Dating the Bible

commonly accepted dates or ranges of dates for composition of the Hebrew Bible, the Deuterocanonical books and the New Testament,

The oldest Hebrew Bible writings that are still here today were written in about the 2nd century BCE. The oldest writing that has no pieces missing is a Greek translation called the Septuagint. It is from the 4th century CE (Codex Sinaiticus). The oldest parts of the Masoretic Text, which is where we get modern Hebrew Bibles, are from the 9th century CE.[1] Almost no biblical writing was written at the same time as the events it talks about.[2] For example, most of the writings about Jesus Christ were written long after he lived, some of them hundreds of years after.

Table I: Chronological overview of the Hebrew BibleEdit

These tables show the chronology (order) of the Bible and says when in history they were written. Much of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament may have been put together in the 5th century BCE. [3] Most of the New Testament books were written largely in the second half of the 1st century CE.[4] The Deuterocanonical books fall largely in between.

Period Date or dates when books were written
During the monarchic period of Ancient Israel and Ancient Judah

(History of Ancient Israel and Ancient Judah)

8th–7th centuries BCE c. 745–586 BCE

Exilic period: when people were in exile in Babylon.

6th century BCE 586–539 BCE

  • Most of Obadiah around the fall of Jerusalem, 586 BCE. [13]
  • The completion of the so-called "Deuteronomistic history": (Joshua/Judges/Samuel/Kings). [14]
  • Deuteronomy expanded with the addition of chapters 1–4 and 29–30. It now served as an introduction to the Deuteronomistic history.[15]
  • Jeremiah [16]
  • Ezekiel [17]
  • So-called "Second Isaiah" ,Isaiah 40–55 [18]
  • Expansion and reshaping of Hosea, Amos, Micah and Zephaniah.[19]
  • Some early Psalms collection (psalms "of David") ending with psalm 89.[19]
  • Lamentations written between 586 BCE and the end of the 6th century BCE [20]
The post-exilic period when Judah

was under Persian control 6th–4th centuries BCE 538–330 BCE

  • The books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers (The Torah). Finally completed by 250 BCE [21]
  • Deuteronomy completed, expanding chapters 19–25 and addition of chapters 27 and 31–34. This then served as the conclusion to the Torah.[15]
  • So-called "Third Isaiah" (Isaiah 56–66) [18]
  • Final version of Jeremiah [22]
  • Haggai written at the end of the 6th century [23]
  • Zechariah chapters 1–8 at the same time as Haggai, chapters 9–14 from the 5th century [24]
  • Ruth written in the Persian period [25]
  • Malachi 5th century BCE [26]
  • Esther to the 3rd or 4th centuries BCE
  • Joel – late Persian or Hellenistic [27]
  • The books of Chronicles written between 400–250 BC [28]
  • Proverbs is impossible to date [29] and could be anywhere from the 8th to 4th centuries BCE
  • Origins of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. They may have reached their final version as late as the Ptolemaic period, c. 300–200 BCE, during the time of the Ptolemaic dynasty. [30]
Post-exilic during the Hellenistic

period 3rd–2nd centuries BCE 330–164 BCE

  • Job, [31] Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs. They may have their origins in the 4th or even 5th centuries, but they seem to reflect contact with the Hellenistic world. [32] [33]
  • Book of Jonah (Persian or Hellenistic, no later than 2nd century BCE).[34]
  • Most of the individual psalms making up the final third of the Book of Psalms.[35]
Maccabean/Hasmonean

2nd -1st centuries BCE 164 - 4 BCE

  • Daniel 164 BCE, combining newly-written visions, chapters 7–12, with the Persian and Hellenistic tales of chapters 1–6. [36]

Table II: Chronological overview of Deuterocanonical Old TestamentEdit

Period Date or range of dates when books written
Post-exilic during the Hellenistic

period 3rd–2nd centuries BCE 330–164 BCE

Tobit 225–175 BCE [37]
Maccabean/Hasmonean

2nd -1st centuries BCE 164 - 4 BCE

Table III: Chronological overview of the New TestamentEdit

Period Date or range of dates when book or letter was written
Roman rule of Judea.

Roman Emperors:

Claudius - 41–54 CE

Nero - 54–68 CE

Galba - 68–69 CE

Otho -January–April 69 CE

Aulus Vitellius - July–December 69 CE

Vespasian - 69–79 CE

Titus - 79–81 CE

Domitian - 81–96 CE

Nerva - 96–98 CE

Trajan - 98–117 CE

ReferencesEdit

CitationsEdit

  1. Evans, Craig A. (October 2008). "Introduction". In Evans, Craig A.; Tov, Emanuel (eds.). Exploring the Origins of the Bible: Canon Formation in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective. Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology. Baker Academic (published 2008). ISBN 9781585588145. Retrieved May 16, 2015. The oldest Masoretic manuscripts date from the late ninth century CE (e.g., Codex Cairensis [C] on the Prophets).
  2. Bernstein 1996, p. 134
  3. Berquist 2007, p. 3–4.
  4. Perkins 2012, p. 19ff..
  5. Radine 2010, p. 71.
  6. Brettler 2010, p. 161–162.
  7. Emmerson 2003, p. 676.
  8. Rogerson 2003a, p. 690.
  9. O'Brien 2002, p. 14.
  10. Gelston 2003c, p. 715.
  11. Gelston 2003b, p. 710.
  12. Campbell & O'Brien 2000, p. 2 and fn.6.
  13. Gelston 2003a, p. 696.
  14. Brettler 2007, p. 316.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Rogerson 2003b, p. 154.
  16. Biddle 2007, p. 1073.
  17. Goldingay 2003, p. 623.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Blenkinsopp 2007, p. 974.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Carr 2011, p. 342.
  20. Hayes 1998, p. 168.
  21. Greifenhagen 2003, p. 212.
  22. Allen 2008, p. 11.
  23. Nelson 2014, p. 214.
  24. Nelson 2014, p. 214-215.
  25. Grabbe 2004, p. 105.
  26. Carroll 2003b, p. 730.
  27. Nelson 2014, p. 216.
  28. McKenzie 2004, p. 32.
  29. Clements 2003, p. 438.
  30. Grabbe 2003, p. 321.
  31. Dell 2003, p. 337.
  32. Seow 2007, p. 944.
  33. Bloch & Bloch 1995, p. 23.
  34. Nelson 2014, p. 217.
  35. Day 1990, p. 16.
  36. Collins 1984, p. 101.
  37. Fitzmyer 2003, p. 51.
  38. 38.0 38.1 West 2003, p. 748.
  39. Bartlett 2003, p. 807.
  40. Alexander 2003, p. 866.
  41. deSilva 2003, p. 888.
  42. Hayman 2003, p. 763.
  43. Snaith 2003, p. 779.
  44. 44.0 44.1 Harlow 2003, p. 805.
  45. Spencer 2002, p. 90.
  46. Schmitt 2003, p. 799,802.
  47. Powell 2018, p. 327.
  48. 48.00 48.01 48.02 48.03 48.04 48.05 48.06 48.07 48.08 48.09 48.10 48.11 48.12 48.13 48.14 Perkins 2012, p. 19ff.
  49. Powell 2018, p. 295.
  50. Powell 2018, p. 314.
  51. Powell 2018, p. 275.
  52. Powell 2018, p. 166
  53. Powell 2018, p. 166.
  54. Boring 2012, p. 587.
  55. Duling 2010, p. 298-299.
  56. Kim 2003, p. 250.
  57. Lincoln 2005, p. 18.

BibliographyEdit