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".

john a t robinson redating-1

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.

Robinson furthered the argument put forward in Redating the New Testament that all the books were written before 70 AD, by focusing on the book that is placed early least often. Coakley according to Robinson's basically complete but unfinished notes for his Bampton Lectures.

To what extent this is in fact the case depends very much on the frame of reference of the reader.

However, the work of Robinson in Honest to God provided a departure point which would be followed up in the writings of the radical theologians Don Cupitt and John Shelby Spong and in the 1977 symposium The Myth of God Incarnate, edited by John Hick.

He studied at Jesus College, Cambridge and Trinity College, Cambridge, and then trained for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge. In 1948, Robinson became chaplain of Wells Theological College, where he wrote his first book, In the End, God.

In 1951, he was appointed Fellow and Dean of Clare College, Cambridge and a lecturer in divinity at Cambridge University.

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.

The book proved contentious because it called on Christians to view God as the "Ground of Being" rather than as a supernatural being "out there".

The modifications of the Divine image posited by Robinson have some aspects in common with the psychological deconstruction of God-ideas put forward by his fellow Cambridge theologian Harry Williams in his contribution to the symposium "Soundings" edited by Alec Vidler and published in 1962.

The media furore concerning "Honest to God" – one which was to portray him as anything but conservative in the public mind - led to a criticism of Robinson in the Church Assembly – the precursor of the General Synod by the Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey, and there were calls from many quarters for Robinson to resign or be deposed.

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.