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liberty of the sons of God. The philosophical conception of creation which is in harmony with the revealed will of God looks to a restoration of that which was marred by sin, and its reunion with the Creator, whose life and energy constitute its existence. Then all things shall return and be subject to his law, and, by perfect oneness with him, God may again be all and in all.
THE NEW CHRONOLOGY OF PAUL'S LIFE.
BY PROFESSOR GEORGE H. GILBERT.
On the relative chronology of Paul's life we have a good many data in the book of Acts and in Paul's epistles. Certain periods are definitely marked off, as that from his conversion to his first and second visits in Jerusalem (Gal. i. 18; ii. 1); other periods are of unknown length, as the missionary tours from Antioch. A single period of indefinite duration of course renders it impossible to compute the exact length of his Christian career.
On the absolute chronology of Paul's life there is even greater uncertainty than on its relative chronology. We do not know the year of his birth, his conversion, his death, or indeed of any individual event in his life, with a single exception. The year which he spent in Antioch with Barnabas (Acts xi. 26) synchronizes wholly or in part with the year 44, for Luke indicates that Herod died in Cæsarea while Paul was in Antioch, and Herod's death fell in the year 44, not long after the Passover (Acts xii. 3).1 But this year in Antioch was preceded and followed by a period of uncertain length, for it was preceded by the work in Syria and Cilicia, and followed by the first missionary tour from Antioch.
Professor Ramsay attempts to derive a fixed point for the chronology of Paul's life from Acts xx. 6-11.2 His argument is as follows: Paul and his companions left Troas on Monday after a seven days' visit. Hence they arrived
1 Antiquities, xix. 2. 2 Expositor, 1896, p. 336.
in Troas on the preceding Tuesday. But they had been five days on the trip from Philippi to Troas, and therefore must have left Philippi on the preceding Friday. Now Luke says that they started from Philippi "after the days of unleavened bread." Ramsay assumes that they left on the very next day after the feast, and therefore that the Passover was slain on Thursday. This was true in the year 57, but not in any year immediately before or after that; and consequently Ramsay holds that this was the year of Paul's last journey to Jerusalem. From this he reckons forward and backward.
But it will be seen that this theory absolutely requires. us to suppose that Paul left Philippi on Friday. Luke, however, neither says this nor does his narrative necessarily imply it. He simply says that they sailed away from Philippi "after the days of unleavened bread"; and while his narrative speaks of hastening in order to be in Jerusalem at Pentecost (Acts xx. 16), this evidently means only that they were unwilling to make long stops on the way. They tarried a week in Troas, several days in Miletus, a week in Tyre, a day in Ptolemais, and an indefinite number of days in Cæsarea (Acts xx. 6, 17; xxi. 4, 7, 10). Therefore we must say that it is quite uncertain whether Paul left Philippi on the day immediately following the feast. We need a firmer basis than this if we are to arrive at satisfactory chronological results.
Many writers have thought that they had a safe point of departure for reckoning the chronology of Paul's life in the date of the removal of Felix and the appointment of Fes
Paul was arrested two years before the removal of Felix and was sent to Rome soon after the appointment of Festus (Acts xxiv. 27; xxv. 6; xxvii. 1). But here again it is difficult to establish a point of departure. Harnack, following Eusebius, puts the removal of Felix and the appointment of Festus in the second year of Nero, Oct. 55
Oct. 56.1 Holtzmann2 and McGiffert adopt the same year for the appointment of Festus, but do so on the basis of Tacitus and Josephus. The common view has been that Festus was not appointed until about 60.*
It is necessary, therefore, to consider the evidence for these two dates. Harnack accepts the testimony of Eusebius, who says that Festus succeeded Felix in the second year of Nero (Oct. 55-Oct. 56). Harnack admits that Eusebius is not always right in his chronological statements, but he thinks that it could not have been difficult, at the beginning of the third century, to learn, in Palestine, the exact time of the accession of Felix and Festus. He holds that the date of Eusebius is confirmed by Josephus and Tacitus, for Josephus says that Felix, when accused in Rome by certain of the principal Jews of Cæsarea, was defended and saved by his brother Pallas, who had great power at court,5 and Tacitus records that Pallas was removed from office in 55.6 Accordingly, unless Pallas was afterward restored, Felix must have been removed from office not later than 55. Finally, Harnack thinks that the chronology of Paul's life prior to his imprisonment under Felix is favorable to the date of Eusebius.
We will consider these points one by one, beginning with the last.
Harnack thinks that the recorded history of Paul before his arrest in Jerusalem can be compressed into the years before 53, but in order to do this he carries back the conversion of Paul to the year 30. Bousset points out that the existence of Christian churches as far as Damascus at 1 Die Chronologie der altchristlichen Litteratur, Erster Band, 1897, Pp. 233-239.
2 Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte, 1895, pp. 129–130.
3 A History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age, 1897, pp. 356–357.
4 Schürer, Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes, 1890, Erster Band, pp. 477-484.
5 Antiq. xx, 8, 9. 6 Annals, xiii. 14-15.
the time of Paul's conversion is a grave objection to this view. It is not probable that the year of the crucifixion saw the gospel so widely extended as this. Moreover, it appears impossible to bring within a single year the events of Acts i.-viii., especially the extension of the gospel among the priests (vi. 7), the events which led to the appointment of the deacons (vi. 1-6), and after these things the persecutions of Paul, which involved many trials by the sanhedrin (Acts xxvi. 10) and various journeys to points. at a distance from Jerusalem (xxvi. 11). All this history cannot reasonably be compressed into a single year, and thus one of the outposts of Harnack's position must be abandoned.
Again, Harnack, as also Holtzmann and McGiffert, lays much stress on the argument formed by coupling together a statement of Josephus and one of Tacitus. Josephus says that Felix when accused of misgovernment was saved through the intervention of Pallas, and Tacitus says that Pallas fell into disfavor with the emperor in 55. The inference is drawn that Felix must have been removed from office as early as 55. Schürer's supposition that Pallas must have been restored to favor is regarded by Harnack as precarious, and we will not build upon it. Still the inference which is drawn from the happy conjunction of Josephus and Tacitus is anything but necessary. Suppose that Pallas had been dismissed by Nero, in order to humble Agrippina, he was not thereby stripped of power and influence. Tacitus says he had amassed a fortune of some fifteen millions of dollars, and that he had received extravagant honors from the senate for his service in proposing a law to prevent the intermarriage of free women with slaves. Now this man, though no longer in Nero's employ, was doubtless one of the most powerful men in
Theol. Rundschau, Erstes Heft, 1897. 2 Annals, xii. 53.