from jesus to christ - the first christians


44 BCEJulius Caesar deified by the Roman Senate
27 BCE -14 CEReign of Emperor Augustus. Augustus was the first Roman ruler to be worshiped as a son of a god (divi filius), and the day of his birth was considered the beginning of his glad tidings or "gospel" for the world.
4 BCEDeath of Herod the Great, ruler of Judea, Samaria, Galilee, and surrounding territories. King Herod had been the loyal client of the Roman emperor Augustus.
4 BCE Jesus of Nazareth is born.
6 CETerritories of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea come under direct imperial control as the Roman province of Judea.
14 CEAugustus deified by the Roman Senate.
26-30 CEMinistry of John the Baptist
30 CEDeath of Jesus
30 CE and laterJesus' early followers from Galilee settle in Jerusalem. They are known as "the Twelve."
35-36 CESaul of Tarsus, a Jew, comes to believe in Jesus as the Messiah and subsequently becomes the apostle Paul.
37-100 CELife of Josephus, the Jewish historian
48 CECouncil of Jerusalem, the leaders of the new Christian movement, discuss the terms of the recent mission to the Gentiles.
50 CEPaul leaves Antioch and begins Aegean Mission. His letters to these congregations are the earliest documents now contained in the New Testament.
50-52 CEPaul's first visit to Corinth; he writes his first letter to the Thessalonians.
52 CEPaul arrives in Ephesus; he writes a letter to the Galatians and his letter to the Corinthians.
54-55 CEPaul's imprisonment in Ephesus. He writes letters to the Philippians and to Philemon; he completes a second letter to the Corinthians.
55-56 CEPaul writes a letter to the Christians in Rome in preparation for his future visit there.
58-60 CEPaul's imprisonment in Rome
60-65 CEDeath of Paul
60-68 CEDeath of Peter

Death of James, brother of Jesus and head of the church in Jerusalem
64 CEGreat Fire in Rome; Nero blames and executes Christians
66-70 CEFirst Jewish Revolt against Rome. A feud between Jewish and Greek factions in the city of Ceasarea leads to fighting that quickly spreads throughout the region.
68 CERabbi Yohanan ben Zakki seeks and receives permission from the Roman general and future emperor Vespasian to establish a new religious school after the war in the Palestinian coastal city of Jamnia. This sets the stage for the emergence of modern Judaism.
68 CEThe emperor Nero's assassination launches a year of civil war in Rome.
69-79 CEReign of the emperor Vespasian.
70 CEFall of Jerusalem under military leadership of Vespasian's son, Titus.
70-100 CEGospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke (Luke-Acts) written.
77 CEJosephus publishes The War of the Jews
79-81 CEReign of the emperor Domitian (Vespasian's elder son and the general who burned the Temple and quelled the Jewish Revolt).
81-96 CEReign of the emperor Domitian (Vespasian's younger son and the object of the anti-Roman attack in the Book of Revelation).
85 CE"Curse against Heretics" (Birkath ha-minim) added to Jewish synagogue benedictions, with the intent of excluding Christians.
90-110 CEGospel of John written
90-150 CEGospel of Thomas and other gnostic manuscripts written
94 CEJosephus publishes The Antiquities of the Jews
96-98 CEReign of the emperor Nerva
98-117 CEReign of Emperor Trajan
100-165 CELife of Justin Martyr, early Christian apologist. Justin defends Christianity as a "philosophy" worthy of the respect of the educated and as the only legitimate heir to the Israelite scriptures.
107-117 CEIgnatius, bishop of Antioch, is martyred
112-113 CEPliny, the Roman governor of Pontus-Bithynia writes to the emperor Trajan seeking advice regarding the punishment of Christians. The emperor tells Pliny that persecuting people on unproven charges is "contrary to the spirit of our times."
117-138 CEReign of emperor Hadrian
132-135 CESecond Jewish Revolt against Rome (Bar Kochba Revolt). By this time Christians have separated from Judaism.
150-215 CELife of Clement of Alexandria, early Christian teacher and theologian. Clement's theology is known for its skillful blend of Christian proclamation with Greek philosophical precepts.
150-222 CELife of Tertullian, early Christian apologist. Prolific writer and sharp witted defender of the ermerging Christian orthodoxy, until he converted to Montanism late in his life.
155 CEMartyrdom of Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna and younger colleague and admirer of Ignatius of Antioch.
178 CECelsus writes True Reason, argument against Christianity
180 CEIrenaeus, bishop of Lyons, asserts that the proper number of gospels is four.
185-254 CELife of Origen. One of the great early Christian scholars and teachers, his writings had a profound effect on the development of Christian theology, particularly in the provinces of the Greek East.
203 CEMartyrdom of Perpetua in Carthage
249-251 CEFirst major persecution of Christians under emperor Decius
250 CEOrigen publishes Contra Celsum, in response to Celsus' True Reason.
257-260 CEPersecution resumes under emperor Valerian
260 CEPersecution ends when Gallienus becomes emperor
260-340 CELife of Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, chronicler of early church and court historian to Constantine
303 CEPersecution begins under Diocletian
312 CEBattle of Milvian Bridge; Constantine adopts Christ as his patron and defeats his rival Maxentius to become sole ruler of Italy, Africa, and the entire western half of the empire.
313 CEEdict of Milan. An agreement between Constantine, ruler of the West and Licinius, ruler of the East, that assured full restitution of all confiscated Christian property and full rights for Christian worship in both halves of the Roman empire.
324 CEConstantine defeats Licinius in a battle near Adrianople. He now becomes ruler of the entire Roman empire. He moves the eastern capital from Nicomedia to Byzantine, henceforth known as Constantinople.
325 CECouncil of Nicea attempts to resolve theological differences among church factions. It is agreed that Christ was both fully human and fully divine.
327 CEDeath of Constantine.

symposium . jesus' many faces . a portrait of jesus' world . storytellers . first christians . why did christianity succeed?
maps, archaeology & sources . discussion . bible history quiz . behind the scenes
teachers' guide . viewers' guide . press reaction .  tapes, transcripts & events

published april 1998

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