But Is It True?
In books, magazines, and TV documentaries, the Jesus Seminar suggests the Gospels were written as late as a.d. 130 to 150 by unknown authors. If those later dates are correct, there would be a gap of approximately 100 years from Christ’s death (scholars put Jesus’ death between a.d. 30 and 33). And since all the eyewitnesses would have been dead, the Gospels could only have been written by unknown, fraudulent authors.
So, what evidence do we have concerning when the Gospel accounts of Jesus were really written? The consensus of most scholars is that the Gospels were written by the apostles during the first century. They cite several reasons that we will review later in this article. For now, however, note that three primary forms of evidence appear to build a solid case for their conclusions:
- early documents from heretics such as Marcion and the school of Valentinus citing New Testament books, themes, and passages (See “Mona Lisa’s Smirk”)
- numerous writings of early Christian sources, such as Clement of Rome, Ignatius, and Polycarp
- discovered copies of Gospel fragments carbon-dated as early as 117 A.D.