New Testament Timeline









Global Perspective


5 B.C.-5 A.D.

c. 4 B.C. birth of Jesus

30 B.C.-180 A.D. Pax Romana (Roman peace) unites Mediterranean world

* 30 B.C.-- death of Cleopatra; Rome annexes Egypt; Rome shifts from Republic to Empire under Augustus


Quirinius' census
Zealots' tax revolt

heavy hand of Rome on Palestine

* Rome consolidates power * Golden Age of Latin literature: Virgil, Ovid, etc.


The adult life and ministry of Jesus
Rabbi Hillel the Elder, Babylon

14-37 Emperor Tiberius


c. 36-69

Oral transmission of message and story of Jesus
48-64 Letters of Paul
c. 60 ["Q" document]
68-70 Dead Sea Scrolls hidden in caves

church in Jerusalem
c. 47-57 missionary travels of Paul
c. 67, Peter martyred

* China: Buddhism introduced
* 64 Rome: Emperor Nero, Great Fire; persecution of Christians

c. 70-150

Last books of OT Apocrypha written
Gospel compilation and editing
c. 70 Mark
c. 80 Matthew
c. 90 Luke and John


c. 110 Didache
c. 80-150 Non-canonical gospels

70 Jewish revolt against Rome fails; Jerusalem sacked, Temple destroyed by Romans

center of Christianity shifts from Jerusalem to Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome;

martyrdoms under Domitian, Trajan, etc.

* 70 Josephus writes The Jewish War
* 79 Pompeii: Mt. Vesuvius erupts
* 117 Greatest expanse of Roman Empire
* 100s Greatest expanse of Han Chinese empire


Council of Jamnia, formation of Hebrew Bible canon
1st Epistle of Clement

Church's early structure established: bishops, presbyters, and deacons
rabbinic movement develops from Pharisees

* Clement I, Bishop of Rome


Christian apologists defending their faith
Gnostic writings such as Nag Hammadi manuscripts
Marcionism, Montanism
c. 125 The Shepherd of Hermas
Mishnah, Talmud written down

c. 160 Marcion dies
c. 200 Irenaeus dies
Origen (Egypt)
Tertullian (North Africa)

* 220 Goths invade Asia Minor
* Iron smelting technology develops in East Africa


325 Council of Nicaea
367 Athanasius lists 27 N.T. books
381 Council of Constantinople
397 North African Council, Carthage, determines canon

Jerome translates Vulgate
Nag Hammadi writings hidden

250 persecution under Decius
303 persecution under Diocletian
313 Constantine converts to Christianity

* 361 Emperor Julian (the Apostate) tries to restore Roman religion; dies young
* birth of Attila the Hun


431 Council of Ephesus
451 Council of Chalcedon

St. Anthony of the Desert (Egypt)
Desert Fathers and Mothers
early monasticism

St. Ambrose of Milan
St. Augustine of Hippo (North Africa)
St. Cyril of Alexandria
murder of Hypatia

* 406 Franks invade Gaul
* 410 Goths raid and sack Rome
* c. 450 Chief Hawaii-Loa discovers Hawaiian Islands
* c.450 Bodhidharma founds Zen Buddhism, India; takes to China
* Britain: Picts, Scots, Celts expelled by Angles, Saxons
* 476 fall of Rome to Goths


525: Dionysius Exiguus sets birth of Jesus and Christian calendar at Dec. 23, A.D. 1

Justinian, Emperor in the East, rebuilds St. Sophia in Constantinople

* 542-594 plague cuts population of Europe in half



640 Library of Alexandria with 300,000 manuscripts completely destroyed

* Muhammed writes Quran, establishes Islam; conquers Eastern Mediterranean


c. Bede translates some scriptures into Anglo-Saxon
Slavonic translation

Greek monks evangelize Slavs
controversy over icons

* Arabs begin African slave trade along Indian Ocean coasts
* Arabs conquer Spain


Masoretic text of Hebrew Bible finalized

Northwest Europe: Celtic monks struggle against raiding Norsemen to preserve Christian writings

* 939 Vietnam gains independence from China
* 988 Vladimir converts, brings Christianity to Kiev & Russia



