Gospels weren't written until after the destruction of the Temple to evidence Jesus prophesied correctly about its fall.

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    Oct 27, 2014 10:49 PM GMT
    I think the Temple destruction is associated with the rejection of the Jewish messiah, if Jesus even existed as a flesh and blood person in 30 C.E. For what other reason would the Temple need to be destroyed? God does things for reasons.

    Second, it's highly unfortunate that Jesus prophesied in both directions: 1) God's Jewish Son of Man will be rejected therefore the Jewish Temple is no longer needed for God's right hand man; but, 2) the Kingdom of God is at hand and everything else Jesus said about the success of the Jewish Son of Man in his lifetime.

    Third, it is quite odd that Jesus does not agonize and sweat like he's bleeding over the destruction of the Temple and everything that goes with that:

    50,000 killed in Galilee (fighting)
    750,000 killed/died in Jerusalem (fighting, starvation, sickness)
    Total 800,000 and the figure could be higher. Josephus says 1.1 million people died, not counting Romans.

    For Jesus to agonize more over himself than the people he loved is odd.

    So, the dating of the gospels are hinged at Jesus' mention of the Temple's destruction. If we take away the prophecy from 30-33 C.E. and say it didn't exist, we can take away Jesus from 30-33 and say he didn't exist. Why even support Jesus' prophecy as historical at all? It seems God waited about 40 years before releasing the event tied to the rejection of the Jewish Son of Man. We have at least three Jesuses during the Jewish Revolt.

    If Jesus was a great prophet, then someone should have asked him to elaborate . If Jesus was a candidate for the Son of Man (he failed the election and it was won by Titus, Son of Vespasian; for, Titus as Son of Man got to destroy the Temple), the Temple priests should have asked/begged him to be a Moses and go into the wilderness or up a mountain to pray away the end of Temple Judaism.
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    Oct 27, 2014 10:52 PM GMT
    Bart Ehrman

    Critical scholars are widely agreed that the earliest Gospel was Mark, written around 70 CE; that Matthew and Luke were some years later, say, 80-85 CE; and that John was the last Gospel, around 90-95 CE. But how do scholars establish those dates?

    It is actually a highly complicated matter, but I can give some sense of why these particular dates are so widely preferred. To begin with, none of the Gospels appears to have been known to the apostle Paul, writing in the 50s. Paul was an extraordinarily well-traveled and well-connected apostle, as we will see, and if anyone would have known about the existence of written accounts of Jesus’ life, it would have been him. Probably they did not exist yet. On the other hand, early non-canonical authors such as Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp of Smyrna (see chapter 28 ) do seem to know some of the Gospels. And so some or all of the Gospels were written before these authors produced their letters, around 110-15 CE. This means that the Gospels probably date to somewhere between 60-115. Can we be more precise?

    It is frequently noted that the earliest Gospels seem to presuppose the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and of the Jewish temple, as happened in 70 CE. And so, for example, in Mark’s Gospel Jesus indicates that the nation of Israel will be destroyed (12:9) and that the temple will not be left standing (13:1-2). Matthew is even more explicit: here Jesus tells a parable in which God is portrayed as burning the city and killing its inhabitants (22: 8 ). Luke has similar passages (e.g., 21:24). All these passages seem to presuppose that by the time the books were written, the destruction had happened.

    Someone may respond by saying that in these passages Jesus is predicting the destruction of the Jerusalem, not looking back on it. Fair enough! But when is a Christian author likely to record a prediction of Jesus in order to show that he predicted something accurately? Obviously, in order to show that Jesus knew what he was talking about, an author would want to write about these predictions only after they had been fulfilled. Otherwise the reader would be left hanging, not knowing if Jesus was a true prophet or not. So even if we assume that Jesus did predict such things, the fact that they are written so confidently by later authors suggests that they did so after the events – that is, after the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 CE.

    Mark, as we will see, was the first Gospel. So possibly he was written soon after 70 CE. Matthew and Luke both used Mark for the writing of their Gospels; that means that Mark must have been in circulation for a while, so say ten years or so later.
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    Oct 28, 2014 9:43 PM GMT
    By the same reason (hinging whether or not there is mention of the destruction of the Temple), Acts of the Apostles has a date range of 60 - 150 C.E. Acts doesn't mention the destruction of the Temple and it doesn't mention the death of Paul.

    Prof. Ehrman, how do you explain that the Gospel of Luke was written before Acts of the Apostles? If you say it had to be written after 80-85, then how do we get no mention of the destruction of the Temple and the death of Paul? Wouldn't this discredit the hinge criterion of Jesus' prophecy of the Temple's destruction?
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    Oct 30, 2014 10:39 AM GMT
    Fellow Poster:

    I’ve recently read Marcus J. Borg’s Evolution of the Word, and was intrigued by his insistence that the majority scholarship now dates Luke and Acts after the Gospel of John, i.e., early first century. You still seem to be among the more traditional opinion. Is Borg wrong about the “majority” view?

