An alternate chronology for the life of Jesus Christ.

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Ben C. Smith
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An alternate chronology for the life of Jesus Christ.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:40 am

Pursuant to my thread on alternate times and places for the crucifixion, it has recently come to my attention that John Chapman wrote an article for the Journal of Theological Studies in 1907 entitled "On an Apostolic Tradition That Jesus Was Baptized in 46 and Crucified By Nero" (available online). In that article he lays out two medieval Latin texts, one having been published by Germain Morin in the previous year and the other numbering among the finds of Ludovico Muratori.

Chapman offers no translation, so I will offer one here. The Latin texts are pretty rough in spots and full of abbreviations and calendrical references, all of which my translation smooths out considerably. The translation will follow the Morin text, but will also include a paragraph present in Muratori but absent from Morin. I will also add some notes I made and used while translating.

Morin Text
Muratori Text
Hieronymus.
In commentariis Victorini inter
cetera haec etiam scripta reperi quod in
membranis Alexandri episcopi qui
fuit in ierusalem. quod transcripsit manu
propria de exemplaribus apostolorum
viii kl. ian. natus est dominus iesus χρσ
suplicio et cromatio consulibus.
Baptizatus viii id. ian. valerio
et asiatico consulibus. Passus vero
viii kl. apr. nerone tercio. et
valerio messula consulibus. Surexit
vi kl. apr. consulibus suprascriptis.







Supputatur quippe eodem die dominum
fuisse conceptum quo et resurrexit
feria vi. anunciatus. fer. i. natus
feria v. baptizatus. fer. vi. passus
A die nativitatis domini usque
ad passionem ipsius anni. xxxii.
menses. iii. dies .xi.
-
In commentariis uictorini inter
plurima hec etiam scripta reperimus
invenimus in membranis alexandi e̅p̅i̅ qui
fuit in hyerusale quod transcripsit manu
sua de exemplaribus apostolorum ita
viii kl i̅a̅n̅r̅ natus est d̅n̅s̅ nrt i̅h̅s̅ χ̅ρ̅σ̅
sulpitio et camerino consulis
et baptizatus est viii i̅d̅ i̅a̅n̅r̅ valeriano
et asiatico con̅s̅. passus est
x. kl a̅p̅l̅ nerone iii et
ualerio. mesala cons̅s̅ resurrexit.
viii kl' apl con̅s̅ss supra scriptis.
ascendit in celos v non̅ maias post
dies xl. con̅s̅s supra scriptis.
iohannis baptista nascitur viii kl. iul
et circumciditur kl. iul ad mariam uero
locutus est angelos viii k̅ apl̅ sexto
iam conceptionis mense~̣ elisabeth
habere dicens
ex quo supputatur eodem die dominum
fuisse conceptum quo et resurrexit.
Amen.


Translation

Jerome.
In the commentaries of Victorinus among
other things these are also written, which I found in
parchments of Alexander the bishop, who
was in Jerusalem, which he transcribed with his
own hand from exemplars of the apostles:
The Lord Jesus Christ was born on December 25
in the consulate of Sulpicius Camerinus [in 9 AD].
He was baptized on January 6 in the [second] consulate of
Valerius Asiaticus [in 46 AD]. Truly his passion was
on March 25 in the third consulate of Nero and
[the first of] Valerius Messala [in 58 AD]. He rose
on March 27 in the consulate of the abovewritten men.
[Muratori text only: He ascended into heaven on May 3, after
40 days, in the consulates of the abovewritten men.
John the Baptist was born on June 24
and circumcised on July 1. Truly the angel
spoke to Mary on March 25, when
Elizabeth was already in her sixth
month of conception.]
It is indeed reckoned that the Lord
was conceived and rose again on the same day [of the year].
His annunciation was on a Friday, he was born on a Sunday,
he was baptized on a Thursday, and he suffered on a Friday.
From the day of the birth of the Lord up until
his passion there were 32 years,
3 months, and 11 days.

