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

7th millenium BCE – Protowriting

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.

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 – 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 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 – 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 CE – Edict of Milan

325 CE – 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.wyattnewsletters.com/articles/chronochart.htm, which seems to have gone missing.

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