When Were the Gospels Written? – Internal Evidence From Acts


A very easy to follow explanation of when the Gospels were written.

Introduction

The New Testament begins with the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These accounts detail the life of Jesus Christ and are known as the Gospels (meaning ‘good news’). They are the most important source of our knowledge about Jesus’ actual teachings, actions, sacrifice on the cross and resurrection.

But when were the Gospels written? Some say that they were written decades or even centuries after Christ’s life on earth. Therefore, the accounts within the Gospels must be flawed an inaccurate, as they were compiled long after the deaths of everyone who actually saw and heard Jesus.

On the other hand, there are many arguments and proofs for an early writing of the Gospels. If the Gospels were written close to the time that Jesus ascended to heaven, then they would be much more likely to be true and accurate. People’s memories of Jesus would be still fresh and clear. By ancient standards, the release of the Gospels would be like a newsflash!
 

The Internal Evidence: Backwards From Acts  

One example is from the Book of Acts.

Acts details the doings of the Apostles in the time since Jesus left them. Among them are how Paul chose to follow Christ, his travles, and his awaiting trial before Caesar for alleged troublemaking.The book of Acts ends with Paul still awaiting trial (Acts 28: 11-31), so the trial must have not yet taken place when Acts was written.

Acts is the continuation of the Gospel of Luke. Both are believed to be written by Luke and addressed to a certain Theophilus, and Acts opens by mentioning Luke’s ‘former book’. So Luke must have been written before Acts.

Luke is said to have taken material from either the Gospel of Mark, or wherever Mark got his information from. See the Wikipedia article on Q document. That means Mark (or his source) must be dated even earlier than Luke.

And finally, back to the end of Acts: Paul was martyred in the reign of Emperor Nero, around 64 AD. Therefore, however late the Gospel of Mark must have been written, it must still be within 30 years of Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension to heaven (around AD 33).

(Compare with Wikipedia’s article which says that the Gospel of Mark is generally believed to have been written around 60 to 70 A.D.)

People who had seen and heard Jesus in person were still alive to dispute any inaccurate facts; doubtless the Pharisees would have been the first to criticize any false reporting they found. Therefore, the Gospels (or at least Mark) must have been written as an accurate, true account about Jesus Christ.

(Note too that Acts is a very historically accurate book. It correctly names dozens of people, places, titles and events. Many of the ‘facts’ in Acts were very much disputed by secular historians, until new archaeological finds corroborated with the account in Acts.

Therefore, it is highly likely that the writer of Acts wouldn’t suddenly tell an outright lie about details such as whether Paul had been tried yet, or how the Apostles spread the faith, or how Jesus ascended to heaven, or how the Holy Spirit empowered the believers.)

PS. This post is a refinement of a comment I made in this blog. I comment points 44, 52 and 57.


17 Responses to “When Were the Gospels Written? – Internal Evidence From Acts”

  1. menj Says:

    It is not so “simple” as you are trying to make it out to be. The books that we now know as the New Testament is the result of various redactions, amendments, retractions, additions and retractions of the various passages which was only later made into “canon” by the late 3rd century. The gospel of Mark for example has different endings in various ancient codexes which was outlined by Metzger. As for Acts, it is replete with many inconsistencies that I would hesitate to call it a “historically accurate book” as you would like to claim.

    Perhaps I’ll write a full reply to this post on my blog soon. Perhaps I won’t. Just wait and see.

    – MENJ

  2. Scott Thong Says:

    Wow, that was a fast comment! Let me reply with a full post. Coming right up!

  3. Jamalia Says:

    Hello Scott

    This is a very clear and coincise post and your line of argument can be easily followed. I agree with some of the points that you have made, but I am unconvinced with a few of your arguments. To briefly list two examples:

    1. “People who had seen and heard Jesus in person were still alive to dispute any inaccurate facts; doubtless the Pharisees would have been the first to criticize any false reporting they found. Therefore, the Gospels (or at least Mark) must have been written as an accurate, true account about Jesus Christ.”