Jerome. In the commentaries of Victorinus among other things these are also written, which I found in parchments of Alexander the bishop, who was in Jerusalem, which he transcribed with his own hand from exemplars of the apostles: The Lord Jesus Christ was born on December 25 in the consulate of Sulpicius Camerinus [in 9 AD]. He was baptized on January 6 in the [second] consulate of Valerius Asiaticus [in 46 AD]. Truly his passion was on March 25 in the third consulate of Nero and [the first of] Valerius Messala [in 58 AD]. He rose on March 27 in the consulate of the abovewritten men. [Muratori text only: He ascended into heaven on May 3, after 40 days, in the consulates of the abovewritten men. John the Baptist was born on June 24 and circumcised on July 1. Truly the angel spoke to Mary on March 25, when Elizabeth was already in her sixth month of conception.] It is indeed reckoned that the Lord was conceived and rose again on the same day [of the year]. His annunciation was on a Friday, he was born on a Sunday, he was baptized on a Thursday, and he suffered on a Friday. From the day of the birth of the Lord up until his passion there were 32 years, 3 months, and 11 days.

Notes

viii id. ian. = (ante diem) VIII Idus Ianuarii = January 6
viii kl. apr. = (ante diem) VIII Kalendae Aprilis = March 25
viii k̅ apl̅ = (ante diem) VIII Kalendae Aprilis = March 25
vi kl. apr. = (ante diem) VI Kalendae Aprilis = March 27
v non. maias = (ante diem) V Nonae Maias = May 3
viii kl. iul = (ante diem) V Kalendae Iulii = June 24
kl. iul = Kalendae Iulii = July 1
viii kl. ian. = (ante diem) VIII Kalendae Ianuarii = December 25

feria i = Sunday (also: Dominica)
feria ii = Monday
feria iii = Tuesday
feria iv = Wednesday
feria v = Thursday
feria vi = Friday
feria vii = Saturday (also: Sabbato)

Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus
Decimus Valerius Asiaticus
Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus
Nero
Victorinus of Pettau
Jerome

I find the Roman calendar quite challenging to work with, so any corrections from those who know the system better than I do would be most welcome.

So Jesus is said to have been born in 9 AD, baptized in 46 AD, and slain in 58 AD. Chapman mounts an argument for the origin of the strange dates as mistakes based on earlier information, but I have not fully digested his arguments yet.

Ben.
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Re: An alternate chronology for the life of Jesus Christ.

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:43 am

Some notes:

exemplaribus implies he had copied something out ascribed to the apostles. But is it likely the apostles kept track of the consuls?
the days of the calendar are quite ordinary (January 6, March 25, March 27, December 25) the difficulty is in the years
Jesus would be more than 30 when baptized so a problem with Luke

my sense is that this is developed from or paralleled by Irenaeus's statement about Jesus being 'almost fifty' when crucified (= 49 CE). That's the touchstone.

Irenaeus also speaks about a crucifixion under Claudius which is different here.

The ascription of December 25 as the birth of Jesus only appears as early as the beginning of the third century.

I think John the Baptist's birthday is close to what it is in the Church (in Quebec because of their big Catholic influence years ago) John the Baptist day is the big holiday and it is in late June.
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Re: An alternate chronology for the life of Jesus Christ.

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:48 am

This is a mathematical error - "From the day of the birth of the Lord up until his passion there were 32 years, 3 months, and 11 days." 58 - 9 = 39. The seven years I can account for. The Coptic Church calendar is also off by 7 years. Something to do with lunar/solar harmonization. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_calendar If we subtract seven years from the starting point we end up at 2 CE which is at least more in line with traditional assumptions. My guess is that it is an old chronology associated with Irenaeus. I have always wanted to know more about Alexander of Jerusalem. If he were one and the same with Alexander of Aphrodisias almost everything about the early Catholic tradition could be explained. His library inches ever slightly toward this direction. But alas the evidence is completely lacking.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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Re: An alternate chronology for the life of Jesus Christ.

