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Re: [XTalk] Dating John

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  • 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 ?

      • Peter Kirby
        ... From: Emmanuel Fritsch To: Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 10:01 AM Subject: Re: [XTalk] Dating John
        Message 3 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 4 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
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