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PAGE 1. THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE APOSTOLIC AGE 2. THE DATE OF THE LETTER OF JAMES .
208 3. THE TITLE OF PART III.
209 4. THE TIME OF PETER'S VISIT TO ANTIOCH
209 5. THE DATE OF FIRST THESSALONIANS 6. THE DATE OF SECOND THESSALONIANS 7. THE DATE OF THE LETTER TO THE GALATIANS 8. COMMUNICATION BETWEEN PAUL AND THE CORINTHIANS IN THE
INTERVAL BETWEEN HIS FIRST VISIT TO CORINTH AND THE
WRITING OF FIRST CORINTHIANS; THE DATE OF THE LETTER 216 9. THE SUFFERINGS OF PAUL IN EPHESUS.
218 10. THE EXPERIENCES OF PAUL IN THE INTERVAL BETWEEN FIRST
CORINTHIANS AND SECOND CORINTHIANS 11. THE DATE OF THE LETTER TO THE ROMANS 12. THE EPISTLES OF THE IMPRISONMENT 13. PAUL'S FOURTH MISSIONARY JOURNEY, AND HIS SECOND ROMAN IMPRISONMENT
224 14. THE LITERATURE OF THE PERIOD OF THE JEWISH WAR
226 15. THE LITERATURE OF THE YEARS 70-100 A.D.
THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE APOSTOLIC AGE.
THERE are two events in the political history of Judea which are in the New Testament so connected with the history of the early church, and at the same time so definitely dated by the evidence of secular writers, as to make them of special importance in the construction of the chronology of the Apostolic Age. These two events are the death of Herod Agrippa I., and the accession of Festus to the procuratorship of Judea as the successor of Felix.
The death of Herod Agrippa I. is recorded by Josephus, Ant. 19. 8. 2, as having occurred when he had completed the third year of his reign over all Palestine. Now since from Ant. 19. 5. 1 it appears that Claudius made him king over all Judea shortly after his own accession, and since Claudius became emperor early in 41 A.D., it follows that Agrippa died in 44 A.D. See Wieseler, Chronologie des Apostolischen Zeitalters, pp. 129-136, and Schürer, Jewish People in the Time of Christ, Div. I., Vol. II., p. 163. From the book of Acts, chap. 12, which gives an account of Herod's death not greatly unlike that contained in Josephus, Ant. 19. 8. 2, it appears that Herod died after the Passover, but how long after is not definitely indicated. Wieseler has indeed calculated from Josephus that Aug. 6th is the exact date, but his calculation rests upon insufficient data. Spring or summer of the year 44 A.D. is as definite a date as can be given for the death of Herod.
Two noteworthy events are closely associated in the book of Acts with the death of Herod, namely, the death of James the brother of John, and the imprisonment of Peter. James perished by the sword of Herod not long before the Passover of this year 44, while Peter was imprisoned at about the Passover season and released just after that festival. The end of the earthly career of James thus definitely dated for us. This imprisonment of Peter is also the latest event of his life the time of which can be exactly determined. Though he doubtless lived for many years after this, and though we know some of the events of his later life, no subsequent event of it can with confidence be assigned to a particular year.
The exact date of the visit of Barnabas and Saul to Jerusalem to carry relief to the brethren of that city seems at first sight to be definitely fixed also
by Acts, chap. 12, since the story of Herod's persecution of the church and of his own death is interjected between the mention of the journey of Barnabas and Saul to Jerusalem, and of their return ' from Jerusalem to Antioch. But a more careful examination deters us from drawing so definite an inference from this position of the narratives as that the death of Herod occurred while Barnabas and Saul were at Jerusalem. The writer introduces the account of the events at Jerusalem (Acts 12 : 1) with the very general phrase, “ Now about that time.” Moreover, it seems improbable that the Antioch Christians would send relief to Jerusalem to provide against a famine which was yet so far from being immediately impending that Judea was still furnishing the Phænicians with food (Acts 12: 20). Probably, therefore, we must abide by the author's indefinite phrase “about that time,” which would permit this relief visit to Jerusalem to have taken place a year or two after Herod's death.
A further difficulty is raised in reference to this visit of Saul and Barnabas to Jerusalem by the fact that in the Epistle to the Galatians, where the argument seems to forbid the omission of this visit if it actually took place, there is nevertheless no mention of it. Whether the Acts is in error here, and if so precisely to what extent, whether in reference to the fact of the journey itself, or only as to the participation of Saul in it, or perhaps merely as to his actual arrival in Jerusalem itself, are questions which do not require discussion in a note which aims to fix only the main points of the chronology of the Apostolic Age.
