Paul of Tarsus

Paul of Tarsus

Overview
Paul the Apostle also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 as one of the most influential early Christian
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 missionaries
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

, with the writings ascribed to him by the church
Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

 forming a considerable portion of the New Testament. The influence on Christian thinking
Pauline Christianity
Pauline Christianity is a term used to refer to the Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul of Tarsus through his writings. Most of orthodox Christianity relies heavily on these teachings and considers them to be amplifications and explanations of the teachings of...

 of the epistles ascribed to him has been significant, due in part to his association as a prominent apostle
Apostle (Christian)
The term apostle is derived from Classical Greek ἀπόστολος , meaning one who is sent away, from στέλλω + από . The literal meaning in English is therefore an "emissary", from the Latin mitto + ex...

 of Christianity during the spreading of the Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 through early Christian communities
Early centers of Christianity
Early Christianity spread from Western Asia, throughout the Roman Empire, and beyond into East Africa and South Asia, reaching as far as India. At first, this development was closely connected to centers of Hebrew faith, in the Holy Land and the Jewish diaspora...

 across the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

.

According to the writings in the New Testament, Paul was known as Saul prior to his conversion, and was dedicated to the persecution of the early disciples
Disciple (Christianity)
In Christianity, the disciples were the students of Jesus during his ministry. While Jesus attracted a large following, the term disciple is commonly used to refer specifically to "the Twelve", an inner circle of men whose number perhaps represented the twelve tribes of Israel...

 of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 in the area of Jerusalem.
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Encyclopedia
Paul the Apostle also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 as one of the most influential early Christian
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 missionaries
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

, with the writings ascribed to him by the church
Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

 forming a considerable portion of the New Testament. The influence on Christian thinking
Pauline Christianity
Pauline Christianity is a term used to refer to the Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul of Tarsus through his writings. Most of orthodox Christianity relies heavily on these teachings and considers them to be amplifications and explanations of the teachings of...

 of the epistles ascribed to him has been significant, due in part to his association as a prominent apostle
Apostle (Christian)
The term apostle is derived from Classical Greek ἀπόστολος , meaning one who is sent away, from στέλλω + από . The literal meaning in English is therefore an "emissary", from the Latin mitto + ex...

 of Christianity during the spreading of the Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 through early Christian communities
Early centers of Christianity
Early Christianity spread from Western Asia, throughout the Roman Empire, and beyond into East Africa and South Asia, reaching as far as India. At first, this development was closely connected to centers of Hebrew faith, in the Holy Land and the Jewish diaspora...

 across the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

.

According to the writings in the New Testament, Paul was known as Saul prior to his conversion, and was dedicated to the persecution of the early disciples
Disciple (Christianity)
In Christianity, the disciples were the students of Jesus during his ministry. While Jesus attracted a large following, the term disciple is commonly used to refer specifically to "the Twelve", an inner circle of men whose number perhaps represented the twelve tribes of Israel...

 of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 in the area of Jerusalem. While traveling from Jerusalem to Damascus on a mission to "bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem", the resurrected Jesus
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

 spoke to him in a great light. Saul was struck blind, but after three days his sight was restored by Ananias of Damascus
Ananias of Damascus
Ananias , was a disciple of Jesus at Damascus mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible, which describes how he was sent by Jesus to restore the sight of "Saul, of Tarsus" and provide him with additional instruction in the way of the...

, and Paul began to preach that Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah and the Son of God
Son of God
"Son of God" is a phrase which according to most Christian denominations, Trinitarian in belief, refers to the relationship between Jesus and God, specifically as "God the Son"...

.

Along with Simon Peter
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

 and James the Just
James the Just
James , first Bishop of Jerusalem, who died in 62 AD, was an important figure in Early Christianity...

 he was one of the most prominent early Christian leaders. He was also a Roman citizen—a fact that afforded him a privileged legal status with respect to laws, property, and governance.

