Timeline of Human Spirituality
Compiled in January 7, 2005 by Rafi Metz & Ron Bugaj

[I personally keyed in this entire document over a feverish 4 day period in a jetsetter castle in the Berkeley hills overlooking the San Francisco Bay, while Ron cued up material for me from his monumental library. Please excuse some of the convoluted syntax - I was part transcribing, and part abstracting, under time pressure. Fun fun!]

40,800 BCE As of spring 2012, Reporting in Science, researchers write that a red disk painted in Spain's El Castillo cave is at least 40800 years old--making it the oldest cave painting. This would have been made by Neanderthal people.

30,000 BCE Venus of Willendorf made between 30000 and 25000 and is thought to be a Goddess statue. Interest in Her as well as other Venus Figures have resurfaced due to Neopaganism

15,000 BCE Lascaux (France) cave paintings

14,000 – 10,000 BCE Altamira (Spain) Cave Paintings

5000 BCE First evidence of settled habitation in the Nile delta. Early development of Sumer [now Iraq]

3500 BCE Sumerians settle in Mesopotamia - writing - pictographs of financial accounts written on clay tablets exist in Sumer

3500-1500 BCE The expertly constructed cities Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro suggest by architecture and artifacts a culture comparable to the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations. The Indus Valley culture extends for one thousand miles along the Indus Valley.

3200 BCE Upper and Lower Egypt united by Menes the First Pharaoh

3100-2950 BCE Egyptian Late Dynastic Period – earliest known hieroglyphic writing – foundation of the Egyptian State [The Egyptians called their writing, medu netcher, or "the words of the gods" ("hieroglyph" is a Greek word which means "sacred writing"). The Egyptians believed that writing was given to them by Thoth, the keeper of records among the gods. But Thoth didn't just give humans writing, he gave them the language of the gods. To write hieroglyphs was to speak "god-language." In other words, the Egyptians believed that the gods "spoke" in pictures and in things. This is a powerfully important insight into the Egyptian world view. If the "words of the gods" are pictures and things, that means that the entire world is a speech by the gods, full of meaning and symbol; this means that the universe itself can be "read." Since Thoth taught humans the "words of the gods," he taught them also how to read and understand the universe itself. Above everything else, understand that for the Egyptian everything in the world and universe was writing that resembled all the human writing they inscribed on their tombs and monuments. For this reason, while Egyptian writing is a form of art, all Egyptian art is a form of writing—it has meaning, symbolism, and precision. http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/EGYPT/MEDU.HTM]

3100 2686 BCE Development of calendar and writing, first known treatise on surgery, building in stone

3100-323 BCE BCE The Egyptian kingdom of the Pharoahs, which was eventually divided into 31 dynasties lasted from about 3100 to 323 BCE . The Pharoahs became God-Kings, using the diversity of beliefs and deities to support their power. The god Re (or Ra) of Heliopolis was linked with the Pharoahs, who were called the “Sons of Re.” Each morning Re travels across the sky, overcoming chaos and evil.

3000 BCE first evidence of sun worship in Egypt

2950-2575 BCE Egyptian Early Dynastic Period (1st-3rd Dynasties) Creation of the capital city of Memphis, intensive contact with Palestine, the first pyramid is built - the Step Pyramid at Saqqara

2750 BCE Stonehenge in England was built in stages. The earliest inner ring of the Blue stones predates the Egyptian Pyramids.

2575-2150 BCE Egyptian Old Kingdom (4th-8th Dynasties), The Great Pyramids [Cheops, Chephren, and Mycerinus] are built at Dahshur and Giza, Pyramids and elite tombs include the first extensive inscriptions, rise in importance of Heliopolis and Re, Pyramid texts

2500 BCE The Snake and the Bull are chief religious symbols in Minoan Crete

2500 BCE Ishtar [Astarte] worship prominent in Mesopotamia – fertility cult involving temple prostitutes

2125-1975 BCE Egyptian 1st Intermediate Period (9th-11th Dynasties) Egypt splits into two smaller states, ruled from Memphis in the north and Thebes in the south

1975-1640 BCE Egyptian Middle Kingdom (11th-14th Dynasties) Classical period of art and literature

1945 BCE Abraham founder of Judaism– God spoke to Abraham instructing him to sacrifice his son Isaac

1955 BCE Isaac

1895 BCE Jacob/Israel – Jacob gave his son Joseph the coat of many colors

1800 - 1500 BCE Invasion of Aryans in India: introduction of Vedas, Brahma, priesthood, caste system, ritual offering.

