Under the preterist view that all of John’s writings we're completed prior to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, where would they be placed chronologically in the New Testament canon?


You will find exactly what you are looking for in Ed Stevens's paper "Introduction to the New Testament Canon" - for the Preterist Bible Project, written April 2011. He covers the "why" of the Preterists position as opposed to the theory of canon formation held by Roman Catholic as well as some Protestants, even evangelical theologians who all hold creeds like the Nicene and the Apostle's creed as legitimate and authoritative. But the Preterists only believe the apostles of the first century to be authoritative (and thus became the basis of the NT canon), and the later generations merely recognize the already established books in the canon.

Secondly, the Preterists also believe all NT books to have been written before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in AD 70, including all of Apostle's John's writings. The paper I referenced above includes one dating scheme of all NT books. Because most Christian scholars have dated the book of Revelation to mid AD 90, Preterists became well known for their extremely early dating of Revelation, which heavily affects their interpretation of the prophecies within the book of Revelation. See this short 1985 book by Arthur Ogden "An Introduction to the Book of Revelation" as an example of how Preterists defend the pre-AD 70 dating of Revelation including extensive argument and historical background to support it.

Here's Ed Steven's dating scheme of all NT books:

  • 1 Thessalonians (AD 52)
  • 2 Thessalonians (AD 52)
  • Galatians (AD 52-53)
  • 1 Corinthians (AD 57)
  • 2 Corinthians (AD 57)
  • Romans (AD 58)
  • Matthew (pre-AD 58)
  • Mark (pre-AD 58)
  • Luke (AD 58-61)
  • Acts (AD 58-61)
  • John (AD 60-62)
  • 1, 2, 3 John (AD 61-62)
  • James (AD 62)
  • Revelation (AD 62-63)
  • Ephesians (AD 63)
  • Colossians (AD 63)
  • Philemon (AD 63)
  • Philippians (AD 63)
  • Hebrews (AD 63)
  • 1 Timothy (AD 63)
  • Titus (AD 63)
  • 1 Peter (AD 63-64)
  • 2 Timothy (AD 64)
  • Jude (AD 64-65)
  • 2 Peter (AD 64-65)
  • So where would that place them in the chronology of the NT cannon, still presuming the entirety was completed prior to AD 70?
    – warren
    Aug 15 '19 at 13:45
  • Try page 5 of the article given in Grateful Disciples' answer: bibleprophecyfulfilled.com/bible/Intro_to_NT_Stevens.pdf
    – Lesley
    Aug 15 '19 at 15:59
  • @Lesley - care to make a suggested edit to the answer?
    – warren
    Aug 15 '19 at 20:11
  • 1
    @warren - I edited the answer to include some background of the Preterists position on the canon as well as the proposed dating of all the NT books, not just John's writing. Aug 15 '19 at 23:51

Chronologically, IF John’s gospel, letters and Revelation were written before A.D. 70 they would possibly have appeared around the same time as Paul wrote his letters. The chronological order of the New Testament would then look something like this (dates approximate):

James – A.D. 45

Mark – A.D. 50

Paul - A.D. 50-70

Matthew – A.D. 55

Luke – A.D. 60

Peter – A.D. 60

Jude – A.D. 60

Acts – A.D. 65

Hebrews – A.D. 65

John – some time up until A.D. 70? However:

“the Catholic Encyclopedia states that Revelation was "written during the latter part of the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, probably in AD 95 or 96". Many Protestant scholars agree.” Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preterism#Full_preterism

Some background information related to this subject that may be useful:

Preterists believe the dating of the book of Revelation is of vital importance and that it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Preterism was first expounded by the Jesuit Luis de Alcasar during the Counter Reformation. The preterist view served to bolster the Catholic Church's position against attacks by Protestants, who identified the Pope with the Anti-Christ. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preterism#Interpretation_of_the_Book_of_Revelation

Luis del Alcázar (1554–1613) was a Spanish Jesuit theologian. He is known for his Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi (1614) published after his death, putting forward what would later be called a preterist view of Biblical prophecy, in commentary on the Book of Revelation; his work is regarded as the first major application of the method of interpretation of prophecy by reading in terms of the author's contemporary concerns. His view was that everything in the Apocalypse, apart from the three final chapters, refers to events that already have come to pass. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luis_del_Alc%C3%A1zar

I can find nothing to substantiate the claim that John wrote his gospel, his letters or Revelation before A.D. 70. The Apostle John was born c. A.D. 6 and died between A.D. 98 and 100 after being freed from Patmos. Conventional chronology places the writing of John’s Gospel between A.D. 80 and 89; his three letters between A.D. 90 and 95; the Revelation between A.D. 95 and 98.

  • 3
    Appreciate the comments about support for-and-against early Johannon authorship - but this question is constrained to the preterist view :)
    – warren
    Aug 12 '19 at 17:27
  • Obviously, I must have been searching in the wrong place for the information! I hope someone can provide the preterist view because I would like to know what it is.
    – Lesley
    Aug 13 '19 at 16:53

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