Nevertheless, fundamentalist Christian apologists such as Norman Geisler make misleading assertions such as that "many of the original manuscripts date from within twenty to thirty years of the events in Jesus' life, that is, from contemporaries and eyewitnesses." Scrutinizing the evidence forensically, however, it is impossible honestly to make such a conclusion.
Moreover, even the latest of the accepted gospel dates are not based on evidence from the historical, literary or archaeological record, and over the centuries a more "radical" school of thought has placed the creation or emergence of the canonical gospels as we have them at a much later date, more towards the end of the second century.
In actuality, there were gospels composed in the name of every apostle, including Thomas, Bartholomew and Phillip, but these texts are considered "spurious" and unauthorized.Although it would be logical for all those directly involved with Jesus to have recorded their own memoirs, is it not odd that there are so many bogus manuscripts? If Peter didn't write the Gospel of Peter, then who did? Is not the practice of pseudepigraphy—the false attribution of a work by one author to another—an admission that there were many people within Christianity engaging in forgery?If these apostles themselves had gospels forged in their names, how can we be certain that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John did not likewise have gospels falsified in their names?What are the most accurate dates for the canonical gospels in the New Testament as we have them?Are these texts really the faithful accounts of eyewitnesses written shortly after Jesus's advent?
Or does the evidence point to the gospels as anonymous compositions dating to the late "It's important to acknowledge that strictly speaking, the gospels are anonymous." Dr. Blomberg, The Case for Christ (26) Because of the lack of original texts, it has been very difficult to date the canonical gospels as to when they were written or even when they first emerge in the historical record, as these two dates may differ.
The gospels have been dated variously from shortly after the crucifixion, traditionally placed around 30 Many reasons have been given for these dates, from one end of the spectrum to the other, the earliest dates being based on the events recounted in the gospels themselves.
The later dates are based also on this timeframe, but the difference is that they account for the mention of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple, which occurred in 70 .
According to this scholarship, the gospels must have been written after the devastation because they refer to it.
However, conservative believers maintain the early dates and assert that the destruction of the temple and Judea mentioned in the gospels constitutes "prophecy," demonstrating Jesus's divine powers.
The substantiation for this early, first-century range of dates, both conservative and liberal, is internal only, as there is no external evidence, whether historical or archaeological, for the existence of any gospels at that time.