Approx. Dates of the Bible Books updated Oct. 20, 2021
The Hebrew (Old) Testament was the key period in the development of the Bible from 586 BCE to 538 BCE. This is the time of Hebrew captivity and exile, by the conquering Babylonians. The list of books to be included in the Old Testament was finalized around 100 BCE.
Genesis - Compilation written, by various contributors, covering 900 BCE - 400 BCE; all drawing on oral traditions that may date back to 1100 BCE, or earlier. Possibly by Ezra. J source 950 BCE, E 750, P 539
Exodus - as above, around 550 BCE, all drawing on oral traditions
Leviticus - P source, during the 400's BCE; but likely existed in the 600's, all drawing on oral traditions
Numbers - J, E, and P source, during the 500's BCE, all drawing on oral traditions
Deuteronomy - D source, during the 600's BCE, all drawing on oral traditions
Joshua - Several, Original source material 587 BCE, rewritten again around 500 BCE.
Judges - Most between 500 BCE - 600 BCE; chapters 17 - 21 added between 500 and 200 BCE, while chapter 5 may date back to the 9th century BCE. BCE sources.
Ruth - Written during the period 300 BCE - 250 BCE, likely based on an older folktale.
1 Samuel / 2 Samuel – By several + editor, originally one book. Compiled of material written during two, or possibly three, periods: the oldest from 610 BCE, most recent from 540 BCE, and a possible third source from the period in between.
1 Kings / 2 Kings - Originally one book from the work of two unknown authors, one from around 609 BCE, the other from 560 BCE. The writers used earlier works of the Bible, and other Hebrew texts.
1 Chronicles / 2 Chronicles - unknown - Originally one book an unknown author in 300 BCE. Ezra?
Ezra – Possibly Ezra, early 4th century BCE.
Nehemiah - Nehemiah, 4th century BCE.
Esther - unknown, standard version 125's BCE; folktale, Greek (additions in the Catholic version).
Job - written 500 BCE and 250 BCE; folktale, chapters 32 to 37 added more recently.
Psalms - A diverse collection spanning a period before 586 BCE, to 500 BCE, several authors.
Proverbs - A collection of short moral sayings compiled by a number of authors in the 5th or 4th century BCE. Some of the sayings are likely oral traditions that are considerably older 8th century BCE or later.
Ecclesiastes - unknown written in the 3rd century BCE.
The Song of Solomon (Canticles) - Written unknown date but BCE, unknown author.
Isaiah - Three separate works: 1 Isaiah (1-39) 742 BCE - 700 BCE, 2 Isaiah (40-59) 539 BCE, 3 Isaiah (56-66) shortly after the end of the exile in 538 BCE. 1-30- Isaiah, 40+ by others 200-300 years later.
Jeremiah - Mostly written by Jeremiah between 609 - 580 BCE, but the work was a very late compilation by others: hence the substantial differences between the Hebrew and Greek versions.
Lamentations - From the Exile period (597 - 538 BCE). Chapters 1-4 are by the same unknown author, with Chapter 5 likely by a second person. Jeremiah?
Ezekiel - Mostly written by Ezekiel 597 - 571 BCE, the last part of the book after his death, by others.
Daniel - Anonymous author from around 167 - 164 BCE.
Hosea - Mostly written by Hosea 8th century BCE, with later additions by Israelite editors.
Joel – Joel, From 437 - 500 BCE.
Amos - Most written by Amos 700's BCE, with chapter 9, verses 9 - 15 added much later.
Obadiah - Written in the post-exile period. (after 586) Some debate as to whether it is a compilation or the work of Obadiah alone.
Jonah - Post-exile parable, 500’s BCE by an unknown author. (Not the guy in the story)
Micah - Parts written by Micah, prior to 6th to early 5th century BCE; other parts by unknown authors during, and after the exile. Most of the first 3 chapters were added relatively recently.
Nahum - Nahum, early 5th century.
Habakkuk - Habakkuk, chapters 1 and 2 from 597 BCE, chapter 3 by a later unknown author.
Zephaniah - Zephaniah, most written early 5th century BCE. Chapter 3, verses 14 - 20 added much later.
Haggai - Possibly by Haggai, 520 BCE; but more likely by one of his disciples.
Zechariah - Zechariah, chapters 1 - 8 from 518 BCE. 9 - 14 by others possibly around 400 BCE.
Malachi - 460 - 450 BCE. Unknown author
The Greek (New) Testament was settled, for the most by 367 CE (By the Roman Catholic Constantine Church). The book of Revelation was disputed until almost 600 CE. The New Testament Canon settled on only four gospels, out of the fifty or so that were available. All dates below are approximate based upon historical information where possible. Where not possible by the average dated consensus of several noted New Testament scholars. The “Q” indication below refers to the possible availability of early reference documents that are no longer known to exist. Sorted by approximate date of authored.
See footnote 10.
