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Top 100 Atheist Challenges

The New Testament was written several hundreds of years after the life of Jesus. I can’t remember what I did last week, let alone hundreds of years ago. This casts great doubt on the historical credibility of the events it reports.

Actually, there is something of a consensus that has emerged in the circles of New Testament scholarship regarding the dating of the gospels.  Because the John Rylands fragment is the earliest extant manuscript of the New Testament and it contains a section of the gospel of John which can be dated AD 117-140, even if one supposes that the gospel was written in 140 it would not have been “hundreds” of years since the events of Christ’s life.  As it happens, the consensus even among skeptical New Testament scholars is that all of the gospels were written within the first century AD.  Thus, at most, all of the New Testament documents were written within 70 years of the events they describe.  However, most put the gospel of Mark (which is normally taken to be the first gospel written) around 70 AD, which would be within 40 years of the events described.   Moreover, nearly all put Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians at around 55 AD, in which he testifies to Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection appearances.  This, of course, is within 15 years of the events.

We highly recommend this book Trusting the New Testament