Took part in a conversation today where someone suggested the following:
” The new testament was not even written until about 150 years after the so called resurection (that would be the book of Luke). The rest were not written until about 300 years thereafter.”
Interesting statement. This person is suggesting that the NT documents were written between 150 to 300 years after the Resurrection. So if we date the Resurrection between 30 and 33AD, that means parts of the NT were written in the 4th century. This person suggests that by the time the Council of Nicaea (325AD) was meeting, the NT documents were still being written. This is one of the most amazing assertions I have ever read.
First, we have a fragment of a document from the Gospel of John that dates c. 125AD (the John Rylands papyrus). This effectively counters any statement that the NT documents were written between 150 to 300 years after the dating of the Resurrection.
Secondly, the NT documents are quoted before the fourth century in the Didache (mid to late 1st century), the Epistle of Ignatius (c. 115AD), the Epistle of Barnabas (c. 130AD), Polycarp’s Epistle to the Philippians (c. 110-140AD), as well as within the works of Justin Martyr (c. 103–165AD), Irenaeus (died c. 202AD), and many more.
How in the world could these early Christians quote from sources that did not yet exist? They quoted from the gospels and the epistles as well as John’s Revelation.
It’s amazing the kind of ideas that make their way into people’s thinking. Rest assured, the New Testament has plenty of historical support for being written earlier in the NT than the 4th century.
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.