Dating the new testament
The Gospel of Luke was written by the same author as the Acts of the Apostles, who refers to Luke as the 'former account' of 'all that Jesus began to do and teach' (Acts 1:1).The destiny ('Theophilus'), style, and vocabulary of the two books betray a common author. The significance of Gallio's judgement in Acts -17 may be seen as setting precedent to legitimize Christian teaching under the umbrella of the tolerance extended to Judaism. The prominence and authority of the Sadducees in Acts reflects a pre-70 date, before the collapse of their political cooperation with Rome. The relatively sympathetic attitude in Acts to Pharisees (unlike that found even in Luke's Gospel) does not fit well with in the period of Pharisaic revival that led up to the council at Jamnia.Before we can talk about what the New Testament says, we have to justify that what it says can be trusted.We must understand as much as we can about the authors of the New Testament and when they wrote it.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.
Harnack points to use of always designates 'the Messiah', and is not a proper name for Jesus. The confident tone of Acts seems unlikely during the Neronian persecutions of Christians and the Jewish War with the Rome during the late 60s. The action ends very early in the 60s, yet the description in Acts 27 and 28 is written with a vivid immediacy.
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.
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.