    – these are unconvincing arguments for the following reasons: it is based on a assumption that people who heard Jesus in person were aware of the canonical gospels and familiar with their contents. It is based on the assumption that if such eyewitnesses had challenged any of the assertions within these gospel accounts, that their authors would have immediately set the record straight and made the required corrections. But, Paul himself disproves this assumption: often his beliefs are challenged by others and paul refers to these individuals in his writings. Paul even has quarrels with the eyewitness Peter. And yet Paul sticks to his views and refuses to budge from his position. paul is often very insultive towards his rival christians and the same trait is displayed by other NT writers as well, such as the authors of 2 Peter, Jude and the Pastoral epistles. what makes us think that the authors of the canonical gospels were any different?

    You have also assumed that the pharisees were aware of the canonical gospels and could be bothered to read them and invest their energies for purposes of “refutation.”

    2. “One example is from the Book of Acts. Acts details the doings of the Apostles in the time since Jesus left them. Among them are how Paul chose to follow Christ, his travles, and his awaiting trial before Caesar for alleged troublemaking.The book of Acts ends with Paul still awaiting trial (Acts 28: 11-31), so the trial must have not yet taken place when Acts was written.”

    That Acts is silence when it comes to Paul’s death and end with Paul awaiting trial does not mean it was written before Paul died, before the trial. the subsequent verses seem to presuppose Paul’s fateful outcome. also, it is quite possible that the author of Acts simply choose not to mention Paul’s death deliberately as he wanted to end on a note of triupmh
    so, a lack of mention of Paul’s death does not necessarily follow that Acts was written when Paul was still alive.

    Although I said I would mention 2 points, I will add one more example as well:

    “(Note too that Acts is a very historically accurate book. It correctly names dozens of people, places, titles and events. Many of the ‘facts’ in Acts were very much disputed by secular historians, until new archaeological finds corroborated with the account in Acts.”

    – if it is said that Acts is “very” historically accurate, then does that suggests that there are, at least, a few mistakes and unreliable pieces of information within it? Be that as it may, the Da Vinci Code also names a number of cities accurately, and titles of officials accurately, and accurately names a number of countries. does that mean everything within it is accurate? Is everything within the new James Bond movies accurate because cities and countries and official titles are accurately named?

  4. Oneforthelord Says:

    A few points to note about the comments:

    1. Comparison of Acts to the Da Vinci Code and Casino Royale.

    It is an inappropriate analogy that is attacking a straw-man target.

    The book of Acts is not directly comparable to The Da Vinci Code or Casino Royale. The Da Vinci Code and James Bond are both works of fiction for the purposes of entertainment and earning money, whereas the book of Acts was written as a historical account to inform another person of the happenings during that period. Following from that, it stands to reason that accuracy in Da Vinci Code and Casino Royale are not critical to the quality of the work. However, since the book of Acts was written primarily to be a factual piece, it is highly critical that the writer gets his details correct. The higher the accuracy of the verifiable details that are mentioned, the more reliable it becomes in terms of other details that may not be as easily verifiable, such as Paul’s journeys. Otherwise, no one will pay any attention to his account. Thus, Acts is not comparable to Da Vinci Code and Casino Royale simply because they are not in the same class.

    2. The silence of the book of Acts on Paul’s death not necessarily meaning it was written before Paul died.

    This is true. Just because the book of Acts is silent about Paul’s death does not mean it was written after his death. Historically, Paul did not die during his first Roman imprisonment (circa A.D. 60). He was released after 2 years. He was martyred during his second Roman imprisonment after he wrote to Timothy (1 and 2 Timothy) (circa A.D. 65-67, which is nearly 5 years later). Given the time frame, is it more likely that Luke purposely omitted the death of Paul from the book of Acts, given that Paul did many things in between his release and his martyrdom? Why would he do so, if his purpose was primarily to give a historical account of the things that the apostles had accomplished? Certainly, it would make more sense to include what happened after the release (circa A.D. 61-62) because the account would be incomplete if it omitted it. Paul accomplished certain important works (such as establishing a church at Crete), and thus, it does not make sense to omit it. It therefore is more likely that Acts was written before Paul’s death.