1700-1000 BCE Zoroaster – [dates uncertain, flourished in northeastern Iran, abt. 1200 BCE ] name means “Golden Light,” or “yellow camel’ – his teaching is mainly preserved in 17 hymns, known as the Gathas, part of the sacred Avesta scripture. He was a practicing priest, and the language of his hymns is difficult, so interpretations of his teaching (which has links with the Hindu Rig Veda) differ greatly. He believed that God, Ahura Mazda, had taught him personally through a series of visions that called him to mission. By the 7th century BCE his teachings had spread across the Iranian plateau. When Cyrus the Great established the Persian empire in the 6th century, Zoroastrianism became the official state religion and was thus practiced from Greece to Egypt to north India. Zoroastrians are tolerant of other religions because judgment rests on works, not on beliefs. As a result, the teaching was influential on other religions, not least on Judaism, when the Jews were in exile in Babylon at the time when Cyrus was coming to power, and on Christianity: angels, the end of the world, a final judgment, the resurrection, and heaven and hell received form and substance from the Zoroastrian beliefs. Ever since ancient Greek times the name of Zoroaster has stood for mysterious Eastern wisdom. In Hellenistic times many esoteric and magical texts were written using his name (though none of those texts had anything to do with the real Zarathushtra) and Zoroaster was thought of as one of the greatest magicians. According to the 'Zend Avesta', the sacred book of Zoroastrianism, Zoroaster was born in Azerbaijan, in northern Persia. He is said to have received a vision from Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord, who appointed him to preach the truth. The date of Zoroaster's life cannot be ascertained with any degree of certainty. According to Zoroastrian tradition, he flourished "258 years before Alexander." §

1765 BCE Joseph – Coat of Many Colors – Joseph’s dreams of the cows and corn Gen 37:5 - Joseph interprets Pharoah’s dreams – Pharoah puts Joseph in charge of Egypt.

1700 BCE first evidence of diagnostic medicine in Egypt

1630- 1520 BCE [EG] Egyptian 2nd Intermediate Period (15th-17th Dynasties)

1539-1075 BCE Egyptian New Kingdom (18th-20th Dynasties)

1500 BCE onwards: development of (pre-) Hindu schools - Vedanta.

1500 BCE The Vedas as sacred literature are a collection of early hymns dating from the Aryan invasion of India. The Aryans invaded northwest India from about 1500 on, and brought a religion based on oral texts known as the Vedas, which are, for Hindus, eternal truth. The Vedas consist of four collections of texts, and with the later Sambitas, Brahmanas, Upanishads, and a few Sutras, are known as Shruti, which means “that which is heard.” They are considered eternal truth and were transmitted orally until the beginning of the present age- the age of degeneration – when they had to be written down. Vedic religion is characterized by an elaborate world of elemental Gods and Goddesses, such as Indra, and Rudra, and led to the latter trinity or trimurti, of the Gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. They are approached through rituals and sacrifices. The Rig Veda text consists mainly of hymns and prayers addressed to them.

The four Vedas, the earliest known Sanskrit literature from the Brahmanic period, are sacrificial hymns compiled from an earlier oral tradition. The Rig Veda, the earliest book, probably dates from c. 1200 BCE ; the fourth, the Atharva Veda, dates from c.900 and consists chiefly of formulas and spells; the Brahmanas, associated with the Vedas, are ritual instructions. From 700 to 300 BCE , an era of religions speculation gave rise to philosophical works. These include the Aranyakas, or “Forest Books” (arising from reflection on the meaning of ritual), and later, the Upanishads. The Puranas, stories of the creation and lives of the gods, also appeared. Devotional cults arose, receiving inspiration from and inspiring the great epic literature, such as the Mahabaharata [c. 500 BCE ] and account of the wars of the house of Bharata. This includes a section called the Bhagavad Gita, “the Song of the Lord,” which is famous for the dialogue between Krishna, and avatar of Vishnu, and his charioteer, Arjuna. It is revered by nearly all Hindus and is the heart of the Hindu faith. The Ramayana, another great epic, was written between 200 BCE and 200 CE . §

1500 BCE to 500 CE The Mysteries of Eleusis, [Greek] which were celebrated annually in the fall, over an interval of approximately 2,000 years, from about 1500 B.C. until the fourth century A.D., were intimately connected with the ceremonies and festivals in honor of the god Dionysus. These Mysteries were established by the goddess of agriculture, Demeter, as thanks for the recovery of her daughter Persephone, whom Hades, the god of the underworld, had abducted. A further thank offering was the ear of grain, which was presented by the two goddesses to Triptolemus, the first high priest of Eleusis. They taught him the cultivation of grain, which Triptolemus then disseminated over the whole globe. Persephone, however, was not always allowed to remain with her mother, because she had taken nourishment from Hades, contrary to the order of the highest gods. As punishment she had to return to the underworld for a part of the year. During this time, it was winter on the earth, the plants died and were withdrawn into the ground, to awaken to new life early in the year with Persephone's journey to earth. Here is my reading of Ovid's rendering of the story of Proserpine in Latin and English.

1500 BCE Earliest examples of the Egyptian Book of the Dead [1567-1085] [The Coming into Day , or what we call The Egyptian Book of the Dead , is a set of spells, incantations, and mummification techniques designed to help the dead person resurrect into a glorious afterlife in "heaven," or "The Hall of the Two Truths." The work is a New Kingdom text and is similar to many texts found in the pyramids (from the old Kingdom) and coffins (from the Middle Kingdom) which outline the rituals performed at the burial of a important person. Imagine it in the following way: think about how church rituals are run. You go to church, and rituals and holy texts are read out to you from a book. In Ancient Egypt, these burial rituals aren't read from a book. At first, they are read directly off of the walls of the inner chambers of a pyramid; later they are read directly off the sides of the coffins. The Coming into Day was read off of papyrus sheets, much as religious rituals today are read out of books. Like a modern day bible, the book was meant to be relatively easy to purchase (it's, like, real expensive buying a pyramid and coffins ain't none too cheap neither), so that any fairly well-off per¬son could secure a hand-written copy of it and use it on a loved one or whatever. As a well-off Egyptian in the New Kingdom, you would buy a copy that would have blanks where the names go, and you would hire a scribe to insert your name in all those blank spots. In the text you have, the blank spots where the name of the deADased is to go, is indi¬cated by the letter "N," an "Insert Name Here" instruction. When you died, or when your loved one died, you would be buried with your pa¬pyrus scroll of The Coming into Day . As a result, quite a few of these texts survive. In addition to The Coming into Day , several scribes wrote what you might call travel guides to the afterlife; these, too, were buried with the dead.

