Chronological order of the Pauline Letters

Chris Cutler Chrisc at
Tue Mar 30 17:20:51 EST 1999

Wes Williams wrote:

I have always had a desire to detail the chronological order of Paul's
Is this a fairly accurate sketch?

Book                  Place                Completed

1 Thessalon      Corinth                c. 50
2 Thessalon      Corinth                c. 51
Galatians          Corinth or            c. 50-52
                        Syrian Antioch 
1 Corinthians     Ephesus             c. 55
2 Corinthians     Macedonia          c. 55
Romans            Corinth               c. 56
Ephesians         Rome                 c. 60-61
Philippians        Rome                 c. 60-61
Colossians        Rome                 c. 60-61
Philemon           Rome                 c. 60-61
(for those who hold to a Pauline authorship)
Hebrews           Rome                  c. 61
Titus                 Macedonia (?)     c. 61-64
1 Timothy          Macedonia          c. 61-64
2 Timothy          Rome                 c. 65

Chris replies:

You may find the opening chapter of "Paul a critical life" (Jerome
Murphy-O'Connor 1996) useful.

Here are some of his biographical time lines for you to put alongside

c6 BC	Birth
AD33	Conversion
34	Arabia
34-37	Damascus
37	Jerusalem
37-?	Syria and Cilicia
51	Jerusalem (2nd visit)

Jerome fills in the years before the Jerusalem conference thus:

Winter 45-6		Antioch
April 46			Departure from Antioch
April-Sept 46		Journey to Galatia
Sept 46 - May 48	Ministry in Galatia
Summer 48		Journey to Macedonia
Sept 48- April 50	Ministry in Macedonia
April 50			Journey to Corinth
April 50 - Sept 51	Ministry in Corinth
Sept 51			Journey to Jerusalem
October 51		Jerusalem Conference

And after the conference:

Winter 51-2		Antioch
April-July 52		Journey to Ephesus
Aug 52 - Oct 54	Ephesus
Winter 54 - 5		Macedonia
Summer 55		Illycrium
Winter 55 - 6		Corinth
Summer 56		Journey to Jerusalem
57? - 61?		Jerusalem - Caesarea
Sept 61 - Spring 62	Journey to Rome
Early Summer 64	Spain
64-66			Around the Aegean
67			Death in Rome

Hope this helps.

In the interests of stimulating debate, may I suggest the following:

Paul's conversion was "on the road to Damascus" when he was
pursuing/persecuting Christians.

The town of Damascus was outside his juristiction, Qumran was much closer
to Jerusalem, and certainly was not.

If, as has been suggested elsewhere, (sorry, can't remember where I read
it) Damascus was a cognomen for Qumran, the Journey to Damascus would make
more sense.

Could then if his early years 34-37 in Damascus really mean that he spent 3
years in the Qumran monastery?

Just a thought :-)


Chris & Ariane Cutler

What liberates is the knowledge of who we were, what we became; where we
were, whereinto we have been thrown; whereto we speed, wherefrom we are
redeemmed; what birth is, and what rebirth." (Exc. Theod. 78.2)

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