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Old 08-16-2001, 06:57 PM   #1
Vorkosigan
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Post Dating of Luke/Acts, Josephus, et al

Nomad has asked me to explore some of the arguments that he and Layman make for an early dating of Luke. He referenced two threads in this regard, so I have returned to them. I have changed some of the formatting for the sake of space.

Nomad dates Luke/Acts from 60-65

In no particular order, here are the arguments I was able to glean from the two threads.

From Layman:
it is commonly believed that Luke evidences a view of the church that correlates with the first-century church rather than the second-century church. Whereas even early second-century authors such as Ignatius and Polycarp refer to a rather authoritarian church with a fixed hierarchy, including Bishops and Presbyters, Luke presents a much more primitive church--similar to the first-century church. As Ben Witherington states, "even more telling, his primitive ecclessiology, which bears no resemblance to what we find in Ignatius or other Christian writers of the later era." Ben Witherington, The Acts of the Apostles, at 61.

From Layman:
The famous "we" passages of Acts indicates that its author participated in some of Paul's journeys, requiring a first-century date. Indeed, the fact that the author participated as an adult in the events of Paul'slife, which ended around 62-64 CE, requires a first-century date close-enough in time to the early 60's CE to allow for Acts authorship within the lives of Paul's associates. The "we" sections fit snuggly into the rest of the text and appear to have been written by the same author. No hint of interpolation or the incorporation of another source. Nor does this appear to be a mere literary device. It is what is appears to be: the attestation of the author that he participated in the described events.

Layman then gives lists of articles that supposedly use Luke:
[b]…many allusions to Acts found in other early Christian writings. An examination of the early Christian literature reveals that many of them used phrases and terms unique to the Acts of the Apostles.

Ignatius' Letter to the Smyrnaens (110 CE): Acts 10:41. You can review the letter at: http://home.earthlink.net/~kirby/writings/ignatius.html
1 Clement (95 CE): Acts 26:18; Acts 20:35, 4:27. You can review the letter at: http://home.earthlink.net/~kirby/writings/1clement.html
2 Clement (130-150 CE): Acts 10:42. You can review the letter/writing at: http://home.earthlink.net/~kirby/writings/2clement.html
Polycarp's Letter to the Phillipians (110-130 CE): Acts 10:42; Acts 16:12.
You can review the letter at: http://home.earthlink.net/~kirby/writings/polycarp.html
Martyrdom of Polycarp (150-160 CE): Acts 10:42; 16:12. You can review the letter at: http://home.earthlink.net/~kirby/wri...mpolycarp.html
And as you noted: Justin Martyr (150 CE): Acts 1.
Other possible allusions: Didache (60-120 CE)-Acts 4:32; Epistle of Barnabas (80-120 CE)-Acts 14:22.

Layman adds:
Around A.D. 140, the recently discovered Gospel of Truth (a Gnostic-oriented work probably by Valentinus) makes an important contribution. Its use of canonical New Testament sources, treating them as authoritative, is comprehensive enough to warrant the conclusion that in Rome (at this period) there was a New Testament complication in existence corresponding very closely to our own. Citations are made from the Gospels, Acts, letters of Paul, Hebrews, and the Book of Revelation. Milton Fisher, The Canon of the New Testament, in The Origin of the Bible, Philip Comfort, Ed., at 71. See also W.C. van Unnik, "The Gospel of Truth and the New Testament," at 123.

Nomad put up
]http://www.infidels.org/electronic/forum/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=6&t=0 00209]
this thread[/url] as something I should respond to, but the major argument here for most of the posts is over the date of p46 and the dating of Luke is not mentioned until well into the thread.

Here are five points made by Nomad:
  • (a) The absence of reference to important events which happened between AD 60 and 70. The fall of Jerusalem (66-70), the persecution of Christians by Nero (64), and the death of James by the Sanhedrin (62) are not mentioned. On this last point, it is a significant silence, for "no incident could have served Luke's apologetic purpose better, that it was the Jews not the Romans who were the real enemies of the gospel."
  • (b) The primitive character of the subject-matter. In particular, "the Jewish-Gentile controversy is dominant and all other evidence apart from Acts suggests that this was a vital issue only in the period before the fall of Jerusalem."
  • (c) The primitive nature of the theology. Terms such as "the Christ," "disciples," "the Way," and the reference to the first day of the week for the time when Christian met together to break bread, all imply primitiveness.
  • (d) The attitude of the state towards the church. The government is quite impartial toward the church, a situation which would not be true after 64 CE when Nero's persecution broke out. It is significant that Luke ends this book by saying that the gospel was able to spread "unhindered" (ajkwluvtw").
  • (e) The relation of Acts to the Pauline epistles. Luke shows no awareness of Paul's literary endeavors. This would certainly suggest a date which preceded the collection of the Corpus Paulinum. Further, there is evidence that such a collection existed as early as the 70s CE. In the least, this suggests that the purpose of Acts was not to reinstate Paul's letters, as some have suggested.

Nomad also instances the Olivet Discourse in conjunction with his arguments about Mark.