For my exploration of Judaism vis a vis Vedanta, visit http://www.torahveda.org

1415 BCE Birth of Moses

1380 BCE Temple of Luxor –built by Amenhotep III [Egypt]

1367-1350 BCE [or 1352-1336?] Amenhotep IV changes his name to Akhenaten and overturns polytheistic worship in favor of monotheistic worship of the Aten or Sun Disk. He moves the capital from Thebes to Akhetaten (modern day Tell al-Amarna) and lives there with his children and wife Nefertiti.

1347-1339 BCE Reign of Egyptian Pharoah Tutankhamon

1300 BCE Ten Commandments – Torah

1335 BCE Exodus Children of Israel wander in the desert for 40 years

1182-1151 BCE Reign of Ramses III; supposed period of Hebrew migration out of Egypt to Palestine

1075-715 BCE Egyptian 3rd Intermediate Period (21st-25th Dynasties)

899-1000 BCE King David

960 BCE King Solomon

850-800 Homer's [Greek] Illiad and Odyssey

800 Greek archaic period. All-Hellenic religious games and festivals, including the festival at Olympia (the first "Olympics"), the Pythian festival at Delphi, the Pan-Athens festival at Athens, and many others; all-Hellenic sanctuaries of worship, including the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, and many others; all-Hellenic songs, including the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer, the Theogony and the Works and Days of Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns to the gods, and other literature that has been lost.

800’s BCE Prophet Elijah

775 BCE Greeks develop a phonetic alphabet that is written from left to right

753 BCE Romulus founds city of Rome

700 BCE Prophet Isaiah

715-332 BCE Egyptian Late Period (20th-30th Dynasties, 2nd Persian Period) Under Assyrian domination

600 BCE [India] Beginning of the caste system

582 BCE The Pythian games are established in Delphi and the Isthmian games are established in Corinth

550 BCE Lao Tzu founder of Taoism

500 BCE Classical Sanskrit replaces Vedic.

500s to 600s BCE Probable life of Siddartha Guatama, the historical Buddha: conventional dates: 566-486 B.C.E. (According to more recent research, revised dates are: 490-410 BCE).

§ Buddhism began historically in North India in the 6th or 5th century BCE , when a man called Siddhartha Gautama attained ‘enlightenment,’ the ultimate truth by which people are freed from the cycle of rebirth. He became the Buddha, meaning ‘enlightened one,’ who taught others the way to escape from constant rebirth and therefore from suffering. The truth of the Buddha discipline or Buddha sasana, which involved meditation and spiritual exercise, and the teachings of the Buddha or Buddha dharma have, according to the followers of Buddhism, always been in existence. Although he grew up in a royal household, against his father’s wishes he went outside the palace grounds on chariot rides. On separate occasions, he saw a sick man, an old man, a corpse, and a wandering holy man. These four events, known as the Four Signs, led to Gautama’s inner struggle to search for a meaning to life. He left his wife and family and lived an ascetic homeless existence, known as the Great Renunciation. During this six year period of severe austerity he attained all of the goals that extreme discipline can attain, but it was not enough: he still had not escaped from the world of suffering and death. Sitting in despair in Bodha Gaya, under the Bodhi tree, he passed through the four stages of dhyana/jhana or meditative trance, and finally attained enlightenment, understanding the true nature of suffering. From this point on, he was known as the Buddha, literally “The Awoken One,” and for 40 years until he died, he taught others, preaching his first sermon in a deer park at Sarnath, in Northeast India. Although initially he decided to remain where he was, “seeing all things as they really are,” the Hindu god Brahma persuaded him to teach others the truths that even the gods did not know. Gautama is held to be the 24th Buddha in the present stage of the world. When his teaching fell into decline and inevitably they must in the present age of disorder, the future Buddha Maitreya will come. §

