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Switch to Forum Live View Gospel of John was the first Gospel written
7 years ago  ::  Dec 08, 2007 - 12:31AM #1
haggaion
Posts: 1,972
And so I thought this might be a profitable debate.

Why should anyone assume a late date for the Gospel of John? As far as I can see, there is no reason to assume it was not written before 70 AD. Can you provide evidence that it was not written in the 40s?

Below I have list 13 points to prove my case. This being this is a debate board, I would assume you will provide hard evidence to the contrary. I don’t care it you “lift arguments” from various scholars, but remember, I am looking for decent proof to the contrary. Name dropping will not fly here.


[COLOR=black]Please explain the following observations:[/COLOR]


[COLOR=black]1. The single most debatable and climatic event of the period, that being the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and with it the collapse of institutional Judaism based on the temple, but is never once mentioned or eluded to as a past fact in the gospel of John.

2. Rylands P52 is generally accepted as the earliest extant [COLOR=black]New Testamentcanonical record. It [/COLOR]contains portions of John 18:31-33 and 37-38 and is to be dated as early as 100-130AD. The style of the script for P52 is strongly [COLOR=black]Hadrianic, which would suggest the date I mentioned above. Also, being it was a copy, and it was found in Egypt, that would require a significant time lapse from the original.[/COLOR]

3. The present tense in John 5:2 "there is" suggests a time when the gate is still standing, unlike after the destruction by Titus.

4. John mentions certain historical facts not mentioned in the other gospels. For example:

He perceived the religious differences between the Jew and the Samaritan (4:9,20)
He knew the pool of Bethesda had five porches 5:2, something that recent archaeological digs just discovered. Note also, John uses “is”, not “was” to describe it, thus pre-70 AD.
He knew that there was a paved area outside of the praetorium 19:13
He was aware of the region of Samaria and that Jacob's well was located in Sychar (4:5-6), and that it was deep 4:11
John 7:23 “If a child is circumcised on the Sabbath to avoid breaking the law of Moses, why are you indignant with me for giving health on the Sabbath to the whole of a man's body?” This reflects contemporary rabbinic disputes and a Sitz im Leben within a Jewish environment such as that of the primitive Church.

In other words, John’s material on the topography of Jerusalem and his awareness of the geographical and psychological divisions of Palestine before the Jewish war reflect pre-70 AD conditions.

5. He did not use Matthew Mark or Luke, and seems to be unaware of Q. If Matthew and Luke know Mark, and John did not, there is a prima facie case for putting the 4th Gospel before the 1st and 3rd. Where he agrees with the synoptics, it seems the synoptics are aware of his story such as the resurrection narratives (Compare Mark 16:9 with John 20)

John is not dependent upon the synoptics for his material and therefore does not for this reason have to be dated after them.

6. Even though John reflects a high Christology, it is no higher that Paul in such passages as Philippians 2 which was well before 70AD.

7. Current scholarship now sees John’s use of such concepts as Light and Dark, and the Logos as reflective more of DDS than dualist theology and Philo than Gnosticism. Compare the "Sons of Dark and Light" found in the DSS as closer in thought than any gnostic text ( which you need to reproduce to make a counter point) Although that is just scholarly babble, the use of John’s language as reflecting Gnostic thought is pretty much discounted by most today, even the atheist and well know critical scholar from Duke, Bart Ehrmann (which actually counts for nothing in this).

8. His theology of the resurrection is less developed than Paul’s, unlike Paul, he never mentions that believers will raise with Christ. The predictions by Jesus of his going away and coming back in 14.3 and 16.16 antedate the development (already found in Mark) of such sayings into predictions of either resur­rection or parousia. There is here no hint of the process of apocalypticization as found in the early Paul and the synoptics.

9. John also avoids the noun form of “faith.” (pistos) In other words, the ecclesiastical idea of “the faith” is not found ever in John which leaves one to wonder why. It seems that the community in which John wrote his gospel did not yet have a body of doctrine, or John did not show any interest in it.