Another argument he made is that the author of Luke must be Luke, the travelling companion of Paul. This is because of the "we" passages, and the attestation of the gospel's name, and because Luke is named in Paul's letters. Since it seems incredible that a companion of Paul in the 50s would still be writing in the second century, it is more likely, based on this argument that Luke-Acts would be written before the 90s.

I believe these were all the important arguments on Luke covered in these two threads.

Background Assumptions

Underlying assumptions that AFAIK Nomad and I share:
  • 1. The author of Luke and Acts are the same
    2. Luke-Acts was written after the Gospel of Mark
    3. Luke's Gospel predates Acts

I will deal with these arguments from above, however, not in the order in which they are listed.

1. Is Luke the Author?

If Luke, the companion of Paul, was the author of Acts, then that pretty much means it must have been written in the first century some time. The problem is that there is no evidence that the writer of Acts is the companion of Paul called Luke, except the name.

Luke is mentioned in 2 Timothy, Colossians and Philemon. Of these three, 2 Tim is a later forgery in Paul's name, the authenticity of Colossians is hotly disputed, and Philemon, the one letter considered authentic, only mentions Luke, and does not identify him as a physician.

The "we" passages are not really a problem for a later date. As many scholars have pointed out, the "we" passages contain some suspiciously abrupt transitions. For example, in the first of the "we" sections in Acts 16:1-17, note how the first 9 verses take place in the third person, then suddenly shift to the first person in the 10th verse. Contrary to Layman's claim that "the "we" sections fit snuggly into the rest of the text and appear to have been written by the same author" they abruptly appear in the text. Here is Acts 16:1-10:
  • 1. He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a
    Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek.
    2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.
    3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived
    in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
    4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey.
    5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
    6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.
    7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
    8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.
    9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."
    10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Note the abrupt transition there -- 9 verses of third person, suddenly the speaker shifts to the first person. After verse 17, the "we" disappears and Paul and Silas are beaten and jailed. No mention of the first person in jail -- where did he go?

Merely on abruptness alone, the "we" passages may be regarded as a literary device to place the author in the text. Even if they functioned seemlessly, that does not mean the author was actually present. Well-written historical fiction can accomplish this readily. In fact, Peter Kirby notes that narrating sea voyages in the first person was a common Greco-Roman literary device.

The "we" writer also differs from Paul in matters of history in places. These do not really mean anything either way, since everyone writes differently about the same events, as a consultation of differing WWII memoirs will show.

In Who Wrote the Gospels R. Helms argued, based on literary evidence, that the author of Luke-Acts was a female. He identified a large number of "female-isms" in Luke-Acts, including its focus on the downtrodden, its comparison of the indwelling of the spirit with a child quickening in the womb (not a metaphor likely to occur to a male), and the fact that females play prominent roles in the books, among many.

Additionally, it was common in antiquity to attribute books to famous personages of the past.

In sum, there is no overwhelming reason from the "we" passages that the author was a companion of Paul. Luke was known to use sources, he used Mark and Q for the gospel. It hardly seems likely that s/he drew heavily on other sources for the story of Jesus, then suddenly gave them up for the story of Paul. Perhaps, as some scholars have suggested, he drew on a travelogue or diary kept by someone. The more consistent view would be that he or she drew on sources for the composition of both. Note that the author of Luke/Acts never identifies herself.

This argument is bolstered by the fact that if the writer had come into contact with the community of Christians in Jerusalem, as he certainly would have had he been with Paul and gone up to Jerusalem (Acts 21:17), he would have heard stories right from the horse's mouth about Jesus. Why then, would he have used Mark's gospel and a collection of sayings, when he could have included much different and richer material, with attributions right from the Peter et al? If "Luke" had received the Word directly from Peter et al, why does he say in his gospel that it was "handed down" from the "eyewitnesses" as if he had never met them? The obvious conclusion is that the author of Acts was never with Paul in Jerusalem.

2. Luke Does Not Know Paul's Letters

From above:
"Luke shows no awareness of Paul's literary endeavors. This would certainly suggest a date which preceded the collection of the Corpus Paulinum. Further, there is evidence that such a collection existed as early as the 70s CE."

Nonsense. As late as 150 Justin Martyr published two apologies showing no awareness of Paul's letters. A silence on the letters offers no firm evidence either way as far as dating goes.

3. The absence of reference to important events which happened between AD 60 and 70.

Another non-point. Acts ends in 62. The absence of reference to later events is understandable. Or they may be in another, now-lost book.

4. It is commonly believed that Luke evidences a view of the church that correlates with the first-century church rather than the second-century church.

Yet another non-point. The author of Luke is writing about a time when the Church was less authoritarian, but it does not follow that he is writing AT that time.

5. The Gospel of Truth mentions Luke…..

….but it dates from 140. Not relevant to the argument at hand.

6. The Olivet Discourse

This passage contains Jesus' prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem/Temple. Nomad believes it to be the authentic words of Jesus, going back to the 30s, and dates Mark early because of it. However, we both agree that Luke comes after Mark, so dating Mark early does not help us date Luke to any particular time. What we need is evidence that bears directly on Luke. Luke, after all, could have been written anytime after Mark.

