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Re: [XTalk] Dating John

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  • Ron Price
    Peter, I think your computer program is a good idea in principle, but I m not sure it will be of much practical use for NT history because so few dates are
    Message 1 of 9 , May 1, 2002
      Peter,

      I think your computer program is a good idea in principle, but I'm not
      sure it will be of much practical use for NT history because so few
      dates are known with certainty and the rest are so often hotly disputed.
      As I understand it, your program can deal with uncertain input in the
      form of a date range plus a probability of the event being within that
      range, but it can't handle the varied and rather subjective assessments
      of either the date range or the probability.

      >But there is still an item of manuscript evidence to be discussed. The
      >infamous p52 contains verses found in John. Until a cogent argument is made
      >for the reconstruction of a proto-John that contained the verses as they are
      >found in p52, it is safe to think that p52 is a fragment of John more or
      >less as we have it. (It would be ad hoc to postulate a proto-John for the
      >sole reason of evading the evidence of p52.) The typical dating of the
      >manuscript is to the first half of the second century for paleographical
      >reasons. I will incline towards the latter half of that period and assign
      >p52 a date of 130. Allowing five years for circulation, this evidence
      >points to a date between 30 and 125. I will assign a 90% chance to this
      >evidence.

      In my opinion this judgement is dubious. We should not go by "typical
      dating" but by the latest research on the subject which seems to be
      suggesting a later date for p52. According to U.Schnelle, _The History
      and Theology of the New Testament Writings_ (ET, London: SCM, 1998, 477,
      n119) one recent dating is 175 CE +/- 25 years, and Schnelle himself
      goes for 150 CE +/- 25 years. This casts considerable doubt on the 90%
      chance you quoted.

      Ron Price

      Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

      e-mail: ron.price@...

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
    • John Lupia
      Ron Price wrote: According to ... Dear Ron: I have not seen Schnelle s book nor have I read any reviews. Does he explain the basis and evidence of the
      Message 2 of 9 , May 1, 2002
        Ron Price wrote:
        According to
        > U.Schnelle, _The History
        > and Theology of the New Testament Writings_ (ET,
        > London: SCM, 1998, 477,
        > n119) one recent dating is 175 CE +/- 25 years, and
        > Schnelle himself
        > goes for 150 CE +/- 25 years.

        Dear Ron:

        I have not seen Schnelle's book nor have I read any
        reviews. Does he explain the basis and evidence of
        the "recent dating is 175 CE +/- 25 years" of P52?

        Best regards,
        John

        =====
        John N. Lupia
        501 North Avenue B-1
        Elizabeth, New Jersey 07208-1731 USA

        __________________________________________________
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      • Peter Kirby
        ... From: Ron Price To: Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2002 10:11 AM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating John ... I am
        Message 3 of 9 , May 1, 2002
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Ron Price" <ron.price@...>
          To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Wednesday, May 01, 2002 10:11 AM
          Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating John


          > Peter,
          >
          > I think your computer program is a good idea in principle, but I'm not
          > sure it will be of much practical use for NT history because so few
          > dates are known with certainty and the rest are so often hotly disputed.
          > As I understand it, your program can deal with uncertain input in the
          > form of a date range plus a probability of the event being within that
          > range, but it can't handle the varied and rather subjective assessments
          > of either the date range or the probability.

          I am not sure that I understand what you say about what "it can't handle."
          Maybe you can give an example of what it seems that the program cannot handle?
          (Not that I dispute that it can't handle what you think it can't handle -- I
          just don't know what you think it can't handle.)

