I admired the Bishop of Woolwich for his radicalism so it came as a big surprise when he came out in favour or the early dating of much of the New Testament. And my old RE teacher, who argued for the historicity of John was also right. This book read like a detective book. He describes a developing dissatisfaction with current assumptions regarding the dating of the New Testament books. His intensive explorations in the Gospel of John first led him to believe that he was hearing the voice of Jesus, if not the actual words.
‘if you want to find out how Robinson manages to date the whole of the NT before AD 70, you will have to follow him in this long and Oinstaking.
There is strong internal testimony that the Gospels were written at an early date. The Book of Acts records the missionary activity of the early Church and was written as a sequel by the same person who wrote the Gospel according to Luke. The Book of Acts ends with the apostle Paul being alive in Rome, his death not being recorded. This would lead us to believe that it was written before he died, since the other major events in his life have been recorded.
We have some reason to believe that Paul was put to death in the Neronian persecution of A. If the Book of Acts was written before A. The death of Christ took place around A.
What is the “Robinson Redating of the New Testament”?
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. Negative critical scholars strengthen their own views as they separate the actual events from the writings by as much time as possible.
For this reason radical scholars argue for late first century, and if possible second century, dates for the autographs [original manuscripts]. By these dates they argue that the New Testament documents, especially the Gospels, contain mythology. The writers created the events contained, rather than reported them.
Codex Sinaiticus of the mid 4th century contains the entire New Testament. A.D.: portions of 19 verses of St Matthew; papyri of St John’s Gospel Anglican bishop J.A.T. Robinson, well-known for the theological liberalism of his book.
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Redating the NEW TESTAMENT By John A.T. Robinson
Many people who read and study the NT today are aware that there are 27 books generally divided into gospels and letters epistles and that most of them were written in the first century by such notable authors as John, Luke, Paul, Peter, James, etc. Bible studies generally focus on issues of interpretation rather than on a critical history of the text. In other words, what did the text mean to the original hearers and how can we apply that meaning to our individual and corporate life in the church today?
Other individuals, however, desire to know much more about the NT and often raise the following questions:. The answers to these questions are not easy or universally accepted because we do not possess all the necessary information to reconstruct the history of the NT and the process of canonization.
Robinson concludes for a date in the early 60s. John represents in date, as in theology, not only the omega but also the alpha of New Testament development.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we’ll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer – no Kindle device required. And the trail is indeed long, but by no means laborious, for Dr Robinson’s style is easy, even conversational. His book is a prodigious virtuoso exercise in inductive reasoning, and an object-lesson in the nature of historical argument and historical knowledge.
It is, I think, the finest of all his writings, and its energy is marvellous’ TheListener. The rumour of this revolutionary conclusion has already given the book notoriety and led some either to dismiss it out of hand or to lose patience with what is taken to be frivolous donnish antics. It would be a great pity if this were to become its dominant reputation, for it is, as we should expect, a work of extensive and careful scholarship, raising serious if unfashionable questions I am grateful to Bishop Robinson for compelling me to reopen my mind on any problems in the NT and happy to acknowledge with him that ‘all the statements’ which he puts forward ‘should be taken as questions.
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Redating New Testament by John Robinson
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The opinions and hypotheses of scholars vary widely. On the one hand, some view the New Testament as a collection of fables and myths verbally passed on by storytellers for generations before any written documents were made. On the other hand, many scholars believe that most of the New Testament was written before the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. Robinson demonstrates that the books of the New Testament were written relatively early. Robinson summarizes chronology theories put forth by several scholars, noting that virtually every theory puts the writing of the New Testament far too late Robinson, Redating the New Testament, , pp.
In spite of the late dates assigned by some scholars, it is possible to determine when the books of the New Testament were written. However, in order to establish more accurately when these books were written, it is essential to begin with known scriptural facts and verifiable historical dates. Matthew, a Levite and tax collector, was one of the first disciples that Jesus had called to be an apostle.
Otherwise, the thousands of new believers would not be able to properly observe their first New Covenant Passover. The internal evidence gives a fairly good idea of when Matthew began writing his Gospel. However, there is no direct indication as to when he finished it or when it was in general use. Thus, the Gospel of Matthew must have been written before James wrote his Epistle.
From the internal evidence of the Epistle as well as from historical writings, it can be determined that James wrote his Epistle very early.
Dating the New Testament
If this were the case then it would be quite natural for Hellenistic thought to have already affected the content of the gospel. But if it transpires that the gospels were put into the Greek form we know today as early as AD and that their background too betrays a Hebrew draft stage, then the content of the gospels also receives a new trustworthiness. In this way the New Testament will present a picture of the “historical Jesus” and will transmit to us much more than “the faith of the early church” and that church’s experience of the “redemption event”.
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls caused a very radical but positive change in the 50’s in the criticism of John’s gospel, as we shall see.
This type of evidence has recently led one liberal scholar, John A.T. Robinson, to re-date the New Testament documents much earlier than.
Post a comment. I say “at last,” because in the introductory chapter he had noted that it was doubts about the standard dating of this literature to the 90s that led him on the course of research that eventuated in Redating. That his real interest is ultimately in the dates of these four texts is reinforced by the fact that his next, and last, monograph was The Priority of John , which although not quite complete at the time of his passing was published posthumously.
In this blog post, I’ll focus specifically upon the Gospel of John, and in another upon the letters. An initial word must be given regarding Robinson’s use of “priority. What Robinson means however is something closer to what I would call “primitivity. This is crucial for dating purposes, because it was the idea that John represented an advanced Christianity that led F. Baur to date it into the late-2nd century. A date that late is today a non-starter, largely due to the work of J.
Lightfoot a generation after Baur, but there remains a lingering supposition that John must come last of all the gospels, and must be late enough to allow its advanced theology to develop although how we can know whether that development must have taken sixty years rather than thirty, I’ve never been entirely clear. Robinson makes much the same point with regard specifically to Brown’s five-stage theory of the development of John’s Gospel: one could in fact affirm those five stages and date the gospel to the 60s rather than the 90s, as Brown insists one must do.
Robinson affirms and builds upon the work of C. Dodd, which aimed to show that John in fact builds extensively upon an early, “primitive,” tradition that was in direct contact with the Jewish-Christian circles of the first Christian generation.