7. Primitivity

Nomad notes that the theological language of Acts is "primitive." Ellegard argues, however, that usages within Acts are consistent with older/second century, not younger/first century materials, based on the word for "synagogue," "disciples," and other terms. In the early writings, the term hagoi -- "saints" -- is used to designate the Christ-worshippers, but in later writings it is rarely used. Acts uses it just 4 times, all in connection with Paul's activities at or before his conversion. It is not found at all in Luke's Gospel. The obvious inference is that the writer of Luke does not use the early terminology because he is not writing at an early time.

Laymen says the following writings contains terms and phrases unique to Acts. Obviously, if they contain them, the terms and phrases are not "unique" to Acts. I assume he means found in Acts and nowhere else outside these letters.

Ignatius' Letter to the Smyrnaens (110 CE): Acts 10:41
1 Clement (95 CE): Acts 26:18; Acts 20:35, 4:27.
2 Clement (130-150 CE): Acts 10:42.
Polycarp's Letter to the Phillipians (110-130 CE): Acts 10:42; Acts 16:12.
Martyrdom of Polycarp (150-160 CE): Acts 10:42; 16:12.
Justin Martyr (150 CE): Acts 1.
Didache (60-120 CE)-Acts 4:32
Epistle of Barnabas (80-120 CE)-Acts 14:22.

Let us toss 2 Clement, Martyrdom of Polycarp, and Justin Martyr as too late for this discussion, since I believe Acts was in existence prior to 150, and probably 130 (Layman was replying to an argument regarding Marcion). That leaves:

Ignatius' Letter to the Smyrnaens (110 CE): Acts 10:41
1 Clement (95 CE): Acts 26:18; Acts 20:35, 4:27.
Polycarp's Letter to the Phillipians (110-130 CE): Acts 10:42; Acts 16:12.
Didache (60-120 CE)-Acts 4:32
Epistle of Barnabas (80-120 CE)-Acts 14:22.
  • Ign Smyrneans 3:3 And after His resurrection He [both] ate with them and drank with them as one in the flesh, though spiritually He was united with the Father.
    Acts 10:41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, [even] to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

The language is similar (there are actually couple of places in Ign Smyr one might slap together with Acts 10:41. However, this similarity means nothing, because there is no way to know which way causality runs. Is Ignatius quoting Acts, Acts quoting Ignatius, or are they both relying on some other source?

1 Clement (95 CE): Acts 26:18; Acts 20:35, 4:27.
1 Clement might be as late as 140, in which case it is not very relevant to this discussion. However, both it and Acts contain phraseology of leading the gentiles "from Darkness into Light." Since the Dark/Light metaphor is an excruciatingly common one in '00s of cultures, the parallel with Acts 26:18 is terribly weak. Note that we are stuck with the same problem as before: Is Clement quoting Acts, Acts quoting Clement, or are they both relying on some other source? Ditto for Acts 20:35, and 4:27. There are again no direct references to Acts in here.

Polycarp's Letter to the Phillipians (110-130 CE): Acts 10:42; Acts 16:12. Might also be as late as 140, in any case, it is too late to establish a first century date for Luke/Acts.

Didache (60-120 CE)-Acts 4:32
The Didache is a highly controversial text with roots in pre-Christian Jewish tradition. Controversy rages over the dating, with some at 50, and others early second century. Harnack put it as late as 165, however, that seems quite late! Once again we are stuck with a text that does not directly refer to Acts, and whose indirect reference does not allow us to choose which text depends on which. Further, Didache's ancient roots mean that the terminology may have been created long before Acts.

In any case,
Acts 4:32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.

Once again a common theme, found in many climes, times and cultures, and likely to generate parallels in any set of documents about a close-knit, persecuted group.

In sum, I see no compelling reason to date Luke/Acts to before 70, and now await your post, Nomad, on why I should not think Luke depends on Josephus.

Michael

[ August 16, 2001: Message edited by: turtonm ]
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Old 08-17-2001, 12:13 AM   #2
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Alright, I am headed out for the weekend, so will not be able to get into too much detail in this post. If I may, what I did notice, however, was that Michael does try to address some of the arguments for dating Luke/Acts early, but gives prescious few reasons to think that a late date for Luke/Acts is more reasonable. That said, let's look at what we have so far:

Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
{Snip}

1. Is Luke the Author?

If Luke, the companion of Paul, was the author of Acts, then that pretty much means it must have been written in the first century some time. The problem is that there is no evidence that the writer of Acts is the companion of Paul called Luke, except the name.
Of course, this statement is simply incorrect, unless Michael is confining himself to "internal evidence" within Luke/Acts.

In the case of supporting external evidence for Lucan authorship we have:

1) All MSS of Luke and Acts only lists Luke as the author. This witness testimony dates back to mid-Second Century. If the document is pseudonymous, and early Second Century, then the claims of who was the author fooled everyone.

