Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Chronological Order of the Qu'ran

The books (Surahs) are organized by length (for the most part). They are generally organized from longest to shortest, but this is not a' hard and fast rule'.
The Qu'ran is not presented in chronological order as it was not meant to tell a chronological story like the Old Testament of the Bible was.

The Quran in Chronological Order
The Early Meccan Surahs

The Clot (96)
The Pen (68)
The Enshrouded One (73)
The Cloaked One (74)
The Opening (1)
Palm Fibre (111)
The Overthrowing (81)
The Most High (87)
The Night (92)
10 The Dawn (89)
11 The Morning Hours (93)
12 Solace (94)
13 The Declining Day (103)
14 The Coursers (100)
15 Abundance (108)
16 Rivalry in Worldly Increase (102)
17 Small Kindnesses (107)
18 The Disbelievers (109)
19 The Elephant (105)
20 The Daybreak (113)
21 Mankind (114)
22 The Unity (112)
23 The Star (53)
24 He Frowned (80)
25 Power (97)
26 The Sun (91)
27 The Mansions of the Stars (85)
28 The Fig (95)
29 Winter or Qureysh (106)
30 The Calamity (101)
Middle Meccan Surahs (618-620)

31 The Rising of the Dead (75)
32 The Traducer (104)
33 The Emissaries (77)
34 Oaf (50)
35 The City (90)
36 The Morning Star (86)
37 The Moon (54) 
38 Sad (38)
39 The Heights (7)
40 The Jinn (72)
41 Ya Sin (36)
42 Criterion (25)
43 The Angels (35)
44 Mary (19)
45 Ta Ha (20)
46 The Event (56)
47 The Poets (26)
48 The Ant (27)
49 The Story (28)
50 The Children of Israel (17)
51 Jonah (10)
52 Hud (11)
53 Joseph (12)
54 Al-Hijr (15)
55 Cattle (6)
56 Those Who Set the Ranks (37)
57 Luqman (31)
58 Saba (34)
59 The Troops (39)
60 The Believer (40)
Late Meccan Surahs (620-622)

61 Fusilat (41)
62 Counsel (42)
63 Ornaments of Gold (43)
64 Smoke (44)
65 Crouching (45)
66 The Wind-Curved Sandhills (46)
67 The Winnowing Winds (51)
68 The Overwhelming (88)
69 The Cave (18)
70 The Bee (16)
71 Noah (71)
72 Abraham (14)
73 The Prophets (21)
74 The Believers (23)
75 The Prostration (32)
76 The Mount (52)
77 The Sovereignty (67)
78 The Reality (69)
79 The Ascending Stairways (70)
80 The Tidings (78)
81 Those Who Drag Forth (79)
82 The Cleaving (82)
83 The Sundering (84)
84 The Romans (30)
85 The Spider (29)
86 Defrauding (83)
The 28 Medina Surahs

87 The Cow (2)
88 Spoils of War (8)
89 The Family of 'Imran (3)
90 The Clans (33)
91 She That is to be Examined (60)
92 The Women (4)
93 The Earthquake (99)
94 Iron (57)
95 Muhammad (47)
96 The Thunder (13)
97 The Beneficent (55)
98 Time or Man (76)
99 Divorce (65)
100 The Clear Proof (98)
101 Exile (59)
102 Light (24)
103 The Pilgrimage (22)
104 The Hypocrites (63)
105 She That Disputeth (58)
106 The Private Apartments (49)
107 Banning (66)
108 Mutual Disillusion (64)
109 The Ranks (61)
110 The Congregation (62)
111 Victory (48)
112 The Table Spread (5)
113 Repentance (9)
114 Succour (110)

Chronological Order of the New Testament

Although there are some discrepancies to the chronological order of the books of the New Testament, generally, the following is commonly accepted:
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
Gospel of Mark
Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Luke
1 Timothy
1 Peter
2 Timothy
Gospel of John
1 John
2 John
3 John
Although not all agree with this exact order, what cannot be contested is that the order the books appear in the bible are not chronologically correct.

Generally, the letters of Paul precede all others. The Synoptic Gospels follow the bulk of the Pauline epistles with a scattering of other letters, and sometime significantly later, the New Testament is rounded out with the Gospel of John, his 3 letters and his book of Revelation.

What the pattern would seem to be, are stories of a miraculous miracle worker and wisdom teacher (Yeshua of Nazareth), referred to in the Pauline epistles.
What follows are the filling-in of the origins of this miraculous wisdom teacher (almost like a modern-day prequel). What should be noted also is after both Mark and Matthew's Gospels is followed the Gospel of Luke and its sequel, the book of Acts (which in all likelihood was penned by Paul, or at least Paul's companion, Luke) - almost suggestive of a corrective footnote to Mark and Matthew. (But the authorship of Like/Acts is only a tangent in this line of thought).

What is significant is that the entire of the Johannine works follow. (Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation) and lend and extreme mystical flavour. It is also where we see clearly Yeshua become deified, concretely.

Regardless of what these things really mean or are meaningless, one thing cannot be argued.
Reading the New Testament as presented in the bible vs. reading the New Testament chronologically paint two very different pictures.

The Chronological Old Testament

I don't pretend to be an Old Testament expert by any means, but to my limited knowledge the categorizing method of organizing the books of the Old Testament is chronological for the most part.