    3. The pharisees were not aware of the gospels, and if they became aware they would not care to refute them.

    I would think that they would certainly expend their energy to refute the claims in the synoptic gospels. Firstly, the Pharisees were attacked directly and accused of the murder of an innocent man (and the Messiah to boot) in not one, but ALL the gospels. If you were accused of murdering the one who was come to save everyone, would you not be bothered to refute those accusations? Furthermore, once a person became a Christian, he or she would not pay tithes or offerings to the Pharisees any more, and they would not need him to perform sacrifices for you, or any of the Mosaic rites any more. This took away their source of finances and authority. If that is not a threat to them, then what would be? It would be in their best interests to prove the gospels to be wrong so that they could retain their livelihoods.

    Furthermore, Paul went frequently to the synagogues in each city to dispute with the Jews about Jesus being the Messiah. THis was a direct challenge to their authority. Is it likely that the Pharisees were not aware of the gospels? Highly unlikely, given that they would have heard about it from other cities (it is stated that they did hear about the Christians in other cities in Acts).

    4. Paul’s beliefs were often challenged by others and the NT writers were very insulting to rival Christians. Are the gospel authors therefore expected to be different, given that most of the gospel is insulting to rival Christians?

    Without clear examples of what you mean, I am unable to reply appropriately to this comment. However, by inference I conjecture that by “rival christian” you mean a Christian who is expousing a different doctrine or viewpoint from Paul or the apostles? Please elaborate on this point.

    If you are talking about how Jude lambasts the “rival christians”, then I submit to you this perspective: The “rival christians” were in fact Anti-Nomianists. Which would make them NOT Christians after all. These are people who have turned away from living moral lifestyles, who broke the Ten Commandments as and when they desired and claimed cleansing and justification by the blood of Christ, believing or choosing to believe that they would escape judgement. The modern day form of these “rival christians” are your advocates of cheap grace. You can do anything you like because God has already forgiven your sins, so sin all you like! These completely miss the point of Christianity.

    When Paul quarreled with Peter, it was regarding inappropriate behaviour by Peter. As the leader of the Church, Peter was the highest authority. He was to be an example to the rest of the Church. However, he was being a hypocrite when Jews visited the Church. In doing so, he influenced those under him to do the same. This was slowly eroding the holiness of the church. Would Paul have done better to just ignore it and carry on as usual? The answer is ‘No’, because otherwise the church would break out into disunity and collapse. It was in Paul’s and the other Christian’s BEST interests that he confronted Peter on this issue.

  5. Scott Thong Says:

    Wow… Thanks very much, Oneforthelord. I couldn’t do better myself!

    A bit of elaboration, Galatians 2 is where Paul scolds Peter. Peter started keeping his distance from the Gentiles when Jewish believers visited because he was afraid of them (maybe of what they would think of him or criticize him). This was clearly not in the right spirit.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=galatians%202:11-21;&version=31;

  6. Jamalia Says:

    Thank you for your critique “OnefortheLord.”. My response to some of your arguments:

    1. First of all, I agree with you entirely that Acts, Casino Royale and Da Vinci Code are not the same and belong to different genres. My argument, however, did not rest on this dissimilarity and, I think, is still applicable. The argument that was offered to justify the “very historical” reliability of Acts can be used to justify the reliability of other types of documents and stories as well, all types, including fictitious ones. Hence I deliberately mentioned Bond and Da Vinci Code. The stories need not be similar in anyway to make this point. Of course, to reiterate, I understand that the James Bond series are works of fiction and I do not have a high estimation of Dan Brown’s novel, but, one might say, “they are accutare, ‘very reliable,’ BECAUSE they name official titles accurately, correctly name cities, correctly refer to some past events, correctly name countries” etc. This line of argumentation would be quite absurd, as you would no doubt agree, because accuracies in such types of details do not render an entire story accurate and every claim that has been made. Therefore, we cannot say that Acts is fully reliable for correctly noting certain ordinary matters of facts that would have been well-known, or easily ascertainable, by a somewhat educated individual anyway. Of course, neither does that mean that Acts is entirely unreliable. But since we do know that the author does make changes to his sources – consider his adaptation of GMark – it would be sensible not to accept anything within his books at face value and to critically investigate his claims. Personally, I believe that the author provided a broadly accurate account, but that there are certain unreliable elements within his story as well and these surface when we compare his account with the similar information to be found in the Pauline epistles.