2) Luke's authorship is affirmed by numerous Second and early Third Century witnesses including the Muratorian Canon, the anti-Marcionite Prologue to Luke (which claims that Luke wrote his gospel in Greece, and died at the age of 84), Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, and Eusebius. Again, as with the titles found in the MSS, no one puts forward any other possible author, nor claims that the document is strictly anonymous.

"By the latter half of the 2nd Century (title P75, Iraenaeus, Muratonrian Fragment) this book was being attributed to Luke the companion of Paul.
(R. Brown, Introduction to the New Testament, [Doubleday: New York, 1994], pg. 267)


Quote:
Luke is mentioned in 2 Timothy, Colossians and Philemon. Of these three, 2 Tim is a later forgery in Paul's name, the authenticity of Colossians is hotly disputed, and Philemon, the one letter considered authentic, only mentions Luke, and does not identify him as a physician.
It is not a good sign to see you falling into old habits and presenting your opinion as fact Michael. Do not do this again please. For the record, 2 Timothy is viewed as possibly pseudonymous, NOT a forgery. If you do not know the difference on even this basic of an issue, then I am not hopeful that we can have a productive discussion here.

Quote:
The "we" passages are not really a problem for a later date. As many scholars have pointed out, the "we" passages contain some suspiciously abrupt transitions.
This is hardly a surprise, given that the author of Luke/Acts never claims to be with Paul at all times. In fact, given the intermintent nature of their contact, we would expect the transition to the "we passages" to be abrupt. Paul and his companions, for example, arrive in a local, and Luke joins them. Thus, "they" becomes "we" in the text. This is, after all, how pronouns are most commonly used in language. A better question, if one wants to dispute the "we passages" is to ask why Luke does not use them uniformly throughout Acts.

"Fitzmey, who thinks Acts was probably written by Luke, points out that the "we" companion was with Paul only at certain times. The "we" references begin at Troas on the "Second Missionary Journey" ca. 50; therefore the "we" companion might have had only imprecise knowledge of earlier events.... If he did (stay in Philipi), he was not with Paul during the sending of 1 Thess, Gal, Phil, Phlm, i-II Cor, and Rom (as dated by the more plausible reckoning...). That would explain why if the companion wrote Acts, he shows no knowledge of the letters or of the theology in them shaped by the situations Paul encountered.
(Ibid. pg. 324-5)


Thus we see that not only are the "we passages" presented in a fashion we would expect from a report given by a sometime companion to Paul, this person is also absent during key periods of time when Paul is writing his letters, and thus has a simple explanation as to why he would be unaware of them.

A proponent of a much later date faces a much more problematic issue in trying to explain Luke's ignorance of the entire Pauline Corpus. This issue is one for which Michael does not even try to present an answer.

Quote:
Merely on abruptness alone, the "we" passages may be regarded as a literary device to place the author in the text.
This is ridiculous. I am left to wonder how Michael even reached such a conclusion.

Quote:
Even if they functioned seemlessly, that does not mean the author was actually present. Well-written historical fiction can accomplish this readily. In fact, Peter Kirby notes that narrating sea voyages in the first person was a common Greco-Roman literary device.
Interestingly, in these instances, the fictitious companion was always present with the protagonist. In fact, since Luke did not follow this convention it argues more powerfully for the "we" passages as being legitimate presentations of something that really happened.

Quote:
Additionally, it was common in antiquity to attribute books to famous personages of the past.
Since Luke was not even close to being famous (after all, you did note correctly that Luke is mentioned only in passing three times in all of Paul's letters, and then only one of those letters is undisputed. This is another example of sceptics trying to have it both ways. Pseudonymous writings were very common in ancient times, and this is why we have so much material attributed to James and Peter in particular. But Luke? This person was not famous by any definition of the word.

Quote:
This argument is bolstered by the fact that if the writer had come into contact with the community of Christians in Jerusalem, as he certainly would have had he been with Paul and gone up to Jerusalem (Acts 21:17), he would have heard stories right from the horse's mouth about Jesus. Why then, would he have used Mark's gospel and a collection of sayings, when he could have included much different and richer material, with attributions right from the Peter et al?
Hmm... this is a curious argument, given that many believe (as did the early Fathers) that Mark DID present Peter's version of events, and that "Q" preserved much of the oral tradition that would have been taught in Jerusalem during this period. IOW, Luke is reporting what he had heard, exactly as he promised he would do in Luke 1:1-4.

Quote:
If "Luke" had received the Word directly from Peter et al, why does he say in his gospel that it was "handed down" from the "eyewitnesses" as if he had never met them?
Because he never met them. Since neither Layman nor I ever argue otherwise, I wonder why you posed this question.

Quote:
2. Luke Does Not Know Paul's Letters

From above:
"Luke shows no awareness of Paul's literary endeavors. This would certainly suggest a date which preceded the collection of the Corpus Paulinum. Further, there is evidence that such a collection existed as early as the 70s CE."

