Author Topic: Order and dates of the holy Gospels being written?  (Read 266 times)

Offline Xavier

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Order and dates of the holy Gospels being written?
« on: January 11, 2018, 07:41:38 AM »
Most modernists, out of sheer spite for Christianity, like to lie saying the holy Gospels were written post 70 A.D. This because Our Lord so perfectly prophesied the destruction of the Jewish Temple that happened in that year that they claim the holy Apostles must have made it up after the fact. All history refutes this, even what Josephus relates; and both the internal (e.g. the stated purpose of the author and the overall consistency of the work) and external evidence (e.g. archaeology, what other ancient works tell us about them) pertaining to the Gospels as historical biographies of Our Lord Jesus Christ is against it. Nobody would date the Annals of Tacitus or the Antiquities of Josephus the way these modernists do. How close can we come to the traditional order and dates following the standard historical method? (Mary of Agreda gives them as "Matthew 42 AD; Mark 46 AD; Luke 48 AD; John 58 AD but of course secularists will not admit this; they will however admit an ancient historical source like the below, though not without their "higher criticism")

St. Irenaeus tells us "Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia."

If we can date independently some of the other events mentioned above (e.g. when Sts. Peter and Paul first began to preach in Rome, when they departed etc), we can arrive at close to the date. Anyone have ideas/suggestions on how best to proceed?
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Offline Jacob

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Re: Order and dates of the holy Gospels being written?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2018, 09:39:52 AM »
On a tangent: A long time ago, I used to have bookmarked a site that compared the Bible to the Quran as far as claims as to when they were to have been composed.  The site had lots of excellent info on how hundreds of extant manuscripts and manuscript fragments of the Gospels survive from the early centuries compared to various Greek and Roman texts like Tacitus or Josephus that survive to the modern day in only a handful of manuscripts and most of those are medieval copies.  But of course no one doubts their authenticity.
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Order and dates of the holy Gospels being written?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 09:41:15 AM »
Even if the gospels were all written post-70 A.D. (which I don't believe to be the case), that doesn't necessarily mean that the prophecies themselves were written after the fact. Perhaps our Lord spoke some prophecy, and then the events took place, and then afterwards the author accurately put our Lord's words into writing without adding anything new to it.

As for dating them, I'm not sure there's enough internal evidence to pinpoint anything. But I'd start by separating the prophetical language from the historical language. If something is stated as already having happened, we know that the gospel was written no earlier than that event. That will establish the lower bounds. And the upper bounds is (obviously) the death of the author, since e.g. Matthew's gospel couldn't have been written after Matthew died (unless you're a modernist and claim that Matthew's gospel is pseudepigraphical, written by somebody other than Matthew...)

Anyway, I can't cite a source at the moment, but I had read that John may have written his gospel at the end of his life, long after he wrote his Apocalypse. And I think this is plausible since it would explain why he omits a lot of the details mentioned in the synoptic gospels (details which the other three Evangelists had already sufficiently covered, and other details which he himself already covered in his Apocalypse, which didn't need repeating) and also why he places such emphasis on Christ's divinity (which needed more emphasis in later years as Christological heresies began to emerge).
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 09:48:44 AM by Daniel »
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Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Order and dates of the holy Gospels being written?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 12:33:26 PM »
It's pretty much guesswork beyond narrowing it down to 50-110 AD or thereabouts.  You can find arguments for earlier and later dates but hardly proof.  At least, I've not found anything truly convincing.  Historical events provide lower bounds, as has been said, but that's all.


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Re: Order and dates of the holy Gospels being written?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2018, 12:55:24 PM »
This page gives an argument that the Gospels were written before 70 AD.  It's main argument is that the Gospel of Luke was written before Luke wrote Acts of the Apostles, yet there is still no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem in Acts of the Apostles.
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Order and dates of the holy Gospels being written?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2018, 01:32:11 PM »
I remember reading about 20 years ago that there is a scrap of manuscript written in the handwriting style of approx 50 AD with words that match the Gospel of Mark.

