Do the Gospel stories abound in content which dates to Jesus’ life or close (pre AD 40)?

  • Our question

    Throughout the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John do we find that the stories they narrate can regularly be dated back to within a few years of Jesus’s ministry, or at least long before the gospels were themselves penned? As it is often phrased, are the Gospel reports regularly found to be “early”? Alternatively, does the narratives often trace back to an earlier time in the proper cause-effect kind of way (where we can show that an earlier event itself during Jesus’s ministry caused a simultaneous series of perceptions in one or more witnesses, and those perceptions formed memories which made their way into the Gospels)?

“Yes, after all…
  • Gospel traditions were originally passed down orally

    In the back there is a book with Jesus face on it. There are three speech bubbles in a line in front of the book with Christ's face on them also.

    Most Gospel Jesus-biography have a pre-history of being orally recited and passed down.

    A full page will analyze these evidences:

    • Gospels regularly used sources.
    • Gospel Jesus-teachings were crafted to aid recall.
    • E.g. Gospels were to be read aloud to audience (Mk was).
    • The gospels circulated well.
    • Shares pericopes with no literary pre-history.
    • Christians were in an oral culture.
    • Gospels contain internal features symptomatic of an oral pre-history.
    • Jesus-bio was not invented.
    • Jesus trained the apostles for it.
    • Gospel traditions are early.
    • In general, Christians passed down Jesus-bio.

    This is relevant because it means that the content pre-dates Mark (and any form of Q used by Mt and Lk), so it pre-dated AD 70, plausibly by a lot.

  • Gospels got witness-approval or close on Jesus-bio

    person writing at table with a speech bubble of jesus and a thought bubble of jesus

    Rather than inventing Jesus-biography, the authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—as editors/redactors—were honest in writing their Gospel reports.

    **This page analyzes 4 arguments:

    • The Gospels are Greco-Roman histories.
    • Gospel claims are all inherited/sourced.
    • Gospel authors strove to know true Jesus-bio.
    • In general, Gospel traditions aren’t lies/legends.

    This is relevant because the events that the Gospel authors got witness approval on were incredible events that the witnesses perceived and remember (i.e. content) as dating back to Jesus’ life around AD 30. Their perception and testimony, and therefore the tradition itself, date to AD 30. (The authors would not have accepted content that did not have a reputation for being connected to a witness who would’ve seen/heard Jesus in c. AD 30).

  • Gospel traditions are oft dissimilar to Christianity

    a bible is open with a crowd walking left and jesus walking right

    The Gospel stories are often quite “dissimilar” to the AD 31-90 church; i.e. they display behavior and language which was discontinuous with post-Jesus beliefs, expectations, styles, preferred vocabulary, background, understanding, natural authorial intent, and so forth.

    The page analyzes 3 arguments:

    • Speakers in Gospels think-talk as pre-Christians.
    • Gospel stories spew church-hated content.
    • Gospel Jesus-sayings repeat consistent quirks.

    This is relevant because it was dissimilar to Christianity in virtue of predating Christianity (i.e. predating Easter).

  • Jesus’ Gospel sayings super-retrovert from Greek to Aramaic

    We discern an Aramaic original behind the recorded-in-Greek teachings of Jesus in the Gospels.

    This page looks at 3 arguments.

    • Gospel Jesus-sayings include Aramaic puns translated into Greek.
    • Mk 1:41’s “being angry” super-retroverts to Aramaic (“be deeply moved”).
    • Mk 2:23’s “making a path” super-retroverts to Aramaic (“going along a path”).
    • Powerful parallelism etc. comes out when translated to Aramaic.

    This is relevant because it suggests the content started in Aramaic, and later became popularized in Greek as recorded in the Gospels. This sort of change usually (but not always) takes time. (And as a very small side-point: content developed at a later time would more likely have been formulated in Greek from the start.)

  • [Gospels spew multiple attested material]

    [Brackets] mean "forthcoming."