Rabbi Shlomo Cohen
There is a fascinating tendency in Jewish history for major epochs to occur in approximate, but regular, 500- year jumps.
If we go back 500 years we find ourselves at the beginning of the time of the Achronim (1500CE).
Another jump of 500 years finds us at the end of the period of the Gaonim with Rishonim in the middle(1000CE).
500 years before that is approximately the end of the period of the Amoraim (500CE).
Still another 500 places us at the destruction of the Second Bais HaMikdash (1CE).
500 more and we are at the destruction of the first Bais HaMikdash (500BCE).
Yet another 500 is the end of the period of the Shoftim (1000BCE).
One more jump will be the beginning of the slavery in Egypt (1500BCE).
Still another brings us to Noach and the flood (2000BCE).
This simple device of eight jumps enables the student to easily place events and people in the proper historical perspective.
A somewhat closer look at the breakdown will reveal other interesting phenomena.
Working forward using more exact dates will flesh out the bare bones of this outline.
Avrohom Aveinu lived from 1948-2123 (1600 BCE) about 300 years after the flood. The Tower of Bavel, 1996 (1765BCE) was built in his lifetime.
Kabalas HaTorah occurred in the year 2448 (1313BCE), 500 years to the year after Avrohom’s birth. This era includes bondage in Egypt, the journey through the desert and the conquest of Eretz Yisroel.
The period of the Shoftim lasted from about 2500 – 3000 (1300 –800 BCE) so it ended 500 years after the Torah was given. This period occurred during the 1000 years of prophecy and it overlaps the beginning of the kings.
The first Bais HaMikdash was constructed by Shlomo HaMelech around the year 2928 and stood for 410 years until 3338 (423BCE) through the rest of the period of the Kings. The 70 years of exile bring us close to the 500 -year leap.
Our next 500 years includes the building of the Second Bais HaMikdash and its 420 year existence until its destruction in 3830 (70CE) The aftermath of destruction, including Masada and the rescension of the Mishna in 3948 (188CE) rounds out this five hundred- year epoch.
The following 500 encompass the writing of the Gemora and Midrashim. The period of the Amoraim lasted from 3960- 4260 (500CE).
The period of the Rabbanan Savuroi was 4235- 4350. Added to the Gaonic period, which lasted from 4349-4798, gives us approximately 500 years.
This takes us into the age of the Rishonim, 4725-5372. There is some overlap in these eras as a result of some disagreement about which individuals fit into which period.
The period of the Achronim began about (1500 CE) and has carried us to the present.
| THE TIMELINE
Some dates are approximate
2000 BCE FLOOD 2104 (1656)
Tower of Bavel
1500BCE BEGIN SLAVERY IN EGYPT 1430 BCE 
Kabalas HaTorah 1313 
1000 BCE NEAR END OF SHOFTIM
Begin Kings [2881-3338]
500 BCE DESTRUCTION OF 1st BAIS HAMIKDASH 423BCE 
Purim 356BCE 
Chanuka 138BCE 
1 CE DESTRUCTION OF 2ND BAIS HAMIKDASH 70CE 
Tannaim [3768-3960] Mishna redacted 188CE 
500 CE END AMORAIM [3960-4260]
Talmud redacted 500CE 
Rabbanan Savurai [4235-4350]
1000 CE END GAONIM [4349-4798]
1500 CE BEGIN ACHRONIM