Here is a source with some documentation:

From Michael J. Bumbulis
Newsgroups: soc.religion.christian
Subject: Mark Was Probably Written around AD 50
Date: Tue Feb 18 23:34:00 EST 1997
Organization: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH (USA)
Message-Id: 5edvro$

Mark Was Composed Long Before A.D. 70
by Michael Bumbulis, 1997

In the past, I have argued that the best evidence to date points to a
pre-70 date for the synoptic Gospels.  In making this argument, I drew
primarily from the internal evidence that is present within Acts.
Now, I would like to offer independent evidence that corroborates such
an early date for the synoptics.

Such evidence comes from the field of papyrology which is the study of
ancient manuscript evidence on papyrus.  Papyrologists study the
contents and writing styles of ancient manuscripts, including fragments
that might be no larger that the size of a typical commemorative
postage stamp.  While such a study is not an exact science, papyrology is
akin to a specialized field in archaeology.  It is one of the primary methods
by which an unknown manuscript fragment is identified and dated.  For
example, papyrology was used to date the Johannine codex P66 to ca.
125 A.D. [1]  Papyrology has also been extensively used to date the Dead
Sea Scrolls, and the dates arrived at have been largely supported by
radio-carbon dating [2].

In 1972, Spanish papyrologist Jose O'Callaghan (who is also editor of the
Palau-Ribes papyrus collection) made an identification of the small
manuscript fragment that shocked the academic world.  The fragment in
question is called 7Q5 and was found in Cave 7 among the Qumran
caves.  Cave 7 is very interesting in that the manuscripts found in this
cave are all written exclusively in Greek.  Furthermore, archaeological
evidence exists so that there is a consensus among scholars that this
cave was closed in A.D. 68. [3] Thus, anything found in this cave would
unlikely to be dated later than this time.  Yet in the case of 7Q5, a date
of A.D. 68 would represent an upper-limit, as the text is written in the
Herodian "decorated" script which dates between 50 B.C. and A.D. 50. 

When this approach was applied to 7Q5, a revolutionary finding was
uncovered.  One of the five lines contains a rare combination of letters:
n/n/e/s.[4]  When this combination was used, along with the other
known letters and their spacing and line-placement, to search an
extensive database of Greek literature (including the Septuagint), the
only good match was found from Mark 6:52-53 (where the n/n/e/s
would correspond to Gennesaret)!  The match was further strengthened
by the larger than usual space that occurs before the only complete
word on 7Q5, kai (translated as "and").  Such spaces were often used by
ancient scribes to indicate a new "paragraph" or break in the narrative, 
and sure enough, Mark 6:53 begins with "And."  Furthermore, 7Q5 also
preserves the last letter of the last word before this space, an eta.  Mark
6:52 ends with this same letter.  As if this wasn't enough, the Greek
letter "n" was identified in line two following the letters "t/o".  This
matches nicely with the Greek word "auton" (meaning "their") in verse
52 [5].

Given the revolutionary nature of this identification, it is not surprising
that many New Testament scholars have raised objections and very few
have agreed with the identification.. However, papyrologist Carsten
Theide has marshalled some very powerful replies to these
objections[6].  Since it is beyond the scope of this article to get
bogged down in the details of this technical debate*, I will simply point
out that the list of papyrologists who agree with the identification of
7Q5 as Mark 6:52-53 is growing.  Apart from Thiede, who has
championed this identification, the list includes Sergio Davis, honorary
president of the International Papyrologist's Association and Orsolina
Montevechhi, author of the standard introductory manual to
papyrology[7].  Furthermore, Shemaryahu Talmon, one of the Jewish
members of the editorial board of the Qumran scrolls also supports this

All of this means that we do indeed possess independent evidence that
corroborates a pre-60s date for the synoptic Gospels as indicated by my
earlier analysis of Acts.  This is significant as it clearly shows the belief
in Jesus' resurrection cannot date after A.D. 60-65 and thus dates to a
time when most of Jesus' contemporaries were still alive.  In fact, since
it is unlikely that the authors of Mark, Matthew, and Luke invented the
resurrection claims, but instead were more likely to have incorporated
older oral traditions into their Gospels, the resurrection belief is pushed
back much earlier   Any skeptical theory that depends on a late date for
the resurrection belief is thus severely damaged.
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Offline Arvinger

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Re: Order and dates of the holy Gospels being written?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2018, 03:01:17 PM »
Some believing Protestant scholars (alas, in the day of almost universal apostasy in the Catholic Church some of the conservative Protestant Bible scholars do much more good in the field of studies of the New Testament than Catholics) argue that in 1 Timothy 5:18 St. Paul quotes Luke 10:7 as Scripture. If that is the case, considering that St. Paul wrote 1 Timothy around 58-65 AD (although many modern unbelieving scholars reject this, claiming that Pastoral Epistles were not written by St. Paul), Luke's Gospel must have already been well-known and considered authoritative among Christians in the 50s of the 1st century.
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Offline St.Justin

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Re: Order and dates of the holy Gospels being written?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2018, 08:08:09 PM »
I just put this together real quick but I hope this helps.

