Sacred Time  Origins of World Religions

Sacred Texts Timeline

This is a timeline which gives the history of sacred texts, as well as a few other relevant events. Of course, not all of the dates in this timeline are accurate; some are entirely conjectural. I have included a few dates, events and documents which are or may be entirely fictional. Links on this page are to resources at this site, not to external sites. I welcome feedback about any errors of fact in this timeline.

For space reasons, I have used the abbreviations listed at the end of this file.


Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Baha'i.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism.

Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto.


5000 BCE + 4004 (Sunday 23 October) Bishop Usshers' (1581-1656) date for Biblical creation of the world based on O.T. Chronology. According to Ussher, Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise on Monday 10 November 4004 BC. Ussher was Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College in Dublin [chr].
According to John Lightfoot (1602-1675), Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University and a contemporary of Ussher, man was created on "October 23, 4004 B.C., at nine o'clock in the morning" [chr].
4,320,000,000 Creation of Universe by Brahma (Modern Hindu). The Rig-Veda has three hymns on the subject of Creation. See Rig-Veda 10:cxxix, Rig-Veda 10:cxxx, and Rig-Veda 10:cxc. [hin].   14,000,000,000 Big Bang.
14,000,000,000 -300,000 yrs. after the Big Bang, protons and electrons separate.
14,000,000,000 -? yrs. The universe cools unevenly
5,000,000,000: Sun forms.
3,000,000,000 Earth cools and life on Earth begins.
70,000,000 Dinosaurs die out.
2,000,000 Australopithecines emerge in Southern Africa.
70,000 Ice age begins.
55,000 First inhabitants of Australia.
15,000 Paleolithic cave paintings.
10,000 Paleo-Indians enter America.
9,500 Ice age ends, catastrophic worldwide sea level rise (100 meters?). Black Sea floods, thought to be origin of Ancient Near East Flood story.
9500 Plato's date for the sinking of Atlantis.
8500-6300 Domestication of sheep, cattle, pigs and goats.
6000+ Mother Goddess worshipped in Europe, Near East. [wic].
5000 Beginning of agriculture in Near East.
4000 (trad.) Overthrow of Matriarchy [wic].
4000 BCE 3760 start of Jewish year count. 3201 Beginning of Kali Yuga, the current (and most evil) age [hin]. o.c. I Ching [cfu]. 3100 o.c. Pyramid Texts [egy].
3000 BCE     2953-2838 Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi, produced first w.v. of I Ching [cfu].
2300-1000 Period described in Shu Ching (Book of History) [cfu].
2494-2345 Pyramid Texts [egy].
2000 BCE 2000-1900 Abraham, b. in Ur, according to Bible lived to age of 175.
1500-1350 Moses, trad. founder of Judaism; the Exodus from Egypt.
1500 Zoroaster/Zarathustra, o.c. Gathas, Avesta [zor].
1491 (trad.) According to Bishop Ussher, the date of the Biblical flood. The Ark touched down on Mt. Ararat on 5 May 1491 BC (a Wednesday) [chr].
1200 Origin of Judaism, o.c. of O.T., starting with the Torah (the first 5 books).
1750 Collapse of Indus Valley Civilization.
1500 Indo-Europeans invade India. Vedic Culture. [hin].
1550-1450 o.c. Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda and Yajur-Veda [hin].
1143 w.v. of I Ching by King Wen and Duke of Chou. [cfu] 1800 Enuma Elish, Bablyonian Creation Myth. [ane]
1792 Hammurabi ruler in Bablyon, auth. of Code of Hammurabi, earliest legal codex.
1760 Gilgamesh Epic.[ane]
1600 Orig. Egyptian Book of the Dead. (Book of Coming Forth by Day).
1500 (ca.) Volcanic destruction of Thera, thought to be the origin of Atlantis story.
1194 Fall of Troy (events described in Iliad/Odyssey).
1100 (ca.) Rise of Mayan culture.
1000 BCE 990-922 King Solomon.
950 o.c. Torah/Pentateuch, Song of Songs.
1000 o.c. Atharva Veda [hin]. 1000-500 Shih Ching (Book of Odes) [cfu].  
800 BCE 740 O.T. Book of Isaiah. 800-700 Brihad-Aranyaka and Chandogya Upanishads [hin].
800-400 Aranyakas, Brahmanas and Upanishads [hin].
  800 or 700 Homer (?): Illiad and Odyssey.
800: Hesiod: Works and Days, Theogony
700 BCE 700 Books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Samuel. (O.T.)
628-551 Zarathustra/Zoroaster
600 Babylonian Exile [jud]
700 o.c. Ramayana [hin].
600 w.v. Rig Veda [hin]
650 o.c. Tao te Ching. 664-525 Rev. Egyptian Book of the Dead
600 BCE 520 Books of Zechariah, Isaiah. (O.T.) 599-527 (trad.) Mahavira, founder Jainism.
563-483 Buddha (b. April 8, 563 BCE).
540 w.v. Mahabharata [hin].
540-468 (hist.) Mahavira, founder Jainism.
500 o.c. Angas [jai].
580-500 (trad.) Lao-tzu, founder of Taoism.