521 Siddhartha Gautama began his wanderings in the countryside in search of truth, at the age of 29.

528 Siddhartha Gautama, meditating under a tree at Buddha Gaya in northwestern India, achieved enlightenment. The Four Noble Truths were revealed by Siddhartha Buddha in his first sermon after his enlightenment, becoming the fundamental Buddhist teaching:
1. existence is suffering,
2. the cause of suffering is within the self,
3. an end to suffering is possible,
4. following the Eightfold Path ends suffering and leads to Nirvana.
500-480 Pythagoras of Samos founds mathematics 530 BCE - Greek philosopher from Samos from about 580 B.C. Said to have been the first to style himself a philosopher. ???? Math: Pythagoras is credited with proving the Pythagorean Theorem (a² + b² = c²). He explained the origin of the universe in terms of mathematics. Pythagoras may have discovered the irrational square root of two. Music and the Universe: As was discussed by Plato in his dissertation on the Composition of the Soul, it is a set of numbers whose relationships with each other seemed to summarize all the inter-dependent harmonies within the universe of space and time. Pythagoras taught that each of the seven planets produced by its orbit a particular note according to its distance from the still centre which was the Earth. The distance in each case was like the subdivisions of the string refered to above. This is what was called Musica Mundana, which is usually translated as Music of the Spheres. The sound produced is so exquisite and rarified that our ordinary ears are unable to hear it. It is the Cosmic Music which, according to Philo of Alexandria, Moses had heard when he recieved the Tablets on Mount Sinai, and which St Augustine believed men hear on the point of death, revealing to them the highest reality of the Cosmos. (Carlo Bertelli, Piero della Francesca, p. 60.) This music is present everywhere and governs all temporal cycles, such as the seasons, biological cycles, and all the rhythms of nature. Together with its underlying mathematical laws of proportion it is the sound of the harmony of the created being of the universe, the harmony of what Plato called the "one visible living being, containing within itself all living beings of the same natural order".
For the Pythagorians different musical modes have different effects on the person who hears them; Pythagoras once cured a youth of his drunkenness by prescribing a melody in the Hypophrygian mode in spondaic rhythm. Apparently the Phrygian mode would have had the opposite effect and would have overexcited him. At the healing centers of Asclepieion at Pergamum and Epidauros in Greece, patients underwent therapy accompanied by music. The Roman statesman, philosopher and mathematician, Boethius (480-524 A.D.) explained that the soul and the body are subject to the same laws of proportion that govern music and the cosmos itself. We are happiest when we conform to these laws because "we love similarity, but hate and resent dissimilarity". (De Institutione Musica, 1,1. from Umberto Eco, Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages. p. 31). It's an intriguing coincidence that Siddhartha (Gautama Buddha) lived at the same time as Pythagoras. However, just because Buddhists came up with similar ideas on the transmigration of the soul at the same time as Pythagoras doesn't mean there was contact. Pythagoras believed in the transmigration of souls and considered the eating of flesh as an abominable thing, saying that the souls of all living creatures pass after death into other living creatures. And as for himself, he used to declare that he remembered having been in Trojan times Euphorbus, the son of Panthus, who was slain by Menelaus.and considered the eating of flesh as an abominable thing, saying that the souls of all living creatures pass after death into other living creatures. [http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa011299.htm]
505 BCE Temple to Apollo is built at Delphi

483 BCE First Council resulted in four factions just one year after Buddha's death. Buddha's teachings (Sutta) and a text on monastic discipline (Vinaya) were written down.

469-399 BCE Socrates - 399: Socrates is tried and commits suicide

454 BCE Athens attacks the Persians in Egypt but is defeated

450 BCE Herodotus writes a non-theological history

450 BCE Hippocrates founds Medicine; Temple of Zeus constructed at Olympia

438 BCE the Parthenon is inaugurated in Athens

427-347 BCE Plato

400-200 BCE Upanishads [India – Vedic writings] The Upanishads are a clarification of the Vedas.

388 BCE Plato, a pupil of Socrates, founds his philosophical Academy, the first university

383 BCE Second Buddhist Council was held at Vesali and declared a minority group as orthodox (Hinayana – small vehicle) and a majority group as heretic (Mahayana). Mahayana (great vehicle) develops teachings of the Buddha not found in earlier texts only in outline. They are believed to have been held back until people were sufficiently advanced in understanding to receive them. An important belief is that the attainment of enlightenment or nirvana is not to be kept to oneself as an arhat (perfected one) but is to shared with all suffering and striving beings. The celestial beings who help others are bodhisattvas, and they in turn, are related to Buddhas who are manifestations of the Buddha nature. Buddhas reign over Buddha lands, where the faithful can come as the last stage before nirvana. Visualizing the Buddhas or the Bodhisattvas, and so attaining union with them, is a basic form of devotion. This was originally called nembutsu, meaning “mindfulness of the Buddha.” Pure Land Buddhists placed emphasis on the grace of Amitahaba, the Buddha of the western region of space. Faith in his power is said to result in rebirth in Sukhavaita, where suffering is absent.
A Bodhisattva, literally meaning “enlightened existence,” is an advanced spiritual being who has chosen not to pass into nirvana, the state of complete enlightenment, but to continue in the round of rebirth in order to help others. Once a Bodhisattva does enter nirvana, he or she is no longer in a position to help anyone, having no further links with the world. The career of a bodhisattva will last three, seven or 33 eons, during which time they accumulate an inexhaustible store of merit through the perfecting of generosity, morality, patience, vigor, meditation, and wisdom. Beyond these six perfections, the bodhisattva progresses to four final stages of the path in which it becomes possible for him or her to manifest various supernatural powers. When the tenth stage, or ‘ground,’ is completed, the bodhisattva attains supreme enlightenment and becomes a Buddha. §