Nonsense. As late as 150 Justin Martyr published two apologies showing no awareness of Paul's letters. A silence on the letters offers no firm evidence either way as far as dating goes.
Once again we have a double standard in action here, however. Previously you have made much of the supposed silence of the 1st Century witnesses about Luke. Of course, we don't really have very many witnesses we could look for, do we? And since 2 Peter (c. 125AD) already shows a widespread awareness of Paul's letters, it is quite a stretch to insist that the author of Luke/Acts would be unaware of the letters from one of his greatest heroses.

Bottom line, you cannot have it both ways. If you wish to use a lack of early attestation to Luke as an argument for a late date, then you cannot then dismiss Luke's own lack of reference to the Pauline Epistles.

Quote:
3. The absence of reference to important events which happened between AD 60 and 70.

Another non-point. Acts ends in 62. The absence of reference to later events is understandable. Or they may be in another, now-lost book.
Let's skip the speculation on possible lost books (you know we have zero evidence for such a book, so why mention it?). The question is why does the book end in 62, especially if it was written decades later? A simpler explanation is to simply say that Acts ends in 62 because that is when it was written. Hand waving on your part does not invalidate this prima facie argument.

Quote:
4. It is commonly believed that Luke evidences a view of the church that correlates with the first-century church rather than the second-century church.

Yet another non-point. The author of Luke is writing about a time when the Church was less authoritarian, but it does not follow that he is writing AT that time.
On the other hand, the most common reason for dating the Pastorals late is because of such awareness of early Church structure. Once again we have a double standard. The Pastorals are late because they have references to early Church structures, but Acts is not early just because it does not reference such structures. It really does seem to be hard to please the sceptics, n'est pas?

I also like the equally curious argument that 2 Peter is late because it knows of Paul's letters, but Acts is also late, in spite of the fact that it shows no awareness of these letters. The logic is truly dizzying.

Quote:
5. The Gospel of Truth mentions Luke…..

….but it dates from 140. Not relevant to the argument at hand.
This must have been one of Layman's arguments. I certainly never made it.

Quote:
6. The Olivet Discourse

This passage contains Jesus' prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem/Temple. Nomad believes it to be the authentic words of Jesus, going back to the 30s, and dates Mark early because of it. However, we both agree that Luke comes after Mark, so dating Mark early does not help us date Luke to any particular time. What we need is evidence that bears directly on Luke. Luke, after all, could have been written anytime after Mark.
Here you have misunderstood the argument being made. As a rule, scholars have set 70 as the earliest possible date for the Gospels because of the Olivet Discourse. But if the saying is a legitimate one from Jesus Himself, then this argument fails utterly, and one of the largest objections to an early date for ALL of the Gospels collapses.

Quote:
7. Primitivity

Nomad notes that the theological language of Acts is "primitive." Ellegard argues, however, that usages within Acts are consistent with older/second century, not younger/first century materials, based on the word for "synagogue," "disciples," and other terms. In the early writings, the term hagoi -- "saints" -- is used to designate the Christ-worshippers, but in later writings it is rarely used. Acts uses it just 4 times, all in connection with Paul's activities at or before his conversion. It is not found at all in Luke's Gospel. The obvious inference is that the writer of Luke does not use the early terminology because he is not writing at an early time.
Huh? You just told us that he DID use the term 4 times, yet conclude by arguing that he did not use it?

"How long after 80 was Luke-Acts written? A date no later than 100 is indicated (emphasis in original). The Gospel's symbolic interest in Jerusalem as a Christian center does not match the outlook of the 2d-Century Christian literature. For Asia Minor and specifically for Ephesus th4 writer of Acts seems to know only a church structure of presbyters (Acts 14:23; 20:17). There is no sign of the developed pattern of having one bishop in each church so clearly attested by Ignatius for that area in the decade before 110. Nor does the writer of Acts show any knowledge of the letters of Paul, which were gathered by the early 2d century."
(Ibid. pg. 273-4)


Quote:
The language is similar (there are actually couple of places in Ign Smyr one might slap together with Acts 10:41. However, this similarity means nothing, because there is no way to know which way causality runs. Is Ignatius quoting Acts, Acts quoting Ignatius, or are they both relying on some other source?
While I would like to commend your scepticism here, I wonder why you found Ellegard credible in his own presentation of his evidence for a late date for Acts based on literary grounds. Now you know why I rarely, if ever, rely on such weak argumentation.

Quote:
In sum, I see no compelling reason to date Luke/Acts to before 70, and now await your post, Nomad, on why I should not think Luke depends on Josephus.
This is an especially odd conclusion Michael. After all, the question is not whether or not Luke/Acts is pre-70, but if it is pre-95AD when Josephus wrote his Antiquities. Thus far your case for a late dating (i.e. 2nd Century) depends on the weakest links of all. In fact, from what I can tell, you use an argument from silence (even as you reject it as an argument visa vie the lack of mention of the Pauline Corpus in Luke/Acts), and literary similarities (again as you reject such a link to earlier documents on the basis of literary grounds).

