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published on 02 September 2009
The Gospels (Kotomi Yamamura)

The Bible takes its name from the Latin Biblia (book or books) which comes from the Greek Ta Biblia (the books) traced to the Phoenician port city of Gebal, known as Byblos to the Greeks because it was an exporter of papyrus (used in writing) and the Greek name for papyrus was bublos, linking the city with the written word.

The book is a collection of writings by many different authors over many centuries on the subject of the creation of the world by a supreme deity and said deity’s continual intervention in the affairs of human beings, most notably the Hebrews of what is today known as the Middle-East.

In Judaism the scriptures are called the Tanakh and are recognized as comprising twenty-four books divided into three categories: The Pentateuch (or Teachings of the Five Books of Moses) The Prophets and The Writings. Christianity, which appropriated the Tanakh and claimed it as their own early theological history, call it the Old Testament. Early Christian writers (years after the historical death of the charismatic preacher Jeshua bar Joseph the Nazarene, known today as Jesus Christ) penned the gospels and Saul of Tarsus (who converted to Christianity and became Paul the Apostle) wrote most of the epistles which make up the twenty-seven books of the Christian New Testament along with The Book of the Revelation of St. John which is the last book of the Christian Bible.

It is difficult to accurately date the composition of the books which make up the Bible but scholars generally agree that the Pentateuch dates to the 10th and 6th centuries BCE and that the Tanakh was fixed as scripture well before the 1st century CE. The books of the Christian New Testament were composed between 60-110 CE (the Gospels) 45-130 CE (the Epistles) and 68-100 (The Book of the Revelation of St. John). Many people of the ancient world, and even today, believe the Bible to have been written by God. It is held to be the best-selling book in history and has influenced religious thought world-wide for centuries.

About the Author

Joshua J. Mark
A freelance writer and part-time Professor of Philosophy at Marist College, New York, Joshua J. Mark has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt. He teaches ancient history, writing, literature, and philosophy.

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Add Event


Visual Timeline
  • 1000 BCE
    Rise of the kingdom of Israel.
  • 1000 BCE
    David captures Jerusalem.
  • 965 BCE - 928 BCE
    Solomon is king of Israel.
  • 950 BCE
    Solomon builds the first Temple of Jerusalem.
  • 597 BCE
    Babylonian king Nebuchadnezar captures Jerusalem.
  • 597 BCE - 587 BCE
    Jews are deported to Babylonia.
  • 587 BCE - 539 BCE
    Jewish exile in Babylonia. Babylonian Talmud is written.
  • 37 BCE - 4 BCE
    Herod the Great is installed as King of Judaea. Rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem.
  • c. 6 BCE - c. 30 CE
    Life of Jesus Christ.
  • c. 69 CE - c. 70 CE
    The Gospel of Mark.
  • c. 85 CE
    The Gospel of Matthew.
  • c. 95 CE
    The Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles.
  • 132 CE
    Septuagint (Greek translation of the Bible) composed at Alexandria.

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