Dating the new testament gospels
Luke goes to great pains to note that Jesus was born during the days of Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1) and was baptised in the fifteenth year of Tiberius. Elsewhere Albright said, 'In my opinion, every book of the New Testament was written by a baptised Jew between the forties and eighties of the first century (very probably sometime between about AD 50 and 75)' ('Towards a More Conservative View,' 3). Shepherd of Hermas (115-140) cited Matthew, Mark, Acts, 1 Corinthians, and other books.Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee. There is a growing acceptance of earlier New Testament dates, even among some liberal scholars. This scholar went so far as to affirm that the evidence from the Qumran community show that the concepts, terminology, and mind set of the Gospel of John is probably first century ('Recent Discoveries in Palestine'). Didache (120-150) referred to Matthew, Luke, 1 Corinthians, and other books.It is widely accepted by critical and conservative scholars that 1 Corinthians was written by 55 or 56.
At the latest they were all composed within the lifetimes of eyewitnesses and contemporaries of the events. This fragment of John's gospel survives from within a generation of composition.
Further, Paul speaks of more than 500 eyewitnesses to the resurrection who were still alive when he wrote (15:6). It is one of the best attested books of any kind from the ancient world.
Specifically mentioned are the twelve apostles and James the brother of Jesus. There is a ring of authenticity to the book from beginning to end. Paul mentions 500 who had seen Christ, most of whom were still alive. The contents harmonize with what has been learned about Corinth during that era. Along with 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians and Galatians are well attested and early.
To illustrate this point, former liberal William F. 'Thanks to the Qumran discoveries, the New Testament proves to be in fact what it was formerly believed to be: the teaching of Christ and his immediate followers between cir. 80 AD' (, in which he posited revised dates for the New Testament books that place them earlier than the most conservative scholars ever held. Papias, companion of Polycarp, who was a disciple of the apostle John, quoted John.
Robinson places Matthew at 40 to after 60, Mark at about 45 to 60, Luke at before 57 to after 60, and John at from 40 to after 65. This argues powerfully that the gospels were in existence before the end of the first century, while some eyewitnesses (including John) were still alive.
Internal evidence is strong for this early date: 1. All three reveal a historical interest in the events of Jesus' life and give facts that agree with the Gospels.