Earliest papyri nt dating

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In addition to the issues already discussed in support of the later dates is the important fact that the four canonical gospels were not mentioned or named as such by anyone until the time of Church father Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (c. 200/203 , Irenaeus is the first to name the canonical gospels and give reasons for their inclusion and number in the New Testament…The remarks by Irenaeus represent the first mention of all four canonical gospels together.Are we supposed merely to take Papias's word on what else he was told by these "former followers?

This subject of attribution is extremely important, because, as Tenney asserts, "if it could be shown that any of the books of the New Testament was falsely attributed to the person whose name it bears, its place in the canon would be endangered." Furthermore, there are places in the New Testament that imply the books were written long after the purported events, such as when the text reads, "In the days of John the Baptist," which indicates that the writer is set far ahead in time and is looking back.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.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.

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