Dating a document

Some critics in the Enlightenment period who recognized the prophecy of Christ's atonement in Isaiah chapter fifty-three, for example, assigned the book to a date as late as the Middle Ages.However, that assignment was based upon a preconceived rejection of the text's contents rather than on historical or literary grounds.2.Obviously no one is going to find any date on an ancient document followed by a big "BC".Therefore, other methods must be used to accurately place these in time.Having introduced some of the challenges in dating writings, what follows are methods which are currently being used in combination to arrive at the most likely answers. Simple study of the content of a text sometimes reveals its authorship and date.One author of a commentary on Habbukuk mentions certain events current to his own time.Knowing the approximate age of the writings helps put the writings into historical context.

The biblical writings were actively used in teaching and worship, and as such, were subject to wearing out.

These regnal years could be dated from when a new ruler was named, or when a new ruler began to co-reign with an existing ruler, or when a ruler actually assumed the throne, or at the beginning of the first year after a ruler had come to power.

Because ancient dating is mostly limited to these kinds of associations, accuracy is somewhat relative to an ever-sliding scale of when a handful of major events are best determined to have taken place.

The fact that copies were made is typical of document preservation in ancient times.

Just how atypical the copying process was concerning documents believed directly inspired by God is the focus of another chapter.

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