    2. You agree that the silence of the book of Acts on Paul’s death does not necessarily mean it was written before Paul died. You go on to say, however, that “Historically, Paul did not die during his first Roman imprisonment (circa A.D. 60). He was released after 2 years. He was martyred during his second Roman imprisonment after he wrote to Timothy (1 and 2 Timothy) (circa A.D. 65-67, which is nearly 5 years later).” The problem here is that it is not so clear if Paul was released and it is quite improbable, at least according to the scholarly consensus, that Paul authored the Pastoral Epistles. I personally think that Acts presumes Paul’s death. Now, assuming Paul was released, why would Acts not record this and relate some details of Paul’s subsequent journey? You conclude from this silence that it is likely that Acts was written before Paul’s death, before his release. But it may also be argued that this silence puts further doubt on the second release hypothesis and, in fact, makes it more likely that Paul was not released afterall. But even if we dismiss this argument, the lack of reference of Paul’s subsequent activities does not necessarily mean that Acts was completed at the time of Paul’s imprisonment. It can also be that the author, who is writing sometime after Paul’s demise, simply did not know about Paul’s release. It could also be that perhaps he knew that Paul was released but choose not to mention that in his book (composed after Paul’s death) for whatever reason. We cannot get inside his head and ascertain the reason behind his silence. In any case, the silence does not necessarily mean that Acts was composed when Paul was still alive. To me this appears to be a weak argument for an early dating of Acts.

    At the end of the day, it is most likely that the gospels were written after Paul’s demise, which would mean Acts was written after GLuke. From the internal evidence of Acts itself, the impression is strong that the author is writing about Paul’s career as past history. It could be that he had spent some time with Paul, but at the time of his writing of Acts – a time when Paul is out of the scene – he is reflecting upon his past experience of Paul and celebrating his hero’s career. Moreover, if GMark is placed around 60-65 A.D., then GLuke, and Acts, would have been composed later, at least a “few years” later since Mark would require at least some time to achieve circulation and the time for reading and reflection upon its message by others. How later, of course, we cannot calculate with precision. But, it seems to be more likely and “safe” to place Luke, at the earliest, sometime in the 70’s and, at the latest, sometime around A.D 85.

    3. Scott had argued that the Pharisees – presumably those of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s A.D. – would have challenged the assertions and claims to be found within the gospels. However, as I said, this is based on the assumption that they were aware of these gospels and on the assumption that the written canonical gospels were available at this time. This has not been demonstrated. You argue it is likely that the Pharisees were aware of the gospels because, “they would have heard about it from other cities (it is stated that they did hear about the Christians in other cities in Acts).” But there are more questionable assumptions involved here. Again, you have assumed that the gospels were written at this early time, and, secondly, that people in other cities were aware about their contents. None of this is demonstratable. So your entire case is built on some rather convenient and questionable assumptions. You wrote that “Paul went frequently to the synagogues in each city to dispute with the Jews about Jesus being the Messiah”, but that does not mean he was walking around with written copies of the canonical gospels and reading out their contents. Simply, Paul was preaching his message and vision of Jesus, with some Jews accepting it while others rejecting it. Furthermore, once we consider the earliest non-Christian references to Jesus, it becomes rather clear that Jesus and his teachings did not have a major impact upon the people at large in the earliest period. It appears that the Jesus movement was largely unknown or an ignorable entity, deemed by outsiders as an odd, ignorant, and insignificant cult. It is very unlikely that many people were aware of Jesus, let alone familiar with details about his life/preaching, and let alone that they were particularly concerned about it. But putting all this aside, my main point remains: supposing the Pharisees knew about the gospels quite well and objected to their contents, would that have had any sort of an affect upon the gospel writers? Had, a Pharisee, for example, objected, “hey, we did not kill Jesus and we did not do those other things,” would Mark have responded, “oops, I made a mistake. Totally my fault, let me make the correction.”? Obviously not. Would objections have caused the gospel writers to rethink and adapt their claims, or persist with their views? I think the later.