375 BCE Plato writes the "Republic"

373 BCE the temple of Apollo at Delphi is destroyed and ruined

367 BCE Aristotle enters the Academia of Plato

342 BCE Aristotle tutors Alexander Temenid of Macedonia

336 BCE Philip II of Macedonia is assassinated and is succeeded by his son Alexander

335 BCE Aristotle founds the Lyceum of Athens

334 BCE Alexander defeats the Persian army at the Dardanelles

333 BCE Alexander invades the Persian empire from Syria to Palestine

332 BCE Alexander conquers Egypt

331 BCE Alexander conquers Persia and destroys Persepolis, ending the Achaemenid dynasty

329 BCE a new temple to Apollo is built at Delphi

332 BCE -395 CE Greco (Hellenic)-Roman Period (Macedonians, Ptolemies, and Romans), Alexander the Great occupies Egypt, The Rosetta Stone is carved (196 CE), Egypt becomes a province of the Roman Empire (30 BCE). Ancient Greece," in the times of Homer (c. 750 BCE?) and Plato (428-347 BCE), was not one nation or state. Hellas, as it was called, was a loose confederation of self-governing tribes and colonies that shared the Greek language (with many local dialects) and some (by no means all) spiritual beliefs, customs and traditions.

325 BCE earliest papyrus written in Greek

324 BCE Alexander invades the Punjab in India

323 BCE Alexander dies, is succeeded by Antipater but the empire rapidly collapses

317 BCE Cassander kills Alexander's son and seizes power in Greece and Macedonia

322 [Greek] Aristotle (d.322 BCE) His writings included treatises on logic, metaphysics, ethics, politics, rhetoric and natural sciences. He first described language in terms of subject and predicate as well as parts of speech. Aristotelian logic is based on a small number of unambiguous constructs, such as, "if A, then B": the truth of one implies the truth of another. This celebrated rule gives Aristotelian reasoning the power to establish facts through inference. The constructs also included A=A, representing that every entity is equal to itself. He defined politics as the science of the sciences that looks after well-being. His writings included "De Generatione Animalum." His "Historia Animalium" was later translated by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson." "Hope is a waking dream." The opening of his "Metaphysics" began: "All men by nature desire to know."

332-31 BCE Ptolemaic Egypt - We owe the division into 30 dynasties as we use it now to Manetho, the Egyptian priest / historian who lived at the beginning of the Ptolemaic Era.
“When it was conquered by the Macedonian Alexander the Great, Egypt became part of the Hellenistic world. Alexander’s successors, the Ptolemies, ruled Egypt as an independent country and again made it one of the most prestigious countries in the world. Great building projects would promote these foreign kings as benefactors, pleasing both the gods and the people of Egypt. The coming of Christianity started the final decline of this ancient culture. [http://www.ancient-egypt.org/history/] They [the Ptolemaic rulers] turn their new capital Alexandria into the greatest city in the world and maintain independence until their last ruler, Cleopatra VII, marries the roman ruler Julius Caesar and, on his death, Marc Antony. [http://www.richard-seaman.com/Travel/Egypt/Timeline/]

305 – 282 BCE Ptolemy I

300 BCE Euclid writes the Elements of Geometry

283 BCE Ptolomy II Soter, founded the Museum or Royal Library of Alexandria

285-246 BCE Reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who commissioned the Greek translation of the Hebrew Torah, the Septuagint

282 – 51 BCE Ptolemy II – Ptolemy XII

250 BCE scientist Archimedes

100 Bhagavad Gita [India Vedic Writings]

51-30 BCE Reign of Cleopatra VII, last of the Ptolemaic monarchs of Egypt

48 BCE Burning of the Library of Alexandria by Julius Caesar

31 BCE Battle of Actium; Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony defeated by Augustus Caesar

27 BCE Egypt came under Roman influence and was ruled by a prefect for Octavian, who became Augustus, the first Roman Emperor in 27 BCE . The country was considered a "breadbasket" for centuries under successive emperors.

30 BCE -395 CE Conquest of Egypt by Augustus Caesar; Roman period

6 BCE Birth of Joshua ben Joseph, called Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew, declared to be the Jewish Messiah by his followers after his death and resurrection in ca. 30-33 CE

5 CE Birth of Paul of Tarsus (ca. 5-ca. 67 CE), a Roman citizen, who separated Christianity from Judaism and was responsible for its spread to Rome and its territories, where Christians endured persecutions for several centuries. Paul is credited with the authorship of the Epistles in the New Testament, though religious scholars have concluded that he was not the author of some of them.

48 Paul of Tarsus’ vision on the road to Damascus

49 CE According to tradition, St. Mark brings Christianity to Egypt; Paul begins to write his letters to the Christian churches

50-100 Gnosticism

65 CE Gospel of Mark written, probably in Rome

67 CE Paul of Tarsus and other prominent Christians, including the Apostle Peter, are killed in the persecutions of the Emperor Nero

70 CE Rome conquers Jerusalem

70 CE Jewish revolt in Palestine: the Temple at Jerusalem is destroyed

80 CE Gospels of Matthew and Luke written down

95-100 CE Gospel of John
The cultural-historical meaning of the Eleusinian Mysteries, their influence on European intellectual history, can scarcely be overestimated. Here suffering humankind found a cure for its rational, objective, cleft intellect, in a mystical totality experience, that let it believe in immortality, in an everlasting existence.
This belief had survived in early Christianity, although with other symbols. It is found as a promise, even in particular passages of the Gospels, most clearly in the Gospel according to John, as in Chapter 14: 120. Jesus speaks to his disciples, as he takes leave of them:
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.“
From Chapter 11, “My Problem Child” by Dr. Albert Hoffman

100 Greek historian Plutarch

100-150 CE Collection of Gospels and Epistles into the Christian canon, the list of definitive holy texts.

