Carbon dating the gospels
Carbon dating the gospels - Sex Chat
But Schweitzer lost that battle and it appears that today many mainstream believers in the historical Jesus can only respond with insult in place of reasoned argument when challenged with this basic premise. Dating must rely on the use of the Odes by other authors or on the contacts of the Odes with various circles of thought. Hall proceeds to note points of contact between the thoughts of the Odes and those found in Ignatius, hymns of Qumran, New Testament christological hymns, Johannine Christianity, Ascension of Isaiah, and Valentinian gnosticism. It’s a while since I read Robinson’s , but I don’t recall his work containing any extensive discussion of the external evidence. Of course, this is an easy enough fallacy to commit.
Accordingly, references to arguments for later dates are as a rule dismissed on the basis of what in logical fallacy lists is known as the fallacy of incredulity.In that absence, we cannot assume that there ever was a Jesus walking the rounds in Galilee and who visited Jerusalem one Passover to meet his demise if the gospel narratives are the original source of evidence for all this.So to seek to date the gospels as close as possible to a story for which we have no objective evidence to evaluate its facticity seems a bit like shadow-boxing.The best that John Robinson’s book can achieve is to show us the possibility of a very early range of dates for the gospels. But one overall methodological reason undermines his entire effort. The whole point of his exercise is to see how early he can date them with justifiable arguments.And in the case of the gospels, the external evidence does indeed point in the direction of a second century provenance. Internal evidence — what an author writes — requires external controls for us to be able to objectively evaluate its status and character. But this is something I’ve discussed many times on this blog, along with scholarly works discussing this fact and its history in ancient times.
But should not the internal evidence outweigh the external? An author — and ancient authors often did this — might well create a literary or narrative voice that reads as if the tale is being told in a particular time and from a particular place, even by a particular circle of witnesses. I’m not saying that we must assume the gospels are “forgeries”.
And the whole kaboozle can be literary artifice from start to finish. It is a basic detail that anyone familiar with ancient texts soon learns to understand. I am saying that we have no external controls by which to assume their narrative is historical.
One who identifies himself as an Irish Anglican here has asked me if I would like to address the arguments of John A. I would have thought, from the fact that Robinson’s arguments for early dates seem to have made little significant impact on mainstream scholarship, we can see the arguments have not been overwhelmingly persuasive — apart from the more apologetically inclined who have a theological interest in seeing the gospels dated as early as possible to the events they narrate. The reason I am bothering with this very generalized post is that these principles came to mind on reading a short passage in Revealed Histories by Robert Hall.
While I have had such an exercise on my list of “to-do” items for some time, it is unlikely that I will get around to doing anything in depth for quite some time. All it takes to undermine it, however, is another student with a little more reading and imagination based on a wider knowledge of possible circumstances to explain X and Y together.
(But not being a part of academia I might be misinformed on this point.) As if the narrative is itself some external historical reality and not, indeed, just a lot of creative words making up the theological parable or story. In his chapter on the Odes of Solomon, he discusses the dating of the Odes.
Sound historical method, at least as found practiced outside the sheltered ranks of historical Jesus studies, and as well recognized by the likes of Albert Schweitzer himself, requires that there be some indisputable reference point or control that is external to the narrative itself before one can rightfully assume any narrative has some historical basis. Consistent with their character as hymns, the Odes of Solomon make few allusions to datable historical events. There is the evidence of the narrative content itself. The external evidence might not necessarily demonstrate a specific knowledge of the document in question, but if it expresses the same topical interests, themes and cultural specific imagery, one might reasonably suggest a possibility of the documents belonging to the same time and cultural matrix.