Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Thu Dec 31 00:15:56 UTC 2009

Gospel ...

>>The word is primarily used
>>to refer to the four canonical gospels: the Gospel of St.Matthew,
>>Gospel of St. Mark, Gospel of St.Luke and Gospel of St.John, probably
>>written between AD 65 and 80."
> Of course -- but they differ.

As do the dates of the original composition.  I was a little taken aback by
the range AD 65 and 80 given above -- essentially, this is the earliest
possible dating of the earliest written Gospel, Mark, which has to have been
composed after 65 CE at the absolute earliest, and virtually certainly some
greater or lesser time after 70 CE.  A more plausible terminus ad quem for
the latest of the four canonical gospels might be 170 CE, perhaps even
later, for John.

A fraught area, admittedly, but giving an unqualified dating of "AD 65 and
80," implicitly applied to the dating of all four canonical gospels, doesn't
really help anyone.  Is there a properly qualified Biblical scholar in the
house?  I'm one only to the extent of recognising that the original
assertion with regard to the date is somewhat ... loaded.

(As to why it matters ...  Even the earliest dating of the canonical gospels
would place their initial composition after the conclusion of a power
struggle in the early Christian church between Saul of Tarsus and James.  As
such, they reflect to a greater or lesser degree an ideological
confrontation, with the history presented from the point of view of the
successful faction.  The later one places the composition of the gospels
[and that leaves aside possible revisions after they are first written
down], the more this is likely to be true.  To the extent that one should
perhaps refer to the Pauline Gospels rather than the Canonical Gospels.  <g>

And that's *before we come to the question of the origins of the doctrine of
the Trinity ...

'Nuff said.)

Robin Hamilton

The American Dialect Society -

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