Fourteen epistles in the New Testament are attributed to Paul. His authorship
Authorship of the Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles are the fourteen books in the New Testament traditionally attributed to Paul the Apostle, although many dispute the anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews as being a Pauline epistle....

 of seven of the fourteen is questioned by modern scholars. Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 developed Paul's idea that salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

 is based on faith
Faith in Christianity
Faith, in Christianity, has been most commonly defined by the biblical formulation in the Letter to the Hebrews as "'the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen". Most of the definitions in the history of Christian theology have followed this biblical formulation...

 and not "works of the law
Legalism (theology)
Legalism, in Christian theology, is a sometimes-pejorative term referring to an over-emphasis on discipline of conduct, or legal ideas, usually implying an allegation of misguided rigour, pride, superficiality, the neglect of mercy, and ignorance of the grace of God or emphasizing the letter of...

". Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

's interpretation of Paul's writings
Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

 heavily influenced Luther's doctrine of sola fide
Sola fide
Sola fide , also historically known as the doctrine of justification by faith alone, is a Christian theological doctrine that distinguishes most Protestant denominations from Catholicism, Eastern Christianity, and some in the Restoration Movement.The doctrine of sola fide or "by faith alone"...

.

Paul's conversion dramatically changed the course of his life. Through his missionary activity and writings he eventually transformed religious belief and philosophy around the Mediterranean Basin
Mediterranean Basin
In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin refers to the lands around the Mediterranean Sea that have a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, which supports characteristic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation...

. His leadership, influence and legacy led to the formation of communities dominated by Gentile groups that worshiped the God of Israel, adhered to the "Judaic moral code", but relaxed or abandoned the ritual and dietary teachings
Biblical law in Christianity
Christian views of the Old Covenant have been central to Christian theology and practice since the circumcision controversy in Early Christianity. There are differing views about the applicability of the Old Covenant among Christian denominations...

 of the Law of Moses
Law of Moses
The Law of Moses is a term first found in Joshua 8:31-32 where Joshua writes the words of "the Law of Moses" on the altar at Mount Ebal. The text continues "And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law."...

, all on the basis of Paul's teachings of the life and works of Jesus Christ
Ministry of Jesus
In the Christian gospels, the Ministry of Jesus begins with his Baptism in the countryside of Judea, near the River Jordan and ends in Jerusalem, following the Last Supper with his disciples. The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was "about 30 years of age" at the start of his ministry...

 and his teaching of a New Covenant
New Covenant
The New Covenant is a concept originally derived from the Hebrew Bible. The term "New Covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment...

 (or "new testament") established through Jesus' death
Substitutionary atonement
Technically speaking, substitutionary atonement is the name given to a number of Christian models of the atonement that all regard Jesus as dying as a substitute for others, "instead of" them...

 and resurrection
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

. The Bible does not record Paul's death.

Sources



The main source for historical information about Paul's life is the material found in several of his epistles and the Book of Acts. However, these epistles contain comparatively little information about Paul's past. The Book of Acts also recounts Paul's career but leaves several parts of Paul's life out of its narrative, such as his (alleged) execution in Rome.
Scholars such as Hans Conzelmann
Hans Conzelmann
Hans Conzelmann was a German scholar who made many contributions to New Testament research in the twentieth century. One of his major works was Die Mitte Der Zeit , literally 'The Middle of Time', which was translated into English under the title, The Theology of St. Luke...

 and 20th century theologian John Knox dispute the historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles
Historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles
The historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles, the primary source for the Apostolic Age, is a major issue for biblical scholars and historians of Early Christianity. The historicity of Acts became hotly debated between 1895-1915...

. Paul's own account of his background is found particularly in Galatians
Epistle to the Galatians
The Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, often shortened to Galatians, is the ninth book of the New Testament. It is a letter from Paul of Tarsus to a number of Early Christian communities in the Roman province of Galatia in central Anatolia...

. According to some scholars, the Acts account of Paul visiting Jerusalem
Jerusalem in Christianity
For Christians, Jerusalem's place in the ministry of Jesus and the Apostolic Age gives it great importance, in addition to its place in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible.-Jerusalem in the New Testament and early Christianity:...

contradicts the account in Paul's letters. Some scholars consider Paul's accounts to be more reliable than those found in Acts.

Names


Along with being ethnically Jewish, Paul was born a Roman citizen. His given name was Saul , perhaps after the biblical king Saul, a fellow Benjamite and the first king of Israel. In , in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 Paulus or Paullus, in Šaʾul HaTarsi (Saul of Tarsus)

In the book of Acts, when he had the vision that lead to his conversion on the Road to Damascus, Jesus called him "Saul, Saul", in the Hebrew tongue, and later, in a vision to Ananias of Damascus
Ananias of Damascus
Ananias , was a disciple of Jesus at Damascus mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible, which describes how he was sent by Jesus to restore the sight of "Saul, of Tarsus" and provide him with additional instruction in the way of the...

