Is The New Testament an Eyewitness Account?
So were the New Testament books written early enough to have been eyewitness accounts? If so, they must have been written during the first century. Let’s examine the evidence, and compare the dating of the New Testament with what we have discovered for the Gospel of Barnabas.
History provides clues from three primary sources regarding the date of origin for the 27 books of the New Testament:
- Testimony of Church Enemies
- Early Christian Accounts
- Early Manuscript Copies
The first clue is a partial list of New Testament books made by enemies of the Church called heretics. As outlaws of the Church, heretics wouldn’t have been concerned about agreeing with Church leaders about the authorship or dating of the New Testament. Yet, two early heretics, Marcion and Valentinus, did attribute the writings of several New Testament books and passages to the apostles.
In A.D. 140, the heretic Marcion listed 11 of the 27 New Testament books as being the authentic writings of the apostles.
About the same time, another heretic, Valentinus, alludes to a wide variety of New Testament themes and passages.
This tells us that by the middle of the second century many New Testament books had been in circulation for some time. Even heretic “outlaws” accepted these New Testament accounts as eyewitness reports from the apostles.