Dating of the SynopticsWe have managed to come up with a rough order of the writing of the Synoptics: the gospel of Mark came first followed by Matthew and Luke, both of whom extensively used the material and the order of Mark. The quest now is to come up with some sort of rough estimate of the actual period of composition of these gospels. It is a pity that the gospels did not come with the date of its writing as modern books do. Without that we will have to make use of internal evidence within the books themselves to supply us with an approximate date.
The evidence shows that:
The question now lies on the other end. What is the earliest possible time for the composition of that gospel? As the gospel contains account of the death of Jesus it obviously must be written after that. So our first approximation tells us that Mark was written sometime between 30 to 130 CE. Of this we can be certain. But a hundred year span as a possible time of composition is quite unsatisfactory.
As it turns out we can narrow down the span further. We have also quoted earlier Ireneaus, who around 180CE, told us that Mark wrote the gospel in Rome after the "departure" of Peter and Paul. Christian tradition held that Peter and Paul were in Rome together and both perished there during the Neronian persecution of Christians around 64 to 67 CE.  Thus the word "departure" is generally taken to mean the death of the two apostles. This would make the earliest date for the composition of Mark around 64 CE. Our span is getting narrower, the probable date of composition is now between 64 to 130 CE. In fact some scholars date the composition of Mark to around 65 CE,  assuming that Mark started work on his gospel immediately after Peter's death and that it took him a few months to complete the gospel.  65 CE can be considered the "best case" scenario for Christians who prefer an early a date as possible for the gospel composition. (There are however some theologians who suggested even earlier dates! However their arguments do not hold water.)
However, we have noted earlier that the tradition of Mark's connection with Peter is dubious. There is actually some more evidence that favours an even later date than 65CE. First let us take a look at a passage from Mark.
The saying put into the mouth of Jesus by Mark [a] obviously refers to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. We know that the Jerusalem temple and, in fact, the whole city, was destroyed by the Romans in 70CE. If we take this utterance as a prophecy after the fact, this points to a date of composition of Mark after the fall of Jerusalem. [b] Taken singularly, it is not impossible that Jesus could have made this prediction about Jerusalem's fall [c], or even that Mark could have faithfully recorded Jesus' prediction before the event. The balance of probability, however, is clearly on the side of the skeptic. Which is more likely: that a devout (perhaps overzealous) redactor added prophecies after the event in his writings to enhance the status his spiritual master or that an obscure Galilean prophet actually predicted the destruction of Jerusalem?
There is another passage in Mark which, I believe, clinch the case for a post CE70 date of composition for this gospel. Given below is the passage:
As this parable stands it makes very little sense. For example why would the owner keep risking his servants lives when previous ones which he sent had been either beaten or killed? Why would he risked the life of his son, given that so many of his servants were already killed? And why don't the tenants realize that they would still have to deal with the father after murdering his son? Clearly the parable, in its present from is an allegory. Every character is made to represent something else. Only when this allegorical correspondence is understood can the parable be deciphered. 
As D.E. Nineham noted, the parables of the Old Testament, the Jewish Rabbis and of Jewish culture in general including during the time of Jesus, were rarely, if ever in the form of allegories. The Jewish parable, or mashal, is a story which, unlike the above, is entirely self consistent and life like. There is no item by item correspondence between the events depicted and the "external" world. The story as a whole has a message to teach.
An example of the Jewish mashal is the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-35). Here the parable is about a person who was robbed, and left for dead, on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho. A priest, and later a Levite, passed by and ignored him. However a Samaritan, someone who was not usually considered a friend by Jews, came pass and helped him. The question of the parable is then, who is the neighbor to the man?
Note that the parable above teaches that a man is a "neighbor" not due to his proximity to another but due to his actions. Note the story itself is self consistent and life like. Even without its final message, it makes sense. The people and events in the story did not stand for anything else: the robbers are robbers, the victim is the victim and the Samaritan is a Samaritan. It is this type of parable that is the exclusive norm during the time of Jesus. 
