Sextus Julius Africanus – The Father of Chronology

No one knows the given name of Sextus Julius Africanus. Most of the ancient Hebrew writers living in Greek-speaking countries are known known today by a Greek name or sometimes by a Greek and a Hebrew name. Historians believe Africanus was born in 160 AD in Ancient Libya, grew up in Jerusalem, and died in Greece in 240 AD.

His linguistic background included proficiency in Hebrew, Latin, Greek and Roman. Many historians regard him as the “Father of Chronology”. Besides being an authority of biblical chronology, he was likewise an authority of biblical prophecy evidenced by being the first scholar who correctly interpreted the Prophecy of Daniel 8 and Daniel 9.

2300 Days Prophecy of Daniel

70 Weeks Prophecy of Daniel

Africanus’ work to establish the Creation Timeline “Chronographiai”, was a history of the world in 5 volumes that he wrote between 212 and 221 AD. The chronological work covers the period from the Creation of Adam to the year 221 AD. Africanus’ historical work is no longer extant, but extensive excerpts from it are in the Chronicle of Eusebius, who used it in compiling his early Episcopal lists and in the work of Georgius Syncellus Kedrenos, a 11th century Byzantine historian, who used many fragments of Africanus’ work. Near the middle of the third century AD, Africanus went to Alexandria to study in its catechetical school where he fully developed his computational skills.

The works of Flavius Josephus “the Antiquities of the Hebrews” and “The Hebrew War” provided valuable cultural material for Africanus’ understanding of Hebrew life during the 1st-century AD. He also used many non-religious sources to cross check his calculations, including the works of Hebrew, Roman, and Greek historians, specifically Justus of Tiberias, who wrote a chronicle of the Kings of Israel from the time of Moses to Agrippa II. Africanus attempted to unite the ancient Hebrew Biblical accounts with Hebraic, Roman, and Greek history.

A major influence were Greek histories and chronicles like the History of Attica by Hellanicus of Lesbos, Greek lists of priests and priestesses, and especially its lists of the Olympiad winners. Today, we still date everything in ancient Greece in relation to the Olympiads. Though he relied on the ancient Hebrew Scriptures as the basis of his calculations, he incorporated and synchronized Chaldean and Egyptian chronologies, Hebraic History, and Greek mythology into his timeline.

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