Home » Religion and Me, or How I Became an Agnostic Atheist » Timeline Of Events Relevant to Christian/​Atheist Debates

A very rough draft of a col­lec­tion of notes on dates that seem to come up fre­quent­ly in atheist/​Christian debates, or are key in under­stand­ing Chris­tian his­to­ry.

13.82 bil­lion years old — Age of the uni­verse accord­ing to the Planck con­stant — see Planck Results Show Uni­verse is 13.82 Bil­lion Years Old

4.54 bil­lion years — Age of the earth accord­ing to radio­met­ric age dat­ing of mete­orite mate­ri­al, con­sis­tent with the radio­met­ric ages of the old­est known ter­res­tri­al and lunar sam­ples — see Age of the Earth and FAQ Age of Earth

3 – 4 bil­lion years ago —  Prokary­otes appear. 

300 mil­lion years ago — Mam­mals appear

231.4 mil­lion years ago — Dinosaurs appear

65 mil­lion years ago — Dinosaurs extinct

14 mil­lion years ago — Hominids appear 14 mil­lion years ago

10 — 2 mil­lion years ago — Last com­mon human-chim­panzee ances­tor

1.8 — 0.2 mil­lion years ago — Homo Sapi­ens appears

250,000 to 200,000 years ago — Nean­derthals appear

300,000 to 200,000 years ago — Y-Chro­mo­so­mal Adam lived

200,000 to 100,000 years ago — Mito­chon­dri­al Eve lived 

195,000 years ago — Anatom­i­cal­ly mod­ern humans appear

125,000 to 60,000 years ago — Humans left Africa

39,000 to 41000 years ago — Nean­derthals extinct

c 23,000 years ago — Ear­li­est signs of farm­ing

c 10,000 to 8,000 BCE — Ear­li­est signs of civ­i­liza­tion (cities), such as at Gob­ek­li Tepe in the Mid­dle East 

c. 5400 BCE — Eridu, pos­si­bly the first city in the world, found­ed in Sumer

4004 BCE — Bible claims uni­verse, Earth, humans, all ani­mals and plants are cre­at­ed in one week (Gen­e­sis 5). Gar­den of Eden myth prob­a­bly based on city of Dil­mun in Sume­ri­an myth of Enki and Nin­hur­sag.

7th mil­le­ni­um BCE — Pro­towrit­ing

3200 BC — Egyp­tian hiero­glyphs devel­oped

3150 BCE — Egyp­tian civ­i­liza­tion tru­ly coa­lesces

2900 BC — River flood thought to be the inspi­ra­tion for flood myths of Sumer and Mesopotamia

2348 BC — Bible claims there was a world­wide flood that destroyed all life except for Noah, his fam­i­ly, and two of each ani­mal (Gen­e­sis 7:11)

2242 — The Bible tells the sto­ry of the Tow­er of Babel, like­ly inspired by the Sume­ri­an sto­ry “Enmerkar and the Lord of Arat­ta” (Gen­e­sis 11)

ear­ly 21st cen­tu­ry BCE — Sume­ri­an myth of Enki and Nin­hur­sag orig­i­nates

21st cen­tu­ry BCE — Sume­ri­an “Epic of Ziusu­dra” (flood myth) orig­i­nates

21st cen­tu­ry BCE — Sume­ri­an “Enmerkar and the Lord of Arat­ta” orig­i­nates

c 2100 BCE — Mesopotami­an “Epic of Gil­gamesh” orig­i­nates

18th cen­tu­ry BCE — “Epic of Atra­ha­sis” orig­i­nates

2000 BCE — first true writ­ing, Semit­ic use of Egyp­tian char­ac­ters

ear­ly 19th cen­tu­ry BCE — Baby­lo­nia appears

1897 BCE — Bible claims destruc­tion of Sodom and Gomor­rah

1706 BCE — Jacob goes to live in Egypt, mark­ing begin of Jew­ish sojourn there (accord­ing to the Bible)

c 1700 BCE — Sumer falls

1446 BCE — Bible claims that the Jews left Israel for the Promised Land

1406 BCE — Bible claims that Moses died and the Jews entered the Promised Land

1208 BCE — Mernep­tah Stele — inscrip­tion by the Ancient Egyp­tian king Mernep­tah dis­cov­ered in 1896 in Thebes. Old­est known men­tion of Israel. Says, “Israel is laid waste and his seed is not;” in one line near the end.

