The long-standing consensus among historical scholars is that the books of the Abhidhamma were compiled in the centuries after the Buddha. It is not possible to determine definite dates. However, it is likely that the common core of the Vibhaṅga/Dharmaskandha/Śāripūtrābhidharmaśastra predates the separation between these traditions, which happened around the time of King Ashoka in about 250 BCE, less than two centuries after the Buddha’s death. But the bulk of the content must have been developed after this time. A number of details, such as the fact that the works were accepted as canonical in the Milinda, around 100 BCE, suggests that they were completed before this time. So a range of 300 BCE–100 BCE for the composition of the canonical Abhidhamma texts seems reasonable.
Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.