How Much Did Early Christians Refer to the New Testament Grid - December 2016 version

   People have made lots of money selling books claiming early Christianity believed in a different Bible from today. A number of people have made outrageous claims, apparently assuming that nobody really knows what early Christians believed anyway. How could you tell what books early Christians recognized as scripture, without actually asking them? You could know by observing what scriptural books they referred to when they wrote their religious letters, commentaries, and treatises. This will undercount, because they might consider some books scripture that they never happened to mention. (For example, if somebody tape-recorded most of your religious conversations, how often have you mentioned the book of Philemon?) Nevertheless, this method shows at a minimum some of what they accepted as scripture. Note that books with few pages (in English) generally refer to only a few New

Testament books, as one would expect. Early Christians referred to by name and quoted from every books of the New Testament, and they never referred to any other books as possibly being in the New Testament canon, with only a few exceptions, one of which, Tatian's Diatessaron, was a harmony of the four gospels together in Syriac used until the 5th century. There were many other books out there, of Greek philosophy, paganism, and Gnostic works, but these were considered "poisons" or at the least "foreign food" to avoid.

 Legend of the row colors

red =persecution of Christians

green =heresy

orange =schism (church split)

blue =Bible manuscript

 

W = Books and quotes mentioned by name or by writer     4G = Mention of 4 gospels           I = Implied. ex: "14 letters of Paul"   J = Quoted as words of God/Jesus/Savior/Lord  m = debated    X = rejected

S = Referred to as scripture, gospel, or by apostle(s)        E =not scripture but good to read Q = Quote of 1 or more verses       1/2  = quote of 1/2 verse                                       A = Allusion       - = no reference

Writer or Event

Pages

Date A.D.

NT

Gospels

Mt

Mk

Lk

Jn

Ac

Rm

1C

2C

Ga

Ep

Pp

Cl

1Th

2Th

1T

2T

Tt

Pm

He

Jm

1P

2P

1J

2J

3J

Jde

Rev

Positive reference to other book after Christ that could be scripture

Writer

Nero and Domitian persecute Christians

 

50 and 95/96

Est. 500K Christians. Christians were labeled atheists and killed for refusing to worship the emperor and pagan idols.

 

Nero and Domitian persecute Christians

Clement of Rome (wrote 1 Clement)

16 ¼

96-98

-

-

J

J

1/2

-

¼

Q

W

-

-

-

-

A

A

-

-

-

1/2

-

Q

Q

Q

A

-

-

-

-

Q

-

Clement of Rome (wrote 1 Clement)

Papias of Hierapolis, disciple of John

2

95-110

-

-

W

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

A

-

A

-

-

-

?

-

Papias of Hierapolis, disciple of John

"Presbyters" (Papias?)

1/2

95-117

-

-

-

-

-

J

-

-

S

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

"Presbyters" (Papias?)

Ignatius disciple of John (shortest version)

13

c.100-117

-

-

Q

-

-

A

-

-

¼

A

-

W

-

-

Q

-

¼

-

A

-

-

-

A

-

1/2

-

-

-

-

-

Ignatius disciple of John (shortest version)

Trajan persecutes Christians

 

107

Answered Pliny the Younger's letter. Christians are not to be sought after, but only killed if found.

 

Trajan persecutes Christians

Didache (=Teaching of the Twelve Apostles)

4 ¾

before 125

-

-

Q

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

¼

-

-

-

-

-

A

-

Didache (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles)

Apology of Aristides (Greek version)

4

125 or138-161

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Apology of Aristides (Greek version)

Quadratus of Athens fragment (apologist)

1/8

126

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Quadratus of Athens fragment

Letter to Diognetus (=Mathetes to Diognetus)

5 ¼

130-150

-

W

A

-

-

A

-

-

-

¾

A

-

A

-

-

-

A

-

-

-

-

-

A

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Letter to Diognetus (=Mathetes to Diognetus)

Hadrian persecutes Christians

 

118 & 134

Hadrian loved Greek culture, & he persecuted both Jews & Christians. The Jewish Bar Cochba revolt happened under him.

 

Hadrian persecutes Christians

Bar Cochba persecutes Christians

 

135

Christians persecuted in Israel because Christians would not join Bar Cochba's revolt.

 

Bar Cochba persecutes Christians in Israel

p52 (=John Rylands) John 18:31-33; 18:37-38

117-138

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

p46 70% of Paul+Heb in 1 manuscript

Epistle of Barnabas

12 1/2

100-150

-

-

Q

1/2

Q

A

A

-

-

A

-

-

-

A

-

-

A

-

-

-

Q

A

-

A

-

-

-

-

-

-

Epistle of Barnabas

p104, p87 Mt, Philemon (5 1/2, 4 verses)

100-150

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

p104, p87 Mt, Philemon (5, 4 verses)

p46 (=Chester Beatty II) 1,680 verses 70% Paul+Heb

100-150

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

p46 70% of Paul+Heb in 1 manuscript

p98 Rev 1:13-2:1 (9 verses)

150?

