Estimated Range of Dating: 115-115 A.D.

Chronological List of Early Christian Writings
Online Text for Suetonius

Perseus: Lives of the Caesars in Latin
Lives of the Caesars: Rolfe Translation
Online Resources for Suetonius

Suetonius: Electronic Texts and Resources
Josh McDowell’s “Evidence” for Jesus: Is It Reliable? (On Suetonius by Jeffery Jay Lowder)
Offline Resources for Suetonius

Josh McDowell’s “Evidence” for Jesus: Is It Reliable? (On Suetonius by Jeffery Jay Lowder)
Recommended Books for the Study of Early Christian Writings
Information on Suetonius

In The Life of Claudius 25.4, we find the statement, “As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.”

This is plausibly a reference to the expulsion of Jewish Christians from Rome. The author of Acts makes mention of this same expulsion, which occurred in 49 CE according to the fifth century church father Orosius, in Acts 18:2. “There he [Paul] met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.” Aquila and Priscilla seem to have been converted prior to meeting Paul.

However, it is also possible that the Jews were expelled from Rome for a different cause. Chrestus is a suitable Greek name, so there may have been an agitator by the name of Chrestus in Rome. Or there may have been a different messianic pretender in Rome. It is difficult to say.

Suetonius also makes mention of Nero’s persecution in 16.2: “Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition.”

Notably, unlike Tacitus, Suetonius does not associate this punishment with the fire that swept Rome.

Leave a Reply