Once it can be established that disciples contemporaneous with Jesus wrote the gospels, then we know that the gospels were published in the lifetime of those disciples and in the same generation as Jesus himself. Bruce writes on the date of Festus’ procuratorship, “Festus appears to have governed Judaea from A. 59 to his death in 62…A more reliable pointer to the date of Felix's replacement has been found in a change in the Judaean provincial coinage attested for Nero's fifth year (A. 58-59); this coin issue ‘is more likely to be the work of a new procurator than of an outgoing one who had already minted a large issue’ (E. Smallwood, The Jews under Roman Rule, SJLA 20 [Leiden, 1976], p. He does not indicate that Luke’s gospel was published after Mark’s. The Gospel of John was published after the synoptic gospels while John was living in Ephesus.
© The Titus Institute 2010 The most important issue to establish for the four NT Gospels is not to establish the dates when the gospels were published, but to establish who wrote them. When Peter returned he gave his approval for a public edition of the gospel for the churches at large, which was published after Peter and Paul subsequently left Rome or had been martyred. Irenaeus does not give a time designation such as “then” regarding the publishing of Luke’s gospel.
The reliability of these earliest complete copies of books is indicated by the fact that they closely correspond to earlier portions of books. We do not have the original manuscripts, but the earlier manuscripts from which our complete texts are descended have not perished without a trace. They correspond closely to our texts listed above, and it is a fair inference that the missing portions would show the same correspondence. From the 3rd century: two leaves of a codex with some of the text of chapters 1, 16 and 20 of John. In essence, he demonstrates that the Synoptic Gospels can only have taken shape in the Jewish culture of the first half of the 1st century A. Riesner, Jesus als Lehrer, Mohr, Tübingen 1988 The Birth of the Synoptic Gospels, Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago 1987, p.61 The Hebrew Christ. Blizzard, Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus: New Insights from a Hebraic Perspective, Rev.
We now have 76 manuscripts of portions of the New Testament going back to the 4th century or earlier. It is now regarded as practically established that the four Gospels as we know them were circulating in Egypt as separate books within the first half of the second century. Looking at the table below, we can see that the oldest manuscripts of certain major works of Plato, Caesar, Cicero and Horace date from the 9th century; of Thucydides, Herodotus, Sophocles and Aristotle from the 10th; of Tacitus from the 11th—yet no one doubts that these manuscripts, though ever so many centuries later than their authors’ day, are, substantially, the uncorrupted descendants of the originals. D., and thus they evince the authenticity of their content and origin. Language in the Age of the Gospels, Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago 1989, p.324 A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark, 2nd. ed., Center for Judaic-Christian Studies, Dayton, Ohio 1994 De Vir.
Also, if they were written early, this would mean that there would not have been enough time for myth to creep into the gospel accounts since it was the eyewitnesses to Christ's life that wrote them. when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and burned the Temple. 65),"1 and we have further evidence that it was written very early and not long after Jesus' ascension into heaven. He was a companion of Paul who also was not an eyewitness of Christ's life. The date of Acts is still in dispute, but the early date (about A. 63) is gaining support constantly."9 The writer of the gospel of John was obviously an eyewitness of the events of Christ's life since he speaks from a perspective of having been there during many of the events of Jesus' ministry and displays a good knowledge of Israeli geography and customs.
Furthermore, those who were alive at the time of the events could have countered the gospel accounts and since we have no contradictory writings to the gospels, their early authorship as well as apostolic authorship becomes even more critical. The gold in the Temple melted down between the stone walls and the Romans took the walls apart, stone by stone, to get the melted gold. If we look at Acts 1:1-2 it says, "The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen." Most scholars affirm that Acts was written by Luke and that Theophilus (Grk. But, both had ample opportunity to meet the disciples who knew Christ and learn the facts not only from them, but from others in the area. The John Rylands papyrus fragment 52 of John's gospel dated in the year 125-135 contains portions of John 18, verses 31-33,37-38. It is the last of the gospels and appears to have been written in the 80's to 90's.
Therefore, the gospels were published in their lifetimes in the first century. And coming to the city of Rome, by the mighty co-operation of that power which was lying in wait there, he was in a short time so successful in his undertaking that those who dwelt there honored him as a god by the erection of a statue. For immediately, during the reign of Claudius, the all-good and gracious Providence, which watches over all things, led Peter, that strongest and greatest of the apostles, and the one who on account of his virtue was the speaker for all the others, to Rome against this great corrupter of life. Most scholars estimate that Paul came to Rome around 60 A. In Acts 24-27, Paul first appears before Antonius Felix, the Roman Procurator and is confined for the last two years of Felix’ procuratorship. Paul was most likely sent to Rome in the first year of Festus’ taking office which would have been around 59 or 60 A. For more information see our article “The Authorship and Publication of the Gospel of Luke.” So, as we have seen from Irenaeus’ statement synthesized with other evidence from the early church fathers, Matthew’s Hebrew version was published in the 50’s with the Greek version being published in the late 50’s to early 60’s A. Ireneaus mentions the general time period of John’s death in “Against Heresies” (3.3.5), “those who were conversant in Asia with John, the disciple of the Lord, [affirming] that John conveyed to them that information.
The historical literary evidence demonstrates that Matthew most likely issued his gospel originally in the Hebrew dialect in the 50’s A. for the Jewish Christians in Israel while Peter was in Rome ministering and then later sometime in the late 50’s or early 60’s he wrote his Greek version while Peter and Paul were ministering there. Peter and Paul preached together in Rome, but probably only for a short time in the early 60’s.
Then Mark published the private edition of his gospel for the church at Rome after Matthew’s. Mark then published a public edition of his gospel for the churches at large which was published after Peter and Paul subsequently left Rome or had been martyred. They often travelled to and from Rome on missionary journeys at different times during the 60’s.
We will begin with the synoptic gospels and then give the general time period of John’s gospel which was written much later than the first three. He sets sail for Rome in the first few months of Festus’ reign.
The dates of the publishing of the Synoptic Gospels as we shall see can be generally established by their connection with Peter and Paul’s ministry in Rome and their subsequent death at the hands of the Emporer Nero. The Historical Circumstances Explained Peter first came to Rome in the reign of the Emperor Claudius (50’s AD) Eusebius tells us that Peter came to Rome during the reign of Claudius to defend the faith against a heretic named Simon Magus. Since Festus was procurator from approximately 59 A.