Dates that the synoptic gospels were first written?

Longfellow

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Most of my life I've accepted what I thought was the view of most historians, that the gospel of Mark was first written some time after 70 CE. In the last week or two, I found out that there are reasons for dating Mark earlier than 60 CE, and the only reason that I've been able to find for dating it later than that is because in Mark, Jesus says that the temple would be destroyed. I have two questions.

1. Does anyone honestly, seriously think that in 30 CE, there weren't any people who believed that the temple would be destroyed again some day? The question is not whether anyone could have known that it would be destroyed. The question is whether there could have been people who believed that it would be destroyed.

2. Does anyone have any other reasons for thinking that the first written version of Mark could not have been before 60 CE?

(later) I'm not seeing any ground to stand on now for doubting the traditional stories about who wrote the original versions of Matthew, Mark and Luke. It looks to me now like the later dating is all based on nothing more than an unstated and unquestioned assumption that before 60 CE, there couldn't have been any people who believed that the temple would be destroyed again some day.
 
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Longfellow

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See this thread;

https://www.interfaith.org/community/threads/19492/
Mark 13:30 'The Most Embarrassing Verse in the Bible'

I agree that it might have been the destruction of the temple that Jesus said would happen during the generation of His listeners, but I don’t see what that has to do with when the gospels were first written.

(later) Are you thinking that it couldn’t have been the Mark of tradition who misunderstood what Jesus meant? I think it could have been. It could even have been the apostles themselves who misunderstood it.

(later) Looking farther down in that thread, I see that you might consider that confusion in Mark as a reason for thinking that it was written before the temple was destroyed. That’s one of many reasons that I’ve seen for dating the synoptics earlier than 60, and in all my searching I haven’t seen any ground to stand on at all for dating them later than that, even for people who don’t believe that Jesus had any powers that no one else had. Even if they believe that He never existed, they would still have no ground to stand on for dating the synoptics later than 60.
 
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wil

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a figment of your imagination
Most of my life I've accepted what I thought was the view of most historians, that the gospel of Mark was first written some time after 70 CE.
Most scholars date Mark to c. 66–74 AD, either shortly before or after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD.
upload_2022-9-26_7-57-9.png

https://en.m.wikipedia.org › wiki
Gospel of Mark

Note: I have no clue as to the definition of scholar or who polled all scholars to determine "most" nor if "most" means the majority.

But either way...what is it that excites you/intrigues you...changes your belief if the dates are a decade one way or the other?
 

Longfellow

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Most scholars date Mark to c. 66–74 AD, either shortly before or after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD.
View attachment 3049
https://en.m.wikipedia.org › wiki
Gospel of Mark

Note: I have no clue as to the definition of scholar or who polled all scholars to determine "most" nor if "most" means the majority.

But either way...what is it that excites you/intrigues you...changes your belief if the dates are a decade one way or the other?

Nothing. I was just surprised to see what a foolish reason historians were using as their only reason for dating the synoptics as late as they do, when there are good reasons for dating them earlier.
 

muhammad_isa

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Nothing. I was just surprised to see what a foolish reason historians were using as their only reason for dating the synoptics as late as they do, when there are good reasons for dating them earlier.
They could be dated the day after the Ascension, as far as I'm concerned.
It makes little difference to me. :)

I'm more concerned what Jesus actually taught, rather than opinions about
whether Jesus is Divine and part of a trinity etc.
 

Longfellow

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I'm more concerned what Jesus actually taught, rather than opinions about
whether Jesus is Divine and part of a trinity etc.

If you're talking about Jesus in the Bible gospels, I'm also more interested in His teachings than in theological debates. But for information, in my understanding, part of His teachings in the gospels is that He has all the power and authority of God, that He is the one that God promised to David saying, "I will be his father and he will be my son," and that the best life for anyone is in recognizing and accepting Him as their lord, meaning a person to serve and obey above all others.
 

wil

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a figment of your imagination
Nothing. I was just surprised to see what a foolish reason historians were using as their only reason for dating the synoptics as late as they do, when there are good reasons for dating them earlier.
Foolish historians, eh?

Please tell us when you schedule a debate with any of them
But for information, in my understanding, part of His teachings in the gospels is that He has all the power and authority of God, that He is the one that God promised to David

You are aware it isn't kosher to use a book to prove the book is right.

Those 66 books were chosen out of hundreds because they fit the paradigm of those that wished to convey the message.
more interested in His teachings
I find it interesting that this post seems counter to that.
 

