Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor's Name

Erik Larson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

James E. Huchingson

Third Advisor's Name

Christine Gudorf

Date of Defense



The purpose of this research paper is to follow a line of ongoing investigations that discuss dates for the origin of the synoptic gospels and evaluate the arguments for early, late, and intermediate dating and their susceptibility to critique from opposing arguments. There are three principal components in dating theories: (1) data from the Greek in the earliest texts (2) data concerning the provenance of the earliest texts (3) and data from the historical context of the first century.

The study is significant because, contrary to what might be expected, the starting and key point in deciding on a composition date is the Book of Acts of the Apostles. This study compiled and integrated information, in an unbiased fashion, based on reading and researching large numbers of texts by scholars, such as Hengel, who support an earlier dating, as well as those, such as Fitzmyer, who support a later dating.

Furthermore, this study also required knowledge of those scholars who propose dates that do not fall into these main categories. The research demonstrated that by looking at the Book of Acts of the Apostles as the key starting point, the synoptic gospels were most likely composed before 70 CE, therefore, supporting scholars who argue for an earlier date.




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