    4. You summarise my position as follows: “Paul’s beliefs were often challenged by others and the NT writers were very insulting to rival Christians. Are the gospel authors therefore expected to be different, given that most of the gospel is insulting to rival Christians?” This is not a correct summary of my view. I did not say that the gospels are “insultive” towards rival Christians. May be some early Christians deemed them as such, I really don’t know. Let me explain myself more clearly. Similar to the discussion in point no. 3, Scott had argued that eyewitnesses “would have” objected had they detected anything that was incorrect and unreliable within the canonical gospels and that the gospel authors would have heeded to their critique. Besides offering other reasons which I think weaken this argument, I simply pointed out that assuming someone did object to, say, something asserted within GMatthew, for instance, how is the author likely to react? Would he say, “oh jee, I made a mistake, sorry, let me make the correction.”? This attitude, the willingness to consider opposing views, is not to be seen in the New Testament. As an example, I mentioned Paul who, at times, is engaged in vicious polemics with rival Christians. Paul is not willing to consider opposing views because he has decided that only he is right and all others should submit to his views. Doubtless, Paul’s Christian opponents also went along with similar attitude. Then, other New Testament writers display this same behaviour, chief among them the authors of Jude, 2 Peter and the Pastoral Epistles. Therefore, bearing this in mind, is it really sensible to suppose that all of the contents within the gospels are “right” because the authors “would have” instantly heeded to objections raised by others who claimed to have witnessed the ministry of Jesus?
    This is a very naive view. It ignores the fact how emotionally these early writers were involved with their belief and that they were more than happy to put up a good fight when objections were hurled towards their statements, beliefs and preaching.

    Basically, it is more likely that by the time the authors wrote their accounts, eyewitnesses were very scarce, in a weak position, and who probably were unaware of these books and powerless to do anything even if they were aware of them.

    Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe that the gospels – primarily the synoptics – are entirely unreliable. I believe that they provide a basically sound outline of the life of Jesus and that there is a lot of plausible information within them about Jesus. So, my general view about them is rather positive. But, we cannot just blindly assume that everything within them “must” be correct. There are certain details, mostly in GJohn, which are historically questionable as well.

  7. Scott Thong Says:

    Nothing makes a blogger happier than tons of commenting on his blog 🙂

    The debate on the date of composition, historicity, accuracy and so on of the books of the Bible is an old and wide-ranging one. New arguments and evidence are always being brought into the fray. If you’ve been following this post and comments, it might interest you to browse around to find out more from pro- and anti- Early Gospel sites.

    Just three points to bring up:

    1.Jesus and His followers’ movement were well known enough in the ancient wold to warrant several mentions in non-Biblical texts as well. You can just scan thru a little at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

    2. There goes an argument from the morality and attitudes of the Apostles. These were the most ardent followers of Jesus, the Messiah who preached truthfulness and opposed hypocrisy non-stop. Shouldn’t these men be given the benefit of the doubt that they were honest men, able to admit errors in the quest for the truth? Would a bunch of knowing fakers and charlatans choose to stick to a lie at the threat of death? Every one of the original Apostles, save John and adding in Paul, died painful deaths for their unbudging belief in this Jesus.

    3. Acts, the Gospels, the Espistles and indeed the whole Bible contains numerous references to archaeological sites, historical events and ancient people. Many of tehse were pooh-poohed as fanciful myth, until they were proven by later discoveries (for example, the existence of the Hittite Empire in the OT and the usage of the title procurator by Luke) It is my belief, by faith, that any current perceived factual discrepancies will be eventually cleared up – leaving the entire Bible as a testament to God’s truth, both in wordly and spiritual matters.

    Thanks for the debate! This post remains open to more comments.

  8. Jamalia Says:

    Hello Scott

    thank you for your reply. I will keep this very short and let the readers decide for themselves.

    Unfortunately, some readers fail to realize that the “accuracies” within Acts that you referred to briefly, such as getting city, country names correctly, correctly using official titles etc., do not in anyway suggest that everything within Acts has to be true or largely reliable. Correctness in such very ordinary matters of facts and details does not render a story – any story – largely, let alone completely, “reliable.” This argument can be used to basically defend the “historicity” of virtually any type of literature.

    As for the non-Christian references to the Jesus movement, then I am quite aware of them and, as far as I can tell, all historians agree they are quite miniscule. There is a *lot* of non-Christian ancient literature out there, and references to the followers of Jesus constitute much less than, say, 0.9% of their contents.

