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Dating the Four Gospels of the New Testament


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In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 10:11:23 BDT
C. A. Small says:
Pendragon "And allegedly a tax collector. If so, he (Matthew) could probably read and write, if only to issue demands for payment :)"

he would be overqualified for the idiots currently employed by HMRC.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 10:14:36 BDT
Now you are making me laugh.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 10:14:44 BDT
C. A. Small says:
Wdb -

Mathew;Suggests,

Mark;Also suggests ,I think tradition has it

Luke ; possibly,

John; likely.

To sum up- all guesswork, and what follows should be treated as such.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 10:16:38 BDT
C. A. Small says:
No, fair dos, I am the first to lambast Spin for some of his idiocy, so when he gets it absolutely spot on it is only fair that I say so.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 10:21:35 BDT
CAS,

There is a clear difference between just guessing and making educated guesses. That is the point of the posting - one should look look at the evidence and make educated guesses - this is what historians do - no-one disagrees that they might be wrong, but the more information there is, the more certain historians become. Authorship of the Iliad is not in doubt (by historians) and we have only a couple of hundred copies of those, copied around 800 years later than the original texts. The gospels have thousands of copies written 200 years later (plus fragments dating back to 40 years after). If there are no doubts about the authorship of the Iliad, why should the gospels be any different (in the case of Luke as mentioned elsewhere there isn't, for the others there are plenty of doubts, but as the evidence is smaller, the doubts become more justified).

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 10:23:17 BDT
'great', 'accurate', 'absolutely spot on'. This is what makes me laugh.

And then you have the audacity to suggest *I* use guesswork!

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 10:24:15 BDT
C. A. Small says:
Wdb- to my knowledge no-one has formed a religion around the Illiad. It makes no real difference who wrote it or exactly when.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 11:37:17 BDT
True, but arguments about who wrote the gospels will still use the same processes. Historians can be certain of some things, but not certain in a mathematical proof sense and their certainty extends to authorship of Illiad and, unless they are hypocrites, Luke also.

There is also the opposite argument. You seem so certain that the gospels were not written by those who first, second or third-hand witnesses to the events and yet your opposition to the New Testament is based on some form of reasoning - i.e. that you don't think that they were accurate in their representation - something you cannot 'prove' either. In the end it is a matter of faith for both of us.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 11:45:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 May 2012 11:46:53 BDT
Could it be possible... just for one moment, that someone could have read Luke and thought... "I'll write in a similar style to continue the story".

Or is that just me?

Also, can you tell me why you think Luke was written by Luke? and not just titled "luke"?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 11:46:22 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 May 2012 12:22:54 BDT
Jim Guest says:
And remember, Wayne doesn't like it any more than you do.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 11:58:32 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 May 2012 11:58:49 BDT
Harry,

Yes it is possible, but it is highly unlikely (particularly since you subscribe to the idea that people were uneducated). Experts in styles will tell you they were likely (as in very likely) written by the same people.

So I think it is just you.

As for Luke as the author, try reading my posts on the subject. To start the ball rolling, the gospel does not call itself 'Luke', that has been added later, based on the assumed authorship. If people thought it had been written by Fred it would be known as The Gospel According to Fred.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 12:31:16 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 May 2012 12:33:03 BDT
Yes... it was named on the "assumed" authorship.

But as no author is mentioned... how does one get to the conclusion.

How do you know that Luke wrote Luke?... what evidence of Luke's writings existed before the gospel of Luke to deciphor this mystery?

And generally speaking, yes most people were uneducated back then as education was extremely expensive and reserved for aristocratic families.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 12:55:52 BDT
Jim Guest says:
Why does authorship matter? Christians don't care, so why does anyone else?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 12:56:13 BDT
Harry,

Regarding Luke's authorship, I quote my previous posting, which you don't appear to have read:

The layout is the same; the writing style is the same; the second book begins just as the first book ends; the second book alludes to the first book. All suggest the same authorship.

That it is Luke is also well documented and I have not come across anyone who suggests otherwise - the evidence is too strong. Luke was educated - the text shows good education. Luke was Greek - the Greek suggests someone for whom Greek is a first language, not a second. Luke was a physician - the books are full of technical details about disease and illnesses that would have been well known by a trained doctor of the times. Luke was a follower of Paul - the text changes from 3rd person to 1st person at the time that Luke is mentioned as joining Paul on his journeys.

