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historical timeline

of the African Provinces

400 - 499 C.E.
500 - 599 C.E.
600 - 699 C.E.
700 - 799 C.E.
800 - 899 C.E.
900 - 999 C.E.
c. 70
Libyan tradition teaches of Mark founding Christian community in Cyrenaica.
Gospels written; Mark first, written in Rome as a recollection of Peter’s eyewitness, viewed in Africa as setting forth the apostolic mission in Africa (Cyrenaica and Alexandria); Mark, a cousin of Barnabas (Col. 4:10) accompanies Barnabas to Antioch (Acts 12:25), and back to Cyprus (15:39), all cities accessible to seafaring Alexandrian Jewish merchants.
Apollos of Alexandria (perhaps a pupil of Philo’s) converts to a truncated form of Christianity, later accepting apostolic teaching, being “instructed in the word in his home country,” presupposes an early Jewish Christian community in Alexandria, before he comes to Ephesus (see Acts 18:24–28.)
c. 30-33
Simon of Cyrene in Libya, carries Jesus’ cross in Jerusalem; Pentecost “God-fearing Jews” from “Egypt and parts of Libya near Cyrene” observe Pentecost in Jerusalem, receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Death of Annianus, bishop of Alexandria, succeeded by Milius (Abilius.)
Imperial cult introduced.
c. 33-65
Period of earliest oral tradition of transmission of Christian teaching to Africa, before the earliest gospel (Mark) is written; eyewitnesses dispersing throughout Judea, Samaria, and Africa; conversion of Ethiopian eunuch, treasurer to Candace (legendary queen of Ethiopia) as he returns to Africa, as reported by Luke.
Massacre of Jews under Tiberius Julius Alexander in the Iudaea Province.
Increasing numbers of Jews arrive in Africa, especially in Alexandria, Cyrene, Berenice, Carthage, and Caesarea Mauretania.
Second Enoch and Testament of Abraham composed in Greek in the Jewish community of Alexandria.
c. 1-7
Birth of Jesus of Nazareth; the Matthew tradition immediately reports the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt
Emperor Trajan refortifies Old Cairo fort named Babylon, a site that is reported as existing as early as 24 B.C. by Strabo.
c. 46–74
Egyptian tradition of mission of Mark in Alexandria and martyrdom; though unproven should not be ruled out; Severus (Sawirus Ibn al-Muqaffa) places Mark in Alexandria fifteenth year after ascension
Pogrom (an organized massacre) of Greeks against Jews of Alexandria under Flaccus reverberates among Jews of Africa.
Domitian executes Christians for refusing to sacrifice before his image.
The siege and destruction of Jerusalem by Titus; collapse of Jewish self-government in Judea and destruction of the second Temple, suppression of traditional national institutions of High Priesthood and Sanhedrin, many Jews sold into slavery; scattering of Diaspora to Egypt and Africa.
Eusebius places Mark early in Alexandria in the “third year of Claudius.”
Martyrdom of Mark in Alexandria (May 8) dragged by a rope; martyrdom may be connected with Roman pogrom in Alexandria where 50,000 Jews killed; Eusebius places Annianus as successor to Mark in Alexandria.
Emperor Trajan refortifies Old Cairo fort named Babylon, a site that is reported as existing as early as 24 B.C. by Strabo.
Second century manuscript fragments preserved in Egypt: Egerton gospel (earliest); Sibylline Oracles from Antinoopolis; Gospel of Thomas from Oxyrhynchus, Shepherd of Hermas from the Fayyum.
Second century non-Gnostic Christian literature of Egyptian provenance Gospel of the Hebrews, Gospel of the Egyptians, Secret Gospel of Mark, Kerygma Petri, Apocalypse of Peter, Traditions of Matthias, Jannes and Jambres, Sentences of Sextus, Epistle of Barnabas, Second epistle of Clement, Writings of Athenagoras.
Second century non-Gnostic Christian literature of probable Egyptian provenance, and clearly circulated in Egypt, but debated as to origin: Gospel of Thomas, Sibylline Oracles, Protoevangelium of James, Acts of John, Acts of Andrew, Epistula Apostolurum; in addition some scholars argue an Egyptian provenance for the Epistle of Jude, Second Epistle of Peter, Testament of the Twelve patriarchs, Secret Book (Apocryphon) of James, and Gospel of Mary Magdalene.
Martyrdom of Simeon, son of Clopas, cousin of the Lord, may have had Jewish family links in Egypt.