10. He does not use the liturgy of the “Lords Supper” as found in 1 Corinthians 15 and the synoptics. It seems he is not aware of it, thus pre-dating it. At least this needs to be explained.

11. The aversive position that the Gospel takes toward the Jewish leadership (“synagogue of Satan” type expression, only found in John) reflects the early tensions of the church and synagogue, not a post 70 AD situation where there was a "parting of the ways."

12. Any first year Greek student knows that the grammar of John is the most simplistic in the NT, exactly what one would expect from a young Jewish writer.  This is seen for example in the use of "kai" as is similar to the Hebrew use of the "waw."

13. The author of the gospel claims to have been an eyewitness, unlike the other gospels.


Haggaion[/COLOR]
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 13, 2007 - 12:35AM #2
haggaion
Posts: 1,972
Trace,

Thank you for your input. I do not know what study you are referring to from 1910 but let me point a simple fact out to you. My second point, the P52 fragment, the Rylands Library Papyrus became available to the scholarly world a good 20 years after the study you mentioned. It was dated early 2nd second century. So we know it existed even though the study you mentioned says no one quoted from it.

Do you understand the reasoning? There might be a lack of 2nd century quotes from the church fathers (which basically means Ignatius and Justin Martyr) but they have a scrap of a portion of the gospel dated from the time period.

Your second point fails for the same reason. Also, lets read the John 5 passage:

“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.”

How does that sound pagan, and not Jewish? Also, how do you know what sounds pagan and what sounds Jewish? If anything it sounds Jewish in vv. 10-11

“The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat."

Besides the date being 125 AD, a date that post dates P52, which in my mind settles the issue.

The reference you mentioned is from the website called jesusneverexisted.com Not quiet an unbiased source. But what for me is even more interesting about the pool, is that Biblical Archaeological Review had an article on it, as did the LA Times (2005), that mid-2nd century the pool was refitted from the original pool built in around 185 BC, adding Greek gods of healing on each of the five sides of the pool. So it seems, when Jerusalem was resettled by gentiles after the Bar Kochba revolt, the pool still had the memory of the event that John wrote about 75 years earlier. So, if anything, what you are referring to is post John, not pre John.

Haggaion
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3 years ago  ::  May 16, 2011 - 7:28PM #3
Gluskap
Posts: 2

This is my first post in these forums. This seemed like a good thread to join, even though it is kinda old.


1. The single most debatable and climatic event of the period, that being the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and with it the collapse of institutional Judaism based on the temple, but is never once mentioned or eluded to as a past fact in the gospel of John.


The author of John may have tried to conceal the date of his writing.


4. John mentions certain historical facts not mentioned in the other gospels. For example:   He perceived the religious differences between the Jew and the Samaritan (4:9,20)


I don't think this proves anything. After all, the Samaritans still exist today.


He knew the pool of Bethesda had five porches 5:2, something that recent archaeological digs just discovered. Note also, John uses “is”, not “was” to describe it, thus pre-70 AD.


The temple was once the largest temple in the Mediterranean. Its attributes wouldn't be forgotten by the whole world overnight.


John 7:23 “If a child is circumcised on the Sabbath to avoid breaking the law of Moses, why are you indignant with me for giving health on the Sabbath to the whole of a man's body?” This reflects contemporary rabbinic disputes and a Sitz im Leben within a Jewish environment such as that of the primitive Church.


This statement may be actual words of Jesus that were preserved, like Q. There argument also resembles a similar statement from Jesus in Mark about healing on the sabbath, of which it may be a reformulation.


5. He did not use Matthew Mark or Luke, and seems to be unaware of Q. If Matthew and Luke know Mark, and John did not, there is a prima facie case for putting the 4th Gospel before the 1st and 3rd. Where he agrees with the synoptics, it seems the synoptics are aware of his story such as the resurrection narratives (Compare Mark 16:9 with John 20)


I don't think John is independent of Mark. The author knew the stories, but didn't have his own codex to copy from, which is why the order and details can be so different.