          > >But there is still an item of manuscript evidence to be discussed. The
          > >infamous p52 contains verses found in John. Until a cogent argument is made
          > >for the reconstruction of a proto-John that contained the verses as they are
          > >found in p52, it is safe to think that p52 is a fragment of John more or
          > >less as we have it. (It would be ad hoc to postulate a proto-John for the
          > >sole reason of evading the evidence of p52.) The typical dating of the
          > >manuscript is to the first half of the second century for paleographical
          > >reasons. I will incline towards the latter half of that period and assign
          > >p52 a date of 130. Allowing five years for circulation, this evidence
          > >points to a date between 30 and 125. I will assign a 90% chance to this
          > >evidence.
          >
          > In my opinion this judgement is dubious. We should not go by "typical
          > dating" but by the latest research on the subject which seems to be
          > suggesting a later date for p52. According to U.Schnelle, _The History
          > and Theology of the New Testament Writings_ (ET, London: SCM, 1998, 477,
          > n119) one recent dating is 175 CE +/- 25 years, and Schnelle himself
          > goes for 150 CE +/- 25 years. This casts considerable doubt on the 90%
          > chance you quoted.

          I would say that this calls into question the dating range that I allowed, not
          so much the 90% chance part. The 90% chance part represents the probability
          that p52 is a fragment of canonical John.

          It is a minor difference, but Schnelle says that A. Schmidt "dates p52 in the
          period around 170 CE (+/- 25) on the basis of a comparison with P Chester Beatty
          X."

          I am not sure that Schnelle prefers a range of 125-175, as it is possible that
          Schnelle prefers a range of 100-150 but considers this practically the same as
          dating it to 150 to be on the safe side. It's open to interpretation, at least
          in my opinion. Here is what Schnelle actually says: "The result for the dating
          of p52 is that the 125 CE period, usually given with extraordinary certitude,
          must now be stated with some doubt. One must at least allow a margin of 25
          years, so that one could think of a dating around 150."

          Jack Kilmon on his web site states that paleography dates p52 "to the time of
          Hadrian (117 - 138 CE)."

          Robert Funk in _Honest to Jesus_ says that p52 "has been variously dated from
          125 to 160 C.E., roughly one hundred years after the death of Jesus." (p. 94)

          A. N. Wilson says (Paul: The Mind of the Apostle, p.251): "This fragment, which
          is in the John Rylands Library at Manchester, England, perhaps dates from the
          second century. It remains the case, however, in spite of claims by journalists
          and non-papyrologists in recent times, it is difficult if not impossible to date
          papyrus within a 50-year margin."

          It is difficult for me to please everybody. Would it be satisfactory for me to
          say that p52 dates to the second century and average the date to 150 CE instead
          of the 130 CE that I offered in the previous post?

          best,
          Peter Kirby
        • Emmanuel Fritsch
          ... I am interest in this dating. Would it be possible to know the arguments of A.Schmidt ? What is the major view about it ? a+ manu
          Message 4 of 9 , May 2, 2002
            > Ron Price wrote :
            > Schnelle was referring to A.Schmidt, 'Zwei Anmerkungen zu P.Ryl.III
            > 457,' APF 35 (1989), which you would have to consult if you want to know
            > the basis of this dating, for Schnelle doesn't explain it.

            I am interest in this dating. Would it be possible to
            know the arguments of A.Schmidt ? What is the major
            view about it ?

            a+
            manu
          • Emmanuel Fritsch
            Hello Peter, I think the most important before computing is to explain how you want to compute. What is your modus operandi ? a+ manu
            Message 5 of 9 , May 2, 2002
              Hello Peter,

              I think the most important before computing is to explain
              how you want to compute. What is your modus operandi ?

              a+
              manu
            • Ron Price
              ... Schnelle was referring to A.Schmidt, Zwei Anmerkungen zu P.Ryl.III 457, APF 35 (1989), which you would have to consult if you want to know the basis of
              Message 6 of 9 , May 2, 2002
                I wrote:

                >> one recent dating [of p52] is 175 CE +/- 25 years

                John Lupia replied:

                >I have not seen Schnelle's book nor have I read any
                >reviews. Does he explain the basis and evidence of
                >the "recent dating is 175 CE +/- 25 years" of P52?

                Schnelle was referring to A.Schmidt, 'Zwei Anmerkungen zu P.Ryl.III
                457,' APF 35 (1989), which you would have to consult if you want to know
                the basis of this dating, for Schnelle doesn't explain it.

