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 — 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 

7th mil­le­ni­um BCE — Pro­towrit­ing

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

4004 BCE — Some Chris­tians claim that the Bible says the uni­verse, Earth, humans, all ani­mals, and all plants are cre­at­ed in one week (Gen­e­sis 5). The Gar­den of Eden myth was prob­a­bly based on the city of Dil­mun in the Sumer­ian myth of Enki and Ninhursag.

3200 BCE — Egypt­ian hiero­glyphs developed.

3150 BCE — Egypt­ian civ­i­liza­tion tru­ly coalesces.

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

2348 BCE — Some Chris­tians claim that the Bib­li­cal sto­ry of a world­wide flood that destroyed all life except for Noah, his fam­i­ly, and two of each ani­mal (Gen­e­sis 7:11) hap­pened here.

2242 BCE — 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 — The Sumer­ian myth of Enki and Nin­hur­sag originated.

21st cen­tu­ry BCE — The Sumer­ian “Epic of Ziusu­dra” (flood myth) originated.

21st cen­tu­ry BCE — The Sumer­ian “Enmerkar and the Lord of Arat­ta” originated.

c 2100 BCE — The Mesopotami­an “Epic of Gil­gamesh” originated.

18th cen­tu­ry BCE — The “Epic of Atra­ha­sis” originated.

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

ear­ly 19th cen­tu­ry BCE — Baby­lo­nia appears

1897 BCE — Bible claims the destruc­tion of Sodom and Gomor­rah occurred.

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 — The Bible claims that the Jews left Israel for the Promised Land.

1406 BCE — The 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 the name David 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 — The King­dom of Judah con­quered by the Baby­lon­ian army. The first Baby­lon­ian exile begins.

586 BCE — The first Jew­ish tem­ple was 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 BCE — Gen­e­sis, Exo­dus, Leviti­cus and Num­bers writ­ten in 5th cen­tu­ry Judah under the Per­sian empire.

8th cen­tu­ry BCE — 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 BCE — 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.

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 Jew­ish tem­ple with Per­sian approval and financing.

516 BCE — The sec­ond Jew­ish tem­ple was 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 was 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 — 4th cen­turies BCE — Ruth is believed to have been writ­ten dur­ing the Per­sian peri­od, pos­si­bly by a woman.

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

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

518 BCE — Baby­lon­ian Exile ends.

Late 4th cen­tu­ry BCE — Com­ple­tion of 1 and 2 Chron­i­cles, which were orig­i­nal­ly one work..

Late 4th or ear­ly 3rd cen­tu­ry BCE — Esther was written.

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

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

2nd or 3rd cen­tu­ry BCE — Lamen­ta­tions was written.

2nd cen­tu­ry BCE — Schol­ars agree that Daniel was writ­ten, though it claims to have been writ­ten in the 6th cen­tu­ry BCE.

332 — 167 BCE — Jon­ah was written.

332 — 110 BCE — Hel­lenis­tic Peri­od — Per­sians were 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 com­plet­ed, orig­i­nal­ly as one work.

167 — 160 BCE — The Mac­cabean Revolt

164 — 64 BCE The 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 was writ­ten by Paul

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

c 54 CE — 1 Corinthi­ans writ­ten by Paul.

54 — 68 CE — The reign of Emper­or Nero.

mid 50’s CE — Phile­mon was writ­ten by Paul.

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

58 CE — Romans was 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 was mar­tyred accord­ing to church tradition.

c 70 CE — The Gospel of Mark was writ­ten by an unknown author.

70 CE — The 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 was 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 — The Gospel of Matthew was writ­ten by an unknown author.

81 — 96 CE — The reign of Emper­or Domitian.

c 90 CE — Eph­esians was writ­ten by an unknown author who claimed to be Paul.

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

90 — 100 CE — The Gospel of John writ­ten between 90 and 100 CE.

c 90 — 110 CE — James was 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 — Jude was written.

100 — 110 CE — Johan­nine epis­tles 1, 2, and 3 written.

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 written.

306 — 337 CE — The reign of Emper­or Constantine

313 CE — The Edict of Milan

325 CE — The First Coun­cil of Nicaea met.

382 CE — The Coun­cil of Rome affirms the canon of the Catholic Church. The Old Tes­ta­ment con­sist­ed of the 24 books of the Hebrew Tanakh as well as all of the deute­ro­canon­i­cal books oth­er than Baruch with the Let­ter of Jere­mi­ah. The New Tes­ta­ment list con­tains the 27 stan­dard books: 4 Gospels, Acts, 14 let­ters of Paul (includ­ing Hebrews), Apoc­al­yse of John, and 7 Gen­er­al Let­ters (of which 2 and 3 John are attrib­uted to “the oth­er John the elder”, and Jude to “Judas the Zealot.”

393 CE — The Syn­od of Hip­po fur­ther affirms the Catholic canon.

397 CE — A Coun­cil of Carthage affirmed its ver­sion of the Catholic canon.

405 CE — The Vul­gate, first offi­cial Latin trans­la­tion of the Bible, is released.

419 CE — The Coun­cil of Carthage met.

476 CE — The Fall of Rome.

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

1431 — 1439 CR — The Coun­cil of Florence.

1517 CE — Mar­tin Luther pub­lish­es his 95 Theses.

1534 CE — The Church of Eng­land established.

1545 — 1463 CE — The Coun­cil of Trent affirmed the Catholic canon as an arti­cle of faith.

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

1610 CE — The Douay–Rheims Bible was pub­lished, the first com­plete Roman Catholic Bible in English.

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

1611 CE — The King James Ver­sion of the Bible was published.

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

Some Bib­li­cal dates are from http://www.wyattnewsletters.com/articles/chronochart.htm, which seems to have gone missing.

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