Can any of the texts of the New Testament, other than Acts, 1 Thessalonians or 2 Peter (for which I already have evidence), be interpreted in such a way that they MUST have been written before the end of the first century?

  • Far outside scope. – Luke Sawczak Jul 5 '18 at 10:02
  • The only possible answer to the question as currently posed ("Can any NT texts be interpreted so as to demand a pre-1st C origin?") is, "Of course!" But is OP's "real" question rather: "Do any NT texts require a pre-100 date of origin?", which is a different matter. – Dɑvïd Jul 5 '18 at 14:11

One of the most important indicators of the date of a manuscript is the presence of any references to chronologically known events. In the case of the New Testament, a major event is the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD/CE.

For example, the account in Acts about Paul's involvement and arrest over an incident at the Jerusalem Temple indicates that the Temple had not been destroyed yet. Someone challenging this reference would have to come up with some extraordinary contradicting evidence.

However, the absence of a reference to a major event, doesn't necessarily mean that a manuscript preceded the event, and this is where historical contexts are subject to argument--would the writer have been expected to mention the event in the context of the subject of the manuscript.


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    You have confused three totally different issues: (1) the date of an event, (2) the date of a text mentioning that event, (3) the date of a manuscript containing that text. – fdb Mar 26 '18 at 10:37
  • Good point, but I left out detail including (4) The textual source of the account of the event, (5) the reliability of the author, (6) the relationship of the author with the source and the event, (7) the cultural interpretation of the event, (8) the translation of the account and subsequent translations, if any, (9) scribal errors, (10) ideological censorship (per Emmanuel Tov), (11) changes in language between then and now as applied to the original text and each translation, (12) the reader's cultural context. I'm probably leaving out more. Each issue could be raised if there's evidence. – Dieter Mar 27 '18 at 22:14

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