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A Short Argument for the Early Dating of the Gospels

Acts shows Mark can be dated in the 50s, and the undisputed early dating of other books confirms that the Jesus of the Gospels was not the result of a myth evolving over time.

The so-called "search for the historic Jesus" is over one hundred years old.  Virtually nothing discovered during that time undermines the Gospel accounts.  There is no "new evidence" supporting the idea that the miracle-working Son of God was the result of an evolution of myth over a long period of time.  To the contrary, recent discoveries have given more credibility to the content of the Gospels themselves. 

For example, we know the Apostle Paul died during the Neronian persecution of A.D. 64.  Paul was still alive at the close of Acts, so that writing came some time before A.D. 64.  Acts was a continuation of Luke's Gospel, which must have been written earlier still.  The book of Mark predates Luke, even by the Jesus Seminar's reckoning.  This pushes Mark's Gospel into the 50s, just over twenty years after the crucifixion. 

It is undisputed that Paul wrote Romans in the mid-50s, yet he proclaims Jesus as the resurrected Son of God in the opening lines of that epistle.  Galatians, another uncontested Pauline epistle of the mid-50s, records Paul's interaction with the principle disciples (Peter and James) at least 14 years earlier (Gal 1:18, cf. 2:1). 

The Jesus Seminar claims that the humble sage of Nazareth was transformed into a wonder-working Son of God in the late first and early second century.  The epistles, though, record a high Christology within 10 to 20 years of the crucifixion.  That simply is not enough time for myth and legend to take hold, especially when so many were still alive to contradict the alleged errors of the events they personally witnessed.

There is no good reason to assume the Gospels were fabricated or seriously distorted in the retelling.  Time and again the New Testament writers claim to be eyewitnesses to the facts.  And their accounts were written early on while they’re memories were clear and other witnesses could vouch for their accounts.  The Gospels are early accounts of Jesus’ life and deeds.

QuickThought | Apologetics, Student
Feb 21, 2013
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