    Bart Ehrman:

    Marcus loves to say that the majority of scholars supports his view (whatever his view is). I doubt if he’s right in this case, but there are a number of scholars now leaning in that way. I’d be amazed if it were the “majority”.

    StephenOABC:

    One thing for sure, that would be plenty of time for Acts of the Apostles to have been written after Luke’s Gospel and include how Paul died and a reference to the destruction of the Temple.

    The book of Acts has been most commonly dated to the second half of the 1st century. Norman Geisler dates it as early as between 60–62.

    Donald Guthrie, who dates the book between 62–64, notes that the absence of any mention of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 would be unlikely if the book were written later. He also suggested that since the book does not mention the death of Paul, a central character in the final chapters, it was probably penned before his death. Guthrie also saw traces of Acts in Polycarp’s letter to the Philippians (written between 110–140) and one letter by Ignatius ( about 117) and thought that Acts probably was current in Antioch and Smyrna not later than c. 115, and perhaps in Rome as early as c. 96.

    Bart:

    (Hasn't yet responded to how the criterion of any mention of Jesus prophecy automatically puts a book after 70AD not being applied to the book, Acts of the Apostles.)
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    Oct 31, 2014 2:56 AM GMT
    As I work on the second edition of my book, The Greatest Bible Study in Historical Accuracy by Steefen, I’m addressing the notion that Josephus continues to speak about Jesus in the passage after the Testimonium Flavianum (TF). When Josephus selected the name Decius Mundus, he references History of Rome Book 8 by Livy, 340 B.C.: Decius Mus says, “We have need of Heaven’s help … Come therefore, state pontiff of the Roman People, dictate the words that I may devote myself to save the legions. [Atonement]” Jesus didn’t save legions, he saved the world (mundus); hence, Decius Mundus in the passage after the TF.

    Can we be sure that Jesus was the author of the theory of Atonement? Was the theory of Atonement the result of Jesus’ agonizing prayer to have the cup taken from him?

    Unless you have a better answer, Atonement is a Roman idea that goes back to 340 B.C., making the gospels and the New Testament even more pro-Roman.

    You often speak of other Gospels, what other gospels date from 70-100 C.E. and do they have “this is my body and blood, eat and drink” marking Atonement? I don’t recall the Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Thomas having a last supper theory of atonement segment.

    More important, any evidence Atonement part of the Jerusalem Church? (I would think not given the Kosher rules against consuming blood.) That leaves what Rev. Marcum at Highland Park UMC told us: Christianity grew due to two waves going outside of Jerusalem: the Pentacost wave, 5 weeks after Jesus’ resurrection and the killing of Stephen which sent another wave outside of Jerusalem to spread Christianity (and the reason why so often Paul finds pre-existing Christian communities).

    Any evidence it was part of the Gentile Church?

    Then for the cannibalistic overtones of Atonement, that cannot be pre-Destruction of the Temple. Jesus becomes the sacrifice only after the Temple is destroyed, not before. The Jerusalem Church was observant. I’d bet the year following Jesus’ Lord Supper, they had their sacrifices at the Temple where they were gathering on a regular basis.

    (They had whatever animal they needed for the annual Passover sacrifices.)
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    Oct 31, 2014 4:05 AM GMT
    StephenOABC saidFellow Poster:

    I’ve recently read Marcus J. Borg’s Evolution of the Word, and was intrigued by his insistence that the majority scholarship now dates Luke and Acts after the Gospel of John, i.e., early first century. You still seem to be among the more traditional opinion. Is Borg wrong about the “majority” view?

    Bart Ehrman:

    Marcus loves to say that the majority of scholars supports his view (whatever his view is). I doubt if he’s right in this case, but there are a number of scholars now leaning in that way. I’d be amazed if it were the “majority”.

    StephenOABC:

    One thing for sure, that would be plenty of time for Acts of the Apostles to have been written after Luke’s Gospel and include how Paul died and a reference to the destruction of the Temple.

    The book of Acts has been most commonly dated to the second half of the 1st century. Norman Geisler dates it as early as between 60–62.

    Donald Guthrie, who dates the book between 62–64, notes that the absence of any mention of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 would be unlikely if the book were written later. He also suggested that since the book does not mention the death of Paul, a central character in the final chapters, it was probably penned before his death. Guthrie also saw traces of Acts in Polycarp’s letter to the Philippians (written between 110–140) and one letter by Ignatius ( about 117) and thought that Acts probably was current in Antioch and Smyrna not later than c. 115, and perhaps in Rome as early as c. 96.

    Bart:

    (Hasn't yet responded to how the criterion of any mention of Jesus prophecy automatically puts a book after 70AD not being applied to the book, Acts of the Apostles.)


    Bart responds but with evasion:

    There are clear references to the destruction of the Temple in Luke; he didn't want to narrate Paul's death, in my opinion, because his entire *thesis* is that nothing could stop Paul and the preaching of his gospel. Narrating his death would have worked against his main point.

    The destruction of the Temple is NOT in Acts of the Apostles.