                -------------------------------------------------------

                I wrote to Peter Kirby:

                >> your program can deal with uncertain input in the
                >> form of a date range plus a probability of the event being within that
                >> range, but it can't handle the varied and rather subjective assessments
                >> of either the date range or the probability.

                Peter replied:

                >I am not sure that I understand what you say about what "it can't handle."
                >Maybe you can give an example of what it seems that the program cannot handle?

                What I meant was that the results of the program (as of any program)
                are only as good as the input. In this application much of the input is
                controversial and therefore uncertain. I know you're trying to make
                allowance for the uncertainty, but different people would make different
                allowances.

                >I am not sure that Schnelle prefers a range of 125-175, as it is possible that
                >Schnelle prefers a range of 100-150 but considers this practically the same as
                >dating it to 150 to be on the safe side.

                On second thoughts, you're probably right here.

                >It is difficult for me to please everybody.

                True, and this reinforces the point I was trying to make above.
                A further complication for me is that I think John went through three
                distinct editions.

                > Would it be satisfactory for me to
                >say that p52 dates to the second century and average the date to 150 CE instead
                >of the 130 CE that I offered in the previous post?

                As you're using this date more or less as an upper limit on the date
                of John, this would be more cautious and in my opinion better.

                Ron Price

                Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

                e-mail: ron.price@...

                Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
              • Peter Kirby
                ... From: Emmanuel Fritsch To: Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 10:01 AM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating John
                Message 7 of 9 , May 2, 2002
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Emmanuel Fritsch" <emmanuel.fritsch@...>
                  To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 10:01 AM
                  Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating John


                  >
                  > Hello Peter,
                  >
                  > I think the most important before computing is to explain
                  > how you want to compute. What is your modus operandi ?

                  The computation is executed by the program that I described in my post "The
                  Dater Program." Here is that post:

                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/message/9860

                  The source code in C++ is provided here:

                  http://home.earthlink.net/~kirby/dater4.html

                  And here is the algorithm in a sentence: Assuming even background probabilities
                  for every year between the terminus a quo and the terminus ad quem for a
                  document, and supplied with the six points of data on each author and with the
                  three points of data on each piece of other evidence, make use of the definition
                  of conditional probability and Bayes's Theorem in order to determine the
                  probability that the document was written in any given year given each
                  individual author or piece of evidence, and then compute the probabilities of
                  the document being written in each year given all the information by applying
                  the independent version of Bayes's Rule to the probabilities calculated for each
                  individual data point.

                  I am afraid that some knowledge of probability theory as well as C++ will be
                  necessary in order to follow all the details. If you have any specific
                  questions or concerns, I would be happy to address them.

                  best,
                  Peter Kirby
                • Peter Kirby
                  ... From: Jack Kilmon To: Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 7:06 PM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating John ...
                  Message 8 of 9 , May 6, 2002
                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Jack Kilmon" <jkilmon@...>
                    To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 7:06 PM
                    Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating John