Now if we are to turn our attention back to the parable in Mark we can obviously see that it is of a different genre. Its meaning is made clear only if the correspondence of the people and events to the external world in the story are made clear. Thus it is obvious that the owner of the vineyard represents God, the tenants are the Jews, the servants are the prophets sent by God to the Jews and , transparently, the son refers to Jesus. The parable tells us that the Jews killed Jesus just like the way they rejected the earlier prophets. The killing of the tenants can only mean the destruction of Jerusalem. The renting of the vineyards to others can only mean the preaching of the good news to the Gentiles. 
Thus taking into consideration the form of the parable which makes it unlikely to have come from the historical Jesus, this allegory was written, or at least reached its final form, after the fall of Jerusalem. We now have shown two passages that dates the writing of Mark to after 70 CE.  Based on the singular evidence of Mark we can say with some certainty that it was written between 70 CEand 130CE. The upper limit here is actually too high. We will return to this after we look at the other two synoptic gospels.
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We also have in Matthew reference's to the fall of Jerusalem. One is a direct copy from Mark (Mark 13:12 = Matthew 24:1-2) about the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Another direct copy is the Parable of the vineyard tenants which we saw above (Mark 12:1-9 = Matthew 21:33-41)
Another clear cut reference to the fall of Jerusalem is in the Parable of the Wedding Banquet:
Again this parable is in the form of an allegory. It makes no sense in itself. why would the invited guests have to kill the servants who were only asking them to attend a banquet? And why would the king burn the city of the invited guests just because they won't attend his wedding banquet. The allegory can only be understood when the reader knows what the figures in it stand for. The similarity with the Parable of the Vineyard Tenants could hardly be accidental. Matthew even placed both these parables one after another in his gospel. The meaning is the same. The king is God who had invited some selected guests, the Jews, to a wedding banquet. The rejection of the King's invitation resulted in the destruction of the city of the guests. This is another obvious allusion to the fall of Jerusalem: the Jews rejected Jesus and the destruction of the city was just punishment from God. The opening of the invitation to the other people obviously referred to the Gentiles who accepted Jesus' teaching.  Thus these passages show that Matthew too was written after 70CE. This is, of course, consistent with our earlier finding about the primacy of Mark; if Mark was written after 70CE, Matthew must be written after that as well.
In fact there are actually further internal evidence that Matthew much later than 70CE. Matthew's gospel contains some markedly anti-Jewish remarks. And it is worth noticing that the author refers to the Jewish place of worship as "their synagogues" (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 10:17; 12:9; 13:54) as though he wants to distinguish Jewish synagogues from the Christian places of worship. We know that the early Jewish Christians used the synagogue as their center of worship. They were only excluded around CE90 when the Jews inserted a "test clause" in their prayers. This strongly suggests that Matthew was written after Christians no longer used the synagogue as their place of worship, i.e. after 90CE. We have narrowed down the period of composition of Matthew to around 90 to 110CE. 
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As Kummel pointed out , these had to be formulated after the event of Jerusalem's destruction. Note the details which correspond exactly with contemporary accounts of the action of Titus on Jerusalem. We have the seige of Jerusalem ("when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies") the destruction of the city by the Romans ("Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles"), the slaughter of innumerable Jews ("they will fall by the edge of the sword"), the capture of many Jews ("taken away as captives among all nations") and the complete destruction of the city ("they will not leave you one stone upon another"). That Luke was written after 70 CE must be regarded as certain.
The fact that Luke was not mentioned by Papias (who talked only about Mark and Matthew) strongly suggests that Luke must be of a later composition than Matthew. We have further evidence to support this.
The evidence relates to the relationship between the writings of Josephus and the gospel of Luke. The evidence is strong that Luke used Josephus' major works as one of his sources for the secular history of Palestine during the time of Jesus and the apostles.
Now, we know that Josephus completed The Jewish War in 77 CE, Antiquities of the Jews in 93 CE and The Life of Flavius Josephus around 95 CE.  Thus Luke (and Acts) must have been written, or completed, after these books have been published. This means that Luke's works (the gospel and the book of Acts) were written after this time.
Other lines of evidence also converges upon the last decade of the first century as the earliest time possible for Luke to have been written.
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