No need for apologies between us. I know what you mean. I also apologize for continually responding with new posts, but as my responses take a moment to compose I need to jump between computers and that makes writing in the comment blocks pointless.
When I wrote, “Both of these documents probably came into being within fifty years of the Truth Event.” referring to Mark and Matthew, I was placing the Crucifixion and Resurrection in the early-30’s CE, so that would place these documents sometime around 80 CE. Of course, this is all up for debate to one degree or another-while most place Mark first (which I agree with) there are perfectly reasonable people who argue for Matthew and since there is no definitive evidence the truth in this case remains undefinable.
(see what I did there?) 😉
While I would agree that Christianity was ultimately strengthened by its response to the sack of Jerusalem, it must have been a case of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. After all, the very event they were expecting to precipitate the return of the Messiah was the destruction of the Temple and it absolutely did not happen. This is why I think any date before 70 CE is unlikely; the appearance of the Gospels must be a response to an existential threat because if the principle of equal and opposite reaction applies, the Gospels are like nothing else in human writing and could not have been brought about as an afterthought. If we are to speak of the inspiration behind these texts, imagine the urgency those elderly Apostles felt when they realized the gift of the Good News could be lost to the world. Becoming the state religion of the Roman Empire was a result and vindication of their efforts; the purpose of His Ministry was always to transform the world, not to make a perfect church of united catechism. The religious apparatus was the only thing to survive the fall of the Western Empire, and the Church enabled the Renaissance to incubate in a Europe darkened for a thousand years, ultimately bringing with it the Scientific Method and all the fruits of the modern world into being. (Even as the Church had its own share of the responsibility in bringing the Dark Ages into being by burning all of the ‘pagan’ literature they could get their hands on.)
In terms of ‘believing’ in the Resurrection and my status as a ‘Christian’; I suppose that what I have difficulty expressing is that I don’t know what people are talking about when they talk about ‘believing’ in things like miracles that happened two thousand years ago. There was a day in Rome when I walked through the Porta Sancta during the last Jubilee when I had a powerful spiritual experience that I have written about before and I think it is the sort of thing you are talking about. However, I don’t understand the significance of attesting to my absolute certainty of an event that even the eyewitnesses to could not agree upon; I don’t understand what such an act signifies spiritually or why the condition of my soul depends on whether or not I can vividly imagine Jesus rising from the grave. My answer to the question of the Resurrection is a sturdy ‘I don’t know’; I’m sure that this puts me in the wrong from the point of view of most Christians, but to be fair, if I had a message for the bulk of Christians, it would simply be, ‘You’re doing it wrong’. I’m fine with being excluded from my local chapter of the Jesus Christ Show Club according to the bylaws of whatever Holy Order of Christketeers has determined me ineligible for membership. The Creeds and Councils of Nicene and Constantinople bind me no more than the oath the Boy Scouts tried to get me to say; I am not following Christ along a path set by those who are lost themselves. On the other hand, everyone is included in my club so it’s all good in the hood, homes. I got you guys covered.
These discourses are a spiritual experience for me as well.