Chronology Part VI
Chronology Part VI

From the Jewish/Roman War (67-70 AD)
to Printing/Translation of the Greek New Testament (NT)



1) Jewish revolt against Rome intensifies

2) Paul and Peter seal the three Gospels, Acts, Pauline corpus and Petrine Epistles; systematic distribution to churches from Ephesus begins

3) Docetic heresy (denial of Christ’s humanity) begins in Asian churches (64-67 AD), I, II and III John address this heresy

4) Faithful Jewish Christians, including John, flee to Pella and then to Asia Minor

5) Roman Emperor Nero dies (68 AD); Galba becomes emperor (68-69 AD)1

6) Otho, Vitelius rule empire (69 AD)

7) Vespasian rules empire (69-79 AD)

8) Roman army conquers Jerusalem, Titus destroys city and temple AB 9-10 (September 3-4, 70 AD)

9) Jewish Christians that survive destruction of Jerusalem apostatize and become Ebionites (belief that Christ is simply a prophet), move to Syria and produce corrupt Aramaic version of Matthew’s Gospel

10) Titus, Vespasian’s son, rules empire (79-81 AD)


1) Domitian, Titus’ brother, rules empire (81-96 AD)

2) Loss of temple reading of Hebrew Old Testa- ment causes rabbis to question established canon (Ecclesiastes, Esther, Song of Solomon): hold rabbinic discussions 90 and 118 AD

3) Domitian begins short, violent persecution of Christians between 94-96 AD

4) John exiled to Patmos (95-96) AD; writes Revelation

5) Nerva rules empire (96-98 AD); John released from Patmos as part of reparation program

6) John and team of editors at Ephesus: edit, seal and distribute his Gospel, remaining General Epistles and Revelation, (96-99 AD)

7) Trajan rules empire (98-117 AD); relative peace for Christians, persecution begins (111 AD2)

8) John dies (ca. 98-100 AD)


1) Hadrian rules empire (117-138 AD), perse- cuted Christians

2) Antoninus Pius rules empire (138-161 AD), persecuted Christians

3) Syriac Peshitta NT translated from apos- tolic Greek NT (ca. 100-150 AD)

4) Martyrdom of Ignatius, bishop of Antioch (ca. 115 AD)

5) Papyrus 52 (portion of John 18) copied by Gnostics in Egypt (ca. 125-150 AD)

6) Gnostic heretic Marcion in Rome (ca. 140 AD): creates abbreviated canon of corrupted Gospel of Luke and selected Pauline Epistles

7) Polycarp travels to Rome over issue of Passover (ca. 155 AD): Polycarp and Anicetus disagree and depart in peace; martyrdom soon after

8) Old Latin (Itala) NT translated from apostolic Greek NT (ca. 157 AD)

9) Western text written in Rome between (100- 160? AD)

10) Tatian creates Diatessaron (ca. 160 AD), a collection of writings about the life of Jesus adapted from Gospels

11) Marcus Aurelius rules empire (161-180 AD), persecuted Christians

12) Montanus begins to offer false prophecy using book of Revelation (ca. 172 AD); Eastern churches reject Revelation for nearly 300 years

13) Celsus writes True Discourse (ca. 178 AD), a literary attack on Bible

14) Commodus rules empire (180-192 AD

15) Catechetical School of Alexandria begins (ca. 180 AD): first trace of Christianity in Egypt

16) Alexandrian text takes shape between (180-200? AD)

17) Gnostic Theodotus produces corrupted recension of NT (ca. 190 AD)

18) Demetrius reorganizes Egyptian “churches” infiltrated by Gnosticism (ca. 190-200 AD)

19) Polycrates writes letter to Victor over Passover controversy (190 AD): Victor excommunicates Polycrates and Asiatic churches

20) Muratorian Fragment (ca. 190 AD) offers first suggested reading list

21) Civil War ensues in empire (ca. 192-193 AD); all emperors from (192-284 AD) appointed by army

22) Between (192-284 AD) Christianity spreads practically unhindered due to imperial focus upon wars with barbarians3

23) Septimius Severus rules empire (193-211 AD), persecuted Christians

24) Coptic NT versions begin: many versions fol- low in specific dialects


1) Origen heads Catechetical School in Alexan- dria (ca. 203 AD)

2) Caracalla/Elagabalus rule empire (218-222 AD), tolerated Christians

3) Alexander Severus rules empire (222-235 AD), favored Christians

4) Origen deposed by Demetrius; Origen moves to Caesarea to build theological library (231 AD); produces Hexapla (231-240 AD)

5) Maximin rules empire (235-238 AD), persecuted Christians

6) Phillips rules empire (244-249 AD), favored Christians

7) Decius rules empire (249-251 AD), persecuted Christians

8) Valerian rules empire (253-260 AD), persecuted Christians

9) Galienus rules empire (260-268 AD), favored Christians

10) Aurelian rules empire (270-275 AD), persecuted Christians

11) Diocletian rules empire (284-305 AD)

12) Edict in 303 AD outlaws Christianity: last and most severe persecution of Christians, churches and NT manuscripts burned (303-313 AD)

13) Old Syriac NT translation from unknown Greek Text during this century


1) Constantine rules empire (306-337 AD): Oct. 27, 312 AD sees vision of flaming cross, defeats opponents; becomes sole emperor in West; pseudo-conversion to Christianity;

2) Edict of Milan (Toleration) in (313 AD); grants Christians freedom of religion, churches built, tax exemption for ministers