 6. Even though John reflects a high Christology, it is no higher that Paul in such passages as Philippians 2 which was well before 70AD.


John's Christology is indeed higher than Paul's, and Philippians is of disputed authorship.


7. Current scholarship now sees John’s use of such concepts as Light and Dark, and the Logos as reflective more of DDS than dualist theology and Philo than Gnosticism. Compare the "Sons of Dark and Light" found in the DSS as closer in thought than any gnostic text ( which you need to reproduce to make a counter point) Although that is just scholarly babble, the use of John’s language as reflecting Gnostic thought is pretty much discounted by most today, even the atheist and well know critical scholar from Duke, Bart Ehrmann (which actually counts for nothing in this).


The link between John and the Essenes is strong, but since they weren't whipped out until 70AD, I think that allows time for John to be written within a generation while still preserving Essene phrases.


8. His theology of the resurrection is less developed than Paul’s, unlike Paul, he never mentions that believers will raise with Christ. The predictions by Jesus of his going away and coming back in 14.3 and 16.16 antedate the development (already found in Mark) of such sayings into predictions of either resur­rection or parousia. There is here no hint of the process of apocalypticization as found in the early Paul and the synoptics.


I think by the time John was written, apocalypticism was beginning to die out, so your proof actually proves the opposite point.


9. John also avoids the noun form of “faith.” (pistos) In other words, the ecclesiastical idea of “the faith” is not found ever in John which leaves one to wonder why. It seems that the community in which John wrote his gospel did not yet have a body of doctrine, or John did not show any interest in it.


The noun form of pistos doesn't arrive in the NT until the psuedo-Pauline texts like Titus, in the second century.


10. He does not use the liturgy of the “Lords Supper” as found in 1 Corinthians 15 and the synoptics. It seems he is not aware of it, thus pre-dating it. At least this needs to be explained.


The author (or his community) may not have approved of the symbolism of the Eucharist (consuming human flesh) and deliberately avoided the subject. Not all proto-Christian groups were identical in practices.


11. The aversive position that the Gospel takes toward the Jewish leadership (“synagogue of Satan” type expression, only found in John) reflects the early tensions of the church and synagogue, not a post 70 AD situation where there was a "parting of the ways."


I think the opposite is true. As the Christian movement became more Gentile, the strong the anti-Jewish sentiment became.


12. Any first year Greek student knows that the grammar of John is the most simplistic in the NT, exactly what one would expect from a young Jewish writer.  This is seen for example in the use of "kai" as is similar to the Hebrew use of the "waw."   13. The author of the gospel claims to have been an eyewitness, unlike the other gospels.


I think the level of literary ability of the author is irrelevant to the time period.



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3 years ago  ::  Mar 10, 2012 - 8:00AM #4
Rgurley4
Posts: 8,819


Here a few of my research conclusions based on a few writings of conservative Bible scholars.


If you have a question about God and know nothing about Him or the Bible...
START with the APOSTLE / DISCIPLE / "most beloved of Jesus"
...John the Elder, Son of Zebedee...his gospel and his letters!


REFs:


www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html


bible.org/seriespage/gospel-john-introdu...


Most scholars date this gospel c. 90s-100.
There is a growing number of scholars, however, who place it sometime before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.
 John still would be the last gospel penned, even though it would not have been written until c. 65.
There is much primitive terminology used in this gospel. E.g., Jesus’ followers are called “disciples” in John, not apostles.
As with the other gospels, no MSS which contain John’s Gospel affirm authorship by anyone other than John.
...from the beginning of the second century, the fourth gospel was strongly attached to the apostle John.
..."P"—the earliest fragment for any NT book—contains portions of John 18:31-33 and 37-38
and is to be dated as early as 100 CE;
and the Papyrus Egerton ,
which is to be dated at about the same time, draws on both John and synoptics for its material.
...The oldest fragment of the New Testament, known as "P" or the John Rylands fragment,
attests to canonical John and is dated paleographically c. 120-130 CE.
Early external testimony places the publication of this gospel in Ephesus.
There is also some testimony that John the apostle lived out his later years in Ephesus.
John’s Gospel places an emphasis on the deity of Christ more explicitly than any other gospel.
John presents Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, who is to be believed in order that one might right NOW pass from "death" to "life".
John’s Gospel was written at about the same time as Matthew and Luke,
for the evangelist shows virtually no awareness of the material found in the other gospels (typically common oral traditions being an exception).


