Historical dating for the gospels

26-Jul-2019 14:23

Or must we remain in utter agnosticism about the historical Jesus?Unless we are content to chronicle a cacophony of conflicting views of Jesus based on pure speculation or passionate whimsy, historical investigation is non-negotiable.The genre of this text is known as pseudepigrapha — writings falsely ascribed to noteworthy individuals to lend credibility to the material.Although interesting in explaining the development of Gnostic thought and its relationship to biblical writings, this letter shouldn’t be overtaxed as delivering reliable history of the events it purports to record.Renowned historian Herbert Butterfield speaks of Christianity as a religion in which “certain historical events are held to be part of the religion itself” and are “considered to…represent the divine breaking into history.”Historical accuracy was certainly no incidental item to Luke in the writing of his Gospel: “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:1-4, NIV).Or has substantial corruption taken place through distortion, additions, or subtractions? The original writing of the various documents, of course, took place sometime before A. 350-400, but not, according to most scholars, before the second century.

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This rules out a literal letter from the apostle to Philip.

In the first installment of this two-part series, I outlined the stark contrasts between the gnostic Jesus and “the Word become flesh.” These respective views of Jesus are lodged within mutually exclusive world views concerning claims about God, the universe, humanity, and salvation. Do we have a clue as to what Jesus, the Man from Nazareth, actually did and said as a player in space-time history?

Should such gnostic documents as the capture our attention as a reliable report of the mind of Jesus, or does the Son of Man of the biblical Gospels speak with the authentic voice?

The text affirms that Luke was after nothing less than historical certainty, presented in orderly fashion and based on firsthand testimony.

If Christianity centers on Jesus, the Christ, the promised Messiah who inaugurates the kingdom of God with power, the objective facticity of this Jesus is preeminent.

This rules out a literal letter from the apostle to Philip.

In the first installment of this two-part series, I outlined the stark contrasts between the gnostic Jesus and “the Word become flesh.” These respective views of Jesus are lodged within mutually exclusive world views concerning claims about God, the universe, humanity, and salvation. Do we have a clue as to what Jesus, the Man from Nazareth, actually did and said as a player in space-time history?

Should such gnostic documents as the capture our attention as a reliable report of the mind of Jesus, or does the Son of Man of the biblical Gospels speak with the authentic voice?

The text affirms that Luke was after nothing less than historical certainty, presented in orderly fashion and based on firsthand testimony.

If Christianity centers on Jesus, the Christ, the promised Messiah who inaugurates the kingdom of God with power, the objective facticity of this Jesus is preeminent.

THE RELIABILITY OF THE GNOSTIC DOCUMENTS Historicity is related to trustworthiness.