Dates for Hebrew Scriptures

I am looking for a reliable source to show approximate times for the books of the Hebrew Testament and New Testament to have been written or recorded ... and to compare those dates to historical events ... thanks

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Understanding the Bible

As you'll know, Hebrew Bible (OT) and New Testament now function as to distinguishable fields, and scholars tend to focus on questions of the one or the other mainly.  So, most resources will address either the formation of the OT writings or the formation of NT writings.

But a good student-level introductory textbook on the Bible as a whole = Harris, Stephen L. Understanding the Bible. McGraw-Hill, 2010 (8th edition). It will reflect "mainstream" scholarly opinions on various matters about the biblical texts, including likely dates of production, etc.

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Author: Larry W. Hurtado
Plenty of Timeline Resources for Hebrew Scriptures

All the major study Bibles have good introductions with dates: NIV Study Bible, Harper Collins Study Bible (NRSV), NLT Study Bible (New Living Translation), etc. All of these also have helpful time lines.  I also wrote a little handbook called The Essential Bible Companion that has dates and timelines.

Some Resources for Researching History of Hebrew Scriptures

Dear Bob:

A few things:

(1) Look at the Oxford Annotated Bible and the Harper Study Bible and their head notes at the beginning of each biblical book; (2) for historical context, a good (old) standby is  John Bright, *History of Israel*; (3) the standard term or title for a book giving what you want is *Introduction...*, which can be one volume or several volumes; (4) if you have easy access to a library with the new Interpreter's Bible or similar biblical commentary, by all means start digging there.  And by all means look at the DATE and be aware of the RELIGIOUS PERSUASION (liberal or conservative) of the commentary. Just as the biblical books have their histories--old and new--so do biblical commentaries. 

No easy answer on Hebrew Scripture dates

No biblical book gives a clear indication of when it was written, but most of them contain enough clues to generate hypotheses that can get us in the ballpark. (Also complicating the picture, some books were written over time, incorporating various sources, and this adds wrinkles to the question of "when was it written?")

I recommend this website as a basic starting place and an easily accessible resource for these questions:

The website doesn't include a graphic timeline, but the "Summary" section for each of the 66 biblical books includes a paragraph on "When was it written?" Also, the "Periods of time" section of the site offers brief summaries of various eras in which biblical books were written or in which biblical action is set.

Author: Matthew L. Skinner




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