Thomas

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1. Does anyone honestly, seriously think that in 30 CE, there weren't any people who believed that the temple would be destroyed again some day? The question is not whether anyone could have known that it would be destroyed. The question is whether there could have been people who believed that it would be destroyed.
I don't know enough of the feelings at the time. You'd have to ask why they would believe that. As the spiritual centre, it's a pretty big ask. Why would they think it will be destroyed?

2. Does anyone have any other reasons for thinking that the first written version of Mark could not have been before 60 CE?
No. Dates tend to be terminus ad quem, meaning the latest date it could have been written. So John is dates 125AD, because it's mentioned about that time. However, it could be much earlier, and now there's research showing links between John and Mark that might make them contemporaries and very early.
 

Longfellow

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In another thread it was said that historians date the letters of Paul earlier than the gospels. In all my searching, the only reason I found for that is that in the gospels, Jesus says that the temple will be destroyed. How that is a reason for dating the gospels later than the letters of Paul is never explicitly stated, but the only way I can think of is by presuming that before those letters were written, there couldn't possibly have been any people who thought that the temple would be destroyed again some day. No one ever gives any reason, or has any ground to stand on that I can see, for treating that as a historical fact that can be used for dating the gospels.
 

Cino

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In another thread it was said that historians date the letters of Paul earlier than the gospels. In all my searching, the only reason I found for that is that in the gospels, Jesus says that the temple will be destroyed. How that is a reason for dating the gospels later than the letters of Paul is never explicitly stated, but the only way I can think of is by presuming that before those letters were written, there couldn't possibly have been any people who thought that the temple would be destroyed again some day. No one ever gives any reason, or has any ground to stand on that I can see, for treating that as a historical fact that can be used for dating the gospels.

Old texts are hard to date, but I feel it is possible to orient oneself with respect to the sequence of the composition of these books. This is not hard evidence, but the internal references (or lack thereof) to world events can really help to get a picture.

One thing to consider is the motivation for the composition of the gospels. One convincing (to me) motivation would be a loss of eye-witness accounts, either due to old age or the destruction of Jerusalem. A kind of "We need to get those oral traditions and scattered notes set in writing now before they get lost for good". Having worked in places where old hands were leaving or retiring, I can appreciate the atmosphere.

Another thing to consider is the account in the Acts of the Apostles, with Paul visiting Jerusalem, which must have take place prior to the siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. This gives a good estimate for a latest limit to at least the undisputed writings attributed to Paul (as many of the Pauline epistles are disputed).

This is about as far as my understanding of the textual history of the New Testament goes. Maybe @Thomas has more to add? It is a fascinating topic.
 
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Thomas

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Dating of texts is a complex issue.

Dating Paul, for example, is from reading Acts as well as his own letters. When persons are mentioned, historically identifiable, then one can start building a theoretical timeline.

Dating the Gospels is a whole other problem. As regards the Fall of the Temple, it's generally agreed Mark was written just before or just after, and that Matthew and Luke were also, possibly before, possibly after ... and John, if written later, certainly knew his way around the city, mentioning places that until the last century were thought to be fictions, but subsequently proved by archaeological finds.

John claims to be an eye-witness. The Synoptics are collated accounts, but none carry an apostolic imprimatur, none have 'My name is so-and-so, a disciple of the Lord, and I endorse this ...' Did the apostles read the gospels? Tradition holds that Mark, who wrote first? listened to Peter, preaching shortly before his execution. Who can tell ...

There are some who say mark wrote in the late 40s, but they are not broadly supported. I like the thesis that Mark and John were aware of each other's gospel. There's a theory that Luke did not think much of Mark so decided to do his own thing ...

... And so it goes.
 

Aupmanyav

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Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher, 'the kingdom of God is coming'. So, this was another apocalypse. Perhaps other dooms-day sayers also might have prophesied destruction of the temple.
 
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badger

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Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher, 'the kingdom of God is coming'. So, this was another apocalypse. Perhaps other dooms-day sayers also might have prophesied destruction of the temple.
I don't think of Jesus as any kind of teacher or preacher at all, any more than I would think of a campaigner for particular social values today.

Jesus wasn't a very good teacher, even his friends had difficulty in understanding him at times, and I think that his 'kingdom of God' speeches were all about a return to the original laws, many of them ignored or discarded by a very corrupted leadership...the priesthood.

Any comments he might have made about the Temple were probably true since he despised the place and all its leaders, but as you say, wishing its destruction and razing to the ground was probably a mindset held by many for a very long time before that actually happened. Humans can raise up and follow the ideas of scholars in a similar way that they can follow fashion, motor car designs or anything else.

Students who cling to scholarship can sometimes look like a flock of sheep......... baaaaa! baaaa! 🤣
 
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