But certain other events of early Christian history, more important in themselves than this particular visit to Jerusalem, are associated by the writer of Acts with the death of Herod; and though their chronological position is less definitely indicated than in the case of the death of James and the imprisonment of Peter, yet valuable information is afforded us. At about the time when these events were taking place in Jerusalem (Acts 12 : 1), a Christian church existed at Antioch in Syria, and Barnabas and Saul were connected with it (Acts II : 22—30). The planting of the church in Antioch was mani. festly a still earlier event (Acts 11:20, 21), and the beginning of Gentile Christianity, so far as it was connected with the founding of the church in Antioch, is accordingly assigned to a point earlier than the year 44, probably by a period of several years. To much the same effect is the indication of Acts 1 : 19, 20 that the gospel was preached to 2 Gentiles Antioch not long after the death of Stephen. Concerning the date of this event, see p. 206. Whether the events of Acts, chap. 10, by which a beginning of Gentile Christianity was made in Cæsarea also, were earlier or later than the founding of the Antioch church cannot be definitely determined. Quite possibly these two independent beginnings of the gospel of the uncircumcision were not far apart in time.
1 The true reading in Acts 12 : 25, according to W'estcott and Hort, with whom Wendt, in Meyer's Kommentar über das Neue Testament, seventh edition, agrees, is “to Jerusalem" but this phrase is understood by them to limit, nct“ returned,” but “ministration.”
2 Acts 11:20 presents a difficult question of textual criticism, viz.: whether we should read 'Elinvuotás Hellenists, or 'Envas Greeks; and, if we adopt the reading 'EXAnviotás, the scarcely less difficult question, what is the precise sense of this term. The textual evidence strongly favors the reading ‘Eminvlotás, but the context seems to require the slipposition that this term, the instances of which are too rare for a broad induction, designates or includes Gentiles, who, though they may have been in some sense adherents of Judaism, had
The position of the twelfth chapter is also significant with reference to the beginning of Paul's missionary journeys. With the thirteenth chapter begins the second part of the book of Acts, which deals exclusively with these journeys and the apostle's subsequent imprisonment. The position of this chapter referring to the work of Barnabas and Saul at Antioch, and connecting it chronologically, even if somewhat loosely, with the death of Herod, implies that in the author's view the missionary journeys of the apostle had not begun when Herod died, yet did begin apparently not long after that event. This arrangement is the more significant in view of the fact that the author implies that he was one of the apostle's traveling companions. Though not with Paul from the first, he is likely to have known when the apostle began his journeys; and we are thus led to infer that the departure from Antioch (Acts 13:4) occurred about 45 or 46 A.D.
The recall of Felix, and the accession of Festus to the procuratorship of Judea, are fixed, not indeed with absolute certainty but with a high degree of probability, as having occurred in the summer of 60 A.D. The evidence is presented and discussed at length in Wieseler, Chronologie des Apostolischen Zeitalters, pp. 66-99, and more briefly by Schürer, Jewish People in the Time of Christ, Div. I., Vol. II., pp. 182-184.
This date, together with the statements in the book of Acts and a few data from the letters of Paul, enable us to fix with approximate accuracy the time of the events narrated in the latter half of the book of Acts, and of the writing of most of the Pauline letters which belong to this period. Reckoning backward from the accession of Festus in the summer of 60 A.D., we see that the Cæsarean imprisonment of two years (Acts 24:27) began in 58 A.D. From Acts 20 : 16 it appears that it began in the spring, or, to be more exact, probably in the month of May (according to Wieseler's calculation, on the 17th day of May, see Chronologie, etc., p. 118), hence a little earlier in the year than it ended. The departure from Philippi (20:6) occurred about forty days earlier, namely, in the early part of April. Since Paul had been three months in Greece, he must have arrived there about the first of January in this same year 58. From Acts 20: 1-3 we learn that this arrival in Corinth was preceded by a journey from Ephesus by way of Macedonia. This is undoubtedly the same journey that is referred to in 2 Cor. 7:5, where it seems
not been circumcised. Acts 15 : 1 shows that a few years later, at any rate, the Antioch church contained uncircumcised Gentiles among its members. But see a different view of the meaning of 'Elinviotas in Hort, Judaistic Christianity, p. 59 f.