Here is some timeline information to help you understand what is going on, whether you’ve noticed dating differences between resources or your looking for a single timeline approach.
Some History Behind Current Resources
Even among those who reject evolutionary timelines for biblically-based history, there are disagreements. Still, here’s what we can tell you so far.
Archbishop Ussher was an Irishman who lived between 1581 and 1656. He studied Scriptural carefully and determined a timeline widely used for hundreds of years. In his method, creation happened in 4004 BC. He actually got so specific, he suggested October 22nd as the first day (though it’s often quoted as the 23rd, according to Wikipedia).
It was not all straight forward. Even Ussher had to choose between inconsistent texts of the Torah. He chose to follow the Masoretic version because it placed creation exactly four thousand years before 4BC, which was accepted as the birth of Jesus. Also, that way Solomon’s temple was completed in the year 3000 BC. There was symmetry to it.
However, he was not the last devout person to consider biblical timelines. Joseph Scaliger, a French Calvinist, and Isaac Newton, for instance, also tried their hands at it.
A recent Lutheran book that delves into these issues is From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology by Dr. Andrew Steinmann. There are even timeline pages you can see from that CPH book page.
There is also this University Lutheran Chapel (ULC) link (from here) to a timeline put together, presumably, by a Lutheran pastor. This one is printable, offering creation in the year 5501 BC and going through 195 AD.
Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller recommends this one: http://holypig.com/cotor/Bible/Timelines/Timelines.htm.
There are also also several homeschool timeline programs, including Classical Conversations, Memoria Press, and Veritas Press. These supplement a history program with a framework of major dates.
By the way, here is a timeline song based on the Ussher dates!
Here are links so you can compare dates. First, here is a brief summary with some Ussher dates toward the bottom. Second, here is a link with both the Classical Conversations and Veritas Press timelines. (I haven’t found an online list for Memoria Press, although I own that book.) Here you can find downloads to show you Steinmann’s dating, and, again, here is the ULC link.
To give one comparison:
- Steinmann: Abram was born in 2166 BC and called around 2091 BC
- ULC: Abram was born in 2167 and called around 2092 BC
- Ussher: Abram was born in 1996 BC and called around 1921 BC.
- The Memoria Press timeline: Call of Abram around 2000 BC.
- Classical Conversation offers 2166 BC to 1859 BC for the Patriarchs of Israel.
- Veritas Press: Call of Abram around 2091.
I haven’t compared much else, but this is what I’ve found thus far. I’m sure various timeline programs can be used well. My personal plan is to print off the ULC list, tuck it into my Memoria Press timeline book, and add the Steinmann book to my Amazon wish list.
I’ll also be sure to have a discussion with kids about how and why we are not dead certain about ancient dating or even dating methods. That way they won’t be caught unaware when they come across different dates, even within Christian material.
If you have more timeline information to add, just let me know.
The product is a printable PDF of the information above.
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