Jason Engwer and Gene Bridges are presently debating Jon Curry, who has made the following admission:
Now to my survey, which is really a summary of points made by Robert Price, which in turn is a summary of some of the arguments made by the old Dutch radical critics.
This goes back to an article by Hermann Detering, who, among other things, makes the following claim:
Because of the factors already mentioned I am of the opinion that accepting a "Marcionite School" as the cradle of the "Pauline Epistles" is preferable to accepting a Pauline one. Contrary to the latter, the former is undoubtedly a historical fact. The un-Marcionite passages in the Pauline Epistles can as a rule be accounted for as Catholic revisions. In my opinion it is quite conceivable that Marcion and his pupils tried to solve the problems in their congregations on the basis of documents which obtained their authority from the legendary Marcionite parish patron Paul. Equally thinkable is that the clashes mirrored in the Pauline Epistles and which give them that so-called "occasional" and unintelligible character (like the overheard half of a telephone conversation) are nothing more than the reflex of those conflicts which Marcion and his pupils fought out in and with the Marcionite congregations.
It is beyond dispute that a Paul legend did exist in the Christian circles of the second century. The best proof for the existence of such a legend is none other than Luke's Acts of the Apostles.
I’d like to point out a rather obvious obstacle in the way of this redating scheme. Marcion died around 160.
So the implication is that we redate the Pauline corpus from the mid-1C to the mid-2C, give or take.
And the scheme isn’t limited to the Pauline epistles. By dating Acts to the same period, one inevitably implicates the synoptic gospels.
And that, in turn, raise the question of where to put the Fourth Gospel and 1 John. Surely one wouldn’t date the Johannine corpus to the 1C while dating the synoptic gospels to the 2C.
Now, one of the logistical problems which this redating scheme overlooks is that you can’t move most of the NT forward by a century or so while leaving all of the other dates in early church history in place. For many other individuals, movements, writings, and events are historically and/or literarily dependent on the prior existence and influence of the NT.
Therefore, if you push the NT forward by a hundred years, that is going to have a domino effect on any number of other dates. It affects the dating of everyone and everything that quotes or cites or alludes to the NT. Manuscripts. Church fathers. Heretics. NT apocrypha. Local synods. And so on and so forth.
Relative chronology is a web of synchronies involving younger and older contemporaries, as well as diachronic relations involving predecessors and successors. It also involves a sequential chain of prior, simultaneous, and posterior events.
So the chronology of the NT is not a self-contained question. It spills over into the chronology of the early church. And that, in turn, spills over into the chronology of the Roman Empire. You can’t make a radical, but discrete change in the dating of most all of the NT while leaving all the other dates intact.
To upwardly revise the date of the NT by a hundred years or so would necessitate a corresponding and complete readjustment in all of the other dates in early church history and Roman history which are impacted by that revision.
And at the risk of stating the obvious, these dates were not arrived at on dogmatic grounds. Modern scholars of Roman history are not dating events to accommodate a theological agenda.
Does Curry or Price or Detering have the slightest idea of what would be involved in revising early church chronology and Roman history to make room for their radical revision of NT chronology? You can only revise it en bloc.
I’d like to see one of them present a detailed timeline of how that’s going to pan out. And they also need to explain how they go about reinterpreting all the archeological data that church historians and Roman historians use to reconstruct a relative chronology of early church history in particular and Roman imperial history in general—where the two often intersect.