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View Full Version : Where can I find resources on dating major Biblical events?



Joel
02-04-2014, 12:10 PM
I'm thinking ahead to when my son reaches school age. I once came across what I think is a great suggestion (particularly for home-schooled children): making a giant timeline of world history that wraps around your living room (or down a long hallway). You start with just a few key times labeled (like the present and the birth of Jesus). It stays on the wall permanently, and every time a historical event or person comes up in your daily discussions or lessons, you (as a family) add it to the timeline.

(A digression on scale: If you have 40-feet of wall space--say a 10-foot square room--and use a scale of 5 years per cm, that will cover a little over 6000 years of history. A child can then visually compare his, say, 1cm age to historical time-spans.)

So, I'm interested in learning more about the dating of the major Biblical events, to know where to place them on the timeline. I've seen Biblical chronologies before (and they are easy to find with google), but I'm interested in where those dates came from. How did they come up with that date? Do different people argue for different dates? What are their arguments? Which dates are known with greater or lesser certainty? etc.

I've encountered some dates for things from non-Christian scholars, based on reasoning that most Christians would find objectionable. And then it's possible for those dates to be passed around uncritically, unaware of the assumptions behind those dates. So I'm interested in the arguments and assumptions used to back up the dates.

Ideally, it would be nice to be able to go back to Adam and Eve and Creation. But I imagine that going back in time beyond a certain point raises sharp disagreement between YEC and TE.

Any resources would be helpful. It is also fine if anyone wants to present any arguments, for/against any dates or reasoning behind them, in this thread. However I don't want the thread to get buried by a lengthy debate on any one particular date. Also this thread is not the place to debate YEC/TE/etc, although resources/arguments starting from any of those viewpoints are welcome.

Cerebrum123
02-04-2014, 12:24 PM
http://creation.com/6000-years

At the bottom there are more in depth articles as to why certain estimated dates are more probable. They also have a .pdf timeline here.

http://creation.com/images/pdfs/other/timeline_of_the_bible.pdf

Glad this thread is only for giving resources, and not debate. I'm not quite up to it right now. :sigh:

Kbertsche
02-04-2014, 12:59 PM
I'm thinking ahead to when my son reaches school age. I once came across what I think is a great suggestion (particularly for home-schooled children): making a giant timeline of world history that wraps around your living room (or down a long hallway). You start with just a few key times labeled (like the present and the birth of Jesus). It stays on the wall permanently, and every time a historical event or person comes up in your daily discussions or lessons, you (as a family) add it to the timeline.

(A digression on scale: If you have 40-feet of wall space--say a 10-foot square room--and use a scale of 5 years per cm, that will cover a little over 6000 years of history. A child can then visually compare his, say, 1cm age to historical time-spans.)

So, I'm interested in learning more about the dating of the major Biblical events, to know where to place them on the timeline. I've seen Biblical chronologies before (and they are easy to find with google), but I'm interested in where those dates came from. How did they come up with that date? Do different people argue for different dates? What are their arguments? Which dates are known with greater or lesser certainty? etc.

I've encountered some dates for things from non-Christian scholars, based on reasoning that most Christians would find objectionable. And then it's possible for those dates to be passed around uncritically, unaware of the assumptions behind those dates. So I'm interested in the arguments and assumptions used to back up the dates.

Ideally, it would be nice to be able to go back to Adam and Eve and Creation. But I imagine that going back in time beyond a certain point raises sharp disagreement between YEC and TE.

Any resources would be helpful. It is also fine if anyone wants to present any arguments, for/against any dates or reasoning behind them, in this thread. However I don't want the thread to get buried by a lengthy debate on any one particular date. Also this thread is not the place to debate YEC/TE/etc, although resources/arguments starting from any of those viewpoints are welcome.

Lots of different timelines exist, depending on how literally one takes the numbers in the biblical text and how heavily one weights archaeological evidence. There are two popular dates for the Exodus: about 1450 BC, which fits the text better but has some tensions with biblical archaeology, and about 1270 BC, which fits archaeology a bit better but has more tensions with the text. Most biblical scholars are comfortable going back to Abraham, but many would not venture much further back. It just becomes too iffy.

A friend recently recommended the book From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology (http://www.amazon.com/From-Abraham-Paul-Biblical-Chronology/dp/0758627998) by Steinmann. This takes a very conservative/literal view, with a date for the Exodus of about 1450 BC.