150-230 Clement of Alexandria

235-284 CE the "Crisis of the Third Century," a time in which the Roman Imperial throne was up for grabs between candidates elevated by the military. Of the 27 emperors of the third century, 17 lost their throne by being murdered.

251-356 CE Life of Anthony, a Christian hermit and one of the founders of Christian asceticism

285-305 CE Reign of Diocletian, who ends the power struggle of the third century. He legitimizes his rule through a claim to living divinity, and promulgates many important reforms. Among these reforms is the division of the Eastern and Western empires into two separate administrative units.

303 CE Christianity is declared the official religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine, the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity; he founds the new Christian city of Constantinople

323 CE Council of Nicaea: by presiding over the rejection of the Arian doctrines on the nature of Christ, Constantine helps define "orthodox" Christianity. About the same time, the first part of the Jewish Talmud, the Mishnah, is written down

323 CE Christianity becomes the empire's official religion, and in 394 CE the last hieroglyphs are carved at the temple of Philae, bringing ancient Egyptian culture to an end as a living force.

330 CE 641 Byzantine Period of Egypt

354-430 CE Life of Augustine, bishop of Hippo, author of the City of God and many other important Christian philosophical works

100-600 CE Sepher Yetzirah – Book of Formation [later Cabala – 1280]

384 CE Theodosius ordered the closing of Egypt's pagan temples and adherence to Christianity (although the temple dedicated to the goddess Isis at Philae in the country's far south continued to function until CE 536).

391 Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria from 385 to 412 CE - during his reign the Temple of Serapis was converted into a Christian Church (probably around 391 CE )

393 Theodosius forbids the Olympic Games because pagans and shuts down the temple of Zeus at Olympia

395 Christianity becomes the official religion of the Roman Empire by order of Theodosius I (379-95), the Roman empire split into West and East with Egypt becoming part of the Byzantine Empire. This lasted until the arrival of Islam in CE 641.

396 CE [Greek] When the Gothic king Alarich, coming from the north, invaded Greece in 396 A.D. and destroyed the sanctuary of Eleusis, it was not only the end of a religious center, but it also signified the decisive downfall of the ancient world. With the monks that accompanied Alarich, Christianity penetrated into the country that must be regarded as the cradle of European culture.

451 Following the council of Chalcedon the Coptic Church isolates itself on doctrinal grounds from other Christian churches

462 the statue of Zeus, moved from Olympia to Constantinople, is destroyed by a fire

529 Roman emperor Justinian shuts down the Academia of Plato

535 Justinian closes the Temple of Isis at Philae on Egypt’s Nubian border

570 [IS] Muhammad is born into the tribe of the Quraysh of Mecca [Saudi Arabia]

596 St. Augustine's [Augustine of Hippo] missionary trips [Roman Christianity] to England

610 [611?] [IS] Muhammad's first revelation [receiving the Quran] in a cave outside of Mecca

618-907 CE Buddhism flourished in China during the T’ang Dynasty and is still a major religious and cultural influence. It appealed because the concept of enlightenment, rebirth and karma, the moral law of cause and effect , offered individuals responsibility for their own fate, and an opportunity for salvation. Through meditation, ritual, chanting, teaching, and the study of the Buddhist texts, monks and nuns were seen as gaining merit for future lives, and even gain merit for their families and lay supporters. The sophisticated philosophy of Buddhist texts attracted many scholarly Chinese, while the opportunity for improved rebirth, or birth in the Buddha Amitabha’s Western Paradise, and the use of art and architecture appealed to ordinary people.

Buddhism arrived in Japan about 1000 years after the time of Buddha by way of Korea. Since the 7th century CE waves of Buddhism principally of the Mahayana variety, reached Japan from China. These were mainly introduced by Japanese monks who had soujourned to Chinese monasteries.

The way of Tantric Buddhism arose in the 6th century CE based on texts known as the Tantras. It uses meditation, ritual, symbolism and magic. Although magic was not part of Buddhist teachings, Tantric practitioners regard Tantra as a faster way of attaining the Buddha nature than the path of the Bodhisattvas. The forms of Tantra, using mantras, powerful sacred sounds, are known as mantrayana. §

622 [IS] The hijra, or [Mohammed’s] flight, to Yathrib (later Medina): Muslim calendar begins on this date, emergence of Islam

632 [IS] June 8: Death of Muhammad

632-634 [IS] Abu-Bakr is caliph - Fearing that, in the violence between Muslim and anti-Muslim groups, the oral knowledge of the Qur'an will be lost, Umar and Abu-Bakr agree to have the text collected and written down

642 - 1250 [IS] Muslim period of Egypt

642 [IS] Islamic Arabs invade Egypt and found Fustat, which later becomes Cairo.

664 At the Synod of Whitby [England], Roman Christianity is endorsed as supreme over the Celtic tradition.

691 [IS] Muslims conquer Jerusalem, Dome of the Rock built in Jerusalem, on the spot where Abraham is said to have nearly sacrificed Isaac; the temple, formerly a Jewish holy place, now becomes a Muslim holy place

777 death of Abu Hashim, first person to be called Sufi

1095-1270 Christian Crusades to the Holy Land

1179 Death of Christian mystic, philosopher and doctor Hildegard von Bingen
Mar 7, Thomas Aquinas (48), Italian theologian, saint, died.

