by Acharya S
from TruthBeKnown Website
The Gospel Dates
As has been proved repeatedly, the gospels themselves cannot be viewed as "history" written by "eyewitnesses." Besides the fact that they date to much later than is supposed, the gospels frequently contradict each other, and, based on the numerous manuscripts composed over the centuries, have been determined (by German theologian Johann Griesbach, for one) to be a mass of some 150,000 "variant readings."
In this regard, The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, a christian book, contains an article written by M.M. Parvis (vol. 4, 594-595), who states:
Some sources place the figure for the "variant readings" even higher, including The Anchor Bible Dictionary On CD-ROM ("Textual Criticism, NT"), which says,
So much for "God's infallible Word" and his "inspired scribes."
have come up with all sorts of excuses for this manmade mess; their
excuses only demonstrate further that man's hand - and not that of
the Almighty God - has been involved in the creation of
and its texts at every step.
Although a miniscule bit of papyrus (Rylands) dating to the middle of the second century has been identified speculatively as part of "John's Gospel" (18:31-33), the oldest fragments conclusively demonstrated as coming from the canonical gospels date to the 3rd century.
The two verses of "John's
Gospel," comprising only about 60 words, could easily be part of
another, non-canonical gospel, of which there were numerous in the
first centuries of the christian era. That such texts contained
verses paralleling those found in the canonical gospels is known
from the writings of Justin Martyr, for example, who quotes from a
number of them.
The orthodox dating, of course, attempts to put the gospels a century earlier, between 70 and 110 CE. However, it should be kept in mind that the current mainstream dating was heretical when first propagated, over 150 years ago, causing apoplexy in the faithful, who believed the texts were composed shortly after Jesus' death.
Over the centuries,
because of increasingly scientific scholarship, the date of the
canonical gospels has been continually pushed to later decades, as
it has long been accepted that there is absolutely no evidence,
internal or external, for such an early date.
The internal evidence cited for this "late" a date is that the gospel writers were aware of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Therefore, Mark, considered by most mainstream authorities to be the earliest of the gospels, could not have been written any earlier than 70 CE. The others followed, with John appearing perhaps as late as 110 CE.
That is where
mainstream scholarship ends. Nonetheless, the fact remains that the
gospels are conspicuously absent from the writings of the Church
fathers and apologists until the end of the second century.
By this same argument, "Q" scholarship
proposes that an original "sayings" text was used in the creation of
the gospels - is likewise "outdated," because it too began over a
century and a half ago, with the research of Christian Weiss, also
in 1838. It should be noted that even the existence of a Q document
has been argued against by a number of scholars, including Farrer
(1955), Farmer (1964) and Hobbs (1980).
Mead, for one, writing after the Markan-priority thesis was proposed, was insistent that the other synoptists, Matthew and Luke, did not use the canonical Mark as one of their source texts:
This conclusion was also reached by Helmut Koester and others in the modern era. Indeed, scholars have hit upon an "Ur-Markus" or source of Mark from which all three synoptics (Matthew, Mark and Luke ) drew.
Hence, it is asserted by Ur-Markus proponents that the other two synoptics did not use the canonical Mark.
The Ur-Markus theory was developed by Weisse in the 1850s. At the end of the 19th century, Hernle attempted to prove that Ur-Markus was the canonical Mark, and the debate was supposedly settled in the 1920s. Yet, modern mainstream scholars continue to debate the priority.
As Burton Mack says, in The Lost Gospel of Q,
Following Griesbach (1783), the Tubingen School in the 1830s maintained not only the priority but also the late date of 130 CE for Matthew, swimming firmly against the tide.
Scholars of the 20th century who have argued for the priority of Matthew include "Jameson, Chapman, Butler, and Wenham." The fact is that scholars have gone back and forth on the order, as did the early Church fathers.
As the Catholic Encyclopedia relates ("Synoptics"):
In Therapeutae: St. John Never in Asia Minor, George Reber evinces that the order the gospels were composed is the same as their placement in the canon:
Reber further states,
Concerning the gospel of Matthew, Reber also remarks that the book "the source of all" was,
Despite claims to the contrary, little in New Testament scholarship is set in stone, including not only the priority of the gospels but also the dating.
In reality, the majority of modern bible scholars have simply gone along with the dates of c. 70-110 CE, in spite of the fact that there is no evidence of the gospels' existence until a century later, as evinced by such notables as,
Cassels 's knowledge on the subject was so startlingly profound that, when his book was first released anonymously, other scholars - including Christian detractors - believed him to be a bishop.
Regarding the orthodox dates (70-110), which were already established by his time at the end of the 19th century, Cassels states,
Justin Martyr (c. 100-c. 165-167)
Although a number of writers and apologists have argued that Justin Martyr is the first Christian writer to be cognizant of the canonical gospels, in reality Martyr does not quote from the New Testament texts but apparently uses one or more of the same sources employed in the creation of the gospels, as well as other texts long lost.
Furthermore, no other writer subsequent to Martyr shows any awareness of the existence of the gospels until around the year 180. It should also be noted that Martyr 's works did not escape the centuries of mutilation and massive interpolation done to virtually every ancient author's works, which makes the disentanglement all that more difficult.
Yet, even as it stands, Justin 's writing still
does not demonstrate knowledge of the canonical gospels.
In the end, there is a mere handful of Martyr's sentences that Christian authorities have attempted to hold up as evidence for the gospels' existence.
For example, biblical scholar Tischendorf,
A number of the passages in Justin that purportedly correspond to New Testament scriptures come from a text called "Memoirs of the Apostles," which, Cassels shows, is a book by that title, not a reference to several "memoirs" or apostolic gospels.
