Proof that the Gospels Date From 60 – 90 CE Proves to be False

When I was in seminary, one of the few arguments presented that the Gospels were written before 70 CE was that these text failed to mention the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans. With no real dating system for the Gospels in place, scholars (who were usually linked to a religious institution) needed to keep these texts as closely connected to an early first century Jesus as they could or this divine figure would fade into legend and myth.

I’ve seen this dating argument used in many well respected New Testament introductions, but it appears that none of these well known scholars ever did much objective reading outside the 27 canonical books of the latter Bible including Bart Ehrman who needs an early date for the Gospels to keep his Historical Jesus at least somewhat credible.

Since I’m fairly well read in the Apocryphal New Testament, I began to consider the fact that if what New Testament scholars were claiming about the New Testament’s (especially the Gospels) pre-70 CE dating was true, then could this failure to mention the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem be used as the same proof or fact that the entire corpus of the Apocryphal New Testament could be dated the same way? In other worlds, with no solid dating in place for the New Testament, how can scholars know for sure that this entire corpus of literature was composed  between the late second century to the fifth century CE (plus, whose knows where it was composed)?

To do a quick check, I found my copy of J.K . Elliott’s The Apocryphal New Testament: A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in an English Translation based on M.R. James (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1993) and scanned the entire Index of Subjects and Proper Names finding totally no reference to any Temple at all much less the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem that was destroyed 70 CE!

What I find so ironic is that for a figure as important as Jesus (who himself is referenced in the Gospels as speaking and reading Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin) composed totally nothing (other then writting in sand) as neither did any of his apostles who vanished into history leaving only the legend of their names associated with a few New Testament letters (by some Christians who needed authority to get an orthodox theology accepted) as well as some myths about their lives. Thus, if the criteria of an original apostle's name  being associated with a Christian document makes it authentic, then this would mean that these same apostles (including Paul himself ) wrote a hell of a lot more letters as Elliott notes in his book.


Fact is, any group living outside Roman Palestine, especially after the Bar Kokhba Revolt ( 132 – 135 CE), could have composed all the Gospel accounts (written as scholars love to point out in "The Original Greek”) with what little real historical evidence needed they could have gotten almost entirely from the Greek works Josephus composed in Rome before his death in 100 CE (plus a good imagination inventing a new Covenant Religion in light of the repeated failures of Judaism and it's theology).

Although scholars want to project the Synoptic Problem as a theory going back into an early oral tradition with their subjective Source and Literary Criticisms, it remains simply wishful thinking in that the Coptic Gospel of Thomas itself (used to support Q) dates from the fourth century CE in Egypt.

Sadly for the majority of New Testament scholarship, they continue to remain narrowly focused with their belief in a Historical Jesus  while feeding the believing Christian world with proof texts these lay believers demand with their wallets filled with money willing to pay for any support that keeps their faith going.