WHY written:
John wanted to give Paul’s churches the gospel because Paul died.
He wrote the last chapter in haste, and as the final catalyst to his efforts, because Peter died.
...after the death of Paul (summer of 64), the remaining apostles felt it necessary to communicate to Paul’s churches
in order to make sure that they knew how they felt about Paul’s gospel.
Peter wrote one letter, then another.
John was putting on the finishing touches of his gospel for Paul’s churches (
since the churches of Asia Minor had none and since Paul did not know Christ according to the flesh) when Peter was arrested.
John had intended merely to end the gospel at chapter 20, as seems obvious.
What made him add the final chapter?
2 Peter 1:15 gives the clue:
“Now I am eager that each of you have a memorial of these things after my departure.”
This verse has been interpreted in many ways, but whatever it refers to it is fairly clear
that some sort of posthumous document written by other than Peter is in mind.
========================================================
Unique Theology of John's Gospel
...For the Gospel of John set the new religion upon the rails of thought and theology upon which it was to run for a thousand years.
The Greeks called it the Gospel of John the Divine —the Theologian—as we speak of the "Great Divines."
So clearly did they recognize this great quality in it...
...John never mentions the church or its officers, but no gospel lays more stress on both....
....While the church is never mentioned in John,
it is symbolized in Jesus' circle of personal followers and in the group of disciples in the Upper Room Discourse, chapters 13 and following.
...The Gospel of John is a charter of Christian experience.
For the evangelist, to know Christ through inner experience matters more than to have seen him face to face in Galilee.
"Blessed be those who believe without having seen me," 20:29.
What supremely matters in religion is not so much what men said or did, here or there,
but the power of the Christian experience to create itself anew in the human heart, no matter where or when.
...There is something almost liturgical in sentences using the great " I AM's "...before Abraham was " I AM ".
"I am the Bread that gives life," "I am the Good Shepherd," "I am the Door," "I am the Light of the World,"
"I am Resurrection and Life," "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life." They are in the religious style of the mystery religions.
Without that what would all the dogmas, all the liturgies, and all the literatures be worth to us?
John's difference from the other gospel narratives was recognized by such ancient Christian writers
such as Clement of Alexandria in the late second century,
Origen in the early third century, and
Eusebius in the early fourth century,
who set the stage for opposing views of John's relation to the Synoptics.
John was deemed either compatible with, if supplementary to, the other canonical Gospels,
as Clement and Eusebius believed,
or obviously at odds historically with the companion works, according to Origen’s opposing view. ..
From the time of Irenaeus (A.D. 180-89) certainly,
and probably from the time of the making of the Fourfold Gospel corpus (115-25),
the name of John has been attached to the gospel,
doubtless from the fact that John the Elder was the writer of II and III John and very probably of I John, also.
The question of the identity and personality of John the Elder belongs, however, to the discussion of the Johannine letters.



 

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 11, 2012 - 9:15AM #5
Blü
Posts: 25,075

Rgurley


Nothing in your post is about the question of an historical Jesus.


And the rules of Bnet prohibit proselytizing.


Leaving those things aside, one of the things that place John around 100 CE is his antisemitism, as the Christians reach the stage in their development when they want to show the superiority of Jesus over Judaism.  Up till then, Christianity was a cult within Judaism, and the author of Matthew could say (at 5:8) that not a letter of the Jewish law would change until the Kingdom was established - a proposition totally inconsistent with John.