879 — 852 BCE — Kurkh Mono­liths — two Assyr­i­an ste­lae con­tain­ing descrip­tions of the reigns of Ashur­nasir­pal II and his son Shal­mane­ser III, dis­cov­ered in 1861 in Turkey. They con­tain a ref­er­ence gen­er­al­ly accept­ed to be to Ahab king of Israel which is the only pos­si­ble ref­er­ence to the term “Israel” in Assyr­i­an and Baby­lo­ni­an records. It is also the old­est doc­u­ment to refer to the Arabs.

870 — 750 BCE — Tel Dan Stele — bro­ken stele dis­cov­ered in 1993 – 94 in north­ern Israel with a tri­umphal inscrip­tion in Ara­maic, prob­a­bly left by Haz­a­el of Aram-Dam­as­cus, but not specif­i­cal­ly nam­ing the one who cel­e­brates his tri­umph. He boasts of vic­to­ries over the king of Israel and Israel’s ally the king of the “House of David,” the first time that name appears out­side the Bible.

c 840 BCE — Mesha Stele (aka Moabite Stone) — stele set up by King Mesha of Moab telling how Kemosh, their god, had assist­ed Mesha to throw off the yoke of Israel and restore the lands of Moab. Par­al­lels 2 Kings 3:4 – 8.

c 8th cen­tu­ry BCE — Ancient Rome and Greece both devel­oped

587 BCE — King­dom of Judah con­quered by the Baby­lo­nia army. First Baby­lo­ni­an exile begins.

586 BCE — First Tem­ple destroyed. 

6th cen­tu­ry BCE — Deuteron­o­my, Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, and 1 & 2 Kings writ­ten in the 6th cen­tu­ry BCE dur­ing the Baby­lo­ni­an exile

5th cen­tu­ry — Gen­e­sis, Exo­dus, Leviti­cus and Num­bers writ­ten in 5th cen­tu­ry Judah under the Per­sian empire

8th cen­tu­ry — 515 BCE — Isa­iah writ­ten, com­posed of the 8th cen­tu­ry BCE writ­ings of Isa­iah ben Amos and addi­tions by his dis­ci­ples (First Isa­iah, chap­ters 1 – 39); Deutero-Isa­iah, chap­ters 40 – 55, by an anony­mous Jew­ish author near the end of the Baby­lo­ni­an exile (550−539 BCE), and Tri­to-Isa­iah (chap­ters 56 – 66), by anony­mous dis­ci­ples of Deutero-Isa­iah in Jerusalem imme­di­ate­ly after the return from Baby­lon (515 BCE).

Late 7th cen­tu­ry — 480 BCE — Jere­mi­ah writ­ten in the late 7th and ear­ly 6th cen­turies BCE with addi­tions from 580 – 480 BCE and lat­er peri­ods.

6th cen­tu­ry BCE — Job was prob­a­bly writ­ten in the 6th cen­tu­ry BCE.

540 BCE — Baby­lo­nia con­quered by the Per­sian Empire

538 — 332 BCE — Jews return to Jerusalem after the exile (called the post-exil­ic peri­od) and build the Sec­ond Tem­ple with Per­sian approval and financ­ing.

516 — Sec­ond Tem­ple com­plet­ed under the lead­er­ship of the last three Jew­ish Prophets Hag­gai, Zechari­ah, and Malachi.

Ezekiel claims to be writ­ten by a priest liv­ing in Baby­lon, but is obvi­ous­ly writ­ten by some­one close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the Sec­ond Tem­ple.

Pslams col­lects pieces span­ning at least five cen­turies, from Psalm 29 (an entire Canaan­ite hymn to Baal) to oth­ers writ­ten in the post-Exil­ic peri­od. They were gath­ered togeth­er in the Sec­ond Tem­ple years.

