160: NEW TESTAMENT DATES; a timeline.

“Welcome to Zingcreed, the unique Christian/Atheist blog from Peter Turner. In it I think aloud about religion and the world – no holds are barred; I hope you get something from this personal polemic.”


Deglet Nour dates from Tunisia. Khouat Allig or Medjool from California? Which do you like best? I love eating all of them – just a little at a time, so I can savour every moment it’s in my mouth!

Enough of puns; what my polemical blog really wants to start listing now is Greek (i.e. New) Testament dates.

I’ll put in scholars’ best estimates of when this or that N.T. book was written, when did the Romans destroy Jerusalem, when was Jesus born. It won’t be completed immediately. It’ll gradually build up as I come across the data in my reading. As scholars don’t always agree, I’ll name my sources and try and use the most up to date calculations. These dates are not set in aspic, they may well be revised at a future date. For how the dates tie in with recorded Roman events and an explanation of the Jewish calendar, see E P Sanders (vi).

I think it’s a valid exercise, if only because it reminds us that the NT books are not arranged in the order in which they were written – some epistles were written before the gospels. St Paul never read the gospels. The gospel writers probably never read the epistles. Jesus was not born in the year zero. Etcetera.

Usage: B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) has replaced BC (Before Christ), and C.E. (Common Era) has replaced AD (Anno Domini – in the year of our lord)

63 B.C.E. Romans take control of Palestine (iv p. 81)

27 B.C.E. -14 C.E. Augustus emperor (vii)

6/5 B.C.E. Jesus born (vii)

4 B.C.E. -39 C.E. Antipas Tetrarch of Galilee (vii)

3 B.C.E.  Jesus born

6-41 C.E. Judaea governed by Roman prefects (vii)

14 C.E. Tiberius emperor (vii)

18-36 C.E. Joseph Caiaphas high priest

26-36 C.E. Pontius Pilate

29(?) C.E. Ministry and execution of John the Baptist

30 C.E.  Jesus dies (i)

pre-50 C.E. the core of Thomas’ gospel written (ii)

48-50 C.E. Paul writes his first epistle, (1 Thessalonians), possibly the first written testimony about Jesus (i)

50-60 C.E. gospel of Thomas (iv) and the Q document written (ii) and Letters of Paul (vii)

50-70 C.E. or maybe Q written here (iii)

62 C.E. Death of James, the brother of Jesus

64 C.E. Paul executed in Rome (v)

66 C.E. Jewish revolt against Rome puts Holy Land back in hands of Jews for 4 years (i)

70 C.E. Titus returns, Jerusalem razed and Jews dispersed – the diaspora begins (i)

70 C.E. Mark’s gospel written (i)

70-100 C.E. gospel of Thomas and the synoptics written (i.e. Matthew, Mark and Luke)

85-90 C.E. Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels written (iv)

90-100 C.E. Matthew’s and Lukes’ gospels written (i)

80-100 C.E. John’s gospel written (iv) Matthew, Luke and Acts written (vii)

100 C.E. Letters of James, 1 Peter, 1–3 John, Jude; Revelation written (vii)

100-120 C.E. St John’s gospel written (i)

Now back to some more real dates: Safawi, Rabiyy, Shalab, Khudri, and Hadrawi. What a beautiful language Arabic is: I could recite these names all day long! And the taste! Thank you Waitrose in Sevenoaks!

(i) Aslan, R. “Zealot” (2013)
(ii) Ehrman, B. “Did Jesus exist?” (2012)
(iii) Miller, R. J. “The Complete gospels. Scholars’ Version” Polebridge Press (2010)
(iv) Kaylor, R. D. “Jesus the prophet” Westminster/John Knox press (1994)
(v) Borg, M.J. “Meeting Jesus again for the first time” Harper (1994) p.104
(vi) Sanders, E P “The Historical figure of Jesus” Penguin (1993) appendix 1, p.282
(vii) Vermes, Geza “The authentic gospel of Jesus” Penguin (2003) p. 437


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