Analysis & Research

A Survey of Modern NT Introduction Books: What Dates Are Being Taught for the First Gospel?

What is being taught to students of the Bible, to future pastors and Christian teachers, concerning when the first Gospel was published?

First, here is what is taught by some of the apologetic works which are addressed in my book:

Bauckham (2017):1 Mark was published in the 60s CE, thirty years after the death of Jesus, and Matthew in the 80s.

Keener (2014):2 Mark was published in the mid-60s and Matthew in the 70s.

Here is what is taught by various recent NT introductory works:

Blomberg (2014):3 A date for Mark “somewhere in the 60s,” with Matthew later, but still in the 60s.

Brown and Soards (2016):4 Mark, “most likely between 68 and 73.” Matthew, “80–90, give or take a decade.”

Burge and Green (2020):5 For Mark, a date before 70 is favored, although a date in the 50s is possible. They also note that “some scholars have even suggested a first draft in the late 40s.” For Matthew, publication was either before AD 70 or in the 80s or 90s, depending on whether one accepts predictive prophecy or Matthean authorship.

Campbell and Pennington (2020):6 Matthew likely written AD 65–85. Mark likely mid-AD 50s to late 60s.

Carson and Moo (2005):7 Matthew published not much before AD 70; Mark “sometime in the late 50s or the 60s.”

deSilva (2004):8 For Mark, “a time before 70 CE is quite likely.” Matthew date tends towards a post-70 date, given (1) that it is subsequent to Mark, (2) that it is hostile towards the Jews, and (3) that it “seems to make a veiled reference to Jerusalem’s destruction.”

Elwell and Yarbrough (2013):9 They note that since Mark is commonly viewed as being dated “between AD 65 and 70,” Matthew is often dated “between AD 80 and 100”; nevertheless, their opinion is that Mark was likely written in the 40s to 60s, and that Matthew was written sometime “before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.” They do acknowledge that Wenham assigns an AD 40 date to Matthew, but they contend that this is unnecessary.

Gundry (2012):10 A date for Mark of AD 45–60, with Matthew slightly later, but before the destruction of Jerusalem.

Hagner (2012):11 Mark tentatively published “very tentatively in about 65, but no later than 75, and possibly much earlier.” Matthew was possibly written a bit before 70 or perhaps about 80.

Köstenberger, Kellum, and Quarles (2016):12 Acknowledge that “most contemporary NT scholars date the Gospel of Matthew to the mid- to late 80s.” However, they contend that Matthew may have been written “in the mid-50s or, perhaps more likely, in the early AD 60s.” While Mark was written in the mid- to late 50s.

McClendon and Cartwright (2022):13 Mark was written “as early as the AD 50s.” Matthew was written “shortly before AD 70.”

Powell (2018):14 Defers to the opinion of “most scholars,” that Mark was produced “sometime between 65 and 73,” and that Matthew was written “in the decades after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple.”

Wright and Bird (2019):15 Defers to the opinion of “most scholars [who] place the date of Mark’s composition around AD 65–75”; although, “it is not impossible” that it was earlier. Likewise, defers to the voices of the “many suppose” that Matthew has a setting in AD 80 to 100.

QUESTION: What NT Introduction text does your school use and does it convey confidence in the witness testimony concerning Jesus, as contained in the Gospels, which the apostles were chartered to provide (Luke 24:46–48; John 15:27; Acts 1:8, 22; 2:32; 1 Pet. 5:1; 1 John 1:2; etc.)?

  1. Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2017). ↩︎
  2. Craig S. Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999); Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2014). ↩︎
  3. Craig Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels: Volume 1 : New Testament : Introduction and Survey, 2nd ed. (Nottingham: Apollos, 2014). ↩︎
  4. Raymond E. Brown and Marion L. Soards, An Introduction to the New Testament: The Abridged Edition, Abridged (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2016). ↩︎
  5. Gary M. Burge and Gene L. Green, The New Testament in Antiquity: A Survey of the New Testament Within Its Cultural Contexts, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: HarperCollins Christian, 2020). ↩︎
  6. Constantine R. Campbell and Jonathan T. Pennington, Reading the New Testament as Christian Scripture: A Literary, Canonical, and Theological Survey (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2020). ↩︎
  7. D. A Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005). ↩︎
  8. David A. deSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods and Ministry Formation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004). ↩︎
  9. Walter A. Elwell and Robert W. Yarbrough, Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013). ↩︎
  10. Robert H. Gundry, A Survey of the New Testament, 5th ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012). ↩︎
  11. Donald Alfred Hagner, The New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012). ↩︎
  12. Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles, The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament, 2nd ed. (Nashville, TN: B & H, 2016). ↩︎
  13. Adam McClendon and John Beck Cartwright, Approaching the New Testament: A Guide for Students (Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2022). ↩︎
  14. Mark Allan Powell, Introducing the New Testament: A Historical, Literary, and Theological Survey, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2018). ↩︎
  15. N. T. Wright and Michael F. Bird, The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians (Grand Rapids, MI: SPCK, 2019). ↩︎

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