Books of the New Teatament
Some  dates we need to keep in mind
Jesus died in 33 AD.
The council of Jerusalem in 57 AD
St. Paul and St. Peter died in 65AD
St. James son of Alphaeus also called the lesser died 67 AD
St. Mark died April 25, 68 AD
Destruction of the Temple 70 AD
St Jude died 70 AD
St. Matthew died 74 AD
St Luke died 84 AD
St. John died 98 AD

So we have valid timeline for when all of the New Testament books were written which would be between 33 AD and 98 AD. It is also self evident that they were written before the death of each of the authors.
So we have:
Gospel of St. Matthew before 74 AD
Gospel of St. Mark before 68 AD
Gospel of St. Luke and Acts of the Apostles before 84 AD
Gospel of St.John  and Epistles 1, 2 and 3 and the book of the APOCALYPSE before 98 AD
Epistles of St.Paul all before 65 AD
Epistles of  St. Peter I and II before 65 AD
Epistles of St. James before 67 AD
Epistle of St. Jude before 70 AD.
The apostles were in no great hurry to write: they began, after the example of their Master, to teach by word of mouth, and to practice the truths they had learned. They were no ways apprehensive of forgetting what they had heard, nor of varying in what they taught; they had impressed too deeply the truths they had received from his lips, both on their mind and heart, and they felt perfectly secure in the promises made to them, that his Holy Spirit should never abandon them. --- After some years, the zeal and pious curiosity of the faithful engaged them to commit to writing what they knew, for the consolation and instruction of their disciples. This was the motive of St. Matthew's writing. St. Mark probably had the same motive in abridging what had been penned by St. Matthew, wishing at the same time to subjoin some additional few facts and circumstances which he had learned elsewhere. (Haydock)
Eusebius (263 AD, Died: 339 AD,
in his 3d book and 24th chapter on Church History, informs us, that the bishops of Asia presented to St. John the Gospels of the three Evangelists, who had written before him, and which were then public and universally known. St. John approved of and received them; and to supply what was wanting in them, wrote his own, in which he mentions what Jesus Christ had done at the commencement of his preaching, and what had been omitted by the other Evangelists.
St. Clement' (died ((AD)
The first three Gospels we find cited in St. Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians, written previously to St. John's Gospel.
St. Polycarp (69 AD Died: 155 AD
 in his epistle to the Philippians, quotes five or six times the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke, without naming them. St. Barnabas in his Epistle frequently quotes the four Gospels. St. Ignatius repeatedly cites them in his seven Epistles, and alludes to them, particularly to the Gospel of St. John.

St. Justin, the martyr (100 AD, Died: 165
, speaks expressly of the Commentaries of the Apostles, the name he gives to the gospels, which, he says, were written by the apostles, or by their disciples. Tertullian appeals to the gospel which from the beginning has been given by the apostles, and which is preserved as a sacred deposit in the apostolic churches. "If it be evident," says this author, "that that is truest which is first, and that that is first which was from the beginning; it is equally evident that that was delivered to us from the apostles, which has always been holden as most sacred in the apostolic churches." (Haydock)
Papias (Greek: Παπίας) was an Apostolic Father, Bishop of Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale, Turkey), and author who lived c. 60–130 AD.[2] It was Papias who wrote the Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord (Greek: Λογίων Κυριακῶν Ἐξήγησις) in five books.
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Order and dates of the holy Gospels being written?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2018, 10:07:56 PM »
If I remember correctly, a Christian writer from the first/second century by the name of Papias, stated in one of his letters, when the gospels were written; and I believe that they were all written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
Also, if you read St. John's Gospel; which everyone agrees is the last one written, when he mentions the physical characteristics of Jerusalem, such as the pool of siloe, its always in the present tense; which would not be the case if Jerusalem had been destroyed when he wrote.
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Offline Prayerful

