Dating of Luke


Early AD 60s

Luke & Acts written by the same person. Luke written before Acts.
Acts written before AD62 as it ends suddenly with the imprisonment of Apostle Paul in Rome.

Book of Acts does not record the following;

  • Martyrdom of James (brother of Jesus)
  • Martyrdom of Paul during Nero's persecutions AD64
  • No mention in Acts of Fall of Jerusalem
  • Acts focuses on issues relevant before Fall of Jersualem
  • Gentiles could be admitted to church & have fellowship with Jewish Christians

This suggests Acts written in early AD60s and Luke shortly before.

Speculative to say what Luke would include. 
His purpose was to present progress of Gospel from Jerusalem to Rome.
Lack of Fall of Jerusalem may be because it was of more interest to Jews than Christians
By AD 70 Christianity had moved beyond its Palestinian origins to largely Gentile areas

Acts reflects Luke's account of Christianity rather than date of his compisition.

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Middle (Late First Century)

Luke's knowledge of Fall of Jerusalem in AD70 as past event in comparison with Matthew & Mark.

Luke was dependent on Mark's Gospel which is dated late 60s early 70s. Circulation of Mark & Luke's use of Mark would require Luke to be written in AD80s.

Luke refers to previous accounts before composing his own; this suggests a later date.

Paul is portrayed in Acts as heroic; this reputation of a controversial person who was not one of the original 12 would take some time to develop.

Luke's theology shows signs of lateness and development in relation to eschatology. Eschatology of Jesus' imminent return was replaced by Salvation History.

No direct reference to Fall of Jerusalem in Luke & Acts. Luke shows no knowldge of the siege destruction such as cannibalism and fire.

It is only speculation on how much time would take for Paul's influence to grow and Luke to make use of Mark.

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Late (Second Century)

Luke made4 use of Josephus' Antiquities of The Jews. Josephus' work was written around AD94 & Luke would have had access to it in the early second century.

Acts has theological similarities with mid second century writings of Justin Martyr, suggesting Luke's writings are post first century.

The second century heretic Marcion (AD140) used an earlier edition of Luke whihch was later expanded to give us Luke as we have it today.

There is no clear evidence of Luke's dependence on Josephus; there are significant differences where the two overlap.

The supposed similarities between Luke & Justin can be explained by Luke's influence on Justin.

It is more likely that Marcion altered the Luke we have today. A second century date is unlikely as Luke's apparant ignorance of Paul's letters.

Luke's portrayal of churches in Ephesys seen to refelec a time before Domitian's persecutions.
Most scholars are persuaded by arguments for middle dating & believe Luke was written around AD80s.

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