Rethinking the Dates of the New Testament
written by Jonathan Bernier
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About the Book:
This paradigm-shifting study is the first book-length investigation into the compositional dates of the New Testament to be published in over forty years. It argues that, with the notable exception of the undisputed Pauline Epistles, most New Testament texts were composed twenty to thirty years earlier than is typically supposed by contemporary biblical scholars. What emerges is a revised view of how quickly early Christians produced what became the seminal texts for their new movement.
The Content: I view this book as very well researched and in-depth. The author is consistent in their arguments and does so with minimal bias. There is a great deal of humility shown in the research. The author indicates their knowledge that this book will create an unbalanced amount of research for earlier dates and encourages people who hold a different view to write their arguments. The author tries to stick to their field of study throughout the book.
Who is this book for: This book was rigorous for me. I have a Bachelor's in Biblical Studies and a Masters of Divinity. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. However, I think this book is a helpful resource for a person wanting to study this subject in more depth. I believe that this book would be great for someone researching a specific NT letter (this would mean only reading certain portions and not the whole book).
Questions/Comments: (1) I wish this book went into a bit of detail regarding the importance of the argument. For example, what would an earlier date mean, what would it prove, what would the implications be, would anything about our study of scripture change? However, these questions have little interest to the author. I think these answers could increase the interest in the work. (1.5) I would be interested to know how this would affect commentaries already published, commentaries currently being published, etc. (2) My only noted issue in this book was in the section on dating James. The author chose to accept an author of James to make his argument easier to prove. He spoke of contested authorship elsewhere. Yet he did not entertain a different author in the case of James. The reason appears to be that it helps prove his point that the dates should be earlier than we have previously thought..