SSP: On Patrician Chronology

This post is part of an ongoing series on the Scriptures of Saint Patrick of Ireland.

saint-patrick-2Apart from the general statements about Patrick noted in my previous post, although much has been written concerning the saint’s life, little has been satisfactorily concluded. This is especially true on the two issues which Charles Thomas terms “The Patrick Problem”: chronology and geography.[1] On the question of chronology, T.M. Charles-Edwards writes, “Not a single date can be given to any event of Patrick’s life. Even relative dates are difficult to find.”[2] For historians, of course, such ambiguity cannot stand. Using a variety of reconstructive methods,[3] scholars have come to three basic positions concerning the dates for Patrick’s death: c. 491 CE, the “Duo-Patrician” Theory, and c. 461 CE. Continue reading

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New Testament/Early Christianity Timeline

One of my academic projects includes working toward a historical G.U.T. (Grand Unified Theory) of the early history of Christianity. This type of project is by no means a new endeavor, though this doesn’t stop me from pouring over timelines and historical reconstructions to appropriate information for my own work.

As a starting point for this work, I’ve crafted two timelines of early Christianity: one reflecting the Scholarly “Consensus” (recognizing the difficulty of using that term) and one reflecting an alternative chronology. Continue reading

Book Review: Evolution of the Word (Borg)

Evolution of the Word, BorgIn Evolution of the Word: The New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written (HarperOne, New York, 2012), scholar Marcus J. Borg presents the books of the New Testament in chronological order. In an attempt to demonstrate the development of the early Christian concept of Word, both the Word of God (Jesus Christ) and the Words of God (the writings of the New Testament), Borg re-orders the writings of the New Testament into the order he believes they were originally written. Beginning with thirty pages of introductory material on the chronology of the New Testament, the context of the early followers of Jesus, and the historical and literary context of Paul, Borg sets the stage for the writings of the New Testament.  The New Testament then follows in this order: 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, 1 Corinthians, Philemon, Philippians, 2 Corinthians, Romans, Mark, James, Colossians, Matthew, Hebrews, John, Ephesians, Revelation, Jude, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Luke, Acts, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Peter, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and 2 Peter. The text of each book is that of the New Revised Standard Version (1989), with standard chapters, versification, section headings, and NRSV textual notes. Preceding each book are some brief remarks by Borg, including some explanation for his dating of each respective work. In this way, The Evolution of the Word looks somewhat like a NRSV New Testament, simply re-arranged according to Borg’s chronology. Continue reading