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Old 06-19-2001, 05:16 AM   #1
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Post Dating the Gospels

The vast majority of scholars date the gospels to the second half of the first century. Why? What are the features that scholars point to when they date the gospels to this time?

Michael
 
Old 06-19-2001, 05:38 AM   #2
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Sorry, I don't have much time at the moment, so I'll have to give a quick answer.

Among other things, they usually take into account the earliest MSS. For instance, the earliest papyri of the Gospel of John (p52) dates back to the first quarter of the 2nd century (100-125 AD). Since scholars do not consider this the "original text", then it must have been time for it to be copied from an earlier exemplar and used. In the case of the Gospel of John, the exemplar for p52 may have been the "original" which many date to around 90 AD.

Maybe someone else can elaborate.

Ish
 
Old 06-19-2001, 05:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ish:
Sorry, I don't have much time at the moment, so I'll have to give a quick answer.

Among other things, they usually take into account the earliest MSS. For instance, the earliest papyri of the Gospel of John (p52) dates back to the first quarter of the 2nd century (100-125 AD). Since scholars do not consider this the "original text", then it must have been time for it to be copied from an earlier exemplar and used. In the case of the Gospel of John, the exemplar for p52 may have been the "original" which many date to around 90 AD.

Maybe someone else can elaborate.

Ish
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I've heard dates for P52 ranging from 125 - 160 AD. Just how sure can we be of a 125 AD date?

 
Old 06-19-2001, 06:05 AM   #4
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P52 was just discussed on the JesusMysteries list and a paleographer weighed in to point out some of its features. Basically there is solid paleographic data that dates it to the time of Hadrian c. 118. It resembles other documents that date from between 100 and 130. However, scholarly caution gives that a 25 year range, so most scholars put it at 100-125. I suggest joining the JesusMysteries list just so you can read the archives.

Michael
 
Old 06-19-2001, 03:10 PM   #5
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by madmax2976:
I've heard dates for P52 ranging from 125 - 160 AD. Just how sure can we be of a 125 AD date?

</font>
The fact is, no one knows precisely when to date P52. It could date as early as the first decades of the second century or as late as the mid second century. An approximate dating of P52 to 100 to 125 CE is way too precise and perhaps to early for some. It should be noted that it contains narrative material (portions of John 18:31-32 & 37-38), not discourse. The discourse portion of John could have been added AFTER the mid second century.

rodahi

 
Old 06-19-2001, 03:15 PM   #6
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rodahi:
It should be noted that it contains narrative material (portions of John 18:31-32 & 37-38), not discourse. The discourse portion of John could have been added AFTER the mid second century.

rodahi
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Quite true.

Michael
 
Old 06-24-2001, 03:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
The vast majority of scholars date the gospels to the second half of the first century. Why? What are the features that scholars point to when they date the gospels to this time?

Michael
</font>
Of coure Koster and Crossan both put the pre-Markan redaction at AD 50. So even though we don't have an actual manuscript, there is good evidence that much of the material is a lot older than the dates of fianl composition.

Another issue is the statements about the Temptle vis. fall of jerusalem. Most scholars date the Gospels between 70-90. 70 for Mark and 90 for John, with Matt and Luke coming in around 80. For one thing, Clement's use of Matt. would place it at least before AD 90.
 
Old 06-24-2001, 05:50 AM   #8
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Metacrock:
Of coure Koster and Crossan both put the pre-Markan redaction at AD 50. So even though we don't have an actual manuscript, there is good evidence that much of the material is a lot older than the dates of fianl composition.

I don't think there is good evidence for that. At most, you can say it echoes an old tradition.

Another issue is the statements about the Temptle vis. fall of jerusalem. Most scholars date the Gospels between 70-90. 70 for Mark and 90 for John, with Matt and Luke coming in around 80. For one thing, Clement's use of Matt. would place it at least before AD 90.

Are you on the JesusMysteries List? Some there have been arguing that Mark's "Prophecies" fit the AD 135 destruction of Judea by the Romans. Others note the Clement thing, but say Clement is misdated too.

I personally agree with the mainstream that puts the gospels between 70 and 110, simple because of p52. Yet that could be late enough to accomodate a date of 135 for Mark.

It just seems that there is a lot of arbitrariness in the figures.

Michael

 
Old 06-25-2001, 03:26 PM   #9
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I just thought I'd provide a paragraph from Kurt and Barbara Aland's The Text of the New Testament which addresses p52.

"The critical significance of p52, which preserves only a fragment of John 18, lies in the date of "about 125" assigned to it by the leading papyrologists. Although "about 125" allows for a leeway of about 25 years on either side, the consensus has come in recent years to regard 125 as representing the later limit, so that p52 must have been copied very soon after the Gospel of John was itself written in the early 90s A.D. (with the recent discovery of p90 another second century fragment of the Gospel of John is now known). It provides a critical witness to the quality of the New Testament textual tradition, further comfirming it by exhibiting a "normal text", i.e., attesting the text of today (that of the Nestle-Aland 26th and GNT 3rd)."

Ish


[This message has been edited by Ish (edited June 25, 2001).]
 
Old 06-26-2001, 05:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ish:
I just thought I'd provide a paragraph from Kurt and Barbara Aland's The Text of the New Testament which addresses p52.

"The critical significance of p52, which preserves only a fragment of John 18, lies in the date of "about 125" assigned to it by the leading papyrologists. Although "about 125" allows for a leeway of about 25 years on either side, the consensus has come in recent years to regard 125 as representing the later limit, so that p52 must have been copied very soon after the Gospel of John was itself written in the early 90s A.D. (with the recent discovery of p90 another second century fragment of the Gospel of John is now known). It provides a critical witness to the quality of the New Testament textual tradition, further comfirming it by exhibiting a "normal text", i.e., attesting the text of today (that of the Nestle-Aland 26th and GNT 3rd)."

Ish


[This message has been edited by Ish (edited June 25, 2001).]
</font>
Fortunately, there are other opinions. P52 may date as late as 150 CE, or later. ALL Christian apologists (K & B Aland, Philip Comfort, et al) want to date EVERY MS as early as possible. BTW, WHO makes up the "consensus"--men and women who have a vested interest in an early dating, or men and women who merely wish to evaluate all the evidence and date the MSS accordingly?

The NT narrative "John" may have been written as late as 150 CE, or later.

rodahi
 
 

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