1400 Rosicrucianism (Master Kelpius, Johann Andrea)

1492 Illuminatis of Spain [Alumbrados]

1469-1539 [Founder of Sikhism] Guru Nanak was born in 1469, in a small village, Talwandi, India. He was married at the age of 12 and worked as an accountant, but he always showed interest in a spiritual quest. In 1499, while he was bathing in the Bein River, he experienced the call of God. He was given a cup filled with amrit (blessed or holy water)and commanded: “Nanak, this is the cup of devotion of the Name: drink this…I am with you, and I bless you and exalt you. Whoever remembers you will receive my blessing. Go, rejoice in my Name and teach others to do the same…I am bestowing on you the gift of my name. Let this be your vocation.” When he emerged from the river after three days, he gave away his possessions and said, “There is neither Hindu nor Muslim.” This can be interpreted as “the majority are not true to their faith” but is often taken to mean that God is greater than the divided opinions of religions. Nanak began to travel, especially to pilgrimage centers, where he taught and chanted hymns and established centers of worship known as dharamsalas. He settled in Kartarpur with his followers. The date of his death was probably in September of 1539. He designated one of his followers, Lahina, to be his successor as Guru, and the Sikh movement thus continued beyond his death with a succession of Gurus. §

1517 Martin Luther posts the 95 Theses on the church door at Wittenburg, starting the Protestant Reformation

1596-1650 Rene Descartes, French philosopher, was born in La Haye, France. He proposed a numerical index that represented fundamental notions. He made consciousness the defining feature of the self. Descartes died in Sweden. In 1997 Paul Strathern published: "Descartes in 90 Minutes," and Keith Devlin published "Goodbye Descartes: The End of Logic and the Search for a New Cosmology of the Mind." In 1998 the French biography by Genevieve Rodis-Lewis was translated to English: "Descartes: His Life and Thought."

1500s The Illuminati [Illuminati means ‘enlightened ones’] is the name of many groups, modern and historical, real and fictitious, verified and alleged. Most commonly, however, The Illuminati refers specifically to the Bavarian Illuminati, described below. Most alleged and fictitious uses refer to a shadowy conspiratorial organization which controls world affairs behind the scenes, usually a modern incarnation or continuation of the Bavarian Illuminati. Illuminati is sometimes used synonymously with New World Order. The designation illuminati was also in use from the 15th century, assumed by enthusiasts of another type, who claimed that the illuminating light came, not by being communicated from an authoritative but secret source, but from within, the result of exalted consciousness, or "enlightenment".

1623 Illuminatis in France [Illuminés]

1632 Baruch Spinoza – Jewish Mystic

1711 [b. Apr 26] David Hume, English empiricist, philosopher (Treatise of Human Nature), was born.

1724 -1804 [b. Apr 22] Immanuel Kant, German philosopher (Critique of Pure Reason), was born in Konigsberg. He held that space is just a "form of sensibility" that our minds impose on experience to give it structure. His work included the essay "Perpetual Peace."

1771 [Freemasonry] Count Cagliostro (1743-95) appears in London and Paris with his Egyptian Masonic Rite.

1776 [Written by Freemasons] American Declaration of Independence and beginning of the American Revolution.

1777 Cagliostro is said to have invented his scheme" of Egyptian Masonry, which would become known as the Egyptian Rite of Freemasonry (see 1782). He claims to have discovered a mysterious document in a London bookstall, written by a "George Cofton."

1797 - 1801 Napoleon Bonaparte defeats the remaining Mamluks and brings large numbers of scholars and artists to study Egypt's history, flora and fauna, beginning the European fascination with Egypt.

1798 Napoleon invades Egypt, 1799, N’s team discovers Rosetta Stone in the Nile Delta of Egypt [the Rosetta Stone helped provide linguists with the key to translating hieroglyphics]

1801 - 1882 Britain allies itself with Turkey and drives the French out in 1801. Mohammed Ali, an Albanian lieutenant with the Turkish army, gains control in 1806, slaughters 500 Mamluk leaders in 1811 and modernises Egypt. His heirs build the Suez canal, which opens in 1869.

1822 Jean François Champollion deciphers the system of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing from the Rosetta Stone

1831 Helena Blavatsky born 12 August just after midnight in the Ukraine. Dies 1891

1848 Fox sisters claim spirit communication.

1861 Rudolf Steiner (February 27, 1861–March 30, 1925) was an Austrian philosopher, literary scholar, architect, playwright and educator, who is best known as the founder of Anthroposophy and its practical applications, including Waldorf School, Biodynamic agriculture, the Camphill Movement, and the Christian Community.

1875 Founding of the Theosophical Society by Madam Blavatsky.

1875 Aleister Crowley (October 12, 1875–December 1, 1947) was a British occultist, mystic, writer, poet, astrologer, sexual revolutionary, painter, mountain climber, and social critic. Published the “Law of One” following mystical experience in the Great Pyramid, King’s Chamber.

1881 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (b. 5/1/1881 - 1955), French Jesuit philosopher, paleontologist, was born. He authored the "Phenomenon of Man" wherein he proposed the idea of the noosphere, i.e. sphere of mind, in which all the minds of all the humans on earth could be conceived of as both separate and as combined in one great, single intelligence.

