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Sextus Julius Africanus
d. after 240. Christian scholar. Brought up in Palestine, Julius traveled widely and inquisitively, both during and after his military service. He listened to Heraclas in Alexandria, met Origen, and hunted with Bardesanes in Edessa. After settling in Emmaus he went as its representative to the emperor Elagabalus in Rome to ask that it be rebuilt. He was successful enough to be given charge of the task. He later impressed the emperor Severus (222-35) so much that he was commissioned to organize his public library in Rome. In his five-volume Chronographia he attempted to synchronize sacred and profane history and predicted that the world would last 6,000 years and that Christ had been born in the year 5,500. His twenty-four-volume Cesti was an encyclopedic work on subjects ranging from natural science to military tactics, but revealing a belief in superstition and magic. Only fragments of either work have survived. Two letters also are extant: one to Origen arguing that the Septuagint story of Susanna cannot be regarded as canonical because the evidence is against its having a Hebrew original, and one to an unknown Aristides on the differences in the genealogies of Christ in Matthew and Luke.