Late dating of the gospels
The proposal that they made up a unified work was first advanced by Martin Noth in 1943, and has been widely accepted.
Noth proposed that the entire history was the creation of a single individual working in the exilic period (6th century BCE); since then there has been wide recognition that the history appeared in two "editions", the first in the reign of Judah's King Josiah (late 7th century), the second during the exile (6th century).
The Greek version was probably finalised in the early Persian period and translated into Greek in the 3rd century BCE, and the Hebrew version dates from some point between then and the 2nd century BCE.
The Book of Ezekiel describes itself as the words of the Ezekiel ben-Buzi, a priest living in exile in the city of Babylon, and internal evidence dates the visions to between 593 and 571 BCE.
Scholars recognise three "sections" in the Book of Isaiah: Proto-Isaiah (the original 8th century Isaiah); Deutero-Isaiah (an anonymous prophet living in Babylon during the exile); and Trito-Isaiah (an anonymous author or authors in Jerusalem immediately after the exile).
The Book of Jeremiah exists in two versions, Greek (the version used in Orthodox Christian Bibles) and Hebrew (Jewish, Catholic and Protestant Bibles), with the Greek representing the earlier version.
This group of books, plus Deuteronomy, is called the "Deuteronomistic history" by scholars.
Finally, scholars turn to external sources, including the testimony of early church leaders, writers outside the church (mainly Jewish and Greco-Roman historians) who would have been more likely to have criticized the early churches, and to archaeological evidence.
When judging the historical reliability of the gospels, scholars ask if the accounts in the gospels are, when judged using normal standards that historians use on other ancient writings, reliable or not.
180 BCE) and is in turn used by the Psalms of Solomon (mid-1st century BCE). 6:1–73 of the Book of Baruch, is sometimes considered a separate book. A genuine Pauline letter, it mentions "Caesar's household," leading some scholars to believe that it is written from Rome, but some of the news in it could not have come from Rome.
This is based on three strands of evidence: (a) the setting of Matthew reflects the final separation of Church and Synagogue, about 85 CE; (b) it reflects the capture of Jerusalem and destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE; (c) it uses Mark, usually dated around 70 CE, as a source.80–90 CE, on the grounds that Luke-Acts uses Mark as a source, looks back on the destruction of Jerusalem, and does not show any awareness of the letters of Paul (which began circulating late in the century); if, however, it does show awareness of the letters of Paul and also of the works of Josephus, then a date early in the 2nd century is more likely. The dating of this letter depends on whether it was written to the northern or southern portion of Galatia (with the former representing the later date). It seems rather to date from an earlier imprisonment, perhaps in Ephesus, from which Paul hopes to be released.c. Some scholars believe Colossians dates from Paul's imprisonment in Ephesus around 55 CE, but differences in the theology suggest that it comes from much later in his career, around the time of his imprisonment in Rome.c. If this is a genuine Pauline epistle it follows closely on 1 Thessalonians.