This week’s book comes from the sedate author, Dr. John A.T Robinson entitled “Redating the New Testament”. This has got to be the most fastidious, lucid and un-tendentious book I’ve read. Being exposed to some of the preteristic authors dating the book of Revelation in 68 AD, I was curious to find out what are the actual dates of the books of the New Testament. While the author is finite and fallible (as he admits) he does an amazing job dealing with the arguments and counter-arguments and confidently arriving at a date. The author is clear in making his points and very well equipped with biblical verses to back them up. (Actually I’m surprised at some of the connections he makes with verses from other books, tying it in beautifully with the historical account) If you’re looking for a scholarly work on the dating of the New Testament, this is a must read! Robinson goes through each book of the New Testament with the historical hinge laying on the importance of 70 AD, the destruction of the Jewish temple. For example he says, “I began to ask myself just why any of the book of the New Testament needed to be put after the fall of Jerusalem in 70”. He also is well aware of what other scholars before him have done, most notably: Lightfoot, Westcott, Hort, Reicke, Guthrie, and others. To be brief I would highly recommend this book to any laymen New Testament scholars who want a long list of reading after Robinson, as he provides a myriad of sources. Personally I didn’t follow up on the material provided but I’m sure it can be useful to others as he cites many authors unheard of by majority of scholars. Also Robinson is very in-depth with his research and doesn’t leave one stone unturned. Below I will attach some of the charts he provides related to the dating of the books and some of the historical events in the book of Acts (Paul’s timeline for example) My favorite sections that Robinson wrote on were that of Acts, Hebrews and Revelation. His main and final conclusion thus is “There is, first of all, the observation that all the various types of the early church’s literature (including the Didache, a version of its ‘manual of discipline’) were coming into being more or less concurrently in the period between 40 and 70.”
This book will definitely effect you if not completely change your mind on the assumed dates that you have been taught without any internal exegetical or external historical evidence.
This is the complete dating of the New Testament to which Robinson arrives after detailed and scrupulous research.
Next is the timeline of the apostle Paul derived from the book of Acts and some of Paul’s own statements particularly in Galatians.
Enjoy this masterpiece! I gave it a 5/5