    Regarding the argument of morality, then it is all based on an assumption, that the apostles were responsible for the canonical gospels and, moreover, it ignores what is being said. A person can believe he/she is 100% moral and continue to strongly disagree with others. So, I have no reason to believe that Paul was being truly deceptive. He was indeed honest and sincere, and he honestly and sincerely disagreed with others rather vehemently, who, likewise honestly and sincerely refused to accept Paul’s gospel. Ultimately, we are getting our material from unknown individuals who did not themselves witness the earthly Jesus. The argument that Paul must be right because he was willing to die of his beliefs is fatal. I know of many Hindus who sincerely believe their beliefs are right and are willing to die for their beliefs. Should we all leave our religions and become Hindus? I am sure you will say no. This is no criteria to ascertain whether a person is right or wrong.

  9. Scott Thong Says:

    Just a short reply during my 10-minute break:

    Indeed, archaeology can never PROVE the Bible is true, merely support some claims the Bible makes. For example, the discovery of the colonnades mentioned in John 5:2 may testofy that such a place really existed. But it says nothign about whether Jesus really did heal aparalytic there, or whether Jesus’ claims to divinity are true.

    Conversely, if the historical claims are faulty, then why should we believe anything else that the Bible has to say, about God and salvation? Jesus Himself states in John 3:12 – “I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”

    Therefore, even though current discoveries are insufficient to prove every single fact stated in the Bible, by faith I believe that one day there will be no contradictions left between the Biblical account and secular research. (Hey, even Darwinists hold on to Evolution even though fossils of transitional life forms are absent/rare and debated.)

    Isn’t 0.9% of ALL ancient texts quite a lot? That’s 6000 years of history right there. Be careful with superlatives such as ‘ALL HISTORIANS’. Just like the claim ‘ALL scientists support evolution’, it can be readily disputed. You might more accurately say: ‘All naturalistic/secluar/atheistic historians’, but that might not be true either. I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘All repectable historians’, because that would be resorting to opinion.

    The argument from morality doesn’t prove that the Apostles were sepaking true – they could have been sincerely mistaken. It only shows that whatever they were preaching, they were not knowingly spreading a lie, but what they themselves believed to be the truth.

    And as a final note, I still am of the opinion that no other ancient texts have more evidence than the Bible. No other faith system has as much correlation with history or documentary evidence. If judged by that criteria alone (and you had to choose one of the faiths), then I would place my wager on Christianity.

    Thanks for your well thought-out comments!

  10. Jamalia Says:

    Hi Scott,

    Although I obviously have views about everything you have said, often diverging from your own views, I will only comment upon one point:

    “Isn’t 0.9% of ALL ancient texts quite a lot? That’s 6000 years of history right there. Be careful with superlatives such as ‘ALL HISTORIANS’. Just like the claim ‘ALL scientists support evolution’, it can be readily disputed. You might more accurately say: ‘All naturalistic/secluar/atheistic historians’, but that might not be true either. I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘All repectable historians’, because that would be resorting to opinion.”

    I don’t know how you derived the “6000 years” figure. Correct me if I am wrong, but Jesus was last on earth around A.D. 30, which would make Christianity 2000 years old. I was, as was obvious I think, referring to non-Christian sources coming shortly after the time of Jesus – up to the period of around the mid second century. As noted, there are many of them in existence, and if you scavenge them systematically, they have nothing to say about Christians and Jesus, except for a very few. Yes, they are few indeed, telling us mostly about some early Christian movements in different localities. I recall Ehrman likening these sparse references to a drop in the ocean. Also, this isn’t just the view of “All naturalistic/secluar/atheistic historians”, but Christian scholars as well. The Catholic scholar John Meir has conducted a detailed analysis of these scattered/brief references in vol. 1 of his “Marginal Jew”. I think you will find that helpful.

  11. Scott Thong Says:

    Oh! My apologies on that one. I was mislead by the word ‘ancient’.

    Tis true! Of what importance is a fledgeling movement started by an unknown carpenter, who hails from a a backwater town in a backwater land, and whose founder died before the movement even got off the ground?

    No wonder the Pax Romana Times didn’t report it, save perhaps for the Judea equivalent of local news.

    And what DID this silly little movement accomplish? Nothing less than reach the whole world…

  12. CNM Says:

    I’m might be not exactly accurate on the quotes, but didn’t Jesus said that “every stone of the Jewish temple would be destroyed”… As far as I know this prediction actually happened around 60-66 AD, when the romans destroyed the jewish temple.

