings of Jesus not found in Mark (called Q from the German word Quelle, which means “source”).

Independent Researcher Introduction The task of bringing out the similarities and differences of the Gospel of John in relation to the synoptic Gospels is a very complex task. Many scholars have undertaken this task and expounded the reasons behind the similarities and differences between the fourth Gospels and synoptic Gospels. Has John depended on the Synoptic Gospels or on any other sources in composing his Gospel? Is there any probable explanation other than these two theories.

Due to the limitation of this paper, I have selected few topics and presented the arguments of different scholars and my own reflections were added in each of the sections. Traditionally this is placed alongside with the synoptic gospels. This is a striking difference between John and the synoptic Gospels. Whereas in the Synoptic Gospels we see Jesus ministry and his call to the first disciples after the imprisonment of John the Baptist.

There is one visit mentioned where Jesus visits Jerusalem for the celebration of the Passover.

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Our study group is trying to decipher the sources for the Gospels and wanting to know the order in which the Gospels were composed, who the proposed audiences and major themes as well. Some argue, usually those who accept the salvation predictive element of Matthew, for earlier dating around AD. John’s gospel is written last at about 95 AD and believed to be one of his last writings.

Depedning what view one holds, of whether Luke and Matthew drew on Mark’s gospel as a source, Mark will either be dated prior to the two or after. There is supporting evidence for both views. It is controversial, and is explained more fully with each gospel below.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are often called the “synoptic” gospels. ” Synoptic ” is a Greek word meaning ” having a common view.” 1 John differs significantly from the synoptic gospels in theme, content, time duration, order of events, and style.

Vinzent proposed that Marcion of Sinope was the founder of the Gospel genre known to us in the Synoptic literature and therefore the terminus post quem of the Synoptics should be pushed as late as the time of Marcion around CE. This blog post is not a detailed review nor a response but a survey of the ideas that came to my mind while going through it.

Vinzent and the Synoptic Problem The book is intensely engaged with scholarly literature and offers a breath of fresh air for some of the topics it is dealing with. It comes in four chapters; the first and the fourth which is pretty short are for Marcion and his Gospel while the second and the third are for discussing the synoptic problem and the dating or re-dating of the NT Gospels. Of course the reader of these words can now imagine what an overwhelmingly huge task it is to prove his point.

To do that in pages Vinzent had to make two major statements that nearly annihilated all the possible barriers on the way to his theory. He had to dismiss: In his new book, Vinzent returned with his arguments and questions as early as F C Baur and his contemporaries cf. Non-canonical and non-Marcionite writings. Based on his dismissal of NT scholarship efforts, particularly in the last 50 years, Gnosticism and other manuscripts have become insignificant.

For example, yes we do have several constructions of Q but this is because the scholars who worked on it showed a high degree of seriousness that led them to start the construction process every time in dialogue with other constructions. But they were all working on the texts and at the same time in constant dialogue with the progress of scholarship. Vinzent simply did not go through the massive amount of evidence on the development of Q before he discarded it.

While Vinzent claimed, in several places in this book and in other places including his blog , that his approach is against the conservatism in NT scholarship I expected to see that in the text.

SYNOPTIC GOSPELS

James-Translation and Notes Oxford: Clarendon Press, Introduction The older testimonies about this book have been given already. I now present the three principal forms of it, as given by Tischendorf: The few Greek manuscripts are all late.

The Synoptic Gospels A careful comparison of the four Gospels reveals that Matthew, Mark and Luke are noticeably similar, while John is quite different. The first three Gospels agree extensively in language, in the material they include, and in the order in which events and sayings from the .

Of course John the son of Zebedee, the disciple of Jesus, could not have lived long enough to write anything much into the second century, so in this case establishing a date of writing should first involve establishing that John was in fact the author. It would perhaps be best to first establish the case that the same author is responsible for all the books associated with John. The New Testament books of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and Revelation are sometimes called the Johannine literature and are traditionally assigned to John the son of Zebedee, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.

