Dating the new testament gospels
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.
Paul also gives historical details about Jesus' contemporaries, the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:5-8), including his private encounters with Peter and the apostles (Galatians -). Earlier, Clement of Rome cited Matthew, John, and 1 Corinthians, in 95 to 97.
Surrounding persons, places, and events of Christ's birth were all historical. Albright wrote, 'We can already say emphatically that there is no long any basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about AD 80, two full generations before the date between 130 and 150 given by the more radical New Testament critics of today.' (, 136). Ignatius referred to six Pauline epistles in about 110, and between 110 and 150 Polycarp quoted from all four gospels, Acts, and most of Paul's epistles.
The book repeatedly claims to be written by Paul (1:1, 12-17; 3:4, 6, 22; ). Paul speaks of Jesus' virgin birth (Galatians 4:4), sinless life (2 Corinthians ), death on the cross (1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians ); resurrection on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4), and post-resurrection appearances (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).He mentions the hundreds of eyewitnesses who could verify the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6).Paul rests the truth of Christianity on the historicity of the resurrection (1 Corinthians -19).This would mean that one or two of the Gospels could have been written as early as seven years after the crucifixion. The earliest undisputed manuscript of a New Testament book is the John Rylands papyri (p52), dated from 117 to 138.At the latest they were all composed within the lifetimes of eyewitnesses and contemporaries of the events. This fragment of John's gospel survives from within a generation of composition.