Friday, June 07, 2019
Eusebius, EH.2.22: Festus and Paul's Roman Imprisonments
Image: Coin minted while Porcius Festus was procurator of Judea (AD 59-62).
Another installment has been added to the series on Eusebius of Caesarea’s The Ecclesiastical History: book 2, chapter 22 (listen here).
Notes and Commentary:
Eusebius here describes the things that transpired under the Roman governor Festus (succeeding Felix).
At this time Paul was sent as a prisoner to Rome, accompanied by Aristarchus (Col 4:10), where, as Luke records in Acts 28, he remained for two years, under arrest but freely preaching.
Eusebius adds that tradition holds that Paul was then released after this first Roman imprisonment and had his ministry extended until he was brought a second time to Rome.
It was during this second imprisonment, according to Eusebius, that Paul wrote 2 Timothy where he makes reference to his “first defense” and his release from “the lion’s mouth” (Nero).
Eusebius takes Paul’s reference in 2 Timothy to no one, including Luke, standing with him in this first imprisonment to indicate that Luke wrote Acts at that time.
Paul’s martyrdom came not at his first Roman imprisonment (when Nero might have been more lenient to the Christian movement) but at his second.