Finally, you have failed to address one of my most important reasons for dating Luke early. It is almost universally accepted that Matthew and Luke were unaware of one another as they wrote their respective Gospels. As Matthew cannot be reasonably dated beyond the late 1st Century, it is unreasonable to assert that Luke could have come so long after this Gospel.

All of that said, after I am back from my weekend trip, I will keep my end of the bargain, and take a look at Carrier's article in more depth, and present a critique. I will do so in a seperate thread to avoid confusion. But what I will say here, is that if you thought your post would make belief in a 2nd Century date for Luke/Acts more probable than an earlier dating, I do not think you have even come close to making your case.

You may wish to try again. I leave the choice to you, although I do commend you for the work you have done thus far. You have obviously thought about this issue, and researched it, and for that I do thank you.

Be well,

Nomad

[ August 17, 2001: Message edited by: Nomad ]
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Old 08-17-2001, 07:06 AM   #3
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Here you have misunderstood the argument being made. As a rule, scholars have set 70 as the earliest possible date for the Gospels because of the Olivet Discourse. But if the saying is a legitimate one from Jesus Himself, then this argument fails utterly, and one of the largest objections to an early date for ALL of the Gospels collapses.

No, Nomad, you've misunderstood its application. Even if we set the Olivet Discourse all the way back to Jesus, there is still no reason to assume that the Gospels/Acts have an early date. All we know is that they must come after this Discourse, whenever it was made. Assuming that it dates from the early 30s, the Gospels/Acts must date later than the early 30s. But we already knew that.....if you are right (and few scholars think you are) all it says it that L/A could have been written in the 60s, not that it was.

Silence on Paul's Letters

As I said in the first post, the silence on Paul's letters is useless in dating Luke, since there are known writings from the mid 2nd century that are silent on Paul. It does seem rather strange that if Luke traveled with Paul, he does not even mention the mere fact that Paul wrote letters.....but I do not accept that silence as compelling evidence of anything. It is inconclusive.

A few scholars have argued that the writer of Luke also wrote Epistles in Paul's name as a sort of 3rd volume. This position is not widely supported, however.

The question is why does the book end in 62, especially if it was written decades later? A simpler explanation is to simply say that Acts ends in 62 because that is when it was written.

The book ends in 62 because that's where the author chose to end it. Other clues in Acts (20:25, for example) tells us the author was aware of the death of Paul. Why did s/he not include it?

You are correct in noting that the ending in 62 is prima facie evidence of an early date, but the dating of Luke/Acts is done with a web of evidence, not a single dating point. And this web of evidence indicates that Luke/Acts is from a later date, up to sixty years later, than 62.

Michael
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Old 08-17-2001, 07:12 AM   #4
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Finally, you have failed to address one of my most important reasons for dating Luke early. It is almost universally accepted that Matthew and Luke were unaware of one another as they wrote their respective Gospels. As Matthew cannot be reasonably dated beyond the late 1st Century, it is unreasonable to assert that Luke could have come so long after this Gospel.

I do not know why it is unreasonable to assert that Luke came 50 or 100 or even 200 years after Matthew. All we know is that it came after. If Matthew lies in 80-100 -- a reasonable range, then 110 is by means impossible for Luke. Who, after all, does not mention Paul's letters even though they have been circulating in Christian communities since the 60s.

However, if Matthew is dependent on Ignatius, then we could easily put Matthew at 110 as well. Just who depends on who is unclear.

Michael
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Old 08-17-2001, 02:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
The question is why does the book end in 62, especially if it was written decades later? A simpler explanation is to simply say that Acts ends in 62 because that is when it was written.
turtonm wrote: "The book ends in 62 because that's where the author chose to end it. Other clues in Acts (20:25, for example) tells us the author was aware of the death of Paul. Why did s/he not include it?"

Some have argued convincingly that the two-volume Luke-Acts was unfinished rather than intentionally ended. (I think everyone agrees that Chapter 28 ends not with a bang but a whimper....) In any case, we can't say with confidence that the work has a terminus ad quem of 62 CE just because it ends where it does.

[ August 17, 2001: Message edited by: James Still ]
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Old 08-17-2001, 04:37 PM   #6
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Thank you for raising some of my arguments, but you also missed one.

Quote:
Luke's clear statement that these are things which "happened among us," indicates that the "Apostolic Age" was not closed, or had only recently closed. Additionally, Luke is clear that he, and the recipient of his writings, were second-generation Christians. He states that "those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us." Acts 1:2. This also indicates a proximity to the "Apostolic Age" and that he knew and relied on eyewitnesses. Far from indicating a mid-second century date, these passages demand a first-century date. Indeed, a first-century date close-enough in time to have been written by a second-generation Christian.
And just to be clear, my post was combating Toto's argument that Acts was to be dated to the mid-second century and was produced in response to Marcion. The Gospel of Truth discovery was fatal to his case.

But I want to defend one of my arguments. That Luke's lack of knowledge of Paul's letters indicates an earlier date. Substantially earlier than the second century.

