Earliest paparyi dating
In fact, any honest palaeographer will only give the age of a MS with the accuracy of plus or minus 50 years, or maybe even 100 years.But this is for an actual MS, and not for a tiny scrap of writing that comes from nobody knows where.And based on that, there's really no attestation for our canonical GJohn earlier than Irenaeus -- late in the second century!And the situation is very similar with the other 3 gospels.So much in New Testament history hinges on the Rylands Papyrus (P52).
So is there any way to date our NT gospels other than with the help of palaeography? We simply need to look into the citations from the gospels, as found in the earliest Fathers of the Church.This is apparently the oldest of all of our Old Latin MSS, and it contains most of Matthew and Mark."Palaeographers almost unanimously hold the opinion that k is a 5th or 6th century MS." (Adolphine Bakker, A STUDY OF CODEX EVANG. She doesn't say it was dated "about 525 AD", or "about 475 AD". Next, let's take a look into Aland's Synopsis, the standard reference book of all NT scholars. It looks like the "unanimous opinion of palaeographers" has changed quite a bit since 1933, didn't it?