Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Byzantine Colophons Suggesting Dates for the Four Canonical Gospels

Note: Taken from twitter: @Riddle1689:

Dating the Gospels is a longstanding challenge in NT studies.

R. A. Boyd's Text-Critical English NT: Byzantine Text Version includes colophons with some conjectures offered by Byzantine scribes:

Matthew: 8 years post-ascension. Mark: 10 years post-ascension. Luke: 15 years post-asension.
John: 32 years post-ascension.

Update (1.25.23):

Nelson Hsieh noted on Twitter that Tommy Wassermen and his student Conrad Thorup Elmelund addressed this colophon tradition in a 2022 SBL paper suggesting that the subscription was taken from Hippolytus of Thebes and reflects a "cascading error" in the entries on Mark-Luke-John with the time reference being not to years after the ascension but the writing of the previous work.

If this is correct, this tradition would suggest the following timeline:

Matthew: 8 years post-ascension.

Mark: 10 years post-Matthew (18 years post-ascension).

Luke: 15 years post-Mark (33 years post-ascension).

John: 32 years post-Luke (65 years post-ascension).

Interesting. Even assuming the "cascading error" this traditon assumes the priority of Matthew (and not Mark!) and the chronological ordering Matthew-Mark-Luke-John. It also suggests Matthew was written early and not multiple decades after the ascension and indeed places the first three Gospels as all being pre-AD 70.


1 comment:

Anthony said...

Wow! That's remarkable.