Epistle of Barnabas addresses Alexandrian Jewish-Christian messianic community near time of Jewish revolt under Trajan, citing Abraham as "the father of the Gentiles." A later Ps.-Clementine homily (1.8-9) would also place Barnabas in Alexandria from where "Clement" followed him to Judea.
Jewish revolts in Cyrenaica and Alexandria harshly suppressed, almost wiping out huge numbers of Jews (a million of whom lived in Alexandria.)
c. 117-138
Valentinus preaching in upper and lower Egypt (Thebais, Arsinoitis, Alexandria); Valentinian renderings of the Gospel meld with Gnostic teachings; Gospel of Truth, Treatise on the Resurrection, Prayer of the Apostle Paul, Epistle to Rheginos On the Resurrection, Tripartite Treatise.
The Epistle of Diognetus is composed.
Bar Kochva revolt in Palestine has consequences for Jews in Africa.
Valentinian school produces Gospel of Philip, Interpretation of Knowledge, A Valentinian Exposition.
Appian, historian of Alexandria, flourishes.
c. 140
Aristo of Pella portrays dialogue between Papiscus, an Alexandrian Jew, and a Jewish Christian named Jason.
c. 150
Dialogue of the Savior (from Nag Hammadi); Gospel of the Ebionites known to Irenaeus (140-200).
c. 150
Marcion's truncated New Testament arrives in Egypt.
c. 150-216
Clement of Alexandria
Montanism from Phrygia reaches Africa by 180s.
c. 160
Birth of Tertullian (d. 225) a Carthaginian lay theologian.
Julius Africanus (of either Libya or Jerusalem) studies at Alexandria with Origen and Heraclas in Catechetical School; organizes library in Pantheon in Rome for Emperor Alexander Severus; wrote Chronicles, universal history based on scripture.
Death of Agrippinus, Bishop of Alexandria, succeeded by Julian (178-188).
c. 178
Celsus attacks Christianity, true Discourses, probably written in Alexandria.
Martyrs of Madaura in Numidia: Namphano, Miggin, Lucitas, Samae (all Berber names, native Africans), as recorded by Maximus of Madaura.
Martyrs of Scilli (Scillium may be near Carthage or in Numidia) first public record of Christian martyrdom in the Maghreb: Speratus, Narzales, Cythinus (Cittinus), Veturius, Felix, Acyllinus (Aquilinis), Laetantius, Januaria, Generosa, Vestina, Donata, and Secunda.
c. 180
Founding of catechetical school at Alexandria by Pantaenus, leading Christian teacher, missionary to "India" (Eusebius), teacher of Clement, a presbyter; (Note that Philip of Side places Athenagoras before Pantaenus in the school at Alexandria
Apocryphon of John is written (before 185.)
Testimony of Truth is written (probably Alexandrian.)
Minucius Felix, African lawyer in Rome, writes his dialogue Octavius.
Birth of Origen
Death of Julian, bishop of Alexandria
African Pope Victor, first bishop of Rome to come from Africa, likely from the Latin west.
c. 190
Bible translated into Latin first in Africa before Europe (likely used by Christian communities in Carthage.)
c. 190
Birth of Dionysius of Alexandria
Scriptoria exist in both Oxyrhynchus and Antinoopolis. Second century Alexandrian Gnostic writings: Eugnostos the Blessed, Sophia of Jesus Christ, Apocalypse of Paul, Perfect Mind, Second Treatise on the Great Seth.
Clement of Alexandria, a convert to Christanity, writes Address to the Greeks (Protreptikos).
Septimius Severus from Leptis Magna becomes the first emperor of Rome from Africa; reigns until 211; dynasty lasts until 235.
c. 193
Tertullian converts to Christianity; first African Christian to produce an extensive Latin literary corpus; Tertullian writes Apology (Apologeticum.)
Clement of Alexandria flourishes, writes Christ the Educator, excerpts from Theodotus (a student of Valentinus), and Miscellanies.
African-born Pope Victor intervenes in the Quartodeciman controversy on date of Easter.
Tertullian writes To the Martyrs (Ad Martyras.)
Edict of Severus forbidding Jewish & Christian Proselytism.
c. 197
Growth of Sabellianism in Cyrenaica; monarchian controversies on relation of the Father and the Son.
Tertullian writes To the Heathens (Ad Nations); The Testimony of the Soul (De Testimonio Animae); On the Shows (De spectaculis), On the Prescription of Heretics (De praescriptione), Against Marcion (Adversus Marcionem.)
Martyrdom of Simeon, son of Clopas, cousin of the Lord, may have had Jewish family links in Egypt.
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