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Re: Order and dates of the holy Gospels being written?
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2018, 12:57:42 PM »
Fr Longnecker's book on the Magi notes that while martyrdom, say, that of the St Peter was mentioned in St John's Gospel, no mention is made of St Paul's death, which makes 64 AD a likely terminal date for the Acts of the Apostles. Papias was bishop of Hierapolis (now Pamukkale famous for its springs and there remains a large ruin field, in part of a city, but a wider area of tombs from Roman and Hellenistic times), recorded by the 4th century Eusebius of Caesarea, just fifty or sixty years after Our Lord's sacrifice, that St Matthew put the saying or logia of Jesus in a Hebrew dialect. Quite possibly Aramaic was this 'Hebrew dialect,' a language found in a few phrase throughout the NT, as Hebrew was then a Jewish liturgical language.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.

Galatians I, 4
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Offline St.Justin

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Re: Order and dates of the holy Gospels being written?
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2018, 03:45:39 PM »
Canon of books
In about 367 AD, St. Athanasius came up with a list of 73 books for the Bible that he believed to be divinely inspired.  This list was finally approved by Pope Damasus I in 382 AD, and was formally approved by the Church Council of Rome in that same year.  Later Councils at Hippo (393 AD) and Carthage (397 AD) ratified this list of 73 books.  In 405 AD, Pope Innocent I wrote a letter to the Bishop of Toulouse reaffirming this canon of 73 books. In 419 AD, the Council of Carthage reaffirmed this list, which Pope Boniface agreed to.  The Council of Trent, in 1546, in response to the Reformation removing 7 books from the canon (canon is a Greek word meaning “standard”), reaffirmed the original St. Athanasius list of 73 books
(6) The criterion of inspiration (less correctly known as the criterion of canonicity)

Even those Catholic theologians who defend Apostolicity as a test for the inspiration of the N. T. (see above) admit that it is not exclusive of another criterion, viz., Catholic tradition as manifested in the universal reception of compositions as Divinely inspired, or the ordinary teaching of the Church, or the infallible pronouncements of ecumenical councils. This external guarantee is the sufficient, universal, and ordinary proof of inspiration. The unique quality of the Sacred Books is a revealed dogma. Moreover, by its very nature inspiration eludes human observation and is not self-evident, being essentially superphysical and supernatural. Its sole absolute criterion, therefore, is the Holy inspiring Spirit, witnessing decisively to Itself, not in the subjective experience of individual souls, as Calvin maintained, neither in the doctrinal and spiritual tenor of Holy Writ itself, according to Luther, but through the constituted organ and custodian of Its revelations, the Church. All other evidences fall short of the certainty and finality necessary to compel the absolute assent of faith. (See Franzelin, "De Divina, Traditione et Scripture"; Wiseman, "Lectures on Christian Doctrine", Lecture ii; also Inspiration of the Bible.)

Offline Daniel

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Re: Order and dates of the holy Gospels being written?
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2018, 09:48:50 AM »
From the a Lapide commentary (pp. xxxvi-xxxix here, or pp. cxxxii-cxxxvi in the Loreto Publications version):
- Jerome, Augustine, Eusebius, and everybody else are in agreement that St. Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew (Chrysostom hom. 1, Jerome de Scrip. Eccl. in Mattheao, and Eusebius III History chap. 13.)
- St. Matthew probably wrote his Hebrew gospel right before the Apostles dispersed to preach to the gentiles (A.D. 37). Though the less probable opinion of Baronius is that he didn't write it until A.D. 41. And Iraenaus says that he wrote it when SS. Peter and Paul were at Rome (A.D. 51-53) which is "evidently untrue".
- The Hebrew was immediately translated into the Greek. Probably by Matthew, or by John, or James, or somebody else of that ilk (perhaps Barnabas, or maybe Luke and Paul).
- Nobody knows whether Matthew's "Hebrew" gospel was written in Hebrew or in Aramaic. Some say that the present-day Syriac text is Matthew's original, but this isn't very likely, for various reasons.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 09:59:05 AM by Daniel »