The Chronology of the Deuterocanonical Books

The Protestant Bible has 66 books. The Catholic Bible has 73, and the Orthodox have 80. How do those “extra” books fit into the chronological timeline of the Bible?

 


 

Consider this page to be a work-in-progress

This is based on when the events probably took place

 


 

CATHOLIC & ORTHODOX

Tobit

Historical timeframe: ~721 BC

Written: early second century BC

Baruch

Historical timeframe: roughly the same as Jeremiah (the late Exilic period, say the last half of the 6th century BC)

Written: the second century BC

Note: Catholics have 6 chapters. Orthodox have 5 chapters.

Judith

Historical timeframe: prior to the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon in 597 BC. Say 600 BC.

Written: end of the second century BC or the beginning of the first century BC

Sirach

Historical timeframe: unclear. However, is a collection of ethical teachings. So the historical timeframe is probably the same as when written.

Written: between 200 and 175 BC

Additions to Daniel

Historical timeframe: the same as the Book of Daniel (167–164 BC)

Written: 167-164 BC

Specifics:

  1. The Song of the Three Young Men, added between Daniel 3:23 and 3:24
  2. Susanna, in Daniel chapter 13
  3. Bel and the Dragon, in Daniel chapter 14

Wisdom (of Solomon)

Historical timeframe: unclear. However, is a collection of ethical teachings. So the historical timeframe is probably the same as when written.

Written: mid-first century BC

1 Maccabees

Historical timeframe: 165–135 BC

Written: most likely around 100 BC

2 Maccabees

Historical timeframe: 165–135 BC

Written: toward the end of the second century BC

Additions to Esther

Historical timeframe: 140-130 BC

Written: 114 BC

 


 

ORTHODOX-ONLY

Psalm 151

Historical timeframe: written by David after his battle with Goliath (roughly 1010-970 BC)

Written: see above

Letter of Jeremiah

Historical timeframe: roughly the same as Jeremiah (the late Exilic period, say the last half of the 6th century BC)

Written: the second century BC

Prayer of Manasseh

Historical timeframe: the same as 2 Chronicles (some time after 538 BC). That is after Judah began to return from the Babylonian exile

Written: possibly the mid-first century BC

1 Esdras

Historical timeframe: 300 BC

Written: 100 AD

Note: also known as 1 Ezra

2 Esdras

Historical timeframe: 300 BC

Written: 100 AD

Note: also known as 2 Ezra, and as Ezra

3 Maccabees

Historical timeframe: 165–135 BC

Written: probably in the first century BC

4 Maccabees

Historical timeframe: 165–135 BC

Written: in the first century AD

 

NOTES

Note 1. Scholarly opinion differs as to the dates of various books.

Note 2. The arguments for, and against, a particular date are not always conclusive.

Note 3. Some of the books are of composite authorship, and the various parts were written in different timeframes.

Note 4. In our count of 73 “Catholic” books, we are not counting the Additions to Esther nor the Additions to Daniel.

Note 5. Counting the number of Orthodox books is a challenge. Different Orthodox scholarly sources claim different canonical books. On this page, we put the most trust on the translators of the World English Bible, which matches The Orthodox Study Bible (2008) by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

 

RESOURCES

Books and chapters

The Books of the Bible

The Chronology of the Deuterocanonical Books

 

EXTERNAL RESOURCES

Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture by InterVarsity Press: Apocrypha (Volume 15)

The Books of the Apocrypha in their Chronological Order

HarperCollins Study Bible, Revised Edition

New American Bible, Revised Edition

The Old Testament: A Chronological Reading, Part Two

The Orthodox Study Bible (2008) by Thomas Nelson Publishers

World English Bible

 


Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


 

Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.