Bear in mind that very few of the dates these books were written are absolutely known:
The Pentateuch:
Genesis (c. 1450 – 1410 B.C.)
Exodus ( c. 1450 – 1410 B.C.)
Leviticus ( c. 1445 – 1444 B.C.)
Numbers (c. 1450 – 1410 B.C.)
Deuteronomy (c. 1407 – 1406 B.C.)

The Historic Books:
Joshua (c. 1380 B.C.)
Judges ( unknown, c. 1000 B.C.?)
Ruth (c. 1375 – 1050 B.C. ?)
1 Samuel (unknown, c. 1000 B.C. ?)
2 Samuel (c. 1050 – 970 B.C.)
1 Kings (c. 562 B.C. ?)
2 Kings ( c. 562 B.C.)
1 Chronicles (430 B.C. [referring to events c. 1000 – 960])
2 Chronicles (430 B.C. [referring to events c. 970 – 586])
Ezra (430 [referring to events c. 538 – 430])
Nehemiah (420 B.C.)
Esther (c. 470 B.C. ?)

Books of Poetry:
Job (unknown, est. 2000 – 1800 B.C.)
Psalms (c. 1440 – 586 B.C.)
Proverbs (c. 960 B.C. ?)
Ecclesiastes (935 B.C. ?)
Song of Songs (960 B.C. ?)

Major Prophets:
Isaiah (700 – 681 B.C.)
Jeremiah (627 – 586 B.C.)
Lamentations (c. 586 B.C.)
Daniel (c. 535 B.C. [referring to events c. 605-535])

Minor Prophets:
*Hosea (c. 715 B.C. [referring to events c. 753-715])
Joel (835 – 796 B.C.)
Amos (c. 760 – 750 B.C.)
*Obadiah (c. 586 B.C.)
Jonah (785 – 760 B.C.)
Micah (742 – 687 B.C.)
Nahum (663-654 B.C.)
Habakkuk (612 – 589 B.C.)
Zephaniah (640 – 621B.C.)
Haggai (520 B.C.)
Zechariah (520 – 480 B.C.)
Malachi (430 B.C.)

With the apparent exceptions of Hosea and Obediah I would say it is in chronological order.

Why is the New Testament not in chronological order?


Bibliolatry is the worship of a particular book. In the case of Christianity, the term bibliolatry is used in a derogatory sense toward those who either have an extreme devotion to the Bible, or hold to a high view of biblical inerrancy However Historic Christianity has never endorsed worship of the Bible itself, as worship is explicitly reserved only for God Himself. Also Biblical authority is derived from God the author of the text, not the text itself. So the term is not a reference to an actual belief, but is often used as a pejorative term to negatively label perceived practices of theological opponents. The groups to whom the term is most often applied are Protestants of a fundamentalist and evangelical background who hold to Biblical inerrancy and Scripture as the only divine authority. So most of those who level the charge either reject Biblical inerrancy (such as much of mainline Protestantism does) or uphold divine authority that includes Apostolic Tradition in concert with Scripture rather than Scripture alone (Catholicism, Orthodoxy, many within Anglicanism, & the vast majority of Christianity worldwide).


In English it is more famously used as a response to certain koans (A koan is a story, question, or statement generally containing aspects that are inaccessible to rational understanding, yet may be accessible to intuition. “Two hands clap and there is a sound; what is the sound of one hand?” is a good example) and other questions intending to indicate that the question itself was wrong.

"Unasking" the question

The term is often used or translated to mean that the question itself must be "unasked": no answer can exist in the terms provided. Zhaozhou's answer, which literally means that dogs do not have Buddha nature, has been interpreted by Robert Pirsig and Douglas Hofstadter to mean that such categorical thinking is a delusion, that yes and no are both right and wrong.
In Robert M. Pirsig's 1974 novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenancemu is translated as "no thing", saying that it meant "unask the question". He offered the example of a computer circuit using the binary numeral system, in effect using mu to represent high impedance:
For example, it's stated over and over again that computer circuits exhibit only two states, a voltage for "one" and a voltage for "zero." That's silly! Any computer-electronics technician knows otherwise. Try to find a voltage representing one or zero when the power is off! The circuits are in a mu state.[20]
The word features prominently with a similar meaning in Douglas Hofstadter's 1979 book, Gödel, Escher, Bach. It is used fancifully in discussions of symbolic logic, particularly Gödel's incompleteness theorems, to indicate a question whose "answer" is to
  • un-ask the question,
  • indicate the question is fundamentally flawed, or
  • reject the premise that a dualistic answer can or will be given.[21]
"Mu" may be used similarly to "N/A" or "not applicable," a term often used to indicate the question cannot be answered because the conditions of the question do not match the reality.


A theory may only ever be proven wrong. The potential for it being proven wrong always remains.

An Anti-theory may only ever be proven correct. It is based upon evidence not yet discovered, known, or found. It is perpetually waiting for the “final evidence”, regardless of whether it will ever be found or not. It is based upon a yet undiscovered evidence that will actually prove itself. This is simply a poor and self-serving methodology.

Waitingas a perennial solution to a given problem, becomes an Anti-theory.

The Anti-theory can never be proven wrong, while the Theory can only ever be proven wrong.