Chart showing the period of Early Christianity

All dates on this chart have been taken from Britannica CD, Version 99 © 1994-1999. Encyclopędia Britannica, Inc.

    Early Christianity

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    c. 4218 - 4293 AM [Chart]
    c. 6 BC - 70 AD [Chart]

    Life of Jesus
    Apostles' Travels
    Paul's Missionary Journeys

Biblical References:
    Matthew - Revelation

    This era contains the brief life of Jesus Christ on Earth, and the start of the movement that would later be called Christianity.

Owing to an error when setting up the modern calendar, Jesus was actually born somewhere around 6 BC or 4 BC - Herod the Great died in 4 BC and according to the biblical narrative, Herod was still alive when Jesus was born.

After Jesus' birth, his family travelled to Egypt to evade Herod the Great, who wanted to kill Jesus.  After Herod's death, the family returned to Israel.  However, they did not return to Bethlehem, but instead withdrew to the area of Galilee - for Joseph had been warned in a dream about Herod's son, Herod Archelaus (reigned 4 BC - 6 AD), who was Tetrarch of Judaea.  They settled in Nazareth (in Galilee) which was outside the jurisdiction of Archelaus - the Tetrarch of Galilee was Herod Antipas (another of Herod the Great's sons).

Pontius Pilate was the Roman prefect / governor of Judaea (26 - 36 AD) during the time of Jesus' active ministry - which lasted for three and half years until his death in approximately 31 AD.  He presided over the crucifixion of Jesus.

Herod Agrippa was the son of Antipater, and the grandson of Herod the Great.  Antipater was executed by Herod the Great.  At this time, Agrippa was sent to Rome to be educated and to guarantee his safety.  Here he became friends with Tiberius' son, Drusus.  After Drusus' death in AD 23, Agrippa went through a rough patch, finally ending up in prison for insulting Tiberius. However, Tiberius soon died, and Caligula (the new Emperor), who was a friend of Agrippa, made him king over the former realm of his uncle Philip.  Also in 37 AD, Herod Antipas, who was the Tetrarch of Galilee and ruled at the time when Jesus was crucified, was banished to Gaul on trumped up charges which were only partially true.  Herod Agrippa then acquired his territory as well.

After Jesus' death, antagonism between the new followers of Jesus and traditional Jews began to rise.  This culminated in the stoning of Stephen some 3 years or so after Jesus' death in approximately 34 AD.  (see Acts 6 and 7 for an account of his death.)  Paul (then known as Saul) was present at this stoning - as one of the devout Jews (see Acts 7:58).  Paul was zealous in finding the followers of Jesus and in persecuting them.  Later, Paul experienced a dramatic event on the road to Damascus that changed his life completely and he became a follower Jesus.  (see Acts 9 for an account of this experience)