6th — 3rd cen­turies BCE — Proverbs gath­ers col­lec­tions from the 6th to the 3rd cen­turies BCE.

6th — 4th cen­turies BCE — Ruth is believed to have been writ­ten dur­ing the Per­sian peri­od, pos­si­bly by a wom­an.

538 — 332 BCE — Hosea, Joel, Amos, Oba­di­ah, Mic­ah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zepha­ni­ah, Hag­gai, Zechari­ah and Malachi were writ­ten between 538 and 332 BCE. 

518 BCE — Baby­lo­ni­an Exile ends

4th cen­tu­ry BCE — 1 and 2 Chron­i­cles were orig­i­nal­ly one work, com­plet­ed in the late 4th cen­tu­ry BCE.

late 4th or ear­ly 3rd cen­tu­ry BCE — Esther is writ­ten in the late 4th or ear­ly 3rd cen­tu­ry BCE.

c 3rd cen­tu­ry BCE — Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) was writ­ten around the 3rd cen­tu­ry BCE, but schol­ars dif­fer over whether it was writ­ten as one piece or not.

mid-3rd cen­tu­ry BCE — Qoheleth/​Ecclesiastes was writ­ten around the mid-3rd cen­tu­ry BCE.

2nd or 3rd cen­tu­ry BCE — Lamen­ta­tions is writ­ten around the 2nd or 3rd cen­tu­ry BCE.

2nd cen­tu­ry BCE — Daniel claims to be writ­ten in the 6th cen­tu­ry BCE, but schol­ars agree it is from the 2nd cen­tu­ry BCE.

332 — 167 BCE — Jon­ah was writ­ten between 332 and 167 BCE.

332 — 110 BCE — Hel­lenis­tic Peri­od — Per­sians defeat­ed by Alexan­der the Great in 332. Greek cul­ture affect­ed Judaism heav­i­ly, and the Sep­tu­ag­int was devel­oped in the third cen­tu­ry BCE.

300 — 200 BCE — Ezra and Nehemi­ah were orig­i­nal­ly one work, and were com­plet­ed around 300 – 200 BCE.

167 — 160 BCE — Mac­cabean Revolt

164 — 64 — BCE Has­monean dynasty ruled Judea, reduc­ing the influ­ence of Hel­lenism

63 BCE — 324 CE — Roman rule in Israel

30 BCE — Egypt falls to Rome

4 BCE — Herod the Great dies

4 BCE — Jesus born (accord­ing to Bible/​Christian time­line)

6 CE — Cen­sus of Quiriniuss in Judea

26 — 36 CE — Pon­tius Pilate reigns as Roman pre­fect of Judea

27 CE — Jesus starts his min­istry

31 CE — Jesus exe­cut­ed by the Romans as a rebel

36 CE — Paul’s con­ver­sion to Chris­tian­i­ty

44 CE — James the Greater put to death by King Herod (Acts 12:1 – 2)

50 CE — 1 Thes­sa­lo­ni­ans writ­ten around by Paul (Evo­lu­tion of the Word: New Tes­ta­ment in the Order the Books Were Writ­ten, Mar­cus Borg)

50 CE — Gala­tians writ­ten by Paul

52 – 57 CE — 2 Corinthi­ans is a com­bi­na­tion of at least three let­ters, usu­al­ly divid­ed as chap­ters 1 – 7, 8 – 9, and 10 – 13, by Paul.

c 54 CE — 1 Corinthi­ans writ­ten by Paul.

54 — 68 CE — reign of Emper­or Nero

mid 50’s CE — Phile­mon writ­ten by Paul.

mid-50’s CE — Philip­pi­ans writ­ten by Paul.

58 CE — Romans writ­ten by Paul.

60 CE — Church tra­di­tion claims that Andrew was mar­tyred in Patras, Greece by cru­ci­fix­ion.

c 62 CE — James the Lesser mar­tyred in Egypt accord­ing to church tra­di­tion

mid 60’s CE — Chris­tian tra­di­tion claims that Nero killed Paul by behead­ing and Peter by cru­ci­fix­ion.

c 65 CE — Jude mar­tyred accord­ing to church tra­di­tion

c 66 CE — Hebrews was writ­ten by an unknown author.