Turton:
Quote:
Nonsense. As late as 150 Justin Martyr published two apologies showing no awareness of Paul's letters. A silence on the letters offers no firm evidence either way as far as dating goes.
Although silence on Paul's letters may be "no firm evidence" to a SecWeb moderate, it has been taken as very persuasive evidence for a large number of New Testament scholars.

The comparison to Justin Martyr is a throwaway with no probative value. If you review Justin Martyr's works you will quickly realize that he was not purporting to write an early Christian history. His audience was the Roman Emperor, Antoninus Pius. His writings, those we have preserved for us at any rate, are an explicit defense of the Christian faith and the morality of Christians to the Roman Emperor.

Perhaps most important, however, is that I doubt you will find a single reference to Paul anywhere in his writings. There is no history of Paul. No mini-biography of his missionary activities. And certainly no account of his arrest and trial by Roman authorities. Remember, Paul was most likely executed by Roman authorities.

I could be wrong about this and my morning review was cursory, so if you do find a discussion of Paul in Justin's writings, Turton, I'd be interested to see the reference.

Acts, on the other hand, was meant to be a history of the things that "happened among us." It focuses on Paul as one of its central characters. Indeed, Paul replaces Peter less than halfway through Acts as the chief protagonist and follows him all the way to Rome. Paul is portrayed as an authoritative teacher and apostle of God. So Luke, unlike Justin, had every reason and motivation to use Paul's letters, had he had them available.

Add to this the fact that Turton mentioned only a paragraph previous but then forgot: Luke's propensity to use sources.

Turton:
Quote:
Luke was known to use sources, he used Mark and Q for the gospel. It hardly seems likely that s/he drew heavily on other sources for the story of Jesus, then suddenly gave them up for the story of Paul. Perhaps, as some scholars have suggested, he drew on a travelogue or diary kept by someone.
Turton has Luke relying on imaginary "travelouges" of Paul's companions (with no evidence that they exist), but conveniently discards the fact that Luke does not use Paul's letters, even though he would almost certainly have had access to them if he wrote near the very end of the first century or early second century.

Justin M. had no reason to rely on Paul's letters. Nor does it appear that he had Luke's propensity for relying on established sources to anywhere near the degree that Luke did. Luke, on the other hand, had the motivation and inclination to use Paul's letters had he had access to them. The fact that he did not use Paul's letters demonstrates that he did not have access to them. He did not have access to them because they had not reached such wide circulation at the time Luke wrote Luke/Acts. That places him in the first-century, most likely no later than between 75-85 CE.

[ August 17, 2001: Message edited by: Layman ]

[ August 17, 2001: Message edited by: Layman ]
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Old 08-17-2001, 07:15 PM   #7
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As I quickly read this thread, everybody seems to be presupposing that there was a single author of Luke/Acts who wrote it all at essentially one point in time. Thus, the argument runs, that certain "primitive" attributes of the story argue for an early date for THE WHOLE CORPUS.

I find the above thesis to be totally unfounded. I'm convinced by the logic and evidence that Eisenman uses in James the Brother of Jesus that at least the "Acts" portion of Luke/Acts was heavily edited after the fact. In particular, Eisenman argues convincingly that James was the true successor of Jesus, but that he was "written out" of the first two-thirds of Acts by redactors who were interested in distancing themselves from "that Jew" (as Martin Luther referred to James). The sudden appearance of James on the scene, late in Acts, as the head of all of Christianity, cannot be explained by any reasonable theory other than a deliberate redaction. Why the redaction was not carried through to eliminate James entirely is anybody's guess.

But the unevenness of the whole Acts writing clearly suggests some heavy-handed editing on a date or dates unknown. And Eisenman makes the case that it wasn't just deletions that the editors engaged in. It was also additions to fill the available space. Thus, the stoning of James becomes replaced by the stoning of Stephen.

And before you claim that such editing would have been "impossible," please first deal with this truth: Origen rants at length against a passage in Josephus that blames the destruction of the Second Temple upon the death of James (62 CE). Origen complains that the proper cause was the death of Jesus, many years earlier. The passage in Josephus containing the claim about the death of James was not handed down to us by the Christians who chose to preserve the books of Josephus for posterity. Obviously, some good Christian chose to redact any and all portions of Josephus which made such a heretical claim that the Second Temple fell due to the stoning of James.

Eusebius was known for his acts of commission and omission when it comes to altering texts, and thus Eusebius is always a likely suspect when any alteration or destruction of any earlier text is suspected. Eusebius quotes Papias, for instance, but mysteriously, the original writings of Papias were not preserved outside of the fragments quoted by Eusebius.

Anyway, it would appear to be a great mistake to assert that Luke/Acts was written in substantially it's present form as an initial work by a single author. Instead, the more likely truth is that Luke/Acts is a substantial redaction of an earlier work, and that the redaction almost certainly took place well after Josephus wrote his War (early 70s). I don't have my copy of Eisenman's book handy, but Eisenman did quote passages from Acts that would have been prophecy about future events if they had been written in the 60s, as asserted herein.

