So we have to look for other criteria by which to date the New Testament.One of the most useful is: a work must be dated sometime after the latest historical event to which it refers.How early were the texts written, and how was the material transmitted prior to being documented by the gospel eyewitnesses?
I think there are several good reasons to accept this claim, given the historical …Secondly, because the central fact of the Christian faith, the Incarnation—which defies human comprehension—demands solid historical support if it is to win the allegiance of sober-minded people. And we confess with him, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” But again, if our records of this pivotal event in human history cannot be trusted, our faith is vulnerable indeed. For the past century or so, New Testament critics have assumed a date of around A. But if O’Callaghan’s work holds up—and it really is too early to predict one way or the other—we will have strong evidence that Mark was in circulation in Palestine a whole generation earlier than anyone had imagined, and the suggestion of an earlier source would be pointless.The Gospel would be close enough to the events it records to stand on its own merits.When this is done, it does not seem to make much difference whether the scholars engaged in the exercise are evangelical or not, For example, while many evangelical scholars continue quite happily to date the Gos¬pel of John in the 90s of the first century A. He is author of The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? Bruce, “On Dating the New Testament,” Eternity 23 (June 1972): 32-33.D., others, who have no particular evangelical reputation, are moved by its affinities with the Qumran texts to date it a few decades earlier. Manson, was willing to push it back into the 50s, considering that a suitable occasion for its publication might have been the reconstitution of the church in Rome about A. 55, after its dispersion when Claudius banished the Roman Jews about A. (Inter-Varsity), Second Thoughts on the Dead Sea Scrolls (Eerdmans) and numerous other books and articles. This article was originally published in Eternity Magazine by Evangelical Ministries Inc now the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.In the next chapter, however, what was a remote contingency has become an imminent certainty: the readers are prepared to meet a “fiery trial” in which they will “share Christ’s sufferings,” and the conditional clause “if one suffers as a Christian” is not expressed as something conceivable yet unlikely, but as something to be expected (1 Pet. The date of I Peter is therefore, in my judgment, pin-pointed with unusual precision. If we had no other means of dating the Gospel of John, we should know that it was in existence by the time Basilides quoted it about A. 130; or, if we lacked that, we would have Heracleon’s commentary on it a generation later. A much more precarious criterion is the stage of the development of Christian doctrine and practice which the various documents presuppose.DATING FROM REFERENCES IN OTHER WORKS Another criterion for dating a work is found in the earliest references to its existence in other works which can be dated. Indeed, Heracleon’s teacher, Valentinus, is credibly reported by Tertullian to have made reference to all the books in the New Testament canon, which would indicate that they were all in existence by A. For example, some contemporary scholars recognize in certain New Testament documents a stage which they call “primitive catholicism,” marked by an increasing organization of church life and teaching, inimical to the apostolic emphasis on justification by faith and spiritual liberty.Revelation refers to five “kings” who have fallen and to one who “is” at the time of speaking (Rev. If, then, we can identify these “kings”—a big “if” but not, I think, an impossible one—we will have a criterion for dating at least this part of the book.Paul’s Letters to the Corinthians were written after his evangelization of Corinth, and his evangelization of Corinth can be dated rather precisely; we have inscriptional evidence for the time of Gallio’s governorship of Achaia, which began while Paul was in Corinth. Of course, an exception to this rule occurs in the case of prophetic material, which points to events which are still future at the time of writing.© Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals Inc, 600 Eden Rd, Lancaster PA 17601, USA.© 1972 F. While teaching a recent Colson Center Short Course, I was asked about the dating of John’s Gospel.