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

p98 Rev 1:13-2:1 (9 verses)

2 Clement (anonymous writer)

5 ¾

c.150

-

-

Q

-

Q

-

-

-

Q

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

A

Q

A

-

-

-

-

-

1 Clement, Gospel of the Egyptians

2 Clement (anonymous writer)

Polycarp disciple of John, to the Philippians

3 1/2

100-155

-

-

Q

1/2

Q

-

Q

Q

Q

A

¼

Q

W

-

Q

1/2

Q

Q

-

-

-

-

Q

-

1/2

-

-

-

-

-

Polycarp to the Philippians

Apostolic fathers totals: all symbols except P's

67.5

-155

0

1

8

4

5

4

3

3

5

4

3

2

2

2

3

1

4

1

2

0

2

3

6

3

3

0

0

0

2

1

Apostolic fathers totals: all symbols except P's

Shepherd of Hermas

46 1/2

c.160

-

-

¼

-

Q

-

1/2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1/2

1/2

1/2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Shepherd of Hermas

Justin Martyr, philosopher and apologist

137

c.138-165

W

W

J

J

J

J

A

-

-

-

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

Acts of Pontius Pilate

Justin Martyr, philosopher & apologist

Evarestus' Martyrdom of Polycarp

5

c.169

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Evarestus' Martyrdom of Polycarp

Marcion of Pontus, pupil of Cerdo, & his pupil Apelles

before 170-

Gnostics all believed the Creator was evil/foolish. Rejecting the Old Testament, they mixed Greek paganism and Christianity.

Many

Marcion of Pontus, pupil of Cerdo, & his pupil Apelles

Menander then Satorninos/Saturnilus (ascetic gnostics)

c.150-4th cen.

Cerdo & Menander from Simon in Acts. Encratite gnostics came from Saturnilus.

 

 

Dionysius of Corinth (wrote against Marcion)

1/3

170

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Dionysius of Corinth

Tatian's Diatessaron (The Four)

died 172

-

-

W

W

W

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Tatian's Diatessaron (The Four)

Tatian, pupil of Justin, Encratite Gnostic later

18+86

died 172

-

-

Q

Q

Q

Q

-

A

A

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

¼

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Tatian, pupil of Justin, Encratite Gnostic later

Basilides, changed from Menander 's teaching

2.5

132-135-4th

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

-

-

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basilides, changed from Menander 's teaching

Sethians/Borborites (libertine gnostics)

20

?-4th century

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

-

-

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sethians/Borborites (libertine gnostics)

Hermetic Gnostics (no mention of Christ)

4

?-4th century

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

-

-

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hermetic Gnostics (no mention of Christ)

Valentinians including Heracleon & Ptolemy

23+12

c.150-4th cen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

-

-

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentinians including Heracleon & Ptolemy

Other gnostics: Cainites, Carpocrates, Peretae, Cerinthus, Colorbasus, Dositheus, Monoimus, Hermogenes, Marcillinians, Marcus, Ophites, Secundus/Epiphanes

37

c.150-4th century

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

-

-

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other gnostics: Cainites, Carpocrates, Peretae, Cerinthus, Colorbasus, Dositheus, Monoimus, Hermogenes, Marcillinians, Marcus, Ophites, Secundus/Epiphanes

p66 (=Bodmer II) 92% of John (817 verses)

c.125-175

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

p66(=Bodmer II) p14/15, 92% of John

p4, p64, p67 Lk 1:58-59,etc. Mt 26:7-8,etc. (95 verses)

c.150-175

-

-

W

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

p4, p64, p67 Lk 1:58-59,etc. Mt 26:7-8,etc.

p90 Jn 18:36-19:7 (11 verses)

c.175

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

p90 Jn 18:36-19:7 (11 verses)

Athenagoras (apologist)

33 1/2

177

-

-

Q

-

Q

-

-

-

S

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Athenagoras

Christians of Vienna and Lugdunum (Lyons)

6 1/2

177

-

-

-

-

Q

J

1/2

¾

-

A

-

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Q

-

Christians of Vienna and Lugdunum (Lyons)

Persecution of Marcus Aurelius

 

162/166-180

Aurelius was a Stoic philosopher. Persecution, mainly in Gaul, ended with his death.

 

Persecution of Marcus Aurelius

Claudius Apollinaris of Hierapolis (Quartod.)

1/2

160-177/180

-

W

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Claudius Apollinaris of Hierapolis (Quartod.)

