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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