Dating and authorship of the gospels

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Historians often study the historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles when studying the reliability of the gospels, as Acts was seemingly written by the same author as the Gospel of Luke.

Historians subject the gospels to critical analysis, attempting to differentiate, rather than authenticate, reliable information from possible inventions, exaggerations, and alterations.

According to the majority viewpoint the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, collectively referred to as the Synoptic Gospels, are the primary sources of historical information about Jesus and of the religious movement he founded.

The fourth gospel, the Gospel of John, differs greatly from the first three gospels.

by Matt Slick Dating the gospels is very important. 65),"1 and we have further evidence that it was written early. Mark was not an eyewitness to the events of Jesus' life. Some might consider this damaging to the validity of the gospel but quite the contrary. 65)."8Therefore, we can conclude that Luke was written before A. This fragment was found in Egypt, and a considerable amount of time is needed for the circulation of the gospel before it reached Egypt.

If it can be established that the gospels were written early, say before the year A. 70, then we would have good reason for believing that they were written by the disciples of Jesus himself. If we look at Acts 1:1-2 it says, "The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen." Most scholars affirm that Acts was written by Luke and that Theophilus (Grk. He was a disciple of Peter and undoubtedly it was Peter who informed Mark of the life of Christ and guided him in writing the Gospel known by his name. Luke was a gentile convert to Christianity who was interested in the facts. It is the last of the gospels and appears to have been written in the 80's to 90's. But this is understandable since John was not focusing on historical events.

If they were written by the disciples, then their reliability, authenticity, and accuracy are better substantiated. 70 when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and burned the temple. "lover of God") "may have been Luke's patron who financed the writing of Luke and Acts."2 This means that the gospel of Luke was written before Acts. Therefore Matthew had to be written before he died. "Papias claimed that Mark, the Evangelist, who had never heard Christ, was the interpreter of Peter, and that he carefully gave an account of everything he remembered from the preaching of Peter."7 Generally, Mark is said to be the earliest gospel with an authorship of between A. He obviously had interviewed the eyewitnesses and written the Gospel account as well as Acts. Of important note is the lack of mention of the destruction of the Jewish temple in A. Instead, he focused on the theological aspect of the person of Christ and listed His miracles and words that affirmed Christ's deity.

Also, if they were written early, this would mean that there would not have been enough time for myth to creep into the gospel accounts since it was the eyewitnesses to Christ's life that wrote them. The gold in the temple melted down between the stone walls; and the Romans took the walls apart, stone by stone, to get the gold. Also, if the gospels were fabrications of mythical events, then anything to bolster the Messianic claims--such as the destruction of the temple as Jesus said--would surely have been included. Similarly, this argument is important when we consider the dating of the book of Acts which was written after the gospel of Luke and by Luke himself. For clarity, Q is supposedly one of the source documents used by both Matthew and Luke in writing their gospels. Nevertheless, it is generally believed that Matthew was written before A. Notice how Luke speaks of "them," of those who had personal encounters with Christ. Though there is still some debate on the dates of when the gospels were written, they were most assuredly completed before the close of the first century and written by eyewitnesses or under the direction of eyewitnesses.

They point to alleged contradictions between Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The first three are called the "synoptics", from a Greek phrase meaning "seen together", because of the their close similarities to each other: they put the events of Jesus' life in the same order and have many of the same stories and sayings, often in the same or very similar words.

According to the synoptic gospels, Jesus' mission took one year, was spent primarily in Galilee, and climaxed with a single visit to Jerusalem at which he cleansed the Temple of the money-changers; in John, Jerusalem is the focus of Jesus' mission, he visits it three times (making his mission three years rather than one), and the cleansing of the Temple takes place at the beginning rather than the end of the ministry.

For other uses, see Gospel music, Gospel (disambiguation), or The Four Gospels (disambiguation).

Gospel is the standard term for the first four books of the New Testament, describing the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, although it has a wider meaning taking in both the Christian message (the meaning in the Pauline epistles) and works centered on that message which may not necessarily touch on the life of Jesus (the Gospel of Thomas, for example, consists entirely of sayings).

Furthermore, those who were alive at the time of the events could have countered the gospel accounts; and since we have no contradictory writings to the gospels, their early authorship as well as apostolic authorship becomes even more critical. This is significant because Jesus had prophesied concerning the temple when He said "As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down." (Luke 21:6, see also Matt. Such an obvious fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy most likely would have been recorded as such by the gospel writers who were fond of mentioning fulfillment of prophecy if they had been written after A. But, it was not included suggesting that the gospels (at least Matthew, Mark, and Luke) were written before A. Acts is a history of the Christian church right after Jesus' ascension. If Q actually existed, then that would push the first writings of Christ's words and deeds back even further lessening the available time for myth to creep in and adding to the validity and accuracy of the gospel accounts. Luke is simply recounting the events from the disciples.

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