Dating the gnostic gospels
We should also remember that one of the promises Jesus gave His disciples was that He would send them “another helper,” the Holy Spirit, who would teach them all things and “bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John ).
So, whether it was few years or many after Jesus’ death that the Gospels were written, we can have total confidence and faith in their completeness and accuracy, knowing that they were written by “men moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter ), who accurately recorded the very words of God. Why do the four Gospels seem to present a different message of salvation than the rest of the New Testament?
The first traces of Gnosticism arise centuries before Christianity and are rooted in the ancient religions of Syria, Babylonia, Phoenicia and Persia, and in the Greek Platonic schools of philosophy.
How do we know when the books of the Bible were written?
The Washington Post religion section recently had an article about the Gnostic gospels. The Gnostic gospels are attributed to the work of a community known as the “Gnostics,” which existed in the early Church.
This means, of course, that these sayings are not dependent upon their synoptic counterparts, but rather derive from a parallel and separate tradition. Thom.'s choice of genre and the absence of the gospels' narrative material in the text. The earliest possible date would be in the middle of the 1st century, when sayings collections such as the Synoptic Sayings Gospel Q first began to be compiled. is a sayings collection based on an autonomous tradition, and not a gospel harmony conflated from the NT, then a date of composition in, say, the last decades of the 1st century would be more likely than a mid-to-late-2d-century date.
But such indirect attestations must be treated with care, since they might refer to the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. That is, Thomas' author/editor, in taking up the synoptic version, would have inherited all of the accumulated tradition-historical baggage owned by the synoptic text, and then added to it his or her own redactional twist. Rather than reflecting the same tradition-historical development that stands behind their synoptic counterparts, these Thomas sayings seem to be the product of a tradition-history which, though exhibiting the same tendencies operative within the synoptic tradition, is in its own specific details quite unique. is dependent on the Synoptics not only must explain the differences in wording and order, but also give a reason for Gos. erased the passion narratives because Gnosticism was concerned solely with a redeeming message contained in words of revelation (Haenchen 1961: 11) is simply not convincing, since the Apocryphon of James (NHC I, 2), the Second treatise of the Great Seth (NHC VII, 2), and the Apocalypse of Peter (NHC VII, 3) all indicate that sayings of and stories about the death and resurrection of Jesus were reinterpreted by various gnostic groups. Determining a plausible date of composition is speculative and depends on a delicate weighing of critical judgments about the history of the transmission of the sayings-of-Jesus tradition and the process of the formation of the written gospel texts.