Friday, 24 September 2010

Why the Gospels were written before 67 AD part 3

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". 

(Overman doesn't make this point in his chapter, but I think it is relevant)

Another reason why I think the Gospels were written before 70 AD is that Paul cites Luke. If Paul died in 67 AD, it would be very hard for him to have cited a text before it was written. No one seems to suggest that it was Luke who was citing Paul, as the content of the quote clearly comes from Luke and not Paul. See for yourself:
And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. - Luke 10:6-8

For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” - 1 Tim 5:18
It is clear from the 1 Timothy reference, that Paul is relying on something that has been written down, not something that was in the oral tradition as he calls his reference "Scripture." The thing is, this good Jewish man, who must have read the Scriptures a few times in his years, doesn't quote his current cannon of Scripture (what we know as the Old Testament), he quotes a line from Luke. Regardless if you think the Gospel of Luke is actually scripture or not, from the text it seems that Paul thought so and for him to have thought that, it had to have been written before he wrote 1 Timothy.

Which brings us to an issue that does rest on this point, (but I don't want to dig into that much here) is that there is a debate as to weather Paul wrote 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. Perhaps that is another series I might write on. For now I will just say that it seems the current argument for Paul not writing these letters is getting quite small and I would like to point you to two hefty commentaries who's introduction deal with the authorship of these letters extensively:

  1. The Pastoral Epistles by Ian Howard Marshall (1999) - His conclusion I don't agree with, but he looks at different views in detail and does hold to the letters having the mind of Paul;
  2. Word Biblical commentary Pastoral Epistles by William D. Mounce (2000) - This guy literally wrote the text book for Greek and he looks as the original text of the letters in stacks of detail and concludes that the arguments for Paul not writing 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus do not hold ground.
For now this pdf document may give a quick summary of the reasons as to why people think Paul wrote these texts.

If Paul did write 1 Timothy (and I think he did) then it seems that Luke had to of been written before he was killed, hence before 67 AD


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