The "Memoirs," in other words," constitutes a single text like the "Acts of the Apostles." Upon examination, the quotes Justin uses from the Memoirs "differ more or less widely" from parallel scriptures in the synoptics, Matthew, Mark and Luke . As confirmed by Tischendorf, only a couple of short exceptions are sufficiently similar to warrant comparison with the synoptic gospels.
These various passages from the Memoirs or "Memorabilia" are repeated often enough that it is clear Justin is quoting them verbatim, rather than paraphrasing; yet, they are not identical to gospel scriptures, differing enough that they could not have come from those books.
Also, several of the Memoirs scriptures do not appear in any form in the canonical gospels.
Moreover, Justin 's version of
the gospel tale and the Church history in its details is different
from and contradictory to that found in the New Testament.
Nor did he address the apostles as we know them from the New Testament tales, which is peculiar considering that Justin opposed the Docetist Marcion, whose Gospel of the Lord was also "Paul's gospel" although not the "veiled gospel" of the Pauline epistles.
Oddly enough, particularly since he does attack Marcion, who considered Paul the "truest apostle," Justin never refers to Paul.
Also, despite his illusion to the Gospel of Peter, Martyr depicts virtually nothing of the chief apostle. Indeed, Reber remarks that Justin is "so oblivious of Peter that he seems to have been unconscious of his existence."
Concerning these important developments, Johnson remarks that the,
He then explains that the term "apostle" is
Jewish and pre-Christian, referring to wandering Jews of the
Diaspora (Jewish dispersion throughout the Roman Empire), and that
the Memorabilia may simply be their "moral sayings."
For example, Martyr quotes from the Old Testament 314 instances, 197 of which he names the particular book or author, equaling an impressive two-thirds of the total amount. Several of the other 117 instances may not have needed citation, "considering the nature of the passage."
Despite his remarkably fastidious record, when Justin is supposedly quoting the New Testament, he mentions none of the four gospels. Instead, he distinctly states that the quotes are from the "Memoirs." Since he is careful in his quotation of the Old Testament, it is reasonable to assume that he is accurately citing the "Memoirs " and that such a book is not the same as any of the texts found in the New Testament.
There could be
no reason why Martyr would not cite the gospel books by name, unless
he was not using them. Since he never mentions the four gospels, it
is logical to assert that he had never heard of them. Thus, the
Memoirs text is not the same as the canonical gospels, and the
mention of and quotation from this book does not serve as evidence
of the existence of the gospels.
Nor, if these precious gospels existed at his time, did Justin show any respect for their purported authors, as he never named them. Once he mentions "John," but it is evident that he does not associate any gospel with that name.
Concluding that Justin,
In addition to the Memoirs, a single, non-canonical text apparently lost, Justin utilized other sources, including the mysterious Gospel of the Hebrews, which was widely read in Palestine during the second century and which in reality predates the canonical gospels.
Per Cassels, the Gospel of the Hebrews was also called "the Gospel according to the Apostles," which suggests it was the same text as the Memoirs of the Apostles.
Other texts used by Justin include the Acts of Pilate (Gospel of Nicodemus), which he cited, and the Protevangelion and Gospel of the Infancy, as shown by Waite, among others. Justin also likely used the Gospel of Peter or "Memoirs of Peter," as he alludes to it, demonstrating that by "Memoirs " the Church father did indeed mean a single text. Another source for Justin 's "narrative" is the Sibylline Oracles, which reflect essential points of the gospel tale.
The Church father even proudly refers to the Greek prophetess, saying,
Justin 's comments,
of course, imply that by his time Jesus still had not come.
This phrase is evidently an interpolation, of which, it must be recalled, there were many in the works of not only Justin Martyr but also practically every ancient author. The phrase is extraneous and gratuitous to the subject matter of the rest of the paragraph. To repeat, it is also the only instance the term "Gospels" is found in Justin 's entire works.
Martyr does use the word "Gospel" thrice in his Dialogue, but
the term there refers not to the Memoirs or other texts but to the
Gospel, i.e. the "Good News" of Jesus Christ. He also refers to the
Gospel in one of the fragments of his lost work on the Resurrection,
but these few are the only times the word appears in Justin 's known
Johnson avers, are tangential to the Hosioi, who likewise morphed
Hence, with their absence in Justin 's works, we remain with the dating of the gospels to the last quarter of the second century.
Again, the clue to determining who wrote the gospels lies in this
late dating - scholars have been wishfully looking in the wrong
These anonymous Jews were eventually morphed into the New Testament apostles. Concerning this ecclesiastical organization revealed in Justin 's works, Johnson concludes that here was a,
These could have been "Ebionites " or "Gnostics," but their distinctive features included,
Renouncing these traditions,
Johnson next avers that,
In addition to these pre-existing Apostles are Messianic Saints, the Elect, and the Congregation/Church (ecclesia) - terms and concepts all found within texts such as
...all of which Johnson clearly shows to be pre-Christian texts later Christianized.
These texts belong not to "Judeo-Christians" but to these "heretical" Messianic proto-Christians who already possessed an ecclesia/ church, "comprising the Dispersed through the world."
Said individuals thus broke "with the old observances of Judaism The conception of a New People and a New Land published to all the world has dawned upon them." This "New People" were at some point in Egypt styled the "Therapeuts."
Another such pre-Christian and probably Therapeutan text was The Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles, which
In other words, the text is one of the sources used by the gospel writers, originally not applicable to the "historical" Jesus but changed to revolve around him.
It is likely
that Justin Martyr, a Samaritan born at the sacred Israelite site of Shechem, whence came many of the ancestors of the Egypto-Hebrew
monkish sect of the Therapeuts, was referring to a Therapeutan text
called the "Memoirs of the Apostles."