How late might the gospels be?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
neilgodfrey
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Re: How late might the gospels be?

Post by neilgodfrey » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:35 pm

God has been seen by other generations past coming in clouds --- see: When they saw the Son of Man coming in the clouds There is nothing new about a "new world order" being established at the shaking of the heavens and the coming of God. Mark 13 should, I think, be read in the context of that long tradition.

For a list of the metaphors Jesus draws upon in Mark 13: The little apocalypse of Mark 13 – historical or creative prophecy?

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Kapyong
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Re: How late might the gospels be?

Post by Kapyong » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:40 pm

Gday Irish1975,

Another perennial favourite topic :)
Irish1975 wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:33 pm
Longstanding consensus among NT scholars has it that Mark was written circa 70. Maybe 65-80 if you ask around. But although the Jewish-Roman war provides a clear basement for dating Mark, I have never understood what specific evidence or criteria historians have used to establish a ceiling: how late could it be?
Here is my summary of the external evidence :

Papias 100-130 is aware (says Eusebius) of the origins of two Gospel-like writings - by Mark (from Peter), and Matthew.

Aristides 120-130 (or 140) knows of a book called a 'Gospel', otherwise un-named, mentioning a virgin, which was probably available to the public.

Justin Martyr c.150 has several books 'called Gospels', refered to as the memoirs of the Apostles, and the memoir(s) of Peter.

Justin Martyr dies c.163 and his pupil Tatian probably inherits the books.

Tatian c.172 produces (probably) the 'FromFour' Gospel harmony, but mentions no authors' names.

Irenaeus 180-190 first to name all four Gospels, possibly based on Papias' and Justin' comments.

(I left out Marcion the Mysterious, being so unclear.)

So -
the Gospels could possibly be as late as the 130-140s or so.

The Abomination of the Desolation (τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως) is arguably the best clue that points to a late date.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: How late might the gospels be?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:46 pm

Kapyong wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:40 pm
The Abomination of the Desolation (τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως) is arguably the best clue that points to a late date.
What do you think the "abomination of desolation" lines up with?
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Kapyong
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Re: How late might the gospels be?

Post by Kapyong » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:54 pm

Gday Ben C. Smith :)
Kapyong wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:40 pm
The Abomination of the Desolation (τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως) is arguably the best clue that points to a late date.
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:46 pm
What do you think the "abomination of desolation" lines up with?
I was refering to Hermann Detering's argument that this is about Emperor Hadrian trying to place a statue of Jupiter in the (ruined) Temple, which sparked the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132-135 AD.

https://web.archive.org/web/20080227161 ... %20JHC.pdf

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neilgodfrey
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Re: How late might the gospels be?

Post by neilgodfrey » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:20 pm

There are also the several possible anachronisms (synagogues, rabbis, Nazareth, anti-semitism and anti-Pharisaism, Roman coins for tax...) that are best explained by a composition some time well after 70.

But then again we have to allow for several revisions being made to the gospels before they reached their "canonical status".

And if Mark's Jesus is modeled on Paul, then does that have significance to dating?

I really have no idea if original Mark was early, late or goldilocks. I always try to keep the different possibilities open in any discussion.

archibald
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Re: How late might the gospels be?

Post by archibald » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:34 pm

neilgodfrey wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:15 pm

That's your feelings and I can't argue with those. But I do believe your point of view is imputing modern readings into the text that is evidently symbolic or parabolic and explicitly said to be so -- that Jesus said nothing without a parable. It's moderns who need to adjust.

That goof prediction is taken from OT prophecies that were evidently -- at least to the ancient Jewish readers -- metaphorical. The cosmos did not end when Babylon fell or the Seleucids retreated from Palestine.
I wouldn't say that it is evidently symbolic at all. That, in fact, smacks of the sort of convenient apologetics that bible scholars have been famous for when asking us to assume, and persuading themselves, that this or that seen-as-problematic aspect of the texts 'wasn't meant literally'.

I'm having trouble imagining that early followers weren't actually expecting a big event. Especially looking at the epistles too, where the same sort of 'readjustment of expectations' exercise can be seen between 1st Thessalonians (followers wavering because some of their pals have died and there hasn't been a big event) and 2nd Thessalonians. People ever since and even today are still anticipating the 'big event'.

Also, referring it back to the Maccabees, as you did, seems wonky, given the differences. The Maccabees did institute a kingdom.

The way the imminent end times shifted to become the soon end times and not-necessarily-before-you-are-dead end times can be detected, and backwriting this gradual (and necessary) adjustment of expectations from the vantage point of the 2nd C doesn't seem as parsimonious an explanation. I think you are working too hard.
Last edited by archibald on Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Kapyong
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Re: How late might the gospels be?

Post by Kapyong » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:49 pm

Gday neilgodfrey :)
neilgodfrey wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:20 pm
There are also the several possible anachronisms (synagogues, rabbis, Nazareth, anti-semitism and anti-Pharisaism, Roman coins for tax...) that are best explained by a composition some time well after 70.
Is synagogue really an anachronism ?

