Biblical archaeologist William Albright concluded on the basis of his research that all the New Testament books were written while most of the apostles were still alive. He wrote, “We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book after about 80 A.D., two full generations before the date of between 130 and 150 A.D.given by the more radical New Testament critics of today.”4 Elsewhere Albright put the writing of the entire New Testament at “very probably sometime between about 50 A.D. and 75 A.D.”5
The notoriously skeptical scholar John A. T. Robinson dates the New Testament earlier than even most conservative scholars. In Redating the New TestamentRobinson asserts that most of the New Testament was written between 40 A.D. and 65 A.D. That puts its writing as early as seven years after Christ lived.6 If that is true, any historical errors would have been immediately exposed by both eyewitnesses and the enemies of Christianity.
So let’s look at the trail of clues that takes us from the original documents to our New Testament copies today.