                    > ----- Original Message -----
                    > From: "Peter Kirby" <kirby@...>
                    > To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                    > Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 7:59 PM
                    > Subject: [XTalk] Dating John
                    >
                    > > Kysar states that most scholars today see the historical setting of the
                    > > Gospel of John in the expulsion of the community from the synagogue (ibid.,
                    > > p. 918). The word aposynagogos is found three times in the gospel (9:22,
                    > > 12:42, 16:2). The high claims made for Jesus and the response to them
                    > > (5:18), the polemic against "the Jews" (9:18, 10:31, 18:12, 19:12), and the
                    > > assertion of a superiority of Christian revelation to the Hebrew (1:18,
                    > > 6:49-50, 8:58) show that "the Johannine community stood in opposition to the
                    > > synagogue from which it had been expelled." (p. 918)
                    > >
                    > > Kysar states concerning the dating of the Gospel of John: "Those who relate
                    > > the expulsion to a formal effort on the part of Judaism to purge itself of
                    > > Christian believers link the composition of the gospel with a date soon
                    > > after the Council of Jamnia, which is supposed to have promulgated such an
                    > > action. Hence, these scholars would date John after 90. Those inclined to
                    > > see the expulsion more in terms of an informal action on the part of a local
                    > > synagogue are free to propose an earlier date." (p. 919)
                    >
                    > Brach 28b: "Said R. Gamaliel to the Sages: Can anyone among you frame a
                    benediction relating to the minim? (was censored to Sadducees but has now been
                    restored from an older version). JBrach 4, 8a; Tbrach 3,25 ..Samuel the Lesser
                    arose and composed it. The date of the Birkhat ha-Minim MUST be between 80
                    (when Gamaliel became Nasi and the date of Shmuel ha-qatan's death (90 CE).
                    Dating between 80 and 90 are Lagrange, Parkes, Jocz, Davies, Winters, Carroll,
                    hence I would place the Birkhat haMinim about 85 CE and believe it stimulated
                    not only the composition of 4G, fleshed around an earlier primitive Semitic
                    document, but also GMatthew as well.

                    KIRBY
                    I have come across a viewpoint that could call into question our argument for a
                    dating of John. I will quote the relevant portions of this article:

                    Kimelman, Reuven. "Birkat Ha-Minim and the Lack of Evidence for an
                    Anti-Christian Jewish Prayer in Late Antiquity." In Jewish and Christian
                    Self-Definition. Ed. E. P. Sanders. Volume Two. Aspects of Judaism in the
                    Greco-Roman Period. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1981. Pp. 226-44.

                    The Genizah version of the birkat ha-minim reads as
                    follows:

                    1. For the apostates let there be no hope.
                    2. And let the arrogant government be speedily
                    uprooted in our days.
                    3. Lt the nosrim and the minim be destroyed in a
                    moment.
                    4. And let them be blotted out of the Book of Life
                    and not be inscribed together with the righteous.
                    5. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who humblest the
                    arrogant.

                    Reuven Kimelman writes (p. 244):

                    ----
                    The following are the salient results of our
                    investigation of the birkat ha-minim:

                    1. Birkat ha-minim was not directed against Gentile
                    Christians, but against Jewish sectarians.

                    2. The Genizah version which reads ha-nosrim
                    ve-ha-minim was directed primarily against Jewish
                    Christians.

                    3. There is no unambiguous evidence that Jews cursed
                    Christians during the statutory prayers.

                    4. There is abundant evidence that Christians were
                    welcomed in the synagogue.

                    5. Thus birkat ha-minim does not reflect a watershed
                    in the history of the relationship between Jews and
                    Christians in the first centuries of our era.

                    6. Apparently, there never was a single edict which
                    caused the so-called irreparable separation between
                    Judaism and Christianity. The separation was rather
                    the result of a long process dependent upon local
                    situations and ultimately upon the political power of
                    the church.
                    ----

                    Kimelman writes (pp. 239-240):

                    ----
                    What about the patristic evidence? Not only is
                    evidence lacking from rabbinic sources that Gentile
                    Christians were excluded from the synagogue, there is
                    abundant evidence from patristic sources that
                    Christians were frequenting the synagogues quite
                    often. Indeed, there is far-flung evidence that it
                    was the church leadership that strove to keep
                    Christians away from the synagogue and not the Jews
                    who were excluding them. Such protest from the church
                    Fathers demonstrates the receptivity of the synagogue
                    to Christians. This situation is highly unlikely if
                    the synagogue liturgy contained a daily curse against
                    Christians.

                    It is of no small significance to note that Jewish
                    receptivity to Christians is precisely where rabbinic
                    Judaism had made its strongest impact, namely, Asia
                    Minor, Palestine and Syria. So, for example, the
                    _Martyrium Pionii_, which was been dated from the end
                    of the third to the middle of the fourth century,
                    records Pionius (d. 250 - Smyrna) as saying: 'I hear
                    that the Jews call some of you to the synagogues.'
                    Indeed, the Jews seem to have mounted a missionary
                    campaign among the Christians of Smyrna. [The Acts of
                    the Christian Martyrs 13.1; 14.1 (ed. H. Musurillo),
                    1972.]

