Thursday, October 11, 2018

Early Church Chronology

Following the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, in AD 33 (James Ussher), came Pentecost and the beginning of the first Christian church. During the next 40 years, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Christians and churches proclaiming it, spread from Jerusalem to Rome.
As Christians and churches spread, they had to wrestle with this problem: did Olympians (Gentiles) first need to become Jews in order to become Christians? Or, as assemblies, were churches decisively different from synagogues?
Hans Kung, in The Catholic Church: A Short History (New York: Modern Library, 2001; translated by John Bowden), published a chronology of these early years (page xi) with some indications of why Judaism and Christianity eventually separated:

     (Most of the dates in Chapters I and II are approximate.)
     30 Crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth
     35 Conversion of Paul
     43 Execution of James the son of Zebedee
     48 Apostolic council in Jerusalem
     48/49 Confrontation between Peter and Paul in Antioch
     49-50 Paul’s first missionary tour
     50 Paul’s 1 Thessalonians (the earliest writing of the New Testament)
     52 Paul’s 1 Corinthians
     60-64 Imprisonment of Paul and execution in Rome
     62 Execution of James the brother of the Lord, leader of the earliest Jerusalem community
     64-66 First persecutions of Christians, under the emperor Nero. Execution of Peter?
     66 Emigration of the Jewish Christians to Pella (Transjordan)
     70 Conquest of Jerusalem and destruction of the second temple