Early Church Chronology

I’m working on the Chronology cards for my Early Church History class; I probably need about 56 or 64 (the Avery 5390 cards we’re using come in an 8-up format). Right now I have the following dates:

Fall of Jerusalem 70
†Clement of Rome 100
†Ignatius 107
Pliny-Trajan correspondence 111
Bar Kochba Revolt 135
†Polycarp 155
Montanus begins preaching New Prophecy 156
Justin’s Martyrdom 165
† Irenaeus 200
Septimius Severus’ Persecution 209-211
†Clement of Alex 215
†Tertullian 220
†Hippolytus 235
Decian Persecution 249-251
†Origen 253
† Cyprian 258
Diocletian’s Persecution 303-312
Edict of Milan 311
Council of Arles rules against Donatists, 314
Council of Nicaea 325
† Arius 336
† Anthony 356
Apollinaris elected Bp of Laodicea 361
†Athanasius 373
†Basil 379
†Macrina 380
Council of Constantinople 381
†Gregory of Nazianzus 389
†Gregory of Nyssa 395
†Ambrose 397
†John Chrysostom 407
Fall of Rome 410
†Jerome 420
Nestorius begins preaching against the Theotokos 428
†Augustine 430
Council of Ephesus 431
†Cyril of Alexandria 444
Tome of Leo, 450-ish?
Council of Chalcedon 451
†Benedict of Nursia 543
Gregory sends Augustine to England 597

so I have room for a few more. We don’t have a plausible date for Egeria’s pilgrimage; what else shall I include? (The course now ends in 600, without consideration of the church in the British Isles.)

7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Perpetua and Felicitas’ Martyrdom 203,
    Marcion in Rome 140s,
    Tatian’s four-gospel harmony, the Diastessraon 150s(?),
    Muratorian Canon (though the inconclusive date may be too tricky for this purpose), and/or
    Athanasius’s 39th Festal Letter, the earliest list of the 27 canonical NT books 367?

  2. – The Council (for some values) of Jerusalem? (Actually, is it that you’re trying not to give any dates before 70 CE? Because unless you’re continuing from a NT class, I’d throw in the Neronian persecution and the approximate year that Jesus guy died.)
    – In comparative history, is the codification of the Mishnah (200) worth noting? How about Plotinus?
    – Also, is it practical to put Pachomius somewhere on that list? John Cassian? Evagrius Ponticus, and possibly a couple of the Origenist controversies?
    – In further controversial news, what about Basilides, Valentinus, or anything to orient the students to the rise of Christian Gnosticism? Jacob Baradeus and the Syrian Church? The birth of the Filioque clause in 589? (OK, you could leave that one to whomever’s doing medieval. Also, in Immediately Relevant To Medievals news, Sulpicius’ Life of Martin of Tours.)
    – Finally, can anyone be ruling against Donatists in *3*14, or am I completely confused?

  3. Thanks, loads of helpful suggestions.

    Eric, I was supposing that the particular case of Perpetua and Felicitas was subsumed under the general heading of the persecutions under Severus — but it will be good to make their names explicit, and the game can handle coincident events. I hadn’t mentioned the Diatessaron in this class before, but the Festal Letter will fit in well.

    Naomi (great to see you again!), I had always begun with the [First] Judean War, so the Council of Jerusalem wouldn’t fit in (nor Nero’s persecution, though I do mention that in class). I’m not sure I can squeeze the Mishnah or Plotinus into their already-groan-inducing syllabus. Pachomius will have a place; I put some emphasis on monastic origins, so the class will recognize Pachomius.

    Filioque! Now, that would be an important date, too.

    And 314 is when Constantine’s court ruled against Donatus, though the controversy obviously lingered well into the fifth century. The precipitating problem in the Donatist controversy involved the restitution of (alleged) traditors from the Great Persecution.

  4. [Heck, *I’d* like to see some dates for early monastics, especially the women, but many of them hover on the verge of legend, which makes for imprecise chronology. My timelines are always liberally studded with c. and fl. and “about.”]

    Thanks for the explanation — I always forget that the Donatist controversy actually begins with, um, Donatus. And Caecilian. It’s so much more interesting in the fifth and/or eleventh century! (This is why I’m not in Early Church, isn’t it?)

  5. Someone has mentioned Pachomius already…Well done. The fall of the Koinonia in Thebes would be good to mark in relation. It’s always interesting to talk about the government slaying heretics!

    I would include St Anthony and Mary of Egypt as well.

    Oh, and to put it out there, Palagius should be there in his more controversial role. I know he’s from The Isles, but he and Augustine do have it out over some relatively important stuff.

  6. I’d suggest Papias in the early second century, but it’s hard to assign to him a precise date.

    There’s also the second century apologists: Quadratus, Aristides. You’ve already got Justin.

    In the late second century, there’s also Theophilus of Antioch, who, IIRC, was the first to mention the trinity.

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