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:54 am

If you adjusted the date of the baptism (along with the seven year calendar error) in line with Luke you have a crucifixion under Claudius:

9 AD, baptized in 46 AD, and slain in 58 AD

2 AD + 'almost 30' = 31 CE + 12 year ministry = 43 CE
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: An alternate chronology for the life of Jesus Christ.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:56 am

Secret Alias wrote:This is a mathematical error - "From the day of the birth of the Lord up until his passion there were 32 years, 3 months, and 11 days." 58 - 9 = 39.
Read the article for that error. Chapman has an interesting theory on that.
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Re: An alternate chronology for the life of Jesus Christ.

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:24 am

BTW Very cool. Not often I don't know anything about something.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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Re: An alternate chronology for the life of Jesus Christ.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:08 am

Secret Alias wrote:BTW Very cool. Not often I don't know anything about something.
Thanks. It was totally new to me, too.
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Re: An alternate chronology for the life of Jesus Christ.

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:32 am

I read the article once through. Will read it again when I am not supposed to be working. Couple of things.

Not happy with the author dismissing that the error must have been Tertullian's in Against the Jews not his source's. As we know large parts of Against the Jews and Against Marcion 3 go back to a common source. This section is not one of those parallels but that's significant. Tertullian did apparently 'edit' the original source in Against Marcion 3 so my hunch is that the error was found in Tertullian's original source.

Hippolytus is said to have been devoted to Irenaeus. Tertullian's source for the material common to Against the Jews and Against Marcion 3 - as with all or many of his texts - seems to have been handed down through Irenaeus. There are numerous of examples of direct and unattributed borrowing (Against the Valentinians, the Prescription, Books 4 and 5 of Against Marcion). I still think Irenaeus is the source, even down to the emphasis that the original source is apostolic. Sounds Irenaean.

I remember the weirdness of the Epiphanius's Alogoi reference. People underestimate the recycling process in the Church Fathers in the period 150 - 250 CE.

I am still mulling over whether the stupid chronology is ultimately Hegesippus's. Can't come up with anything but its been less than an hour. I will say that Simon Magus is said to have been in Rome during the Claudian era I am pretty sure. But there is this strange 'skipping' of the Claudian era in Hegesippus quite implicitly. There's Jesus's ministry, Jesus's death and resurrection and then 'wham' we're in Rome with Peter and Paul. I don't mean this even specifically with respect to Hegesippus but also the Martyrdom of Peter stuff.

It is worth noting that there is this twelve year 'correction' with the Hegesippus chronology we just looked at. In the original narrative known to Epiphanius Clement could be interpreted (perhaps was interpreted but Epiphanius is obscure here) to have been enthroned while Paul was alive. Tertullian (perhaps using Irenaeus or another early source) says he was established by Peter. But then in some subsequent period Clement is 'moved out' about 12 years. If you look at the Liberian chronology you see the double mention of Clement which I think is what Epiphanius was partly on about.

My guess is that the faulty chronology was Hegesippus's and that - perhaps - the moving forward of Clement had effects at the end of the chronology too. Hegesippus is making mention of Marcellina and then he uses the opportunity to give the church list for Rome and ends up back at Anicetus in the time of the original composition 147 CE. But maybe for some reason - and I can't think of what it specifically might have been - the addition of twelve years caused the whole chronology to 'wobble' - undoubtedly because events and things are being referenced in relation to the chronology perhaps at the end which cause the need to add twelve years more - and then we end up with the added statement that Hegesippus was really witness to Soter - not Anicetus - and that's reflected in the edition known to Irenaeus and Eusebius.

Need more time to think about it but I suspect the faulty chronology used by everyone was Hegesippus which is why the text hasn't survived - i.e. Irenaeus's arguments explicitly rest on the authority of the succession list.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: An alternate chronology for the life of Jesus Christ.

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:47 am

And maybe the first edition Antiquities with its Christian material was so over the top intensive with accurate history to make up for the shittiness of this first attempt
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: An alternate chronology for the life of Jesus Christ.

Post by andrewcriddle » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:51 pm

This other article by Chapman is related and intersting
Papias on the Age of our Lord

Andrew Criddle

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