Still, there is reason to believe that the traditional understanding here is correct. The identification of John the son of Zebedee as the author of this material is dependent on a combination of the writings of early church fathers and indirect evidence within these books. Holding John the son of Zebedee to be the author of Revelation are the second century church fathers Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, along with third century fathers Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian of Carthage, Origen of Alexandria, and Hippolytus of Rome.

The Genre of the Gospels

September 2, in Gospels , Historical Jesus Tags: Genre , Gospels , Synoptic Gospels Various explanations of the possible literary genre of the four gospels have been offered. Most Christians approach the gospels as biographies of Jesus. The do have some biography-like elements, but they are not biographies by the standards of the modern world. Most biographical questions are left unanswered.

When were the Gospels written? Much research and many views have been proposed regarding the dates for the authorship of each of the four Gospels. However, the following provides a clear overview of the most likely scenario for each Gospel.

Jesus thanks his Father Return of the unclean spirit Discourse against the scribes and Pharisees Lament over Jerusalem Unlike triple-tradition material, double-tradition material is very differently arranged in the two gospels. Matthew’s lengthy Sermon on the Mount , for example, is paralleled by Luke’s shorter Sermon on the Plain , with the remainder of its content scattered throughout Luke. This is consistent with the general pattern of Matthew collecting sayings into large blocks, while Luke does the opposite and intersperses them with narrative.

These are termed the major and minor agreements the distinction is imprecise [17] [18]. One example is in the passion narrative, where Mark has simply, “Prophesy! The simplest hypothesis is that Luke relied on Matthew’s work or vice versa. But many experts, on various grounds, maintain that neither Matthew nor Luke used the other’s work.

When were the gospels written and by whom?

The first three Gospels agree extensively in language, in the material they include, and in the order in which events and sayings from the life of Christ are recorded. Chronological order does not appear to have been rigidly followed in any of the Gospels, however. For an example of agreement in content see Mt 9: An instance of verbatim agreement is found in Mt Such agreement raises questions as to the origin of the Synoptic Gospels.

TZ Alecmconroy x ( Bytes) The literary relationship between the three synoptic gospels. Source: A Statistical Study of the Synoptic Problem by A.M. Horore Source: A Statistical Study of the Synoptic Problem by A.M. Horore.

Many other solutions have been proposed over the years, but most are variations of one of these three basic theories. The Four-Source Theory the solution accepted by most scholars today: Two-Document Hypothesis, from B. From the mid th century until today, however, most scholars are convinced that Mark is the first and oldest Gospel at least in the final version, as we have it today , and that Matthew and Luke are later expansions of Mark. Mark’s Gospel contains several episodes that are obscure 4: If Matthew was first, it is harder to explain why Mark added these strange episodes; but if Mark was first, it is easy to understand why both Matthew and Luke omitted them.

If Matthew was first and Mark second, it is hard to understand why Luke would have kept the same order for all the material found in both Matthew and Mark, but substantially rearranged all the other material found in Matthew but not in Mark. If Mark was first, however, then it is easy to explain how Matthew and Luke inserted the extra material they have in common from the Q source?

Note that scholars who believe Mark was historically first do not suggest that the order of the four Gospels in the New Testament should be changed; there is no reason why the traditional order Matthew, Mark, Luke, John cannot be retained in printed Bibles. However, in textbooks and academic works, many scholars treat Mark first, followed by Matthew and Luke, with John usually still last.

Although this document no longer exists, but was lost to history, it seems to have been mostly a collection of sayings, parables, and other teachings of Jesus, with very few narrative stories of Jesus’ actions; it most likely did not contain a Passion Narrative. For the proposed contents of the Q-source, see either the brief listing on my ” Synoptic Outlines ” webpage or the more extensive listing of the proposals of several other scholars, as compiled by Peter Kirby on his ” Early Christian Writings ” website.

Objections against the “Q-Hypothesis” – Some scholars object to the hypothesis of a no-longer extant collection the sayings and teachings of Jesus as the “Q-document” is thought to have been for various reasons; but each of these objections can easily be countered: The “Q-document” no longer exists, if it ever did.

Bib6. The Synoptic Priority Solution – The Beauty of Simplicity (Bible Dates 6) [No Music]