Do you even know every challenge that might be offered? Historical challenges are often complicated, nuanced and detailed, and while it is nearly impossible to remember all the data related to every objection, there are four overarching principles of witness reliability appropriate to the task. I used this template to evaluate the Gospels when I was an unbelieving skeptic, and these four principles will help you assess any challenge offered against the Gospel accounts: Make Sure the Witnesses Were Present in the First Place There are times in cold case investigations when a witness emerges with a story, even though he or she was not involved in the case when it occurred. When it comes to the Gospel accounts, we have to ask a similar question: Were the gospels written early enough to have been written by true eyewitnesses? If the accounts were written and circulated early , the possibility of an errant or deceptive inclusion is greatly reduced.
The Dating of the New Testament
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 earliest authorities are a much abbreviated Syriac version of which the manuscript is of the sixth century, and a Latin palimpsest at Vienna of the fifth or sixth century, which has never been deciphered in full.
Evidence for Early Dating the Gospels From Craig Hazen over at Biola: Over the last decade, a new area of research has confirmed that the writers of the Gospels did indeed have the kind of intimate and detailed knowledge of life in that time and place.
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. Anonymous and Pseudonymous Authors Based on the dating difficulties and other problems, many scholars and researchers over the centuries have become convinced that the gospels were not written by the people to whom they are ascribed.
As can be concluded from the remarks of fundamentalist Christian and biblical scholar Dr. Blomberg, the gospels are in fact anonymous. In reality, it was a fairly common practice in ancient times to attribute falsely to one person a book or letter written by another or others, and this pseudepigraphical attribution of authorship was especially rampant with religious texts, occurring with several Old Testament figures and early Church fathers, for example, as well as with known forgeries in the name of characters from the New Testament such as the Gospel of Peter, et al.
In actuality, there were gospels composed in the name of every apostle, including Thomas, Bartholomew and Phillip, but these texts are considered “spurious” and unauthorized. Although it would be logical for all those directly involved with Jesus to have recorded their own memoirs, is it not odd that there are so many bogus manuscripts?
What does it all mean?
When were the gospels written and by whom
Are the New Testament Gospels Reliable? Part 1 of series: Part 11 of series: Unmasking the Jesus Seminar Posted on Monday, September 26, This post serves as a bridge between two different blog series.
Despite this early dating, there is a time gap of several years between the ascension of Jesus and the writing of the Gospels. There is a period during which the gospel accounts were committed to memory by the disciples and transmitted orally.
Retrieved February 8, Andrew in the leading role. What they were is uncertain. Fabricius supposes that Merinthus and Cerinthus are the same person and that Cerinthus was changed into Merinthus by the way of banter or reproach. Although Epiphanius makes them into two different persons, yet in the heresy of the Cerinthians, he professes himself uncertain. The gospel purports to be an old manuscript found in an old Alexandria Library giving a graphic and detailed account of Jesus as a friend of Jesus.
Gospels, dating through the combined external and internal evidence
When were the Gospels written? Subscribe to our Question of the Week: It is important to understand that the dating of the Gospels and other New Testament books is at best an educated guess and at worst foolish speculation. For example, suggested dates for the writing of the Gospel of Matthew range from as early as A.
Church Fathers After AD; Christian Origins Site; Peter Kirby’s Blog; Biblical Criticism & History Forum; Please bookmark the site for future reference.
In relation with the feeding of the Lk9: Because those are sayings “logias” only, I do not see here any relation with GMatthew, more so owing to “compiled” rather than “composed” , as shown in most copies of Eusebius’ work HC. Furthermore, the fact that “Matthew” was attributed a collection of sayings therefore emphasizing Jesus as a sage is supported by the gospel of Thomas: Matthew said to him, “You are like a wise philosopher.