                    Origen, as mentioned above, is also aware that he had
                    congregants who attended synagogue on the Sabbath.
                    Indeed, Origen also alludes to Jewish missionaries who
                    induced Christians to practice Jewish rites.

                    In the late fourth century, Jerome stressed that
                    Christians imitated the rites of the synagogue,
                    probably as a result of familiarity with synagogue
                    practice. Jerome also pointed out, to his chagrin,
                    that Christians were often the beneficiaries of Jewish
                    generosity. This reached such a level, that he urged
                    htat such charity be refused lest it attract them to
                    Judaism. [Epistle 52 to Nepotion]

                    Finally, the evidence from John Chrysostom is
                    overwhelming. In the _Homilies Against the Jews_, he
                    harangues against the Judaizing activities of
                    Christians, in general, and their frequenting of
                    synagogues, in particular. The latter was so serious
                    that he felt impelled to denounce it over fifteen
                    times. [Chrysostom, Homilies against the Jews 1.3.3-4;
                    1.4.6; 1.5.2; 1.5.7; 1.6.2; 1.8.1; 2.3.5; 4.7.3-4;
                    4.7.7; 5.12.12; 6.6.6; 6.7.3-4; 6.7.7; 7.6.10;
                    8.8.7-9.] His vituperative attacks probably indicate
                    that the Christian legislation against Christian
                    attendance at Jewish religious meetings was
                    ineffective. [Apostolic Constitutions 2.61.1; 8.47.65;
                    Council of Laodicea, Canon 29.] Chrysostom, himself,
                    reported that Christians who frequent synagogues urged
                    their household, friends and neighbours not to report
                    them to the priests. [Chyrsostom, Homily 8.8.8.]
                    Clearly, the synagogue was a very real attraction for
                    Christians.

                    Significantly, in an effort to dissuade Christians
                    from rushing off to the synagogue begging the Jews to
                    help them, Chrysostom asserts that the Jews laugh and
                    scoff at them. Then most revealingly he concedes:
                    'Even if they do not do it openly . . . they are doing
                    this deep down in their hearts.' Not only can
                    Chrysostom not adduce evidence for Jews cursing
                    Christians, he cannot even adduce evidence for Jews
                    scoffing at them. The Jews must have been quite
                    receptive to Christians seeking their assistance and
                    the succour of the synagogue.

                    If one of the most virulent antisemites of the church
                    cannot produce evidence for official Jewish
                    denigration of Christians, then its existence is
                    seriously called into question. Not only is evidence
                    lacking from Christian sources that birkat ha-minim
                    was directed against Gentile Christians, but there is
                    also evidence, direct and indirect, that it was not.
                    Indeed, the preponderance of the evidence points to a
                    fourth-century Jewish Christian sect, called by
                    Epiphanius and Jerome the Nazoraeans, as the group to
                    which the term nosrim refers. Once it is clear that
                    nosrim does not refer to Christians but to Nazoaeans,
                    it is not at all surprising to discover that the
                    Hebrew was originally nasrim and thus more assonant
                    with Nazoraeans.
                    ----

                    Kimelman writes (p. 233): "A significant number of
                    scholars have contended that nosrim has been added.
                    The major argument has been the difficulty of
                    rendering smoothly both terms together. Those who
                    contend that nosrim is original have hard to render
                    the phrase 'Jewish Christians and other heretics'.
                    The fact that 'other' has to be supplied highlights
                    the difficulty of rendering an apparently redundant
                    text such as 'Jewish Christians and heretics'."