551-479 Confucius (K'ung tzu), founder of Confucianism.
520 (trad.) Tao-te Ching [tao].
610-570 Sappho.
500 BCE w.v. Gensis, Exodus, Numbers. (O.T.)   480-390 (alt.) Lao tzu.
409 w.v. Confucian Canon.
400 BCE Books of Proverbs, Job (O.T.)
350 w.v. Song of Songs (O.T.).
330 Alexander destroys old Avesta. [zor]
300 w.v. Mahabharata, Bhagavad-Gita. [hin] 371-289 Mencius (Meng-tzu). [cfu]
369-286 Chuang-tzu. [tao]
350 (hist.) Tao-te Ching. [tao].
340 Writings of Chuang-tzu. [tao]
360 Critias by Plato: contains story of Atlantis.
300 BCE Book of Jonah (O.T.)
285 Septuagint, first Greek trans. of the O.T.
250 Abhidharma, part of the Tripitaka. [bud]
240 Dhammapada canonized by Asoka. [bud]
200 w.v. Atharva Veda. [hin]
250 w.v. Tao te Ching. [tao]
213 Emperor Ch'in Shih burns books, including Confucian, Taoist texts and the Five Classics. [cfu]
200 BCE 200-120 early Mishnah [jud].
164 Book of Daniel (O.T.).
160 O.T. Apocrypha: Tobit, 1 Esdras, Enoch, others.
150 Early Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls).
150 Yoga Sutras of Patanajali. [hin] I Ching commentaries, Rev. Chinese Classics. [cfu]  
100 BCE 5-7 (ca.) b. of Jesus, founder of Christianity. Ramayana of Valmiki. [hin]
Ceylonese Tipitaka [bud].
86 Rev. Shu Ching (Book of History), Shih Ching (Book of Odes). [cfu] 47 First burning of the Library of Alexandria (by Romans). including works of Sappho, and possibly ancient manuscripts and maps from unknown Ice Age civilizations.
1 CE 1-33 (trad.) Jesus. Events described in the first four N.T. books.
33 (trad.) either April 3, 30 CE or April 7, 33 CE: the Crucifixion.
30-96 New Testament.
50-63 (N.T.) Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, Philippians.
60-80 (N.T.) Acts of the Apostles.
68 Destruction of Qumran community. (Dead Sea Scrolls).
70 (N.T.) Gospel of Mark.
80 (N.T.) Gospel of Matthew.
80 (N.T.) Gospel of Luke.
90 (N.T.) Gospel of John.
81-96 o.c. Revelation of St. John.
Diamond Sutra, Heart Sutra. [bud]
65 Entry of Buddhism into China.
o.c. Kojiki, Nihongi. [shi]  
100 CE o.c. Nag Hammadi Scriptures.
100 Synod of Jamnia, Can. of O.T. [chr]
150 N.T. Apocrypha. [chr]
o.c. Sepher ha Zohar [jud].
166 Buddhism formally established in China.
Lotus Sutra, Buddha-Charita of Ashvagosha. [bud]
150 w.v. Shu Ching (Book of History). Shih Ching (Book of Odes). [cfu]  
200 CE     Can. of Tao te Ching. [tao] Mayan Classical Phase (to 900 CE), o.c. Popul Vuh.
300 CE Denkart in Pahlavi.
(to 14th Cent.) comp. of Midrash.
300-400 w.v. Nag Hammadi Scriptures in Coptic.
350 w.v. Avesta in Pahlavi.
350 Jewish Talmund and Gemara.
325 Council of Nicea, Can. of Christian Bible.
(to 13th Cent.) Puranas [hin].   365-408 Burning of Sibylline Books.
391 Second burning of library at Alexandria (by Christians).
400 CE Babylonian Talmund [jud].
401 Confessions of St. Augustine. [chr]