Too much internal evidence, I think, to dispute Luke's authorship. On top of that there is the external evidence: Clement of Rome at the end of the first century (no more than 40 years after it was written - possibly as little as 10 years) and the general acceptance of Luke as the author by the middle of the second century (Marcion).

If by asking how you 'know' Luke wrote Luke you are asking for proof, you will never find it. But as far as evidence goes there is a plethora and following that evidence can lead to the most likely solution and there is a high degree of confidence in it.

Again I refer to previous posts regarding education: Israel required all children to be educated and all men to be able to read the Hebrew scriptures - there is every reason to believe that tha majority of Jews would have been multi-lingual - Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek speaking; Hebrew and Aramaic writing - Greek writing is not a huge leap in logic under the circumstances, particularly among Hellenised Jews (mostly those living outside of Palastine).

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 12:57:27 BDT
What are Christians?

pretty broad terminology.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 12:58:44 BDT
Jim Guest says:
Who says it's broad? Crooks?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 12:59:42 BDT
Jim Guest says:
Why does authorship matter?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 13:00:34 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 May 2012 13:04:52 BDT
[The layout is the same; the writing style is the same; the second book begins just as the first book ends; the second book alludes to the first book. All suggest the same authorship.]

Wayne, with respect. Tolkiens grandson Christopher continued JRR's writings. In the same layout, the same writing style... and his books begin where his grandfather's end.

So did Christopher Tolkien write the first book?

Think about the logic you're using.

Same applies to the lost poetry of Shakespeare. We cannot be sure that every poem that pops up from that time is Shakespearean... so we cannot apply the label.

As for being educated in holy scripture... well that isn't "education" in the classical Greek sense. Greece being the place Matthew was familiar with.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 13:02:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 May 2012 13:02:36 BDT
Because if the gospels were not written by the people who they talk about... then who wrote them and on what basis can we trust them?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 13:04:04 BDT
Jim Guest says:
How can a book be written by the people who it talks about?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 13:06:31 BDT
The gospels can according to Wayne.

(but I have read an autobiography written in 3rd person narrative)

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 13:13:07 BDT
Jim Guest says:
So Pontius Pilate wrote the gospels? Not even Wayne thinks so.

A historian does not need to be an eyewitness. Many thousands of documents are without question accepted as reflection of historical events that are written by people who were nowhere near the events described, often by people who were not even born for a century or so after they were said to have occurred. But the 'rules' for the Bible are not the same.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 13:13:38 BDT
The trouble is that Christopher Tolkien admits to authorship of the later books, and JRR to the earlier, so the comparison doesn't work - I doubt that in 2000 years time someone will be looking at the credits in The Children of Hurin and saying it was written by JRRT - they'd merely be contradicting the evidence before your eyes.

Shakespeare is a better example, because there is a lot of dispute over the authorship of his plays. I am not familiar with the exact circumstances, but historians do dispute authorship based on the fact that there are plenty of other potential candites that are known about.

With Luke there are no other canditates that spring to mind - In other words you end up proposing an unknown author who contradicts the evidence to replace a known author who does not. This is why historically Luke is not contradicted (based on all the research I have done in the past, anyway). The authors of the other gospels are contradicted, particularly Mark, because the only evidence we have for its author comes from external writings suggesting that he [Mark] wrote the stories based on Peter's testimony. Matthew and John contain internal supportive evidence (but not conclusively so).

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 14:38:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 May 2012 14:39:15 BDT
Where do historians get their information from?

Oh that's right. Historically accurate eye-witness sources, carbon-dated, agreed upon, numerously scouted.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 May 2012 14:44:30 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 May 2012 14:44:58 BDT
Extracts from Pontius Pilate's wife's diary made it into the bible. How else could we have known what happened inside the court meeting between him and Christ? Remember Jesus went straight to the cross after that so wouldn't have had time to let anyone know what was discussed.

So yes, indirectly Pilate contributed to the authorship.
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  20
Total posts:  350
Initial post:  2 May 2012
Latest post:  1 Mar 2013

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