Melito/Meleto of Sardis (Quartodecimian)

11

170-177/180

I

-

A

S

S

-

-

-

S

-

-

-

-

-

S

-

-

-

-

-

¼

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Melito/Meleto of Sardis (Quartodecimian)

Hegesippus (chronicler)

2 1/2

170-180

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Hegesippus (chronicler)

Rhodon (against Marcion and Apelles)

1/2

180

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Rhodon (against Marcion and Apelles)

Theophilus of Antioch ( to Autolycus)

32

168-181/188

-

W

Q

-

Q

W

-

Q

Q

-

-

Q

-

-

-

-

Q

-

-

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Shepherd of Hermas

Theophilus of Antioch (to Autolycus)

Ebionites & Clementina (Law, Father, Son)

265 1/2+

-181-

-

-

Q

Q

Q

J

-

-

A

A

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Quote probably from an apocryphal gospel

Ebionites & Clementina (OT Law, Father, Son)

Ebionites Clementine Homilies (OT Law, Father, Son)

123 1/2

-181-

-

-

 

 

 

 

-

-

 

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Ebionites Clementine Homilies (OT Law, Father, Son)

Ebionite Letter of Peter to James

2

-181-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Peter's Preaching

Ebionite Letter of Peter to James

Ebionite Letter of Clement to James

4 1/2

-181-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Ebionite Letter of Clement to James

Ebionite Recognitions of Clement

134

-181-

-

-

 

 

 

 

-

-

 

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Ebionite Recognitions of Clement

Ebionite Protoevangelium of James

6

-225-

-

-

 

 

 

 

-

-

 

 

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Ebionite Protoevangelium of James

Early Christians writing about Ebionites

 

-182-325

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Early Christians writing about Ebionites

Irenaeus of Lyons, disciple of Polycarp

284 ¾

182-188

W

4G

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

-

W

Q

W

1/3 

S

W

-

A

W

Hermas. 1 Clement, X Gospel of Truth  X others

Irenaeus of Lyons, disciple of Polycarp

Gospel of Peter (Serapion finally against it)

2

180-190

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Gospel of Peter (Serapion finally against it)

Passion of the Scillitan Martyrs

¾

180-202

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

P

a

u

l

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Passion of the Scillitan Martyrs

Maximus of Jerusalem (origin of evil)

5

185-196

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Maximus of Jerusalem (origin of evil)

Polycrates of Ephesus (Quartodecimian)

1/2

196

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Polycrates of Ephesus (Quartodecimian)

Non-Nag Hamadi Apocalypse of Peter (Greek)

 

100-200

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Gospel of Peter (Serapion finally against it)

p32 (=P. Rylands 5) Titus 1:1-15; 2:3-8 (21 verses)

150-200

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

p32 (=P. Rylands 5) Titus 1:1-15; 2:3-8 (21 verses)

p77 Mt 23:30-39 (10 verses)

200

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

p77 Mt 23:30-39 (10 verses)

Caius and the Muratorian Canon

3

190-217

I

4G

I

I

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

W

-

-

-

-

W

W

-

W

W

Wisdom of Solomon, some accept Apocalypse of Peter

Caius and the Muratorian Canon

Sabellian heresy (Praxeas,Noetus,Callistus)

 

200-257-

Sabellians believed the Father, Son, & Spirit were one person. They were called Patripassians for "passion of the Father".

 

Sabellian heresy (Praxeas, Noetus, Callistus)

Persecution of Septimus Severus

 

202

Est 2M Christians. Although a Christian helped him in an illness, he did not repeal existing laws against Christians.

 

Persecution of Septimus Severus

Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas

7

c.201/205

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas

Romans kill first known martyrs in Britain

 

209

Alban, Julius, and Aaron were formerly thought killed in 304/5 A.D.

 

Romans kill first known martyrs in Britain

Serapion of Antioch (against Marcion)

1/3

200-210

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

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X Gospel of Peter

Serapion of Antioch (against Marcion)

Minucius Felix (The Octavius)

25

210

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Minucius Felix (The Octavius)

Apollonius of Ephesus (against Montanists)

1

c.210

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Apollonius of Ephesus (Against Montanists)

Clement of Alexandria

424

193-217/220

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¼  

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Preaching of Peter, Hermas, Gospel of the Egyptians, Gospel of the Hebrews, Tradition of Matthias, Greek philosophers

Clement of Alexandria

p75 Lk 3:18-22; etc. Jn 1:1-11:45,etc. (1,166 verses)

175-225

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p75 Lk 3:18-22; 3:33-4:2, etc. Jn 1:1-11:45,etc.

p45 Gospels + Acts in 1 ms. (833 verses)

