Dating the Gospels 

When it comes to the dating of the gospels there is a scholarly consensus that says,

[The] vast majority of researchers believe that Mark was the first Gospel to be written, sometime around the year 70. 

It goes on, 

[The] Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke were composed, independently of one another, sometime in the 80s or 90s. 

Of course if you ask for evidence that can lead to such a conclusion, you’ll more than likely get some stammering mumble of an answer. The truth is, they don’t know, they’re simply asserting that is the case. 

If one takes Markan Priority seriously, then that is the conclusion that one simply must draw. All I have to ask is, why

There’s simply a lot of assumptions, not only about dating the gospels, but also about the order in which they’re written. 

Why does Mark have to be written first? 
Well, it’s shorter. 

Okay, simply because something is shorter, does it necessarily follow that it was written first?

Well, Matthew and Luke have these miracle stories. 

Doesn’t Mark have miracle stories?

Well, yes, but they’re not as elaborate.

Okay, so wouldn’t a lack of elaboration mean that he’s simply putting them in as reminders because his audience might already be familiar with the more elaborate versions?

Uh…uh…squirrel!

If I had to make an argument for the dating of the gospels, I would use 1 Corinthians 11:17-23 as a starting point because it clearly points to Matthew’s gospel as a source. There are some conservative scholars who will say that what Paul was referring to was the “tradition” of the Lord’s Supper, not the gospel of Matthew itself. Of course I have to ask, why it seems as though Paul is quoting something as though it’s written and that the Corinthians seem to have access to it. Further, if we take the prologue of Luke’s gospel seriously, there were some things already written and he is simply bringing those into order after having spoken to eyewitnesses, further the only sequel in the New Testament, the Book of Acts, shifts from a 3rd person perspective to a 1st person perspective and ends with Paul alive, and refers to a previous work that being Luke’s gospel. 

The issue then seems to be, not that there’s evidence to the contrary of such an assertion, but a desire to simply ignore the evidence that is present in the text itself because of presuppositional biases, but that is just how I see the matter. 

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