Further, Paul speaks of more than 500 eyewitnesses to the resurrection who were still alive when he wrote (15:6). It is one of the best attested books of any kind from the ancient world.
Specifically mentioned are the twelve apostles and James the brother of Jesus. There is a ring of authenticity to the book from beginning to end. Paul mentions 500 who had seen Christ, most of whom were still alive. The contents harmonize with what has been learned about Corinth during that era. Along with 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians and Galatians are well attested and early.
Using the accepted methods of papyrology and palaeography, O'Callahan compared sequences of letters with existing documents and eventually identified nine fragments as belonging to one gospel, Acts, and few epistles.
To illustrate this point, former liberal William F. 'Thanks to the Qumran discoveries, the New Testament proves to be in fact what it was formerly believed to be: the teaching of Christ and his immediate followers between cir. 80 AD' (, in which he posited revised dates for the New Testament books that place them earlier than the most conservative scholars ever held. Papias, companion of Polycarp, who was a disciple of the apostle John, quoted John.
Robinson places Matthew at 40 to after 60, Mark at about 45 to 60, Luke at before 57 to after 60, and John at from 40 to after 65. This argues powerfully that the gospels were in existence before the end of the first century, while some eyewitnesses (including John) were still alive.
When the New Testament was written is a significant issue, as one assembles the overall argument for Christianity.
Confidence in the historical accuracy of these documents depends partly on whether they were written by eyewitnesses and contemporaries to the events described, as the Bible claims.
Negative critical scholars strengthen their own views as they separate the actual events from the writings by as much time as possible.