Sources for Roman and Greek history are usually biased and removed one or two generations (or, in some cases, even centuries) from the events that they detail.
When we seek to reconstruct it or, even more adventurously, the actual situation of Jesus himself, we are speculating.For example, the Acts of the Apostles (which post-dates Luke’s gospel) does not mention the destruction of the temple in AD 70, nor the death of Peter or Paul, nor for that matter the persecution of Christian martyrs under Nero in the 60?s or the Great Fire of Rome from which it resulted.Paul also quotes from Luke’s gospel, in connection with the Lord’s supper, in 1 Corinthians 11:“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”In addition, 1 Timothy 6 also makes reference to Pontius Pilate, suggesting that its author (in my view, Paul) was aware of the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ trial. If – as I maintain – the pastoral epistles are genuinely Pauline, then Luke’s gospel (or, at the very least, Luke’s source material) must predate AD60 by far enough to be regarded as Scripture at the time of the writing of 1 Timothy (probably the early 60? Furthermore, I would argue, it is likely to also predate the writing of 1 Corinthians in the early 50’s.Paul is also evidently aware of the 12 disciples (e.g. This is also consistent with evidence from other areas.Authorship of the Gospels: No gospel identifies its author.The common designations placed before the Gospels, e.g., “The Gospel according to Matthew” stem from the late 2d cent.On the other hand, when we work on the level of the evangelists, we are on much more solid ground, for their accounts need not be reconstructed.The dating [of the Gospels] is approximate, but it is likely that all four Gospels were written in the last half of the 1st cent. The majority of scholars date Mark in the late 60’s before the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, but the number of those who would date it shortly after 70 is increasing (Ernst, Gnilka, Pesch, Schmithals). John is customarily assigned to the 90s, with final redaction in 100-110.s AD, being removed from the passion events by only two or three years!When compared to other ancient biographies, these sources are very early indeed.