Dating the gnostic gospels
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.
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.
This wide range of dates from scholars indicates the subjective nature of the dating process.
There are some that believe there is good evidence to support the view that the whole New Testament, including Revelation, was written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. It is our contention that the evidence supports the earlier dating more than it does the later dating.
There are scholars who believe the Gospel of Matthew was written as early as ten to twelve years after the death of Christ. This presents no major problem with their authority or accuracy.
Gnostic communities existed throughout the Roman Empire, and because of the religious apathy toward traditional religion and the fascination with mystery cults, they caused some curiosity.
In a sense, they were like the “new-agers” of today’s society.