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B. [See page 23.]


It is extremely difficult to fix with precision the detailed chronology of the apostolic age. It is necessary very carefully to guard against any 485 NOTES. 485 thing arbitrary, and to be satisfied, apart from some certain data, with approximate results. Wieseler, in his learned work on the "Chronology of the Acts,"648648"Chronologie des Apostolischen Zeitalters," von Karl Wieseler, 1848. has been, in our opinion, too much carried away by his desire to fix the date of all the principal events. He multiplies ingenious combinations, but he does not succeed in determining with certainty the order of time, because his calculations are too often based upon hypothesis. There are, however, certain fixed points to which we can hold fast, and which serve as pole-stars for the history of the primitive Church; these are its points of contact with general secular history. We thus obtain four precise dates: 1. That of the death of Herod Agrippa. Acts xii, 23. 2. The famine under Claudius. Acts xi, 28. 3. The expulsion of the Jews from Rome. Acts xviii, 2. 4. The entry of Festus upon his office.

Herod Agrippa died in the year 44, according to Josephus, ("Antiquities," books xix, ix, 2.) The same author places the great famine, which took place in the reign of Claudius, under the proconsulate of Caspius Fadus and of Tiberius Alexander. Josephus, "Antiquities," xx, v, 2. Now Caspius Fadus, having been sent into Judea after the death of Agrippa, the famine could not have commenced earlier than the end of the year 44. Indeed, it only reached Judæa some time after the death of the King, for at that time the Sidonians, under stress of the dearth, came to the Jews to be succored out of the abundance in their country. It was, then, only in the course of the year 45 that Judæa was reached by the scourge, and that Paul and Barnabas carried up to Jerusalem the offerings of the Church at Antioch.

The expulsion of the Jews from Rome Suetonius ("Claudius," 25) ascribes to Claudius. Tacitus, ("Annals," xii, 52,) who, under the name of "Mathematici," includes all the abettors of Eastern superstitions, places this expulsion in the year 52.649649"Wieseler," p. 125. It would be at this time that Priscilla and Aquila quitted Rome.

The date of the entry of Festus on his office is determined in the following manner. According to Josephus, ("Antiquities," viii, xxii,) Felix, deposed for his exactions, only escaped condemnation through the intercession of Pallas. If this be so, then Pallas himself could not yet have fallen into disfavor. Now his disgrace and death took place in the year 62. But a year does not suffice for all that was accomplished during the proconsulate of Festus. Festus's entry upon his office must then be carried back at least to the year 60.

The date of the death of Herod Agrippa gives us the date of the 486 death of James, and fixes it in the year 44. The date of the famine supplies that of the journey of Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, to bear thither the collection made at Antioch. Clearly, the conversion of the Apostle must be placed several years earlier; for, according to Galatians i, 16-24, Paul waited three years after his conversion before he went up to Jerusalem. After that, he stayed for a time at Cæsarea and at Tarsus, (Acts ix, 30,) and then at Antioch. Acts xi, 26. These various sojourns, of which we have no precise details, may have occupied several years. The conversion of St. Paul must then be placed between the years 38 and 40. The journey to Jerusalem, of which he speaks in the Epistle to the Galatians, (Gal. ii, 1,) and which he states to have been fourteen years after his conversion, cannot be relied upon as fixing the date of the latter, since the chronological indications given by the Apostle are very vague. Compare Gal. i, 21, with Gal. ii, 1. The expulsion of the Jews from Rome, coinciding with his meeting with Priscilla and Aquila at Corinth, enables us to fix his arrival in that city in the year 52, and his appearance before Festus between 58 and 60. Thus the first period of the apostolic age extends from the year 30 to 48 or 50. The conversion of Paul took place about the year 38, and the death of Stephen about 37. The first missionary journey of Paul commences after the year 45, probably in 46, and must have concluded about 50. About this time commences the second period. The sojourn of Paul at Corinth takes place in 52, and between 52 to 58 he makes his last great journey. We shall see presently that the second period of the apostolic age probably finishes with the life of the Apostle, about the year 56.

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