200-225

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p45 Gospels+Acts in 1 manuscript

p30 1Th 4:12-13,16-17 etc. 2Th 1:1-2 etc. (25 verses)

ca.225

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Tertullian (joined the Montanist Church)

736

198-220

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Allude to Testament of 12 Patriarchs X Paul & Thecla

Tertullian (joined Montanist church)

Tertullian's Five Books Against Marcion

194

207/208

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patched together Gal 3:15 & 4:3. Allude to Test. of 12 Patriarchs

Tertullian's Five Books Against Marcion

Bardaisan/Bardesan of Syria (heretical)

11 1/2

-224/232

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Bardaisan/Bardesan of Syria (heretical)

Asterius Urbanus (against Montanists)

2 ¾

c.232

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Asterius Urbanus (against Montanists)

Elchasaite Ebionites (said Jesus God's Son)

2 ¼

before 236

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elchasaite Ebionites (said Jesus God's Son)

Justin's Book of Baruch -Moses, Heracles, Christ

2.5

188-236

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Justin's Book of Baruch -Moses,Heracles,Christ

Naaseni Gnostics & The Gospel of Thomas

3+6

188-236

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naaseni Gnostics & their Gospel of Thomas

Hippolytus, pupil of Irenaeus (undisputed)

218

222-235/6

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X Gospel of the Egyptians,

X Gospel of Thomas, X others

Hippolytus, pupil of Irenaeus (undisputed works)

Maximin Thrax persecutes Christians

 

235-238

First empire-wide persecution, but only of clergy. Persecution stopped when his soldiers assassinated him.

 

Maximin Thrax persecutes Christians

Narrative of Zosimus

4 1/2

before 240

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Narrative of Zosimus

Theodotus the probable Montanist

7 ¾

ca.240

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Peter's Preaching

Theodotus the probable Montanist

Instructions of Commodianus

16

c.240

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Instructions of Commodianus

Julius Africanus (undisputed writings)

9

232-245

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Julius Africanus (undisputed writings)

Heraclas of Alexandria 1st to be called a pope

 

232-249

Siricius c.384-399 was the 1st Roman bishop to be called a pope

Heraclas of Alexandria 1st to be called a pope

"Revised Valentinian" Tripartite Tractate

11

200-250

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Revised Valentinian" Tripartite Tractate

p13 Heb 2:14-5:5;10:8-22;10:29-11:13;etc. (114 verses)

 

225-250

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p13 Heb 2:14-5:5;10:8-22;10:29-11:13 ;etc. (114 verses)

p5 Jn 1:23-31,33-40; 16:14-30;20:11-17,19-20,22-25

 

early 3rd cent.

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p5 Jn 1:23-31,33-40; 16:14-30;20:11-17,19-20,22-25

p1 Mt 1:1-9,12,14-20 (17 verses)

 

250

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p1 Mt 1:1-9,12,14-20 (17 verses)

p29, p80, p95  Acts 26; Jn 3; Jn 5

 

250

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p29, p80, p95  Acts 26; Jn 3; Jn 5

Acts of Xanthippe, Polyxena, and Rebecca

12 1/2

mid 3rd cent?

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Acts of Xanthippe, Polyxena, and Rebecca

Alexander of Cappadocia (Clem. A'.s pupil)

¾

233-251

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Alexander of Cappadocia (Clem. A'.s pupil)

Origen (heterodox teacher)

742

225-253/254

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Hermas (disputed), Acts of Paul inferior to John's gospel, Test. Of 12 Patriarchs. Gospel Thomas (read elsewhere)

Origen (heterodox teacher)

Severe persecution by Decius and Gallus

 

250-251 - 253

First Christian schism. Were Christians who sacrificed but repented eventually allowed back, or doomed forever (Novatian)?

 

Severe persecution by Decius and Gallus

Novatian (his schism lasted over 200 years)

38 1/2

250/254-257

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Novatian (his schism lasted over 200 years)

Treatise Against Novatian

6 1/2

254-256

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1/2

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Treatise Against Novatian

Treatise on Rebaptism

11

c.250-258

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X book Preaching of Paul

Treatise on Rebaptism

Cyprian of Carthage (against Novatian)

250 ¾ 

c.246-258

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Cyprian of Carthage (against Novatian)

Roman church leaders (letters 2,29,30)

1+4 ¾

250-251

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Roman church leaders (letters 2,29,30)

Caldonius to Cyprian (letter 18)

¾

250-251

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Caldonius to Cyprian (letter 18)

Celerinus to Lucian (letter 20)

1 ¼

250-251

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Celerinus to Lucian (letter 20)

Lucian to Celerinus (letter 21)

¾

250-251

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Lucian to Celerinus (letter 21)

Moyses, et al. to Cyprian (letter 25)

2 1/2

250-251

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