John still would be the last gospel penned


On the evidence presented by Ted Weeden, the author of Mark used Josephus' account of the trial of Jesus son of Ananus as his template for the trial of Jesus son of Mary.  Since Josephus' text couldn't have been available before 75 CE, and since scholarship is all but unanimous that Mark was the earliest gospel. the present mainstream datings seem if anything rather too early.


John wanted to give Paul’s churches the gospel because Paul died.


I'm not aware of any evidence to support that.  How do you justify your claim?


What made him add the final chapter?


What makes you think the author of John added the final chapter?


2 Peter 1:15 gives the clue:


Scholarship is likewise firm on the view that 2 Peter is a pseudepigraph - which is the polite word for forgery,

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2 years ago  ::  May 03, 2012 - 4:24PM #6
Beingofone
Posts: 424

Well done Haggaion - I agree.

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2 years ago  ::  May 08, 2012 - 11:19AM #7
Kwinters
Posts: 22,154

There is also the problem of theological sophistication.  The theology about Jesus developed over time.


For instance, if we examine the pre-Pauline creeds found in Paul's letters and in Acts, it is clear that the first Jesus followers believed he was made into the messiah after he was resurrected.


Over time that moves back to his being made the son of man at his baptism (see Mark), then later, it was decided he was made the son of man when we was conceived (see Luke).


Finally, in John, Jesus is assumed to be divine pre-existent to his earthly appearance.  John and Mark both lack nativity stories, but for two different reasons: In Mark he is a born a man, in John he is a god born as a man.


There are also the problems of anachronisms (e.g. Jesus was not put out of the Temple in his lifetime, that was pure invention on the part of the author of John).


All these point to a date in the late 1 century or early 2nd.

Jesus had two dads, and he turned out alright.~ Andy Gussert

“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.

If someone says, “Oh, I’m not a feminist,” I ask, “Why, what’s your problem?”

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2 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2012 - 3:50PM #8
Harry3142
Posts: 88

  There is evidence to support all four of the gospels having been written before the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem. The Muratorian Fragment, itself dated to circa 170 AD, states that Acts was already completed prior to St. Paul's release from his first imprisonment and his journeying on to Spain. This dates that book to no later than 62 AD, since it is commonly accepted that St. Paul was martyred circa 64 AD as part of Nero's war against Christianity.


  Acts was originally an appendix to The Gospel of St. Luke, the third of the synoptic gospels to have been written. The gospels that were completed prior to Luke were Matthew and Mark. Those of us who accept this evidence that Acts was already completed before the death of St. Paul also accept that the three synoptic gospels were already completed long before 62 AD.


  As for The Gospel of St. John, it is also mentioned in The Muratorian Fragment. And there is nothing to indicate that it was not completed prior to the temple's being destroyed. It quotes certain locations in the present tense, when we know that those locations were obliterated when the romans destroyed Jerusalem.


  For those who are interested, The Muratorian Fragment can be read on this website:


www.bible-researcher.com/muratorian.html 


Other arguments for an early dating of the New Testament can be read on this website:


www.christiancadre.org/topics/dating_nt.html 

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2 years ago  ::  Nov 30, 2012 - 7:39PM #9
Blü
Posts: 25,075

Harry


The Muratorian Fragment, itself dated to circa 170 AD, states that Acts was already completed prior to St. Paul's release from his first imprisonment and his journeying on to Spain.


No.  The author of the Greek document translated in the Muratorian Fragment reflects on what events are, and are not, reported in Acts. 


He doesn't say when Acts was written.

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2 years ago  ::  Dec 01, 2012 - 8:00PM #10
teilhard
Posts: 51,407

None of the Gospel Authors "dated" her/his Composition ... so Scholars have a "field Day" trying to GUESS, usually based on a Mix of Internal and External "Evidence" ...

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