Truthseeker
02-04-2014, 03:01 PM
The English Standard Version of the Bible has dating notes for every book in the Protestant Bible. I don't know how good the notes are, though.

firstfloor
02-05-2014, 05:44 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_the_Bible

Ged
02-09-2014, 10:14 PM
I'm thinking ahead to when my son reaches school age. I once came across what I think is a great suggestion (particularly for home-schooled children): making a giant timeline of world history that wraps around your living room (or down a long hallway). You start with just a few key times labeled (like the present and the birth of Jesus).

What a great idea!

First of all, nail down the crucifixion of Christ. Every major date in the Old Testament counts down to it.

Chronology of the Cross (http://5loaves2fishes.net/chronology-cross-christian-gedge)

Joel
02-24-2014, 02:21 PM
Good stuff everyone. I've checked out these resources and done some additional searching myself.

It seems that the right idea is to start with some fixed dates that everyone agrees on, such as Jesus' birth and crucifixion (known at least within a few years), and the start of the Babylonian Exile (the date 586 B.C. seems to be consensus). From what I gather, some of these fixed points are known by historical references to eclipses and we can calculate when they occurred.

Then from there the strictly Biblical approach works backwards from the Exile:
The time of the kings is perhaps the most complex to work out, but Biblical scholars seem to generally agree that it works out to placing Solomon's temple about 345 years before the Exile, thus in mid 900s B.C.

Then 1 Kings 6:1 places the Exodus 480 years before the Temple, or about 1450 B.C.
Then the genealogies in Genesis give an unbroken chronology (with durations) from the creation of Adam to the Exodus, which places Creation around 4000 B.C.

On the other hand some of the lengths in the Septuagint manuscripts are different and could push some things back about 1500 years. And some people argue for different interpretations in order to allow arbitrary gaps in the chronologies. And some people just take early Bible history allegorically (making the dating of its events pointless).


As for tension between Biblical chronology and chronology of other civilizations (like Egypt), I gather that historians obtain Egyptian chronology from Egyptian historical records. This is assumed to be reliable, and then they tend to date ancient history of other civilizations according to how it aligns/connects with Egyptian chronology. However it seems there are logical problems reconciling the standard Egyptian chronology. Isaac Newton and more recent scholars have pointed out some of these problems, and suggested corrections to the standard chronology. Here is an interesting article on some of these things: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab2/doesnt-egyptian-chronology-prove-bible-unreliable.

The suggested date for the Exodus in the 1200s B.C. (19th dynasty) seems to be due to some ideas about how it may fit in with Egyptian history of the time. And because the Exodus doesn't seem to fit well with Egyptian history around 1450B.C. (18th dynasty according to the standard chronology). But the article I just linked to discusses a recent scholarly attempt to correct Egyptian chronology, which says it was the 12th & 13th dynasties at around 1450 B.C., and the Exodus could fit in with these dynasties (which standard chronology places in the 1900-1800s B.C.) E.g., there is evidence then of a large semitic slave population, mass grave evidence that could correspond to slaughter of Hebrew infants and deaths from the plagues, and evidence of a sudden disappearance of the slave population.

It seems that ancient history is not a solved problem. There are difficulties with making standard Egyptian chronology consistent with itself and with the histories of other civilizations and with other evidence. Thus it shouldn't be too surprising or worrying that there are also difficulties integrating it with Biblical chronology. And those difficulties don't necessarily cast doubt on Biblical chronology.

Outis
02-24-2014, 02:35 PM
It seems that ancient history is not a solved problem.

(NB: I reject the historicity of several of the events depicted in the Bible. That being said, there is more to the picture than that.)

No, ancient history is not a solved problem. However, you are going to have to decide what you want to use for a basis for your chronology. If you choose to use the Bible absent of any external archaeological evidence, then use the text and be done with the disputes. If you choose to include archaeological evidence, then I will note that your proposed chronology will miss many things, such as the existence of civilizations in the Fertile Crescent, China, and the Americas that pre-date your proposed Creation.

In order to make your proposed chronology work, you will have to selectively edit what evidence you use, and what evidence you discard. Decide your standard for "filtering" the facts, and hope for the best.

Joel
02-24-2014, 05:31 PM
...the existence of civilizations in the Fertile Crescent, China, and the Americas that pre-date your proposed Creation.

What are those dates based on? Carbon dating? Examples?

shunyadragon
06-22-2014, 12:31 PM
What are those dates based on? Carbon dating? Examples?

There are a number of dating techniques, and yes carbon and potassium argon, but also archeological remains in varved lake sediments, and river flood plain sediments. By the way carbon and potassium argon dating techniques have also been used to date Biblical archeological sites.

Neolithic cultures around the world date easily to ~10,000 years ago and older.