Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Why the Gospels were written before 67 AD part 2

After reading chapter 4 of Dean Overman's A Case for the Divinity of Jesus: Examining the Earliest Evidence I changed my mind on the dating of the Gospels. This series will pretty much be based off that chapter from his book title: "Reliability of the Canonical Gospel Accounts is Supported by the Historical Evidence".

In my last post in this series I focused more on Paul and not Peter. Peter was killed under Nero around 67/68 AD and like Paul's death, Acts also doesn't mention Peter's death. Besides the Eusebius quote of Dionysius that mentions Peter, we have a lot more references about him, and Peter is in fact tied closely to the Gospel of Mark.

Eusebuis quotes Clement (96 AD) in Church Histories Book 6.14.5-7:
Clement gives the tradition of the earliest presbyters, as to the order of the Gospels, in the following manner: The Gospels containing the genealogies, he says, were written first. The Gospel according to Mark had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it.

Eusebuis quotes Papias (~140 AD) in Church Histories Book 3.39.14-15:

...now we must add to the words of his [Papias] which we have already quoted the tradition which he gives in regard to Mark, the author of the Gospel.
“This also the presbyter said: Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely.” These things are related by Papias concerning Mark.
Irenaeus (180 AD) comments on the authorship of all the Gospels in Against Heresies Book 3.1.1:
Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.

Tertullian (160-220 AD) in Against Marcion Book 4 Chapter 5:
I  mean the Gospels of John and Matthew—whilst that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was.
Eusebuis again cites another guy, Origen (185-254 AD) in Church Histories Book 6.25.5 who briefly mentions:
The second is by Mark, who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a son...
All these quotes are for me to make one point (although more could probably be made): it seems that people in the second century thought that in the first century (ie within living memory) that Mark wrote his Gospel when Peter was alive. Epically the earliest reference from Clement, which has Peter learning of the Gospel and being quite neutral about it.


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