Much will be uncertain; but this we will know; and this is what we need in order to continue our investigation of scripture and Christian history.
Much of the information we have about the authors of the New Testament comes from the church fathers, the leaders of the church in the post-apostolic age.
That makes the majority of the epistles and three of the Gospels dated only twenty to forty years after the death of Jesus. 90, the bishop of Rome, Clement, quoted from many of the New Testament books, thus assuring that their dates are earlier than A. Yet even against such evidence there are scholars who push for later dates on several of the letters, and the reason is a simple presupposition. When I go to Mc Donalds, I feel unhealthy even when I order the Mc Salad.
For my purposes I will look at the most relevant information from before A. Unfortunately, the questions of New Testament authorship and dating are not cut and dried. There is substantial variation in the writings of the church fathers.
The church fathers did not have the current understanding of history and authorship. To determine New Testament authorship as best we can, we use the earliest of the patristic sources augmented by the internal evidence of the New Testament.
This article is by no means exhaustive on the subject but addresses some of the most common questions concerning the New Testament. But that said, there are certain books, such as Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians, for which virtually no one would dispute an A. To evaluate the accuracy of our New Testament, we have to look at two factors.
For further study we recommend “The Canon of Scripture” by F. Bruce (Inter Varsity Press.) Here’s an important fact to keep in mind: Jesus died in roughly A. One factor is the number of ancient manuscripts (copies of the original) we possess, and the second is the time gap between when the original document was written and when the earliest surviving copies were written.
Peter and Paul likely perished during the persecution of the church in Rome by Nero.
The deaths of these important church leaders likely encouraged the writing down of narratives about Jesus.
Psalms, for example, was written by a variety of authors and spans at least several generations beginning with David.
Job seems to relate very early events - well before the Davidic kingdom (although it was most probably written down in Solomon's day) - and so is placed with the "wisdom literature" after the books of Samuel and Kings.
The authors must have clear links to the eyewitnesses (or be eyewitnesses) to reduce the possibility of communication mistakes.
We will learn that even in the most pessimistic, but rational, reading of the data, we come to the understanding that the authors of the New Testament are close enough to the events to be able to give an accurate picture of historical events.
This scholarly consensus holds that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke were composed, independently of one another, sometime in the 80s or 90s.