The First Centuries of Christianity

An (updated) overview of references to the names & life story of Jesus Christ, and the Gospels (and Paul).

The electronic text versions of the early writings of the Christians (180 files, now including apocrypha and fragments) were collected (over 20 megabytes of text) and a text searching program was used to exhaustively search the entire body of writings for certain key-words and phrases associated with Jesus and the Gospels (and allowing for varying words forms where possible). The results are here arranged in chronological order, of 64 documents or authors, to see who said what, and when, about the Gospels and the Life of Jesus and also Paul and his epistles (dates are from Fathers, Peter Kirby, Earl Doherty, Bernard Muller . I note there are still many questions about the dating of key writers – 1Clement, Ignatius, even Paul - but I use the 'liberal-conservative' datings here)

I hope this will be useful for those studying the documents related to the NT.

Size of document : tiny, small, medium, large

Type of reference: lower case = informal, general principle,or uncertain, Upper Case = specific, formal, certain. At the top and bottom of each column is its key.

Writings

Lord Jesus Christ JTheChrist

Savior Messiah sonGod sonMan KingJews

Word Logos lamb God Seed david

Suffered Pierced Died Crucified Resurrected Ascended

Miracles Saying Lazarus Healings Galilee Cana transFigured

Virginbirth bEthlehem Nazareth virginMary Herod Baptism John River jordan

Last Supper Eucharist pAssion Betrayed jUdas Pilate the Tomb

Gospels Quotes Paul Epistles

50

1 Thess.

LJC CJ

d r


1 Cor.

LJC CJ

d c r

l b


2 Cor.

LJC CJ

sG

s d c r


Galatians

LJC CJ

sG

d c


Romans

LJC

sG

Sd

d c r


Phillipians

LJC

S

s r


Philemon

LJC CJ 


60

Hebrews

JC

sG sM

s r


70

Jerusalem razed





80

Colossians

LJC CJ


1 John

JC tC

sG S

w



James

LJC


81

Domitian


90

Ephesians

LJC

sG S

a


2 Thess.

LJC


1 Peter

JC

W

s r


1 Clement

LJC CJ

S

s r

S

P E

pEgerton

J

M S


Revelation

LJC CJ

sG sM

W lG

p c r


98

Trajan


100

Didakhe

r

E


Oxy1224

J


S



Jude

LJC


110

Barnabas

LJC

sG

S P C R A

M


115

Jewish Revolt


117

Hadrian


120

2,3 John

LJC

G S


apocPeter

L


secretJames

J

sM S

W

C

S H


gThomas

J

S H

B


preachPeter

JC


W

s r


Quadratus

s

H


Aristides

J

sG M

P D R A

v

g l

130

Papias

S

r

S

U

mk mt


2 Peter

LJC

S


P E


Pastorals

LJC

S

Sd

r

P



gPeter

J

sG

C

H

P


Hermas

LJC

sG


T


132

Bar Kochba




Oxy840

s

s


Ignatius

LJC

sG sM S

Sd

s d c r

M H

E A P

P E

Poly.Phil.

LJC

sG S

S D R

s

P E

138

Antoninus Pius


140

Diognetus

sG S

W

g


Marcion

J

sM

S H G

N M B J

b U

l

episApostles

LJC

sG S


L C R A

M S L H G C

V E M B

U P

l mt j P

2 Clement

JC

S

S r

S

G

150

Ptolemy

C

S

W L





J P E


dialSavior

sM S

S

U


gMary

sM S

h


Justin

LJC JtC

SG sM S

W L lG

S P D C R A

M S H

V E N M H B J R

L E A P T

l mt G

Min.Felix

r I C


IgJames (Protoev.)

LJC tC

sg KJ

V E M H


igThomas

LJC

M S

M


Poly.Mart.

LJC

S

S C r

s

B U


160

Tatian.Ad.

L

r



161

Marcus Aurelius





gTruth

JtC

L

s



gEbionites

J C

sG




H B J R

b U

G

Heracleon

J C tC

sM S M

W lG

S H G C

B J

A

J

170

aPeter

LJC

sG

W

D C R

V N M H

E U P

P


Diatessaron

LJC

sG sM kJ S M

W lG Sd

S P D C R A

M S L H G

V E N M H B J R

L B U P T

mk mt j l

Apollonaris


sG

lG

P C S

t


aPaul

LJC

sG

Sd

r C

L

V M

P

aAndrew

LJC

sG

lG

S C

H


Athenagoras

sG

L

r


180

ScillitanM





P E


Theophilus

W

r

G

Irenaeus

LJC JtC

sG sM S

L W lG Sd

S P D C R A

M S L H G C F

V E N M H B J R

l E A B U P t

Mk Mt L J P E

190

ClementA

LJC tC

sG sM kJ S

L W lG

c D R S

L H


E A B U t

Mk Mt L J P E

210

Tertullian

LJC JtC

sG sM kJ S

L W lG Sd

S P D C R A

M S L H G C F

V E N M H B J R

E A B U P T

Mk Mt L J P E

220

Origen

LJC JtC

sG sM kJ S M

L W lG Sd

S P D C R A

M S H G C F

V E N M H B J R

E A B U P T

Mk Mt L J P E

Hipploytus

LJC tC

sG sM M S

L W lG

S P D C R A

M S H G C

V E N M H B J R

E A B U P T

Mk Mt L J P E


Lord Jesus Christ J TheChrist

Savior Messiah sonGod sonMan KingJews

Word Logos lamb God Seed david

Suffered Pierced Died Crucified Resurrected Ascended

Miracles Saying Lazarus Healings Galilee Cana transFigured

Virginbirth bEthlehem Nazareth virginMary Herod Baptism John River jordan

Last Supper Eucharist pAssion Betrayed jUdas Pilate the Tomb

Gospels Quotes Paul Epistles



Note that some mistakes may arise due to the various stages involved in generating this information - if you think there are any obvious errors in this table, please feel free to contact me at mailto: quentinj@iinet.net.au (this document is still under development - draft 12).



This table helps to classify broad periods of Gospel development -

1st century – Gospels and life of Jesus of Nazareth unknown,

early 2nd century – sayings of Jesus becoming known, a few details of life of Jesus known,

early-mid 2nd century – early writings mentioned, proto-Gospels appear,

mid 2nd century – 'memoirs of the Apostles' appear, life of Jesus much better known,

late-mid 2nd century – Gospels numbered Four with diatessaron,

late 2nd century – Gospels named and become well known.



This page has been accessed   times.

An early version of the table can be found  here

Back to Foundations of Christianity