Philo mentions them several times, e.g. :
Philo, Every Good man Is Free, XII wrote:(81) Now these laws they are taught at other times, indeed, but most especially on the seventh day, for the seventh day is accounted sacred, on which they abstain from all other employments, and frequent the sacred places which are called synagogues, and there they sit according to their age in classes, the younger sitting under the elder, and listening with eager attention in becoming order.
Philo, Embassy to Gaius, XX wrote:(132) But as the governor of the country, who by himself could, if he had chosen to do so, have put down the violence of the multitude in a single hour, pretended not to see what he did see, and not to hear what he did hear, but allowed the mob to carry on the war against our people without any restraint, and threw our former state of tranquillity into confusion, the populace being excited still more, proceeded onwards to still more shameless and more audacious designs and treachery, and, arraying very numerous companies, cut down some of the synagogues (and there are a great many in every section of the city),
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Re: How late might the gospels be?

Post by archibald » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:53 pm

neilgodfrey wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:35 pm
God has been seen by other generations past coming in clouds --- see: When they saw the Son of Man coming in the clouds There is nothing new about a "new world order" being established at the shaking of the heavens and the coming of God. Mark 13 should, I think, be read in the context of that long tradition. [/url]
I'm sorry but that doesn't seem to make any sense at all.

According to Mark at least, two things were going to happen, supposedly. Stage 1, destruction and tribulation. Stage 2, someone coming in power on clouds with angels to put things right after the tribulation (sort of like your Maccabean example perhaps and from a quick glance most of the other OT examples in your link) involving a judgement and a retribution. You say about the Markan prophecy "what can this (prophecy) possibly mean other than the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans?. But that only covers stage 1. You are suggesting that stage 2 was not literally meant to happen. But you have no 'coming', and people (Thessalonians for example) appeared to actually be expecting stage 2 to really happen.

Do you think that you, writing from a modern perspective 2000 years later, are in a better position to say what the nature of the prophecies were compared to people at the time?
Last edited by archibald on Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:30 pm, edited 19 times in total.

Charles Wilson
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Re: How late might the gospels be?

Post by Charles Wilson » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:58 pm

Kapyong --

My problem with the Hadrian thing is that there is nothing Greekie associated with Hadrian. There is something Greekie with Demetrius Eucerus at Gerizim against Jannaeus...

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Re: How late might the gospels be?

Post by Bernard Muller » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:44 pm

God has been seen by other generations past coming in clouds --- see: When they saw the Son of Man coming in the clouds There is nothing new about a "new world order" being established at the shaking of the heavens and the coming of God. Mark 13 should, I think, be read in the context of that long tradition.

For a list of the metaphors Jesus draws upon in Mark 13: The little apocalypse of Mark 13 – historical or creative prophecy?
I never believed that the mini apocalypse in gMark has anything to do with what Jesus did and said.
It is a total creation of gMark, which would have used any traditions in it.
Kapyong wrote: ↑
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:40 pm
The Abomination of the Desolation (τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως) is arguably the best clue that points to a late date.
But a more exact clue is in gMark 13:1-3 when "Mark" had Jesus referring to the big buildings that will be destroyed stone by stone, when he is on the mount of olives, right above the temple.
These destructions happened in 70 and not in 135 (because there were no building left to be destroyed then according to Josephus' Wars). BTW, "Abomination of the Desolation" applies very well of what happened in/to Jerusalem in 70.
I have never understood what specific evidence or criteria historians have used to establish a ceiling: how late could it be?
For gMark (13:18-24), the day of the Lord was supposed to happen in the days following the great tribulation, that is the events in Jerusalem and Judea:

Mk 13:18-24 RSV
Pray that it may not happen in winter.[the Roman invasion of Judea, the siege and destruction of Jerusalem happened in the summer: the praying was successful ;)]

For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be.

And if the Lord had not shortened the days, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.

And then if any one says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it.

False Christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.

But take heed; I have told you all things beforehand.

"But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,


So "Mark" had Jesus predicting the fall of Jerusalem and soon after, the advent of the Kingdom.
Right for the first prediction but wrong for the second one.
If "Mark" would have written the mini apocalypse years after 70, Jesus would have been proven a false prophet or the gospel not truthful, certainly not something that "Mark" would have wanted.
"Matthew" & "Luke" changed the wording in order to say the advent of the kingdom will happen well after the fall of Jerusalem.

More details about the dating of gMark here http://historical-jesus.info/41.html

The gospel of Matthew had to be written before 93 (when Josephus' Antiquities was published), because at that time gMatthew indicates the Pharisees had become well respected rabbis who were the new leaders of the Jewish communities, which is what Josephus wrote in his Antiquities.

More details about the dating of gMatthew here http://historical-jesus.info/57.html

Cordially, Bernard
Last edited by Bernard Muller on Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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