Earliest papyri nt dating

20 Sep

When the New Testament was written is a significant issue, as one assembles the overall argument for Christianity.Confidence in the historical accuracy of these documents depends partly on whether they were written by eyewitnesses and contemporaries to the events described, as the Bible claims.Roman historian Colin Hemer has provided powerful evidence that Acts was written between AD 60 and 62. There is no mention in Acts of the crucial event of the fall of Jerusalem in 70. There is no hint of the outbreak of the Jewish War in 66 or of serious deterioration of relations between Romans and Jews before that time. There is no hint of the deterioration of Christian relations with Rome during the Neronian persecution of the late 60s. There is no hint of the death of James at the hands of the Sanhedrin in ca. At that time a new phase of conflict began with Christianity. Acts seems to antedate the arrival of Peter in Rome and implies that Peter and John were alive at the time of the writing. The prominence of 'God-fearers' in the synagogues may point to a pre-70 date, after which there were few Gentile inquiries and converts to Jerusalem. Luke gives insignificant details of the culture of an early, Julio-Claudian period. Areas of controversy described presume that the temple was still standing. Adolf Harnack contended that Paul's prophecy in Acts (cf. If so, the book must have appeared before those events. Christian terminology used in Acts reflects an earlier period.Harnack points to use of always designates 'the Messiah', and is not a proper name for Jesus. The confident tone of Acts seems unlikely during the Neronian persecutions of Christians and the Jewish War with the Rome during the late 60s. The action ends very early in the 60s, yet the description in Acts 27 and 28 is written with a vivid immediacy.

Both of these questions are answered within the fields of paleography and textual criticism, which seek to analyze ancient manuscripts of the New Testament to determine their date and accuracy.

(The oldest fragment we know of is from the Gospel of John, called P52 [Papyrus 52—pictured to the right], discovered in 1934 and dated to the first half of the second century.) As Peter Williams points out, 1-2 will not help researchers reach a date as precise as AD 80 or 90. But even this makes it difficult to reach a certain conclusion.

Williams explains a best-case scenario: If for convenience we suppose that [1] other manuscripts in the mask are ones with dates that survive (remembering that for a majority of texts no date survives) and [2] that the mask luckily enough contains four texts with firm date formulae (which would be really nice, but quite unlikely) and that these date formulae show manuscripts from the years 50, 60, 70 and 80, [then] that would still not mean that they could not be put together with a manuscript from considerably later than the year 90 to make a mummy mask.

The Gospel of Luke was written by the same author as the Acts of the Apostles, who refers to Luke as the 'former account' of 'all that Jesus began to do and teach' (Acts 1:1).

The destiny ('Theophilus'), style, and vocabulary of the two books betray a common author. The significance of Gallio's judgement in Acts -17 may be seen as setting precedent to legitimize Christian teaching under the umbrella of the tolerance extended to Judaism. The prominence and authority of the Sadducees in Acts reflects a pre-70 date, before the collapse of their political cooperation with Rome. The relatively sympathetic attitude in Acts to Pharisees (unlike that found even in Luke's Gospel) does not fit well with in the period of Pharisaic revival that led up to the council at Jamnia.