Irenaeus, ‘Against Heresies’, V, And he says in addition, “Now these things are credible to believers. By this Son , he says, was emitted the Word, Now since he is speaking of the first origination, he does well to begin the teaching at the beginning, i. He speaks as follows: It was in the beginning, with God. But furthermore he says , “That which came into being in it was Life. Indeed, inasmuch as he adds, “and Life was the light of human beings” [Jn1:
It’s a most basic set of questions to ask: Who wrote the Gospels? When were they written? And generally, is there any reason to suspect that they are full of fabrications? The Gospels are anonymous documents; we cannot know who wrote then.
Gospel originally meant the Christian message itself, but in the 2nd century it came to be used for the books in which the message was set out. The four canonical gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — were written between AD 70 and , and are the main source of information on the life of Jesus. All four are anonymous (the modern names were added in the 2nd century), and none were.
Subscribe Apps Podcasts A Short Argument for Early Dating of the Gospels Acts shows Mark can be dated in the 50s, and the undisputed early dating of other books confirms that the Jesus of the Gospels was not the result of a myth evolving over time. The so-called"search for the historic Jesus” is over one hundred years old. Virtually nothing discovered during that time undermines the Gospel accounts. There is no"new evidence” supporting the idea that the miracle-working Son of God was the result of an evolution of myth over a long period of time.
To the contrary, recent discoveries have given more credibility to the content of the Gospels themselves. For example, we know the Apostle Paul died during the Neronian persecution of A. Paul was still alive at the close of Acts, so that writing came some time before A. Acts was a continuation of Luke’s Gospel, which must have been written earlier still. The book of Mark predates Luke, even by the Jesus Seminar’s reckoning.
This pushes Mark’s Gospel into the 50s, just over twenty years after the crucifixion. It is undisputed that Paul wrote Romans in the mid s, yet he proclaims Jesus as the resurrected Son of God in the opening lines of that epistle.
There’s No Good Reason to Deny the Early Dating of the Gospels
After presenting the contention, Ehrman then comments in brackets: The second-century church father Justin never quotes or mentions any of the Gospels Remsburg and Charles Waite. In these quotes, the authors follow their assessment with sound commentary, a fact that Ehrman has evidently chosen to ignore—if he even read these paragraphs in the first place. Secondly, if Ehrman had followed up on my work or even on my citations in Christ Con, he would have discovered that his claim concerning Justin Martyr, while shared by many , ranks as false and inaccurate.
I have written extensively about the issue of when the canonical gospels as we have them appear in the historical record , including whether or not Justin knew of them.
What are the most accurate dates for the canonical gospels in the New Testament as we have them? Are these texts really the faithful accounts of eyewitnesses written shortly after Jesus’s advent? Or does the evidence point to the gospels as anonymous compositions dating to the late second century?
This simple criteria is part of a four part reliability template I describe in Cold-Case Christianity , and reflects the California jury instructions for jurors who are asked to assess the reliability of eyewitnesses on the stand. As a skeptic, I examined this issue related to the claims of the Gospel authors. Matthew and John were allegedly eyewitnesses to the life of Jesus.
Mark according to the first century bishop, Papias chronicled the eyewitness account of the Apostle Peter, and Luke recorded his own investigation of the eyewitnesses. But how early are these accounts? Could they have been written by people who were actually present during the life and ministry of Jesus?
Metacrock’s Blog: Dating the Gospels: The New Trend Toward Early Dates.
Vintage Books, New York: The many documents mentioned by Dr. Pagels in this introduction are all in the Gnostic Society Library — we have added links to the specific documents where they are first mentioned in the text. Rumors obscured the circumstances of this find–perhaps because the discovery was accidental, and its sale on the black market illegal. For years even the identity of the discoverer remained unknown.
Originally natural, some of these caves were cut and painted and used as grave sites as early as the sixth dynasty, some 4, years ago.