1 Thessalonians - Authentic Paul/Saul early 50’s CE may contain later additions by others.
Philippians – Maybe written by Paul/Saul? Mid 50’s – early 60’s CE. Portions joined later,
Galatians – Authentic Paul/Saul early to mid 50’s CE.
1 Corinthians - Authentic Paul/Saul early - mid 50’s CE.
2 Corinthians - Authentic Paul/Saul mid – late 50’s CE.
Romans - Authentic Paul/Saul late 50’s CE.
Philemon – likely Paul/Saul late 50’s – early 60’s CE.
Mark – Author unknown, 1st Gospel, mid 60’s – early 70’s CE oldest Gospel, maybe using “Q”
Jude – Author unknown late 60’s – 90’s CE. (Possibly half brother of Yahshua)
James – Name and author is Yacob, brother of Jesus 60’s? – 70’s? CE. (but maybe earlier 30’s – 40’s).
1 Peter – Not Peter 70’s - 90’s CE.
Luke – Author(s) unknown 3rd Gospel mid 70’s - 90’s CE original, using “Q” Mark and Matthew
Hebrews – Author unknown 70’s – 90’s CE.
Matthew – Author(s) unknown, 2nd Gospel, 80’s – 90’s CE original, using “Q” and Mark and others
Colossians – Disputed, Deutero Pauline 80’s + CE.
2 Thessalonians - Disputed, Deutero Pauline 80’s - 90’s CE. Possibly by a follower of Paul/Saul
Ephesians - Disputed, Deutero Pauline 90’s + CE.
Acts – Tendentious or Legendary, written to appear like Luke, not by Paul/Saul or Luke 90’s + CE.
1 Timothy – Author unknown, Pseudo- Paul/Saul or by the Pastorals 90’s – 100’s + CE.
2 Timothy - Author unknown, Pseudo- Paul/Saul or by the Pastorals 90’s – 100’s + CE.
Titus – Author unknown, Pseudo- Paul/Saul or the by the Pastorals 90’s – 100’s + CE.
John - Author(s) unknown, a 4th Gospel likely by an isolated religious group 90’s – 100’s + CE.
2 peter – Author unknown, not Peter 100 – 125 CE.
Revelation – Disputed, date(s) Author unknown - Parts by maybe by John Mark? Or John the Elder?
1 John –Author unknown 90’s-100’s CE.
2 John–Author unknown 90’s -100’s CE.
3 John –Author unknown 90’s -100’s CE.
1 Clement – Clement? 90’s – 100’s CE. First mention of the apostolic succession.
Didache – Teaching of the Apostles – 100’s CE.
Letters of Ignatius – Author Ignatius -100’s CE.
Shepherd of Hermas – Author unknown – 130’s CE.
Assembly of Yahweh, Cascade
 Probably written from Corinth, the letter contains some later additions by other unknown writers.
 Likely written from prison in Ephesus or, less likely, written in 60 or 61 from Rome, the letter apparently is three fragments joined together later by those who were saving the Pauline letters.
 This letter is typically dated 54 CE, as written from Ephesus. If written from Macedonia, its date would be 57 CE.
 Likely written from Corinth.
 Scholars assign the early date if actually written by Paul from Ephesus, but the later date if written from captivity in Rome.
 Likely written by a Greek speaking follower and interpreter of Peter, this is First dated Gospel, and the shortest.
 The letter claims to be “written by Jude, a slave of Yahshua messiah, and a brother of James.” Likely not the Apostle identified as Jude, and nothing else is known about the Jude of the letter.
 Written by Yacob, brother of Yahshua, who led the Yahudi community in Jerusalem after Yahshua. Not James.
 If written by Peter, the earlier date would apply. Most scholars do not believe the letter was written by the Apostle Peter.
 Written by an educated Greek, who was not raised as a Yahudi, but one, that converted to Yahudaism.
 Written by an unknown educated Greek who knew Aramaic and likely Hebrew. Assumed by tradition to be the first Gospel written. Scholars today do not believe it to be the first Gospel. This Gospel drew much of its material from the Gospel called Mark and from many other oral or written sources.
 Most scholars do not believe this letter was written by Paul, but that it did come from Ephesus.
 Most scholars do not believe this letter was written by Paul, but that it was written later by a follower of Paul.
 Author uknown, definitely not written by Peter.
 Not written by the apostle named John. Includes apocalyptic writings by various unknown authors. Some if not all of the apocalyptic material was likely written well before 70 CE, unrelated to the destruction of Jerusalem. If the prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24 is used as a prophesy, and 70 CE was the “end of times” meaning – the end of the Temple/priesthood “Jewish man-made” religious system it could refer to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple . Revelation is the last book to be part of the Christian Cannon, added 600 CE. Still Disputed, due to the amalgamation of ancient apocalyptic manuscript pieces having been arranged in no proven order.
Likely written by a school of Johannine scholars.
 Likely written by a school of Johannine scholars.
 Contains early Christian practices.