Dating the book of acts
It was probably written in the early 60's, perhaps from Antioch, Rome or Ephesus. Therefore, it is reasonable to include Luke's purpose for Acts as falling under his purpose for the book of Luke. "in order that he might know the certainty of the things he had been taught." Apparently, as Longenecker observes, Theophilus "seems to have been a man, who though receptive to the gospel and perhaps even convinced by its claims, had many questions about Christianity as he knew it." Luke wrote to strengthen him in his belief.
As was stated, Acts is the second part of what was originally a two-part, single volume (i.e. In Luke 1:4 the author says that he is writing to "most excellent Theophilus" . Given the contents of the book of Acts, Theophilus appears to have had questions about the coming and activity of the Holy Spirit, the ministry of the apostles, Paul and his dealings with the Jerusalem apostles and the advance of Christianity to the Imperial capital.
Also, if they were written early, this would mean that there would not have been enough time for myth to creep into the gospel accounts since it was the eyewitnesses to Christ's life that wrote them. The gold in the temple melted down between the stone walls; and the Romans took the walls apart, stone by stone, to get the gold. Also, if the gospels were fabrications of mythical events, then anything to bolster the Messianic claims - such as the destruction of the temple as Jesus said - would surely have been included. Similarly, this argument is important when we consider the dating of the book of Acts which was written after the gospel of Luke and by Luke himself. For clarity, Q is supposedly one of the source documents used by both Matthew and Luke in writing their gospels. Nevertheless, it is generally believed that Matthew was written before A. Notice how Luke speaks of "them," of those who had personal encounters with Christ. Though there is still some debate on the dates of when the gospels were written, they were most assuredly completed before the close of the first century and written by eyewitnesses or under the direction of eyewitnesses.
Furthermore, those who were alive at the time of the events could have countered the gospel accounts; and since we have no contradictory writings to the gospels, their early authorship as well as apostolic authorship becomes even more critical. This is significant because Jesus had prophesied concerning the temple when He said (Luke 21:6, see also Matt. Such an obvious fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy most likely would have been recorded as such by the gospel writers who were fond of mentioning fulfillment of prophecy if they had been written after A. But, it was not included suggesting that the gospels (at least Matthew, Mark, and Luke) were written before A. Acts is a history of the Christian church right after Jesus' ascension. If Q actually existed, then that would push the first writings of Christ's words and deeds back even further lessening the available time for myth to creep in and adding to the validity and accuracy of the gospel accounts. Luke is simply recounting the events from the disciples.
at Harvard University and taught religion at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
For many students of the New Testament, the dating of Galatians is tedious work which does not seem to have much pay-off in reading the book itself.
, Richard Pervo subjects the scholarly consensus that Acts was written about 80–85 C. “A wonderful book—carefully researched, beautifully written, powerfully argued, and possibly a landmark that could radically reshape the study of the book of Acts. He was a companion of Paul who also was not an eyewitness of Christ's life. The date of Acts is still in dispute, but the early date (about A. 63) is gaining support constantly."9 The writer of the gospel of John was obviously an eyewitness of the events of Christ's life since he speaks from a perspective of having been there during many of the events of Jesus' ministry and displays a good knowledge of Israeli geography and customs.In Dating Acts, Richard Pervo subjects the scholarly consensus that Acts was written about 80-85 C. One other minor point, Paul mentions John as a pillar of the community, but Acts does not include John in the discussion.Again, these can still be complimentary descriptions of the same event.
The fact that the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple is not recorded is very strong evidence that Acts was written before A. The early church unanimously held that the gospel of Matthew was the first written gospel and was penned by the apostle of the same name (Matt. Lately, the priority of Matthew as the first written gospel has come under suspicion with Mark being considered by many to be the first written gospel. The historian Papias mentions that the gospel of Matthew was originally in Aramaic or Hebrew and attributes the gospel to Matthew the apostle.5 This would mean that if Matthew did write in Aramaic originally, that he may have used Mark as a map, adding and clarifying certain events as he remembered them. The earliest quotation of Matthew is found in Ignatius who died around A.