chronology, biblical

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1 Old Testament. It is difficult accurately to date the events narrated, partly because there are few allusions to events known from sources outside the OT, partly because the times given for the duration of events in the Hebrew Bible are not always consistent and there are divergences in the Septuagint, and partly because of the occasional use of chronological schemes for theological purposes. From the 9th cent. bc the dates of events narrated can be roughly discovered by comparing them with Assyrian and Persian chronologies.

2 New Testament. Complications are caused by the different methods by which the years of monarchs were reckoned and by the intricacies of the Jewish calendar. According to Mt. 2: 1 Jesus was born ‘in the days of Herod the king’ (d. c.4 bc), but according to Lk. 2: 2 during ‘the first enrolment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria’ (probably ad 6–9). There are similar discrepancies about other events in His life, including the Crucifixion, for which the most likely dates are ad 30 or 33. However, all are agreed that He ‘suffered under Pontius Pilate’, who was prefect of Judaea from ad 26 to 36. The date of St Paul's conversion is also disputed. The outline of the events recorded is unaffected by these uncertainties.

Subjects: Biblical Studies.

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