1898 Aleister Crowley initiated into Golden Dawn on Nov. 26, taking the motto Perdurabo.

1881-1952 The British occupy Egypt in order to gain control of the canal, while leaving the heirs of Mohammed Ali in nominal control of the country.

1906 Dr. Albert Hofmann was born in Baden, Switzerland in 1906 (died Nov 22, 1963). He graduated from the University of Zürich with a degree in chemistry in 1929 and went to work for Sandoz Pharmaceutical in Basel, Switzerland. With the laboratory goal of working towards isolation of the active principles of known medicinal plants, Hofmann worked with Mediterranean squill (Scilla maritima) for several years, before moving on to the study of Claviceps purpurea (ergot) and ergot alkaloids.

Over the next few years, he worked his way through the lysergic acid derivatives, eventually synthesizing LSD-25 for the first time in 1938. After minimal testing, LSD-25 was set aside as he continued with other derivatives. Four years later, on April 16, 1943, he re-synthesized LSD-25 because he felt he might have missed something the first time around. That day, he became the first human to experience the effects of LSD after accidentally ingesting a minute amount. Three days later, on April 19, 1943, he decided to verify his results by intentionally ingesting 250 ug of LSD. This day has become known as "Bicycle Day" as Hofmann experienced an incredible bicycle ride on his way home from the lab.

In addition to his discovery of LSD, he was also the first to synthesize psilocybin (the active constituent of 'magic mushrooms') in 1958. Albert Hofmann, known as the 'father of LSD', continued to work at Sandoz until 1971 when he retired as Director of Research for the Department of Natural Products. Since that time he has continued to write, lecture, and play a leading role as an elder in the psychedelic community. [http://www.erowid.org/culture/characters/hofmann_albert/hofmann_albert.shtml]

From Forward of “My Problem Child,” by Dr. Albert Hofmann:
“One enchantment of that kind, which I experienced in childhood, has remained remarkably vivid in my memory ever since. It happened on a May morning - I have forgotten the year - but I can still point to the exact spot where it occurred, on a forest path on Martinsberg above Baden, Switzerland. As I strolled through the freshly greened woods filled with bird song and lit up by the morning sun, all at once everything appeared in an uncommonly clear light. Was this something I had simply failed to notice before? Was I suddenly discovering the spring forest as it actually looked? It shone with the most beautiful radiance, speaking to the heart, as though it wanted to encompass me in its majesty. I was filled with an indescribable sensation of joy, oneness, and blissful security.
I have no idea how long I stood there spellbound. But I recall the anxious concern I felt as the radiance slowly dissolved and I hiked on: how could a vision that was so real and convincing, so directly and deeply felt - how could it end so soon? And how could I tell anyone about it, as my overflowing joy compelled me to do, since I knew there were no words to describe what I had seen? It seemed strange that I, as a child, had seen something so marvelous, something that adults obviously did not perceive - for I had never heard them mention it.
While still a child, I experienced several more of these deeply euphoric moments on my rambles through forest and meadow. It was these experiences that shaped the main outlines of my world view and convinced me of the existence of a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable reality that was hidden from everyday sight. “
From Chapter 11:
…“Ecclesiastical Christianity, determined by the duality of creator and creation, has, however, with its nature-alienated religiosity largely obliterated the Eleusinian-Dionysian legacy of antiquity. In the Christian sphere of belief, only special blessed men have attested to a timeless, comforting reality, experienced in a spontaneous vision, an experience to which in antiquity the elite of innumerable generations had access through the initiation at Eleusis. The unio mystica of Catholic saints and the visions that the representatives of Christian mysticism-Jakob Boehme, Meister Eckhart, Angelus Silesius, Thomas Traherne, William Blake, and others describe in their writings, are obviously essentially related to the enlightenment that the initiates to the Eleusinian Mysteries experienced.”
“Meditation begins at the limits of objective reality, at the farthest point yet reached by rational knowledge and perception. Meditation thus does not mean rejection of objective reality; on the contrary, it consists of a penetration to deeper dimensions of reality. It is not escape into an imaginary dream world; rather it seeks after the comprehensive truth of objective reality, by simultaneous, stereoscopic contemplation of its surfaces and depths.”
From Chapter 11, “My Problem Child” by Dr. Albert Hoffman
1913 Rudolf Steiner founds the Anthroposophical Society.

1952 - The Egyptians revolt against the British and they are forced out. Colonel Nasser becomes president, nationalizes land and property through Egypt and attempts to unite the Arab world.

1952 to Present - Crosspollination of spiritual and philosophical traditions, assisted in part by the introduction of psychedelic experience to the Western World, combined with new generations of people unchained by the ubiquitous Christian paradigm, has engendered a polyglot spiritual demographic in the West. Like everything else in our culture today, knowledge is not limited to the select few who are able to read Latin, Greek, Hebrew, or Sanskrit. In the world of 2012, all that is required is the spark of curiosity, or spiritual yearning, because the paths are open as never before, and there is room also for new ones.

Egyptian Timeline: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/egyptians/timeline.shtml

§ World Religions, John Bowker, A DK Publishing Book, 1997 ISBN 0-7894-1439-2

Here is a Timeline of Jewish History