To these we must now turn to evaluate their contribution to the formulation of the new Christian historiography. They constituted the preliminary work which allowed Christian historians to explain to the pagans the scriptural vision of history, to demonstrate the antiquity and novelty of the religion they professed, and to correlate the facts of secular history with those of historia salutis. San Juan Map Tourist Attractions But the Christian chronographies also allowed ecclesiastical teachers to delineate with greater certainty, particularly for simplices and rudes, the grandiose course of the divine providential plan for humanity see the two examples of historical exposition in Augustine’s De catechizandis rudibus 16,24ff.. As Momigliano notes, Unlike pagan chronology, Christian chronology was also a philosophy of history, so that the convert, in abandoning paganism, was compelled to enlarge his historical horizon: perhaps for the first time, it occurred to him to think in terms of universal history. Moreover, in what we may call a total vision, the end of the world was also considered along with secular events.
Chronology and eschatology were conflated to form a single whole A. Momigliano, Il conflitto tra paganesimo e cristianesimo nel IV secolo, It. tr., 95-96. The same matrix gave rise to systems of chronological computation connected with new historiographical theories. The requirement was that of gathering and illustrating the history of salvation, which broke through the horizons of local histories even while becoming incarnate in historically determined facts and events. Suffice it to recall here the theory of the age of the world and its link with chronological calculations. It took many forms but had one intention.
Taking the days of creation Gen 1:1 to represent the time of the world, many ancient authors spoke of six periods, to be followed by a seventh, which for some authors was the millennium of Christ’s reign, for others eternal life each period would last 1,000 years, according to Ps 90:4: A thousand years in the Lord’s sight are but as yesterday. Elsewhere four ages were emphasized of idolatry, of the law, of the gospel, of the parousia in the light of a progressive and ordered dimension of God’s plan; or else two ages, assuming the earthly incarnation of the Word to be the center of history.