Home » Blog posts » The Dates of the Pauline Epistles: A Past Debate among the Bibliobloggers

The Dates of the Pauline Epistles: A Past Debate among the Bibliobloggers

In the previous posts, we saw how scholars rely on the data from the Corinthian epistles and the book of Acts to establish a rough timeline for Paul’s correspondence with the Corinthians. Of course, Paul’s own firsthand accounts (i.e. letters) should be given priority over a later secondary source (i.e. Acts), but I am not sure that scholars would have all that much data to go on in writing a chronological narrative of Paul’s ministry and letter-writing activity without taking Acts into account. When scholars try to date any ancient text, they investigate the external evidence (e.g., the date of our manuscript copies or the earliest quotations of or allusions to a text in subsequent sources) and the internal evidence from within the text. On this note, I came across some old blog posts from over a decade ago that discuss the relative dates of the Pauline Epistles.

First, check out the following posts from Mark Goodacre: “A Chronological Clue in Acts 9:25“, “The Jerusalem Council: Gal 2:1-10 = Acts 15“, “The Jerusalem Council: Gal 2:1-10 = Acts 15: Response to Critics“, “The Split between Paul and Barnabas“, “Split between Paul and Barnabas II“. “Does Galatians Post-date 1 Corinthians?“, “Does Galatians Post-date 1 Corinthians? II“, “Does Galatians Post-Date 1 Corinthians? III“, “Paul’s Lack of Travel Plans in Galatians“, “Paul’s Loss of Galatia I,” “Paul’s Loss of Galatia II,,” “The Galatians Already Circumcised I,” “The Galatians Already Circumcised II,” “The Galatians Already Circumcised III“, “The Galatians Already Circumcised IV,” “The Galatians Already Circumcised V,” “The Galatians Already Circumcised VI,” “The Galatians Already Circumcised VII,” and “The Dating Game II: Getting Paul’s Letters in Order“. April DeConick was also a respondent to Goodacre’s SBL paper on the dating of the early Christian documents and you can see her blog reflections at “SBL Memories 2: Dating Our Sources“.

Loren Rosson III responded with the posts “Those Foolish Galatians – Who Were They?“, “The Difficult Dating of Galatians“, “Gal 3:27-28: On Respecting Identity“, “The Chronology of Paul’s Letters“, “The Jerusalem Council: Gal 2:1-10 = Acts 15:1-29“, “Why Paul took up the Collection (Rom 15:25-32)“, “Were the Galatians Already Circumcised“, and “Goodacre’s Dating Game“.

Stephen C. Carlson responded with the posts Options for Paul’s Visit in Gal 2“,Richard Fellows on Dating Gal and 1 Cor“, “Acts 9:25 – His Disciples or The Disciples“, “Did Paul Lose Galatian?“, “A ‘Flash-Forward in Acts 1?“, and “Did Paul Win at Antioch?“.

Unfortunately, Michael Pahl closed his blog The Stuff of Earth, so the links to where he outlines a different chronology for Paul’s letters and equates the meeting in Galatians 2:1-10 with Acts 11:27-30 no longer work, but he has his own website at https://michaelpahl.com/. I have also tried to track the conversation about whether Galatians 2:1-10 should be equated with the meeting in Acts 11:27-30 or 15:1-29 in my post “When Did the Meeting in Galatians Happen in the Timeline of Acts?“.

Please let me know by email if there are other blog posts I missed and I will add the links.

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