A gospel (a contraction of Old English god spel meaning"good news/glad tidings (of the kingdom of God)”, comparable to Greek εὐαγγέλιον, evangelion) is a written account of the career and teachings of Jesus. The term originally meant the Christian message itself, but in the 2nd century it came to be used for the books in which the message was set out.
If it can be established that the gospels were written early, say before the year A. If they were written by the disciples, then their reliability, authenticity, and accuracy are better substantiated. Also, if they were written early, this would mean that there would not have been enough time for myth to creep into the gospel accounts since it was the eyewitnesses to Christ’s life that wrote them.
Furthermore, those who were alive at the time of the events could have countered the gospel accounts; and since we have no contradictory writings to the gospels, their early authorship as well as apostolic authorship becomes even more critical. Destruction of the temple in A. This is significant because Jesus had prophesied concerning the temple when He said"As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.
This prophecy was fulfilled in A. The gold in the temple melted down between the stone walls; and the Romans took the walls apart, stone by stone, to get the gold.
Bible apologetics and education
Visit Probe’s website Differences Between the Four Gospels Skeptics have criticized the Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament, as being legendary in nature rather than historical. They point to alleged contradictions between Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They also maintain the Gospels were written centuries after the lifetimes of the eyewitnesses. The late date of the writings allowed legends and exaggerations to proliferate, they say.
One significant argument against the early dating of P52 is that the fragment was part of a codex, or book, rather than a scroll, and there are few examples of such books in existence at such an early date. particularly since it is asserted that"the key to dating the Gospels is the Book of Luke.”  In dating Luke’s gospel, which is.
Retrieved February 8, Andrew in the leading role. What they were is uncertain. Fabricius supposes that Merinthus and Cerinthus are the same person and that Cerinthus was changed into Merinthus by the way of banter or reproach. Although Epiphanius makes them into two different persons, yet in the heresy of the Cerinthians, he professes himself uncertain. Retrieved June 18, Archived from the original PDF on March 5, Retrieved June 11, The gospel purports to be an old manuscript found in an old Alexandria Library giving a graphic and detailed account of Jesus as a friend of Jesus.
The gospel states that Jesus did not die on the cross but died six months later. The gospel references the Essenes a lot and is allegedly written by an elder of the Essene order who was a close friend of Jesus.
The Historical Reliability of the Gospels
What have you been thinking about? The Dating of the New Testament When the New Testament was written is a significant issue, as one assembles the overall argument for Christianity. Confidence in the historical accuracy of these documents depends partly on whether they were written by eyewitnesses and contemporaries to the events described, as the Bible claims.
Negative critical scholars strengthen their own views as they separate the actual events from the writings by as much time as possible. For this reason radical scholars argue for late first century, and if possible second century, dates for the autographs [original [original manuscripts] dates they argue that the New Testament documents, especially the Gospels, contain mythology.
The early dating of the Gospels is an important factor in determining their reliability (although it is only one of four criteria). This article is simply a brief outline of the case. This article is .
This fragment dates to the early third century which puts it in rare company. It contains Romans 9: I had the great pleasure of visiting with Dan Wallace at an event where we got the chance to examine a number of very ancient manuscript fragments. Some of these were Biblical fragments; some of these were non-Biblical ancient documents. We were the first people to examine the documents in nearly two thousand years. By the end of the day it was clear to me that there are literally thousands of fragments of ancient texts still out there to be discovered and examined.
In fact, this is the focus of my book, Cold Case Christianity. If the New Testament eyewitness accounts were written as early as the evidence infers, many of the objections of skeptics are impotent. The continuing discovery of early fragments of New Testament documents corroborates this early dating. When visiting with Dan Wallace, Greg Koukl and I asked him about the skepticism on the part of people like Bart Ehrman related to early dating.
We asked Wallace if there was some specific manuscript evidence that inclined people to deny the early dating of the Gospel accounts. Wallace said there was no such evidence. We then asked why people continued to deny the early dating if, in fact, we were continuing to find early fragments and there was no contrary manuscript evidence.