Dating the gnostic gospels
" Answer: It is important to understand that the dating of the Gospels and other New Testament books is at best an educated guess and at worst foolish speculation. For example, in the past many liberal theologians have argued for a later dating of many of the New Testament books than is probably warranted or valid, in an attempt to discredit or cast doubts upon the content and authenticity of the Gospel accounts.
For example, suggested dates for the writing of the Gospel of Matthew range from as early as A. On the other hand, there are many scholars who look to a much earlier dating of the New Testament books.
An example of this is that the first witnesses of the resurrection were women, who were not considered reliable witnesses in the culture of that day.
So, whether it was few years or many after Jesus’ death that the Gospels were written, we can have total confidence and faith in their completeness and accuracy, knowing that they were written by “men moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter ), who accurately recorded the very words of God. Why do the four Gospels seem to present a different message of salvation than the rest of the New Testament?
Nevertheless, the basic points are as follows: • Equal to God but diametrically opposed is the devil who is evil and the source of all evil.
Everything material is of the devil and therefore evil. • Regarding creation, the Gnostics rejected Christian teaching.
This means, of course, that these sayings are not dependent upon their synoptic counterparts, but rather derive from a parallel and separate tradition. Thom.'s choice of genre and the absence of the gospels' narrative material in the text. The earliest possible date would be in the middle of the 1st century, when sayings collections such as the Synoptic Sayings Gospel Q first began to be compiled. is a sayings collection based on an autonomous tradition, and not a gospel harmony conflated from the NT, then a date of composition in, say, the last decades of the 1st century would be more likely than a mid-to-late-2d-century date.
But such indirect attestations must be treated with care, since they might refer to the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. That is, Thomas' author/editor, in taking up the synoptic version, would have inherited all of the accumulated tradition-historical baggage owned by the synoptic text, and then added to it his or her own redactional twist. Rather than reflecting the same tradition-historical development that stands behind their synoptic counterparts, these Thomas sayings seem to be the product of a tradition-history which, though exhibiting the same tendencies operative within the synoptic tradition, is in its own specific details quite unique. is dependent on the Synoptics not only must explain the differences in wording and order, but also give a reason for Gos. erased the passion narratives because Gnosticism was concerned solely with a redeeming message contained in words of revelation (Haenchen 1961: 11) is simply not convincing, since the Apocryphon of James (NHC I, 2), the Second treatise of the Great Seth (NHC VII, 2), and the Apocalypse of Peter (NHC VII, 3) all indicate that sayings of and stories about the death and resurrection of Jesus were reinterpreted by various gnostic groups. Determining a plausible date of composition is speculative and depends on a delicate weighing of critical judgments about the history of the transmission of the sayings-of-Jesus tradition and the process of the formation of the written gospel texts.
For information on the individual sayings in the Gospel of Thomas, please take a look at the Collected Commentary on the Gospel of Thomas.