Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [XTalk] Dating John

Expand Messages
  • 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 1 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 ?

    • 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 2 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 ?

      • 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 3 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

          >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 4 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:


            The source code in C++ is provided here:


            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.

            Peter Kirby
          • Peter Kirby
            ... From: Jack Kilmon To: Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 7:06 PM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating John ...
            Message 5 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.

              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

              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
              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

              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

              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

              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),

              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

              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.

              > >
              > > 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%.

              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.

              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.

              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

              Peter Kirby
            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.