1054 East-West church schism
Crusades begin
Norman, then Gothic cathedrals are built

* first European universities
* China: gunpowder invented for use in fireworks
* Genghis Khan conquers much of Asia


1380-97 Wycliffe translates Bible into Middle English

"Babylonian Captivity" of papacy in Avignon

* Mongols invade China, Russia
* 1340s bubonic plague kills 30% from Europe to India
* 1368 China: Ming dynasty


1456 Gutenberg Bible (Vulgate) is printed

Western European Renaissance begins
1453 fall of Constantinople to Turks

* 1450 invention of printing press
* 1480s Portuguese explorers
* 1492 Columbus sails west;
* Jews, Moors driven out of Spain


Tyndale, Coverdale translate Bible into English; Luther into German
1536 King Henry VIII breaks with Church of Rome
1546 Council of Trent begins
1549 Book of Common Prayer

1560 Geneva Bible
1572 Bishops' Bible
1592 Sixto-Clementine Vulgate

1517 Luther acts at Wittenberg; Reformation begins (northern Europe)
1534 Society of Jesus (Jesuits) founded
1546 Scottish Reformation
1572 massacre of Protestants in France

* Spanish conquer Aztec, Inca civilizations in the "New World"
* African slave trade increases to serve Spanish and Portuguese colonies
* 1533-84 Ivan the Terrible rules Russia
* 1564 birth of Shakespeare


1611 King James Bible published, becomes Authorized Version
1648 Westminster Confession

Wars of Religion in Germany
1640-60 English Civil War and Protectorate

* English, French, Dutch colonize North America, East and West Indies, South Africa;kill or enslave and evangelize native peoples


Established churches preach acceptance of status quo as will of God

John and Charles Wesley use King James Bible and Book of Common Prayer, preach to common people
Oppression of Jews everywhere, Catholics in Britain

* Industrial Revolution begins
* 1776-81 American Revolution
* European Enlightenment en-hances concept of Natural Law versus Divine Law
* 1789 French Revolution


1885 British Revised Version of the Bible
German scholars begin to apply historical-critical methods to the Bible
Missionary organizations translate Bible into many languages

Missionary activity intensifies in colonized regions of world
1848 Karl Marx publishes Das Kapital (Capital)
1859 Darwin publishes The Origin of Species, with theory of evolution

* 1815 defeat of Napoleon
* 1820s independence of most Latin American countries
* Immigration of many Catholics and Jews to U.S.
* 1856 birth of Sigmund Freud
* Height of European colonization of Asia and Africa


1901 American Standard Version
1907 Pope Pius X condemns Modernist movement of Biblical Criticism
1923 J. Gresham Machen, fundamentalist leader, writes Christianity and Liberalism
Critical methods develop; Biblical criticism becomes academic discipline

1945 Nag Hammadi Library discovered
1947 Dead Sea Scrolls discovered

Some Christians die as martyrs in holocaust (Edith Stein, Dietrich Bonhoeffer);
Other Christians, such as the Ten Booms, shelter Jews or do other forms of resistance

Ecumenical organizations (World Council of Churches, National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A) are founded.

1948 State of Israel established

* 1914-18 World War I
* 1917 Communist revolution in Russia; religion suppressed
* 1922 Ataturk creates secular state in Turkey
* 1926 Scopes Trial pits literal reading vs. modern understanding of Bible
* 1939-45: World War II; Nazi holocaust murders Jews, other minorities
* 1949 Communist revolution in China; religion suppressed

late 1900s

1952 Revised Standard Version
Emergence of women's, Third-world, and liberation Bible scholarship
1989 New Revised Standard Version
Dead Sea Scrolls made widely available
1995 New Jerusalem Bible

Arab-Israeli conflicts in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973
1960s key time for Civil Rights movement in U.S.
Rise of fundamentalism
1980s upsurge of terrorism internationally
Intifada--Palestinian nationalist movement

* 1959 Chinese invade Tibet
* 1960s post-colonial independence of most African, Asian countries
* Economy globalizes
* 1989 fall of Berlin Wall results in breakup of Soviet Union,
* regional wars
* 1990s end of apartheid laws in South Africa
* Internet technology globalizes communication and access to written sources