Ante quem dating
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Elsewhere, more often than not, either the matter is settled, or no one pretends it is.It would bore me (and you) to attempt a thorough account of all I encountered on this subject of late.
I've sent a formal progress report to all donors explaining what I've gotten done, what's delayed me, and what I still have to do to complete my book On the Historicity of Jesus Christ.If you donated to that project and received that progress report, please email me at once. But for everyone, here's an expansion on one item in it.Last entry here I already mentioned one of the issues that came up: my stumbling into several muddles in New Testament studies that I thought had been reasonably resolved by now.Many issues I thought were cut-and-dried are actually mired in complexity, and my research in these areas has absorbed far more time than it should have.It was only after over a month of wasting countless hours attempting to pursue these matters to some sort of condensable conclusion that I realized this was a fool's errand.I have changed strategy and will attempt some sort of broader, simpler approach to the issues occupying my chapter on this, though exactly what that will be I am still working out.
It do in other fields, which New Testament scholars seem to have gotten away from in their zeal to make sense of data that's basically screwed in every conceivable way.
For when it comes to establishing the basic parameters of core documents, I have never met the kind of chaos I've encountered in this field in any other subfield of ancient history I've studied.
The two most annoying examples of this (though not the only ones) are in dating the contents of the New Testament and identifying their authorship and editorial history.
There is no consensus on either, even though standard references (like Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, and The New Interpreter's Bible) tend to give the impression there is.
Even when acknowledging some disagreements, they do not accurately convey the shear number of disagreements and the complexity of determining their relative merits.
In other words, not only is there no consensus, but there are dozens of positions, and arguments for each are elaborate and vast.