[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Dating John's Writings

by HK flynn

Zane Hodges dates the Gospel of John as AD 48-52 and John's epistles at 64-65. I found this surprising when I first read it a few months ago and would like to hear your views.

These dates of Hodges were influenced by Redating the New Testament, by JAT Robinson. Robinson was a modernist Anglican bishop who thought he’d try to prove, originally as a joke, that much of the NT was written prior to the destruction of the temple in AD 70 and ended up finding a surprising amount of evidence for that premise.

The fact that John wrote in John 5:2 that “...there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool...” seems to indicate that John thought of Jerusalem as standing at the time of his writing his gospel.

Regarding Revelation, apart from Robinson’s theory that the destruction of the Jerusalem would have been mentioned in Revelation, Hodges believes that Revelation 17:10 pegs it to late 68, early 69. Rev 17:2 refers to five fallen emperors, a one that is, and one that is yet to come. Hodges thinks it is most natural to treat the five fallen emperors as Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, the one that is as Galba and the one that has not yet come as Otho. So Hodges places the writing of Revelation during the short reign of Galba. The fact that the epistles of John seem to have been written prior to the Book of Revelation is why he places it even earlier than 68. Hodges date for the epistles, if they were written together, is 64-65, but believes it is possible they were as early as AD 55.

I thnk all this is interesting since it seems as if early dates, despite Robinson’s theological modernism, tend to provide support for the NT’s authority. R.A. Torrey also argued for early pre-Jewish War date for all the Gospels:
"It is perhaps conceivable that one evangelist writing after the year 70 might fail to allude to the estruction of the temple by the Roman armies...but that three or four should thus fail is quite incredible. On the contrary, what is shown is that all four gospels were written before the year 70."

A side note is that I like how Hodges keeps up to date, and broadly so, with the theological literature, European and also non-Evangelical, like Robinson. Although I think Redating is pretty well-known. He does often engage with modernist scholarship. I see that type of diligence as important in scholarship, and am glad he does it without his having earned his own doctorate. It shows that Hodges’ lack of that particular educational attainment is not about being anti-intellectual, but (perhaps) more about his own personal priorities as a minister of the gospel.


  • Interesting post. I am aware of Robinson's radical dating. I have never really understood how he reconciled this with his doubts about Christian orthodoxy.

    Interesting theory on the seven kings too.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, June 12, 2006 1:35:00 AM  

  • I think he may isolate the whole issue of the destruction of the Temple from other issues, like authorship, which I don't think he sees as straightforward.

    But he thinks the destruction of the Temple would have been such a tremendous vindication of the prophesies of Jesus that the absense of any discussion of it is overly glaring.

    I think you might enjoy Hodges book on the King of the North, the Beast, who he distingishes from the Anti-Christ, who he sees as the ultimate false prophet, and therefore the King of the North's lead prophet. I linked to the book.

    God bless


    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Monday, June 12, 2006 9:29:00 AM  

  • Zane Hodges thinks the Beast is distinct from the AntiChrist? That is Scofield and Darby's view.

    Antonio seemed to indicate that Hodges viewed the Antichrist as the Assyrian (who Darby identified with the king of the North). Perhaps I misunderstood Antonio.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, June 12, 2006 11:17:00 AM  

  • I'm pretty sure I lent out that book, but I believe Hodges sees the Assyrian as the Beast. I.e., the world leader who will enter the temple, etc. Most people call that man the Anti-Christ, so maybe Antonio was speaking loosely.I think this is Hodges view:

    King of the North=Assyrian=Beast

    Anti-Christ=False Prophet

    God bless


    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Monday, June 12, 2006 7:16:00 PM  

  • Darby was more complicated-

    1. Beast

    2. King of the North= Assyrian

    3. Antichrist= False Prophet

    I find it strange that most Futurists commentators have abandoned the postion that the False Prophet is the Antichrist and now identify the Beast as the Antichrist. Of course, the Beast=Anticrist position was always popular with Futurist commentators. I think Darby was the first to abandon it.

    I was not aware of any contemorary commentators who favour the Antichrist=False Prophet view.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, June 13, 2006 12:55:00 AM  

  • Vedy interesting...

    "Futurist" comment, as you call it, is very engaging, but it's so hard to know who to "trust", so to speak, that I don't read much of it.
    What of Darby would you recommend reading? Or of anything?

    God bless

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Tuesday, June 13, 2006 6:30:00 AM  

  • Darby's writings are mostly badly written and hard to understand. However, his five-volume 'Synopsis of the Books of the Bible' is widely used and probably his best work.

    Some of his very early papers on the Church in volume 1 of his Collected Writings are excellent.

    Every Blessing in Christ


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, June 13, 2006 7:41:00 AM  

  • Am I to infer that the general consensus here is that there will NOT be an unholy trinity-- Satan, Antichrist, and False Prophet?

    Also, this blogs title banner claims Dispensationalism, and yet it appears Darby is... not thought to well of. What gives? Kinda makes me wonder where you guys stand on Larkin, or Pentecost.

    Everyone seems to have their own "private interpretation" of end time events... Lindsey, van Impe, the LaLonde Brothers, etc. Why can't we let the bible say what it says, where it says it, keeping in mind what it has already revealed?

    Interesting site, btw. These kind of discussions get me all tingly inside.



    P.S. Pay no attention to the Serial Killer photo. It's just me through a scanner darkly... er... glass.

    By Blogger ELAshley, at Sunday, July 02, 2006 3:06:00 PM  

  • Great post! This is the first post in the blogsphere I've seen about the re-dating of the New Testament (specifically The Revelation). Another book which I might recommend - and which has served to sway me toward this belief - is, "The Last Days According to Jesus" by R.C. Sproul. Sproul is an amazing theologian and easy to understand reading - not a common combination.

    Grace and peace,


    By Blogger posttinebraelux, at Thursday, July 13, 2006 5:51:00 AM  

  • Such talk goes against practically all dating by typical Premillennialists. Anybody want to discuss this some more?

    By Blogger lightninboy, at Friday, June 26, 2009 7:24:00 PM  

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