                    Kimelman writes (p. 238):

                    "It is of particular note that the first Christian
                    source [Epiphanius] clearly to mention cursing thrice
                    daily in the synagogues makes no mention of
                    Christians. The same source is also the first
                    patristic mention of the Jewish Christian sect of the
                    Nazoraeans. Jerome, who next mentions the Nazoraeans,
                    associates them with the Minaeans and infers that both
                    are cursed by the Jews. This, along with the fact
                    that the term nosrim first appears in rabbinic
                    literature in the mouth of R. Johanan of the third
                    century, warrants the conclusion that the Genizah
                    formula which reads ha-nosrim ve-ha-minim (= the
                    nosrim and [?, see below] the minim) was composed
                    between the time of R. Johanan (d. c. 279) and the
                    writing of the Panarion (377). The data also warrant
                    the conclusion that nosrim does not denote Christians,
                    but rather Nazoraeans, a Jewish Christian sect whose
                    existence is vouched for by at least two
                    fourth-century sources."

                    Kimelman writes (pp. 234-235):

                    "The issue with regard to the gospel of John has two
                    aspects which are not necessarily related. First, is
                    there awareness of birkat ha-minim? Second, is there
                    any evidence that it then contained a reference to
                    nosrim? John mentions three times that Jews who
                    'confess Christ' were excluded from the synagogue
                    (aposunagwgoV, 9.22; 12.42; 16.2). There is no
                    evidence that this situation was prevalent anywhere
                    else. The context of the mention of 'Pharisees'
                    (12.42) indicates that this is a derogatory reference
                    to local leadership. Indeed the absence of any
                    mention of such exclusion by early Christian authors
                    argues against its being a pervasive practice. It is
                    hard to believe that a major rabbinic practice which
                    is supposed to have originated in Yavneh about the
                    turn of the first century is attested to in only one
                    Christian document. If it were aimed against
                    Christians it would have been widespread. Thus it is
                    of no surprise that the term for exclusion from the
                    synagogue, aposunagwgoV, appears nowhere else in early
                    Christian literature and has no precise parallel in
                    rabbinic terminology. It is even possible that the
                    whole charge was concocted to persuade Christians to
                    stay away from the synagogue by making them believe
                    that they would be received with hostility. Thus the
                    Jews are generally represented in a negative fashion.
                    Alternatively, the gospel wanted to convince Jews who
                    had 'confessed Christ' that there was no turning back,
                    since such confession marks one as rejected by the
                    synagogue. It is more likely that the final edition
                    of the gospel is addressing Gentiles who are far
                    remeoved from Judaism. This accounts for the gospel's
                    having to explain so much of Judaism, even the
                    well-known festivals."

                    Justin makes nine reference to Jews who cursed Christ
                    (93, 95, 108, 123, 133, 16, 47, 96, 137). Only one of
                    these makes a connection to prayers (137): "Scoff not
                    at the King of Israel, as the rulers of your
                    synagogues teach you to do after your prayers."

                    Kimelman writes (pp. 235-236): "The connection between
                    the comment of Justin just cited and the birkat
                    ha-minim is, to say the least, problematic. First,
                    there is no mention of Christians. Second, although
                    elsewhere Justin employs xataraomai (=curse) and
                    xatanaqhmatizw (=anathematize) or forms thereof, here
                    he uses only 'episxwyhte pote (=scoff), a term which
                    would not be appropriate to the birkat ha-minim.
                    Third, whatever did take place occurred after prayers
                    (meta thn proseuxhn), while birkat ha-minim is in the
                    middle of the statutory prayers (the twelfth of the
                    'Eighteen Benedictions')! Justin clearly proves
                    inadequate as evidence for positing the existence of a
                    statutory Jewish prayer which cursed Christians."

                    Kimelman writes (p. 236): "The next patristic witness
                    is Origen. He offers less evidence than Justin. One
                    comment merely says that the Jews curse Christ
                    everywhere up to the present time. Two other
                    pertinent comments appear in his homilies on Jeremiah.
                    The first comment (10.8.2) accuses Jews of cursing
                    and blaspheming Jesus and plotting against those who
                    believe in him. The second source (19.12.31) says,
                    'Enter the synagogue of the Jews and see Jesus
                    flagellated by those with the language of blasphemy.'
                    One must be careful of Origen's hyperbole. For
                    instance, in another of the same Homilies
                    (12.13.20-23) he says that Jews are still responsible
                    for the murder of Jesus since they understand the Law
                    and the Prophets according to its plain sense! Thus
                    for Origen the mere practice of Judaism is an affront
                    to the coming of Christ and could be conceived as
                    blasphemous. Whatever the case may be, Origen makes
                    no mention of Christians being cursed nor of any
                    connection to the prayers."