3) Constantine orders 50 vellum copies of Bible prepared by Eusebius (possibly Sinaiticus and Vaticanus part of number)

4) First Copying Revolution: model papyrus manuscripts copied to vellum, older papyrus manuscripts destroyed

5) Constantine issues edict forbidding work on Sunday (321 AD)

6) Constantine defeats Licinius (323 AD), becomes sole emperor of entire Roman Empire

7) Constantine establishes Hellenized Christian- ity as official state religion (324 AD)

8) Constantine convenes Council of Nicea (325 AD): condemns Arianism, Passover observance becomes a crime

9) Koiné Greek transformed into Byzantine Greek for copying of NT manuscripts (330-1453 AD),4 early lectionary system instituted5

10) Constantine chooses Byzantium as capital and changes name to Constantinople (327 AD)

11) Constantius rules empire (351-361 AD), allows Arianism to flourish6

12) Julian rules empire, seeks to restore paganism (361-363 AD)

13) Council of Laodicea (365 AD): forbids keeping of Sabbath; publishes list of authoritative books for public reading in Asian churches: all books listed, except Revelation (cf. canons #59 and #60)

14) Jovian rules empire (363-364 AD), reestab- lishes rights for Hellenized Christianity

15) Gratian rules empire (364-378 AD), begins dismantling of Imperial system of worship

16) Theodosius rules empire (378-395 AD)

17) Council of Constantinople (381 AD) officially formulates doctrine of trinity, more specifically the personhood of the Holy Spirit 7

18) Jerome revises Old Latin Gospels (383 AD); rest of NT completed by unknown author or authors over centuries

19) Council of Carthage (397 AD), canon #24 establishes authoritative list for public reading in North African churches: all NT books listed; OT Apocrypha (Wisdom of Solomon, Tobias, Judith, I and II Maccabees) allowed

20) Jerome translates Latin OT from Hebrew (ca. 390-405 AD)

21) Chrysostom encounters remnant of apostolic Christianity in Antioch (387 AD)

22) Theodosius outlaws paganism, membership in Imperial church compulsory, heathen join churches (394 AD)

23) Roman Empire divides (395 AD)

24) NT translations made in this century: Gothic, Ethiopic, Armenian (from Old Syriac), Georgian (from Armenian version)


1) Ancient forms of Gnosticism disappear during this century; appear in various forms in remaining centuries to present

2) Council of Ephesus (431 AD): Nestorianism (denial Jesus was God and man in one person) condemned

3) Armenian version revised according to Byzantine Text (ca. 431 AD)

4) Mocha of Tiberias adds accent marks8 and vowel points to Hebrew text (ca. 570 AD)8

5) Western Empire falls at hands of barbarians (476 AD); Dark Ages begins (476-1300s AD)

6) Greek Orthodox church and all Christendom in spiritual decline and unbelief (ca. 500-1500s AD), but Byzantine Text copied through Byz- antine Empire by monks and other scribes

7) Second Copying Revolution: model uncial manuscripts copied into cursive script, creating minuscules; cursive script possibly instituted by Theodore of Studium (ca. 800-813 AD)


1) Tiberian scholar Aaron ben Moses ben Asher seals first complete codex of Hebrew Bible with one Masoretic accentuation and punctua- tion system and marginal notes (ca. 930 AD)

2) Wycliffe English Bible translated from Latin Vulgate (1384 AD)

3) Eastern Empire falls to Ottoman Empire (1453 AD), Greek scholars flee to Western Europe with Greek manuscripts of NT

4) Johannes Gutenberg invents first movable printing press in 1450 AD; first Bible printed in Latin (Mazarin) in 1456 AD

5) Universities across Europe begin instruction in Greek

6) Complete Hebrew Bible first printed in Soncino in 1488 AD; 2nd in Naples in 1491; 3rd in Brescia in 1495

7) Desiderius Erasmus (1469-1536 AD) and Johann Froben publish first edition of Greek/Latin NT, 1516 AD; 2nd ed., 1519; 3rd, 1522; 4th, 1527; 5th, 15359

8) European Reformation begins with Luther’s posting of 95 theses on church door in Wittenberg on Oct. 31, 1517 AD

9) Cardinal Ximenes and Stuncia begin Complutensian Polyglot in 1502 AD with Vulgate, Greek NT and Hebrew OT, published in 1522 AD after Ximenes’ death

10) Tyndale (1494?-1536 AD) translates, prints first English version of NT (1525 AD) from Erasmus’ 1st edition; revised edition in 1534 AD from Erasmus’ 2nd edition

11) Coverdale English Bible (1535 AD)

12) Thomas Matthew English Bible by Tyndale’s protégé John Rogers (1537 AD)

13) Great English Bible (1539 AD)

14) Robert Stephen (Estienne) prints 1550 Greek Text of New Testament, becomes standard text for research and translation in England

15) Geneva English Bible (1560 AD)

16) Bishop’s English Bible (1568 AD)

17) Rheims Catholic English Version of NT (1582 AD)

18) Authorized or King James Version (1611 AD)

End Notes:

1) Dating for emperors from Halley’s Bible Handbook

2) Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 217

3) Ibid., p. 219

4) Wallace, Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics, p. 16

5) Cross, Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 808

6) Bromiley, p. 220

7) Erickson, God in Three Persons, pp. 87-93

8) Ginsburg, The Massoreth Ha-Massoreth of Elias Levita, p. 62

9) Hills, The King James Version Defended, p. 198

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