One of the questions I often get asked on the blog is how we know when the Gospels were written.   I’ve answer the question at some length before, and thought it might be useful to answer it again. Here’s what I said years ago, and looking at it, I’d say the same thing again.  In fact, I will.  Here:



How are the dates that the Gospels were composed determined? I’ve read that Mark is usually dated to 70 or later because of the reference to the destruction of the temple. Is this the only factor that leads scholars to conclude that it was composed in 70 CE or later or are there other factors?

I’ve heard that Luke and Matthew are likewise dated aroun 80-85 CE to give time for Mark to have been in circulation enough to be a source for them. Is this accurate?

How is John usually dated to around 95 CE (or whatever the correct period is) since it is usually described as independent of the other Gospels?



This is a great question, and one that is actually difficult to answer.  I’ll start on some basics that I think everyone can agree on.   (Well, OK, there is *nothing* that  absolutely everyone agrees on, as I continually re-learn with some chagrin).    First…

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