St. Paul’s Final Hurrah

Enrique Simonet, Painter, Decapitation of St. Paul
Enrique Simonet (1866-1927). The Beheading of Saint Paul

Paul was executed in 51 AD under the rule of Nero according to the third-century Christian author, Ammonius of Alexandria, and two other writers.

A deeper look into this text and a translation.

Ammonius was trying to dispel a misunderstanding of the Herod dynasty about the timelines of Christ and Paul. Both are interesting but the history he ascribes to Paul is especially intriguing. By doing so, he gave the above information.

Few know about Ammonius, and less about his writings. Ammonius lived in Alexandria and was a noted Biblical scholar.1 Unfortunately, only remnants of his writings are available today.

An interesting person along with important historical texts. His persona beckons an English translation so that his contribution is more widely known. So, this is what the rest of this article intends to do.

The following translation has a little crossover of John Chrysostom and some influence by the eleventh century writer, Theophylacti of Bulgaria. It appears from a very informal look that most of this is penned by the hand of Ammonius.

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Bede on the Problem of 1 AD

“The Venerable Bede Translates John” by James Doyle Penrose (1862-1932)

The Venerable Bede on reconciling ancient calendars and how he thought our 2 B.C. should really be 1 A.D.

Bede convincingly argued that our present 1 A.D. was incorrect by three years. He uncovers the fuzzy Church logic between 550 and 650 A.D. that made this error and subsequently has caused calendar headaches ever since.

The Venerable Bede was an eighth century monk who made a decisive effort to collect all the calendar systems he knew about, whether historic or contemporary to his time, and reconcile them into one dating system. This endeavour sounds easy by today’s standards, but was a massive undertaking during his time.

If any discussion revolves around the development of the yearly calendar system, his writings should be consulted. This study focuses on his works as it relates to Christ’s birth but other pertinent dates fall in as well.

How did he arrive at this conclusion? He did it through comparing different calendar systems and then developing two new time systems – one of them closely parallels the A.D. system in use today.

De Temporibus Liber and De Temporum Ratione.

Bede greatly pondered about time systems and wrote two books on the subject: De Temporibus Liber which is known in English as the The Book of Times and De Temporum Ratione, On the Reckoning of Time.

De Temporibus Liber, the first publication completed in 703, acknowledged the traditional Anno Mundi medieval dating system. The Anno Mundi system was based on totalling the ages of all the patriarchs listed genealogically in the Greek Bible and that was how the age of the world was arrived at. He did attempt to correct the imperfections of this system, finding that the Septuagint (Greek Bible) dated the ages of the patriarchs considerably longer than the Hebrew version. Bede preferred the Hebrew dates over the Septuagint, though the Greek was the standard for measuring time. To argue or change such an equation would be controversial. In order not to be in dispute with Church authority, he entered a Hebrew date with the Greek as an alternative. For example:

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The Birth-Year of Christ according to the Regnal System

The problems and solutions using the Regnal Calendar system for calculating the birth year of Christ.

The following coverage shows that it is not a problem of the Christian religion to identify the year of Christ’s birth. Rather, it demonstrates that an internationally recognized calendar system was not available yet. Mankind was still figuring it out.

The Regnal system is one of the older calendar systems in the annals of human history. The origins are obscure but a natural fit.

It was widely used throughout the ancient Middle East and Mediterranean area and popularized by the Romans.

The problem with the Regnal system of calculating dates is political knowledge. If one does not know when the reign of a leader began or when he died, then this causes dating irregularities. We do not possess all the historical facts today to accurately date anything in history using this system. However, since the New Testament writers reference this system, it becomes an important factor in calculating the birth year of Christ.

Read moreThe Birth-Year of Christ according to the Regnal System