    If this happened and the gospels were supposedly written after 60 ad, then why isn’t this event mentioned in them? It seems more probable that the gospels were written well before this time.

    Also, I agree on the pharisees point with Scott. At that time of the death of Jesus, who had the control of the information in that region of the world? I think the pharisees, since they controlled the sinagogues and in the absence of newspapers, tv, radio, movie, etc, they were the source of information for many people.

    They couldn’t contest the gospels reccounts at that time, because all these events were too fresh in peoples mind and there were still eyewitnesses.

    For 2000 years the same people has been trying to discredit Jesus and they haven’t been able to. We can see it in the media every day… So I want to ask you all one little question, who owns the media?

    The answer should raise some doubts about the media “pop-science” claims.

  13. Scott Thong Says:

    Thanks for the contribution, CNM. You made me revisit my old post and he comments. As for who owns the media today, https://scottthong.wordpress.com/2007/04/02/teachers-drop-the-holocaust-to-avoid-offending-muslims/ has several links to my posts on that subject.

    On Jamalia’s second comment, point 3: “Furthermore, once we consider the earliest non-Christian references to Jesus, it becomes rather clear that Jesus and his teachings did not have a major impact upon the people at large in the earliest period. It appears that the Jesus movement was largely unknown or an ignorable entity, deemed by outsiders as an odd, ignorant, and insignificant cult. It is very unlikely that many people were aware of Jesus, let alone familiar with details about his life/preaching, and let alone that they were particularly concerned about it. ”

    The followers of Christ were at least well known enough that the Roman Emperor Nero found them a convenient scapegoat to blame for the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64, and the historian Tacitus recorded this account. They may have been deemed odd and derised as ignorant by the Roman public, but they were by no means insignificant, unknown or ignored.

    And if the Christians really were completely unknown at that time, doubtless the mass arrests and public executions by blood sport would have thrown them into the spotlight!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Fire_of_Rome

  14. Zack T Says:

    I honestly find Jamalia’s arguments and logic to be purely based on his own perspective of what had happened in the 1st Century around the time of and after Jesus’s death.. I find a lot of his ‘assumptions’ to be merely that… assumptions, which he considered logical, but in fact are not historical..

    For example, his conjecture that the lack of non-Christian references/records of Christians and Jesus at that time means that these groups were unknown, negligible or ignored.

    It’s like saying, there isn’t much writing about the guy who founded Ku Klux Klan by non-KKK books… thus, the KKK were unknown or negligible or ignored group… which I would contend, is obviously false.

    Rome is infamous for sending Christians to the Colosseum to be killed and even mauled by animals… how is that ignorable or negligible or unknown?

    Anyway.. with such assumptions that was thought out of his mind with no bases in history of the 1st Century or archaeology, Jamalia can assumed pretty much anything and everything away with some other ‘possible’ scenario..

  15. Scott Thong Says:

    And speaking of non-Christian sources that mention Jesus:

    https://scottthong.wordpress.com/2008/03/21/historically-corroborated-jesus-fulfilled-129-messianic-prophecies-made-in-isaiah-335-years-earlier/

  16. Fox Mcloud Says:

    Criticizing changes in The Bible has been done by jews today, as well as theists. Compare and contrast the accounts the arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection in each gospel. Major differences with no pragmatic, non-Ad Hoc explanation. Apologists simply make up weak Ad Hoc rationalizations that they’d likely dismiss had it been any other religion.

  17. Brian B. Says:

    Consider this truth from Acts 5:27-30. When Peter was put on trial in Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin commanded him to stop preaching about Jesus. v28 The high priest said, you are filling up this town with this doctrine! What doctrine? v30 Jesus Christ crucified, buried and raised the 3rd day. v27 Dozens of scribes and Pharisees heard all this testimony, heard all this doctrine yet where is their rebuttal? All of Jerusalem was filled, filled with the Good News – lawyers, merchants (from all over), Roman soldiers and officers, Jewish bureaucrats, not to mention the peasants yet there is no refutation from that time of the apostle’s doctrine that Jesus lives. Countless thousands in a city the size of Jerusalem could have written to counter the claims of the apostles yet history is totally silent. There could be no rebuttal in that day because truth has a name – Jesus, and He lives!

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