Christian dating the second date
In fact, prior to the end of the second century, there is no clear evidence of the existence of the canonical gospels as we have them. In other words, we do not even know who this person is whom Eusebius is allegedly quoting regarding these purported earlier texts.Christian apologetics for the early gospel dates rely on the slimmest of evidence, including a very late third-hand testimony of a late second-hand testimony that "Mark" had written a narrative, supposedly based on the experiences of Peter as related by the apostle himself. According to Eusebius—in disagreement with Irenaeus, who suggested Papias had known the apostle John—Papias had no direct acquaintance with any of the apostles: …Papias himself in the preface to his work makes it clear that he was never a hearer or eyewitness of the holy apostles, and tells us that he learnt the essentials of the faith from their former pupils.
Also, Luke's gospel discusses an apparent myriad of preceding gospels written "by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses…" The phrase "from the beginning" likewise implies a passage of time, as does the fact that there were "many" who preceded Luke in writing gospels.
Indeed, the term "according to" in the original Greek—kata—could be interpreted to suggest that the texts were understood to be relating a tradition of these individuals, rather than having been written by them.
In reality, none of the evangelists identifies himself as a character in the gospel story.
As another example, regarding Jesus's body being stolen, Matthew's gospel claims that "this story has been spread among the Jews to this day." The phrase "to this day" indicates that the writer is talking about a significant length of time, not shortly after the resurrection as some have attempted to place the composition and emergence of this gospel.
In fact, we do not have any mention in the historical record of the story of Christ's body being stolen having been spread among the Jews until the second century.Papias is one of the only pieces of evidence Christian apologetics offers as to the dating of the gospels—yet, his testimony concerning these writings of Mark and Matthew is not only second-hand but also too late to possess any value as concerns the earliest of the gospels dates.Moreover, Papias only speaks about a narrative by Mark, which by no means conclusively refers to the canonical Mark as we have it.Are we supposed merely to take Papias's word on what else he was told by these "former followers?