Dating authorship gospels
As scholarly sources like the note, the Gospels are not historical works (even if they contain some historical kernels).I have discussed elsewhere some of the reasons why scholars recognize that the Gospels are not historical in their genre, purpose, or character in my article “Ancient Historical Writing Compared to the Gospels of the New Testament.” However, I will now also lay out a resource here explaining why many scholars likewise doubt the traditional authorial attributions of the Gospels.Briefly, the arguments against Matthean authorship are: 1. No, it isn’t, because there is no evidence the Gospel ever circulated without its title.There is no dispute in the ancient world as to the authorship of this Gospel.Only a presupposition that prophecy can’t happen drives this argument. I will suggest that Matthew composed his Gospel in 30 AD. This makes very good sense against the background of 30 AD, before the mission to the Gentiles had started. Matthew writes that the rumor of the disciples theft of Jesus’ body was still circulating “to this day.” This makes no sense against the backdrop of 85 AD, when the Jerusalem hierarchy had been annihilated and Jews were scattered all over the map.It makes very good sense if this is only about a year after the tomb was discovered empty. The necessity of the composition of a Gospel is easily explained in this light.The external evidence consists of whatever evidence we have a given text.
After the Christians were scattered from Jerusalem, this was no longer the case.
As Armin Baum (“The Anonymity of the New Testament History Books,” pg.
121) explains: While most New Testament letters bear the names of their (purported) authors (James, Jude, Paul, Peter, or at least “the Elder”) the authors of the historical books [the Gospels and Acts] do not reveal their names.
So, is there any good reason to dismiss the ancient tradition of Matthean authorship? If they were making it up, why choose an obscure apostle such as Matthew? In fact, out of the Four Gospels, the only one written by a member of the Lord’s inner circle is the Fourth. As with before, there is no evidence for this view. Matthew reflects conflict with the Jewish community, which did not occur until later in the first century. Our only sources for the earliest period of Christian history, Acts and Paul, both say that the first persecutions of Christians were Jewish. Matthew records it as prophecy, and the precise wording of the eschatological discourse reflects no memory of the event. This converges precisely with the scattering from Jerusalem, and there is no other historical event which can explain the data as well: why was it James who wrote it? Acts 8:1 raises a difficulty for this view, since it says that all were scattered “except the apostles.” What seems probable to me is that Matthew made a personal visit to Antioch to make available the Jesus tradition to the Christians there, and while doing so, he prepared his Gospel.
Mark and Luke are not even attributed to apostles, though Mark writes based on Peter’s testimony. This is a presupposition driven by a concern to locate the separation of the church and the synagogue later in history and to heap blame on the church for “anti-Semitism.” 2. Instead, it is drawn from the language of the Hebrew prophets. After its completion, he brought a copy to Jerusalem, where it was reviewed and then circulated with the letter of James. Matthew’s concerns are clearly aimed towards a community of Jewish Christians.