Joseph D. L. wrote: ↑Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:50 pm
Because they are a tangible reality that we can observe via the archaeological and manuscript records.
Dating a text is not the same as dating a manuscript.
Case in point: the Damascus Document. When fragments of it were first discovered in the Cairo Genizah, the manuscript
was dated to medieval times, but their discoverer, Solomon Schechter, dated the text
to the first century BC. He received pushback on this, but then the Qumran stash was discovered, along with fragments of the same work, and Schechter's dating was vindicated.
We can date the fragments and the manuscripts of the gospel of Mark somewhat
objectively, or at least by external means, but dating the text itself is always going to be subjective and based upon internal means, given the current state of the historical record.