Redating

According to Exploration into God in (1967), he felt its chief contribution was its attempt to synthesize the work of theologians Paul Tillich and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, both of them well known in theological circles, but whose views were largely unknown to the people in the pews.

Robinson was considered a major force in shaping liberal Christian theology.

Along with Harvard theologian Harvey Cox, he spearheaded the field of secular theology and, like William Barclay, he was a believer in universal salvation.

Robinson was born on in the precincts of Canterbury Cathedral, England, where his father was a canon.

He was educated at Marlborough College, then an all-boys independent school in Marlborough, Wiltshire.

Specifically, Robinson examined the reliability of the New Testament as he believed that it had been the subject of very little original research during the 20th century.

He also wrote that past scholarship was based on a "tyranny of unexamined assumptions" and an "almost wilful blindness".

Robinson seemed to rapidly become a person upon whom religious people projected their own ideas of what he was like, and the book The Honest to God Debate, edited by Robinson and by David L Edwards, also published in 1963, contains a mixture of articles which either praise Robinson for his approach or accuse him of atheism.

Although Robinson was considered a liberal theologian, he challenged the work of like-minded colleagues in the field of exegetical criticism.

In a letter to Robinson, the New Testament scholar C. Dodd wrote, "I should agree with you that much of the late dating is quite arbitrary, even wanton[;] the offspring not of any argument that can be presented, but rather of the critic's prejudice that, if he appears to assent to the traditional position of the early church, he will be thought no better than a stick-in-the-mud." Robinson's call for redating the New Testament – or, at least, the four gospels – was echoed in subsequent scholarship such as John Wenham's work Redating Matthew, Mark and Luke: A Fresh Assault on the Synoptic Problem and work by Claude Tresmontant, Günther Zuntz, Carsten Peter Thiede, Eta Linnemann, Harold Riley, Jean Carmignac, and Bernard Orchard.

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