No firm data on the play's date of authorship has survived. Scholars have conjectured a date of authorship sometime in the first decade of the 17th century — either early in the decade, based on allusions to contemporary events like the Siege of Ostend (1601–04), or later in the decade, based on perceived links with literary works like King Lear and The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois.
Those scholars who have considered Tourneur the author of both The Atheist's Tragedy and The Revenger's Tragedy (published in 1607) have assumed that The Atheist's Tragedy must have been written first, because it seems less developed and more crude. For those who attribute The Revenger's Tragedy to Thomas Middleton, such considerations are irrelevant.
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