404 Cod. of the Vulgate (Latin Bible).
w.v. Angas in Prakrit [jai].
400-450 Cod. of the Abhidharma (Tripitaka) [bud].
500 CE. 550-950 Bundahishn. [zor]
570-632 Muhammed, founder of Islam.
538-552 Buddhism reaches Japan.   550 Last temple to Isis (at Phiae) closes.
(to 7th Cent.) o.c. Eddas.
600 C.E. 610 w.v. Qur'an. [isl]
630 First Hadith. [isl]
644-656 Can. of Qur'an. [isl]
    (to 9th Cent.) o.c. Welsh Mabinogion.
642 Third (and final) destruction of Library of Alexandria (by Moslems).
700 C.E.   760 o.c of Bardo Thödol (Tibetean Book of the Dead). [tib] 712 w.v. Kojiki. [shi]
720 w.v. Nihongi. [shi]
742 Can. of Writings of Chuang-tzu.
800 C.E. Sepher Yetzirah [jud].
Can. of Hadith [isl].
Shikand Gumani Vazar [zor].
868 Diamond Sutra is first book printed in China [bud].   w.v. Poetic Edda
900 C.E. Bundahishn. [zor] Agamas [hin].
946 Start of Tibetan calendar, Kalachakra Tantra [tib].
927 Yengiski [shi]. 950 (trad.) Necronomicon of Abdul Alhazred.
1000 C.E. 1054 Schism between East and West Church [chr]. 1016-1100 Naropa [tib]
1039-1123 Milarepa [tib]
1100 C.E.   1150 Kuo-an Shih yuan's Ten Pictures of the Ox. [bud] 1175-1120 compilation of Confucian Canon by Chu Hsi. 1179-1241 Snorri Sturlson (auth. Prose Edda, Heimskringla).
1200 C.E. 1270-1300 w.v. of Sepher ha Zohar by Moses de Leon. 1222-1282 Nichiren [bud].
1236 Dogen, founds Soto School of Zen [bud].
  1220 Prose Edda.
1300 C.E. 1306-21 Divine Comedy by Dante.
1397-1468 Johannes Gutenberg. patron saint of etexts.
    o.c. Key of Solomon.
1300-1325 w.v. White Book of Rhydderch (Mabinogion).
1375-1425 Author of Red Book of Hergest (Mabinongion).
1400 C.E. 1456 First p.v. Vulgate Bible by Gutenberg.
1463 first Latin translation of Corpus Hermeticum.
1483-1546 Martin Luther chr. reformer.
1440-1518 Kabir, Isl. Mystic.
1469-1538 Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism.
  1486 Malleus Malificarum: textbook for witch-hunters.
1500 C.E. 1517 M. Luther's 95 Theses.
1522 N.T. Translated into German by M. Luther.
1525 N.T. Translated into Englsh by W. Tyndale (1494-1536).
1534 p.v. entire Bible in German by M. Luther.
1535 p.v. Bible in English by Miles Coverdale (1488-1569).
1546 O.T. Apocrypha Can. by Catholic Church.
1560 Foxe's Book of Martyrs [chr].
1539 (5th) Guru Arjan [skh].   1503-1566 Nostradamus.
1554-1558 w.v. Popul Vuh.
1527-1608. Calls of Enoch, by J. Dee.
1600 C.E. 1618-9 Synod of Dordrecht. [chr]
1629 O.T. Apocrypha removed from Protestant Bible.
1674 Westminster Shorter Catechism.
1677 Paradise Lost/Regained by J. Milton.
1678 Pilgrim's Progress by J. Bunyan.
Janam Sakhis [skh].
Final version of Adi Granth [skh]
  1614 Rosicrucian Fama Fraternitatis.
1700 C.E 1789 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.
1793 Thomas Paine's Age of Reason.
Mahanirvana Tantra [bud].
