11 Mar 2013 
#62 Dating of Luke's & John's gospels: a simplified study

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1. Dating of Luke's gospel

1.1. Not all of Jesus' generation will be dead when the Kingdom comes:

Lk 21:32 "... this generation will not pass away till all has taken place." RSV
Note: "all" includes the advent of the Kingdom (21:25-28).

Lk 9:27 "But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God."

These two verses originated from gMark (13:30 & 9:1) and are repeated in gMatthew. That points to a first century composition for gLuke, as it is for gMatthew.

Let's compare Lk 21:32 with the corresponding verse in gMarcion (written early 2nd century):
"... The heaven and the earth shall in no wise pass away, till all things be accomplished."
See the difference.

1.2. "Luke" did not know (despite the appearances!) about Josephus' Antiquities (published 93 CE) but used Josephus' Wars (published 78 CE):

See here for explanations.

1.3. gLuke was written before Marcion's gospel:

See here for explanations.

1.4. gLuke and gJohn

1.4.1. The anointment in Bethany by Mary, the sister of Martha (Jn 12:1-8):

12:1 "... Jesus came to Bethany ..."
12:2 "... Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him."
12:3 "Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. ..."

It appears to be a conflation of:
a) Lk 10:38-42: at the home of "Martha" and her sister "Mary"(but NOT specified in Bethany, and NO anointment here)
b) Mk 14:3-8: when "reclining at the table", anointment in "Bethany" by a woman, with "pure nard", an "expensive perfume" (but NOT on the feet (on the head instead), NO "Martha" and "Mary", and NO wiping with the woman's hair)
c) Lk 7:36-38: a woman "poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair" (but NOT specified in Bethany, and NO "Martha" and "Mary", and NO "pure nard")

1.4.2. Annas and Caiaphas, the high priests (Jn 18:13-24):

Jn18:13 "And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year."
Annas is not called a high priest here, but Caiaphas is. Furthermore, Jesus is brought to Annas first (and interrogated then) because of the later being the 'father-in-law'! This is rather unconvincing.

When Jesus is still in Annas' house:
Jn 18:15 "Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest's courtyard,"
Jn 18:19 "Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching."
Now, but indirectly, Annas is also the high priest! But according to Josephus' Antiquities, there was only one high priest in office at any time; and during Jesus' public life, it was Caiaphas, not Annas.

Jn18:24 "Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest."

Please note:
a) In gLuke, both Annas and Caiaphas are the high priests at the time (Lk 3:2 "while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests").
b) Both "Luke" and "John" spelled "Annas" the same way, but Josephus' works has no "Annas" as high priest, at any times (the closest names are Ananus and Ananias).
c) In gMark, Caiaphas is not named, but "the high priest" is written (14:53, 61, 63).
d) In gMatthew, "Caiaphas" is the high priest (26:57) and the only one mentioned.
e) gMark, gLuke & gMatthew do not have Jesus being shuttled from one high priest's house to another one.

Conclusion: it looks Jn 18:24 was added on and also the middle part (shown in Italics) of Jn 18:13. The original version had Caiaphas (correctly) as the only high priest. Then came gLuke ...

1.4.3. John's gospel ending:

a) At Jn 20:10, after the 'empty tomb' segment (as in Mk 16:8, the original ending of gMark), we have "... the disciples went away again to their own homes", as "prophesied" in Mk 14:27-28 (disciples dispersing in Galilee) & Jn 16:32 "... you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone".
Certainly, it does not look here the disciples stayed together in Jerusalem.

b) Let's consider:
Jn 13:33 "Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; ..."
Jn 13:36 "... "Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward."
Jn 16:10 "... because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;"
There is no hint here Jesus will reappear to his disciples right after his resurrection. Actually, this is rather dispelled in Jn 16:10.

c) In the 'empty tomb' passage, we have:
Jn 20:3-8 " Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying thereand the cloth that had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itselfThen the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;"
Why so much importance is given to the linen (more so the head wrapping) as a proof to Jesus' resurrection if, next, the author had intended to have Jesus show himself to his disciples?

Conclusion: at one time, gJohn was ending right at Jn 20:10 and before Jesus reappearing to Mary Magdelene and disciples.

Then, suddenly, at Jn 20:11, Mary Magdelene is said to be by the tomb and see "two angels". Only in gLuke (24:4), among the Synoptics, there are two angels in the tomb.

Then later, Jesus reappears to his disciples assembled together somewhere in Jerusalem:
Jn 20:19-20 "Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord."

Let's notice the similarities with the first part of Luke's apparition to the disciples:
Lk24:36-39a "Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you." But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet ..."" (the words in italics may be an interpolation because not showing in some ancient manuscripts)

I have a lot more evidence about gJohn relationship with gMark & gLuke on this webpage, where I demonstrated gJohn was composed in stages, first after gMark was known, then after gLuke got available, etc.

So, if gLuke was available to "John" when he was writing his gospel, then when was gJohn completed? That would give us a latest possible date for gLuke.

2. Dating of John's gospel

The dating for the final version of gJohn can only be estimated from the epilogue (Jn 21).
Here, the beloved disciple is suggested to have died:
"Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. ... When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me." Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; ..." (20-23)
"This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We [other ones than the disciple] know that his testimony is true." (24)

If that (alleged) disciple was twenty years old in 30 CE, then he would be ninety years old by 100 CE, an exceptional old age for these days. And Irenaeus, a late 2nd century Christian, related in 'Against Heresies', II, that he "lived till Trajan's times [98-117]".

The Gnostic Basilides (120-140) was among the first ones to quote gJohn:
According to Hippolytus of Rome, in 'Refutation of all heresies', book VII:
Chapter XV "... all the events in our Lord's life occurred, according to them [Basilidians], in the same manner as they have been described in the Gospels." (which would imply Basilides knew about a few gospels, as can be confirmed next, from the same book)
Basilides about gJohn:
Chapter X "The seed of the cosmical system was generated, he [Basilides] says, from nonentities; the word which was spoken, "Let there be light." And this, he [Basilides] says, is that which has been stated in the Gospels: "He was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."[words in italics are as in Jn 1:9]" and
Chapter XV "And that each thing, says [Basilides], has its own particular times, the Saviour is a sufficient [witness] when He observes, "Mine hour is not yet come." [words in italics are as in Jn 2:4]"

Basilides knew also about gLuke. Again from Hippolytus of Rome, in 'Refutation of all heresies', book VII:
Chapter XIV "This, he [Basilides] says, is that which has been declared: "The Holy Spirit will come upon thee," that which proceeded from the Sonship through the conterminous spirit upon the Ogdoad and Hebdomad, as far as Mary; "and the power of the Highest will overshadow thee," [bolded italics as in Lk1:35]"

As also did Valentinus (120-160), according to Irenaeus 'Against Heresies' III, XIV, 3-4 and Hippolytus of Rome, in 'Refutation of all heresies', book VI:
Chapter XXX " [Valentinus says] Jesus was born of Mary the virgin, according to the declaration, "The Holy Ghost will come upon thee"--Sophia is the Spirit--"and the power of the Highest will overshadow thee"--the Highest is the Demiurge,--"wherefore that which shall be born of thee shall be called holy."" (bolded italics as in Lk 1:35)

More about external evidence here.

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {dating} {John's gospel} {Luke's gospel}
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