Dating new testament books
Acts, as a matter of convenience, came to be bound up with the 'General Epistles' (those of Peter, James, John and Jude).The only books about which there was any substantial doubt after the middle of the second century were some of those which come at the end of our New Testament.About AD 115 Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, refers to 'The Gospel' as an authoritative writing, and as he knew more than one of the four 'Gospels' it may well be that by 'The Gospel' he means the fourfold collection which went by that name.About AD 170 an Assyrian Christian named Tatian turned the fourfold Gospel into a continuous narrative or 'Harmony of the Gospels,' which for long was the favourite if not the official form of the fourfold Gospel in the Assyrian Church.
Thus the Codex Sinaiticus included the 'Epistle of Barnabas' and the Shepherd of Hermas, a Roman work of about AD 110 or earlier, while the Codex Alexandrinus included the writings known as the First and Second Epistles of Clement; and the inclusion of these works alongside the biblical writings probably indicates that they were accorded some degree of canonical status.
The earliest list of New Testament books of which we have definite knowledge was drawn up at Rome by the heretic Marcion about 140.
Marcion distinguished the inferior Creator-God of the Old Testament from the God and Father revealed in Christ, and believed that the Church ought to jettison all that appertained to the former.
51, to round off the narrative, and in consequence 'was taken up' was added in Acts i. Thus the inconsistencies which some have detected between the accounts of the ascension in Luke and Acts are most likely due to these adjustments made when the two books were separated from each other.
Acts, however, naturally shared the authority and prestige of the third Gospel, being the work of the same author, and was apparently received as canonical by all except Marcion and his followers.