1708 death of last Sikh guru.
  1750 Walam Olum.
1800 C.E 1805-1849 Joseph Smith, founder Mormonism.
1817-1892 Baha'u'llah, (Mirza Husayn-'Ali), founder Baha'i, auth. Kitab-i-Iqan. [bhi]
1819-1850 the Bab (Mirza 'Ali-Muhammad) [bhi].
1823 Book of Mormon tr. Joseph Smith.
1859 Darwins' Origin of Species.
1871 Darwins' Descent of Man.
1891 Baltimore Catechism.
1879-1910 Publication of the Sacred Books of the East by Max Müller, 50 volumes of English translations of primary texts of Eastern religions. [hin][bud][zor][cfu][isl] 1882 Kojiki trans. into English by R.H. Chamberlain.[shi]
1896 The Nihongi trans. into English by W.G. Ashton.[shi]
1802-1884 Elias Lönnrot (auth. Kalevala).
1812-1820 English trans. of Walam Olum.
1835-1849 Kalevala, national epic of Finland, by Lönnrot.
1880 The Book of Oahspe.
1882 Atlantis, the Antediluvian World. by Donnelly.
1885 p.v. Walam Olum (Brinton).
1888 The Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blatavsky.
1890-1922 The Golden Bough by Frazer.
1899 Aradia, Gospel of the Witches, by C. Leland. [wic]
1900 CE. 1909 Darwins' Voyage of the Beagle.
1934 Declaration of Barmen by K. Barth condems Hitler [chr].
1945 Discovery of Nag Hammadi Scriptures.
1947-56 Discovery of Qumran (Dead sea) scrolls.
1992 Dead Sea Scrolls published on microfiche.
    1921 The Witch Cult in Western Europe by M. Murray. [wic]
1922 Last year books unambigiously entered public domain in U.S., per the 'Digital Millenium' Copyright Act of 1998.
1933 God of the Witches by M. Murray. [wic]
1948 The White Goddess by R. Graves. [wic]
1949-61 Gardnerian Book of Shadows [wic].
1968 Principia Discordia.
1985 TAZ by Hakim Bey.
80s and early 90s: Internet Book of Shadows.
3/9/1999 After three years of research, goes live.
2000 CE. ??? ??? ??? ???

Key to Abbreviations

auth. = author.

b. = born

ca. = circa

Can. = Canonicalization

Cent.= century.

Cod. = Codification

comp. = composition.

d. = died

hist.= accepted historical date

o.c= date of original (typically, although not necessarily oral) composition.

Orig. = original

O.T. = Old Testament.

p.v. = printed version

Rev. = Revised.

trad. = traditional date

trans. = translation

w.v. = written version

[bhi] Baha'i

[bud] Buddhism

[tib] Tibetan Buddhism

[chr] Christianity

[cfu] Confucianism

[hin] Hinduism

[isl] Islam

[jai] Jainism

[jud] Judaism

[shi] Shinto

[skh] Sikhism

[tao] Taoism

[wic] Wicca

[zor] Zoroastrianism

[egy] Egypt

[ane] Ancient Near East

This page © copyright J.B. Hare, 1997-2001.

Collection copyright © 1997-2001 J.B. Hare. HTML markup Copyright © 1997-2001 J.B. Hare except where noted. All files at this site named index.htm or index.html are Copyright © 1997-2001 J.B. Hare except where noted. All graphics Copyright © 1997-2001 J.B. Hare, all rights reserved (except where noted).