68 CE — Mark the Evan­ge­list mar­tyred accord­ing to church tra­di­tion

c 70 CE — Mark writ­ten by an unknown author.

70 CE — Destruc­tion of Jerusalem

70 CE — Simon the Zealot mar­tyred in Per­sia accord­ing to church tra­di­tion

72 CE — Church tra­di­tion holds that Thomas was mar­tyred

c 75 — 100 CE — Luke-Acts writ­ten by an unknown author.

80 CE — Philip mar­tyred, accord­ing to Chris­tian tra­di­tion

c 80’s CE — Colos­sians is the first of the pseu­do­ny­mous let­ters attrib­ut­ed to Paul.

80 — 90 CE — Matthew writ­ten by an unknown author.

81 — 96 CE — Reign of Emper­or Domi­tian

c 90 CE — Eph­esians writ­ten by an unknown author claim­ing to be Paul.

92 CE or lat­er — Rev­e­la­tion writ­ten after 92 CE, because it men­tions the death of Bish­op Antipas, who was killed in that year by Emper­or Domi­tian.

90 — 100 CE — John writ­ten between 90 and 100 CE, by “the beloved.”

c 90 — 110 CE — James writ­ten late first cen­tu­ry or ear­ly sec­ond, accord­ing to some schol­ars.

93 — 94 CE — Jose­phus’ Antiq­ui­ties of the Jews writ­ten, con­tain­ing a ref­er­ence to Jesus.

98 — 100 CE — John the Apos­tle dies, accord­ing to Chris­tian tra­di­tion, of old age.

c 100 CE — 2 Thes­sa­lo­ni­ans writ­ten by some­one claim­ing to be Paul.

100 CE — 1, 2, and 3 John and Jude writ­ten, not nec­es­sar­i­ly by the same authors.

c 100 — 120 CE — 1 & 2 Tim­o­thy writ­ten by some­one claim­ing to be Paul in the ear­ly decades of the sec­ond cen­tu­ry.

c 100 — 120 CE — Titus writ­ten in the first decades of the sec­ond cen­tu­ry.

ear­ly 2nd cen­tu­ry CE — 1 Peter writ­ten by an unknown author.

116 CE — Tac­i­tus writes his Annals, which con­tains a ref­er­ence to Jesus’ exe­cu­tion by Pon­tius Pilate

135 CE — Many Jews migrat­ed to Baby­lon in 135 CE after the Bar Kokhba revolt and in the cen­turies after. Baby­lo­nia became the cen­ter of Judaism up until the 13th cen­tu­ry CE, and it was there that the Tal­mud was writ­ten.

c 150 CE — 2 Peter around 150 CE.

306 — 337 CE — Reign of Emper­or Con­stan­ti­ne

313 — Edict of Milan

325 — Coun­cil of Nicaea

c 405 CE — Mod­ern Bib­li­cal canon set

405 CE — Vul­gate, first offi­cial Lat­in trans­la­tion of the Bible

476 CE — Fall of Rome 

1382 — 1395 CE — Wycliffe’s Bible pub­lished in Mid­dle Eng­lish

1517 CE — Mar­t­in Luther pub­lish­es his 95 The­ses

1534 CE — Church of Eng­land estab­lished

1560 CE — the Geneva Bible pub­lished, first mass-pub­lished Bible, main Bible of 16th cen­tu­ry Protes­tants, and first to use vers­es

1610 CE —  Douay – Rheims Bible pub­lished, first com­plete Roman Catholic Bible in Eng­lish

1568 CE — The Bishop’s Bible pub­lished, sup­port­ed by Eliz­a­beth I

1611 CE — King James Ver­sion of the Bible pub­lished

1946 — 1956 CE — Qum­ran Caves Scrolls dis­cov­ered in the West Bank

Most Bib­li­cal dates are from http://​www​.wyat​tnewslet​ters​.com/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​s​/​c​h​r​o​n​o​c​h​a​r​t​.​htm

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