And finally, nobody in this thread has dealt with the thesis in Jesus : One Hundred Years Before Christ to the effect that ALL of the Gospels appear to have literary elements that demonstrate second century authorship. It has long been thought that each of the writers of the three synoptics has been working from one or more prior sources. Well, the versions that are handed down to us may well have been later redactions of what the Gospels purport to be: eyewitness accounts by folks who clearly were not themselves eyewitnesses.

In my mind, it is most probable that there are some portions of each Gospel (plus Acts) that are "early" (i.e., date from fairly close to the time of the events in question), and there are other portions of each Gospel (plus Acts) that are "late" (at a minimum, "late" means "added sometime in the second century).

The end result may well be that we are arguing over whether or not the glass is half empty or half full (half written in the first century and half written in the second century, for example). Both views may be correct, up to a point. Exactly what that point is, we will most likely never know.

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Old 08-17-2001, 09:07 PM   #8
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Well, Layman, it was certainly a breath of fresh air to be called a "moderate." Unless you meant to write "moderator"

Unless you were merely being ironic.

I think you made some excellent points on Luke. I understood some of your arguments were aimed at disproving Toto and not my more modest claims.

I agree is that Luke's silence is a strong point. That Luke not using Paul's writings, if s/he knew of them, is difficult to credit, for not only did Luke use sources, but ancient historians, as a rule, were quick to use such sources as were available. The obvious inference is that Luke did not know of Paul's letters, or s/he would have used them.

However, this does not imply an early date, necessarily. After all, nearly everyone agrees that Luke was written AFTER Matthew and not before, yet Luke is judged not to be aware of Matthew's Gospel. A silence is not as clear-cut as all that. Let us also recall that Paul's authentic epistles are not great in number; it is entirely possible that Luke never knew them even at a later date.

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Old 08-17-2001, 09:11 PM   #9
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"And finally, nobody in this thread has dealt with the thesis in Jesus : One Hundred Years Before Christ to the effect that ALL of the Gospels appear to have literary elements that demonstrate second century authorship."

That wasn't the precise nature of this thread; it was simply a response to Nomad's arguments that Luke was quite early, in the 60s. Nomad is going to go over why Luke should not be thought of having used Josephus, and then maybe we can move on after that more generally to the problem of a second century date for Luke-Acts, and then maybe find a proper range.

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Old 08-17-2001, 09:27 PM   #10
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"And just to be clear, my post was combating Toto's argument that Acts was to be dated to the mid-second century and was produced in response to Marcion. The Gospel of Truth discovery was fatal to his case."

Hello,

I'm not defending a mid-second century date for Acts, but I would say that the Gospel of Truth is less than fatal for such a position.

Here is what Harold W. Attridge and George W. MacRae have to say about the dating of the Gospel of Truth (_The Nag Hammadi Library in English_, p. 38):

"A Valentinian work entitled the 'Gospel of Truth' is attested in the _Adversus Haereses_ (3.11.9) of Irenaeus. Unfortunately the heresiologist reveals little about the content of the work, except that it differed significantly from the canonical gospels. Given the general Valentinian affinities of the text of Codex I, it is quite possible that it is identical with the work known to Irenaeus. If so, a date of composition in the middle of the second century (between 140 and 180 C.E.) would be established. On the basis of literary and conceptual affinities between this text and the exiguous fragments of Valentinus, some scholars have suggested that the Gnostic teacher himself was the author. That remains a distinct possibility, although it cannot be definitively established."

In order to see how things might change if Valentinus himself was the author, I hopped on over to the Catholic Encyclopedia and found:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15256a.htm
"Like many other heretical teachers he went to Rome the better, perhaps to disseminate his views. He arrived there during the pontificate of Hyginus and remained until the pontificate of Anicetus. During a sojourn of perhaps fifteen years, though he had in the beginning allied himself with the orthodox community in Rome, he was guilty of attempting to establish his heretical system. His errors led to his excommunication, after which he repaired to Cyprus where he resumed his activities as a teacher and where he died probably about 160 or 161."

So the _terminus ad quem_ for the Gospel of Truth is the year 180 CE if we believe that Irenaeus mentions it but can be pushed back to 160 CE if we believe that Valentinus himself was the author. (I assume that the comment in the Catholic Encyclopedia is based on a patristic tradition, which might not be entirely reliable but seems close enough.)

The _terminus a quo_ would be the year 140 CE, after which Valentinus began to flourish. But we can't deterimine the _terminus ad quem_ of Acts with reference to the _terminus a quo_ of another document. We have to use the _terminus ad quem_ of the Gospel of Truth in order to determine the _terminus ad quem_ of the Acts of the Apostles.

And that year is either 160 CE or 180 CE, not the year 140 CE.

Thus, this is not fatal to the dating of Acts sometime in the mid second century (the period between 130 and 170 CE, although the last ten years of that period would be excluded if Valentinus is the author of the Gospel of Truth).

Finally, and just as importantly, I would like to see the actual quotation from the Gospel of Truth and compare it to the actual quotation from the Acts of the Apostles. You see, some scholars seem to have a knack for finding parallels that can easily be scratched up as common oral parenetic tradition.

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Peter Kirby
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