Dating new testament events
The incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as a real event in time and space, i.e., as historical realities, are the indispensable foundations of the Christian faith.
To my mind, then, Christianity is best defined as the recitation of, the celebration of, and the participation in God’s acts in history, which as the New Testament writings emphasize have found their culmination in Jesus Christ.
Modern research adduces several complementary arguments for the credibility and early dating of the Gospels, Acts, and letters of St Paul: (1) Argument from internal indications of dating. Robinson, well-known for the theological liberalism of his book Honest to God (1963), in an epoch-making work Redating the New Testament, came to the conclusion that the late dating of the Gospels by the school of ‘form criticism’ is totally dependent upon “the manifold tyranny of unexamined assumptions.” Robinson begins his study by noting that in the entire New Testament, “the single most datable and climactic event of the period—the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, and with it the collapse of institutional Judaism based on the temple—is never once mentioned as a past fact.” He proposes the following dates: Matthew 40-60; Mark 45-60; Luke 57-60; John 40-65; and indeed he dates the entire New Testament before the year 70.
Lindsey comments, “My own encounter with the strong Hebraism of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke came several years ago when I had occasion to attempt the translation of the Gospel of Mark to Hebrew. We also have five major manuscripts from the 10th cent. D., pushed their successors closer and closer to those dates which traditionally were ascribed to the four Gospels and the Epistles of St Paul. After many years of doubt or denial on the question, he concluded that the Gospel of St John is by him and can be dated 80-118. onward, and about 200 later manuscripts of complete or partial copies of the Iliad—but the earliest near complete manuscript is of the 10th cent. But the discovery of earlier and earlier fragments of manuscripts, the confirmation of the New Testament furnished by archaeological research, as well as the citation of the New Testament writings by Fathers of the early 1st century A.Author Work Date of writing Earliest complete copy Time span No. But the earliest dates are clearly more probable: Mark around 42; Completed Mark around 45; (Hebrew) Matthew around 50; (Greek) Luke a little after 50.” Based upon the same arguments, French philosopher and specialist in Hebrew thought Claude Tresmontant proposes the following dates: Matthew before 36, Mark 50-60, and Luke 40-60. of early mss., complete or partial Horace Satires 35 B. The Hebrew origins of our Greek manuscripts have been studied by scholars in Jerusalem such as Robert Lindsey, David Flusser, Pinchas Lapide and David Bivin.