Chrestus, a person named by Suetonius (Claud. 25) as having incited a sedition among the Jews at Rome, which led to their expulsion from the city (comp.
Ac 18:2). SEE FULVIA. There have been two different opinions as to whom Suetonius meant by Chrestus (see Kuinöl, ad Act. in loc.); whether some Hellenist, who had excited political disturbances (as Meyer and De Wette suppose; see Conybeare and Howson, St. Paul, 1:386), the name Chrestus (Gr. χρηστός, useful) frequently occurring as borne by manumitted slaves; or whether, as there is good reason to think (Lipsius on Tacit. Annal. 15:44; Grotius, on Acts, 18:2; Neander, Planting and Training, 2:231), Suetonius does not refer to some actual dissension between Jews and Christians, but confounds the name Christ, which was most unusual as a proper name, with the much more frequent appellation of Chrestus (see Tertullian, Apol. 3; Lactantius, Instit. 4:7, 5; Milman, Hist. of Christianity, 1:430). Orosius (Hist. 7:6) places Claudius's edict of banishment in the ninth year of his reign (i.e. A.D. 49 or 50), and he refers to Josephus, who, however, says nothing about the matter. In King Alfred's Anglo-Saxon version of Orosius, however, this reference to Josephus does not occur; the register simply connects the expulsion with a famine: "In the ninth year of his government there was a great famine in Rome, and Claudius ordered all the Jews that were therein to be driven out" (Bosworth's Orosius, p. 119 of the Saxon and 179 of the trans. See this statement of Orosius commented on by Scaliger, Animade. on Euseb. Chronicles p. 192). On the contrary, Pearson (Ann. Paulin.) and Vogel (in Gabler's Journal), without, however, giving decisive grounds for their opinion, suppose Claudius's twelfth year (i.e. A.D. 52) to be the more likely one. With Anger (De temporum ratione in Act. Apost. p. 118), one might, on negative grounds, assert that, so long as Herod Agrippa was at Rome with Claudius, the edict of expulsion would hardly be published; 1:e. previous to the year A.D. 49. Dr. Burton, however (On the Chronology of the Acts, p. 26), puts the date of the edict some time between A.D. 41 and 46, supporting his opinion by the fact "that no mention is made of Claudius's decree in the Annals of Tacitus which have come down to us; and that, since the lost books of the Annals occupy the first six years of the reign of Claudius, it is probable that Tacitus mentioned this decree in one of those books." The year referred to in Ac 18:2, is A.D. 49. SEE CLAUDIUS.