                    The editor interjects into the article (p. 233): "One
                    of the results of the McMaster Symposium which lies
                    behind this volume was a highlighting of the lack of
                    evidence for any formative impact of Christianity on
                    any major element of tannaitic Judaism, including the
                    development of rabbinic law, the formation of the
                    Mishnah, the structuring of the liturgy, the closing
                    of the canon, and the major propositions of rabbinic
                    theology. This itself is sufficient to question the
                    thesis that birkat ha-minim was primarily directed
                    against Christianity. We must be careful of
                    anachronistically overestimating the impact of
                    Christianity on Judaism in the first two centuries."

                    If half of what Kimelman says in his article is true, then it seems that we
                    ought to reconsider the use of the birkat ha-minim as evidence for the dating of
                    John. Whatever incident went on between John's community and the synagogue, if
                    any, could have occured at practically any time in the first or second century.

                    [snip]
                    > >
                    > > Until and unless we find some evidence that another emperor demanded to be
                    > > mentioned as "Our Lord and our God," this point does seem to be cogent, if
                    > > not as strong as some of the other internal evidence. I would assign a 60%
                    > > chance to the idea that the author of John had Domitian in mind and that the
                    > > Gospel of John was written between 81 and 96 CE.
                    >
                    > Since this fits well between the ascension of Gamaliel II and within 6 years
                    of the last possible date for the expulsion, I agree but would place it at 80%.

                    KIRBY
                    I should have pointed out that each individual piece of evidence must be
                    considered in isolation from the others. Our judgments should reflect the
                    probability that the evidence holds given an even distribution of background
                    probabilities between the terminus a quo and terminus ad quem. It is the job of
                    the algorithm to find out which dates best fit all of the evidence.

                    > > But there is still an item of manuscript evidence to be discussed. The
                    > > infamous p52 contains verses found in John. Until a cogent argument is made
                    > > for the reconstruction of a proto-John that contained the verses as they are
                    > > found in p52, it is safe to think that p52 is a fragment of John more or
                    > > less as we have it. (It would be ad hoc to postulate a proto-John for the
                    > > sole reason of evading the evidence of p52.) The typical dating of the
                    > > manuscript is to the first half of the second century for paleographical
                    > > reasons. I will incline towards the latter half of that period and assign
                    > > p52 a date of 130. Allowing five years for circulation, this evidence
                    > > points to a date between 30 and 125. I will assign a 90% chance to this
                    > > evidence.
                    >
                    > The palaeography of P52 during the time of Hadrian (117-138 CE), and possibly
                    even earlier, is remarkable given the distance between Egypt and its provenance
                    of composition. One can only conceive of a close communication and exchange
                    between Syrian and Alexandrian Christians and P52 as a fragment of a 2nd
                    generation copy of the original.

                    KIRBY
                    I am interested in the evidence that the Gospel of John did not originate in
                    Egypt. I am aware of the patristic tradition placing John in Ephesus. Is there
                    more to the case against an Egyptian provenance for GJohn, at least in John's
                    earlier recensions?

                    > For my nickel, 85 CE (mid way between Gamaliel II's ascension) to 95 CE (5
                    years after the last possible date for Birkhat haMinim) with 90 CE as MY choice
                    of the year 4G was composed.

                    KIRBY
                    I will reveal the algorithm's output once there has elapsed enough time for the
                    discussion of the evidence presented and possibly the presentation of evidence
                    that I haven't considered.

                    Thanks for your feedback. I am interested in what you think about Kimelman's
                    ideas.

                    best,
                    Peter Kirby
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