Matthew and Luke both indicate that Jesus' birth occurred during the reign of Caesar Augustus (27 B. Three items are useful in dating Paul's life: James, the brother of Jesus, the head of the Jerusalem church and probable author of the book of James, was executed in 62 A. The high priest Ananus was responsible for the execution, as he had it done when Judea was briefly in between Roman governors [Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 20.9.1]. Sunday was the third day after Friday to the ancients, though in modern times it would reckoned as the second day. The chronology of Paul's public ministry is acknowledged within about two years.
We can use the date of 33 as the earliest possible date for any New Testament writing.
Luke also dates Jesus birth during the census of Quirinius, governor of Syria (Luke 2:2), but the date of this event is disputed. These three figures are known to history outside the Bible and their tenures can be dated as follows: Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate are both involved in Jesus' trial, so the 36 A. date is the latest possible date for the crucifixion. Some scholars date the crucifixion a few years earlier in 30, but that date tends to create more problems than it solves.
So we have to look for other criteria by which to date the New Testament.
One of the most useful is: a work must be dated sometime after the latest historical event to which it refers.
As for the earliest of our Gospels, Mark, if it is a Roman Gospel (as I think), the crisis of A. 64 might have provided a suitable occasion for its publication. The Alliance calls the twenty-first century church to a modern reformation by broadcasting, events, and publishing. Prepared for the Web in February 2008 by Robert I Bradshaw.