, "the Lord" referred to him as "Saul, of Tarsus". When Ananias came to restore his sight, he called him "Brother Saul".

In Acts 13:9, the author indicates a name change by saying "...Saul, (who also is called Paul,)..." and thereafter refers to him as Paul. He is called Paul in all other Bible books where he is mentioned.

Prior to conversion



Paul claimed to be "of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee." But the Bible reveals very little about Paul's family. Paul's "sister's son" is mentioned in . Acts also quotes Paul indirectly referring to his father by saying he was "a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee". Paul refers to his mother in , among those at Rome.

Acts identifies Paul as from the Mediterranean city of Tarsus
Tarsus (city)
Tarsus is a historic city in south-central Turkey, 20 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea. It is part of the Adana-Mersin Metropolitan Area, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Turkey with a population of 2.75 million...

 (in present-day south-central Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

), well-known for its intellectual environment. He was also a "free born" citizen of Rome
Roman citizenship
Citizenship in ancient Rome was a privileged political and legal status afforded to certain free-born individuals with respect to laws, property, and governance....

, an honor not often granted to outsiders.

Although born in Tarsus, Paul was raised in Jerusalem "at the feet of Gamaliel
Gamaliel
Gamaliel the Elder , or Rabban Gamaliel I , was a leading authority in the Sanhedrin in the mid 1st century CE. He was the grandson of the great Jewish teacher Hillel the Elder, and died twenty years before the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem...

", a leading authority in the Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin was an assembly of twenty-three judges appointed in every city in the Biblical Land of Israel.The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme court of ancient Israel made of 71 members...

 in the mid 1st century AD. Gamaliel once gave very level headed advice to the Sanhedrin in , to "refrain" from slaying the disciples of Jesus. This is in great contrast to the rashness of his student Saul, who zealously persecuted the "saints".

Paul confesses that "beyond measure" he persecuted the "church of God" prior to his conversion. He was consenting to the killing of the proto-martyr, Stephen
Saint Stephen
Saint Stephen The Protomartyr , the protomartyr of Christianity, is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches....

. As a young man he stood by and guarded the clothes of the witnesseses while Stephen was stoned.

Conversion and mission




Paul's conversion can be dated to 31 – 36 by his reference to it in one of his letters. According to the Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

, his conversion (or metanoia
Metanoia (theology)
Metanoia in the context of theological discussion, where it is used often, is usually interpreted to mean repentance...

) took place on the road to Damascus
Conversion of Paul
The Conversion of Paul the Apostle, as depicted in the Christian Bible, refers to an event reported to have taken place in the life of Paul of Tarsus which led him to cease persecuting early Christians and to himself become a follower of Jesus; it is normally dated by researchers to AD 33–36...

 where he claimed to have experienced a vision of the resurrected Jesus
Resurrection appearances of Jesus
The major Resurrection appearances of Jesus in the Canonical gospels are reported to have occurred after his death, burial and resurrection, but prior to his Ascension. Among these primary sources, most scholars believe First Corinthians was written first, authored by Paul of Tarsus along with...

 after which he was temporarily blinded. Luke, the author of Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

, likely learned of his conversion from one of these three sources: Paul himself, from the church in Jerusalem, or from the church in Antioch.

Post-conversion testimony


In the opening verses of , Paul provides a litany of his own apostolic claim and his post-conversion convictions about the risen Christ:
  • Paul describes himself as
    • a servant of Christ Jesus
    • called to be an apostle
    • set apart for the gospel of God
  • Paul describes Jesus as
    • having been promised by God "beforehand" through his prophets in the holy Scriptures
    • being the Son of God
      Son of God
      "Son of God" is a phrase which according to most Christian denominations, Trinitarian in belief, refers to the relationship between Jesus and God, specifically as "God the Son"...

    • having biological lineage from David ("according to the flesh")
    • having been declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead
    • being Jesus Christ our Lord
    • the One through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, "including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ."


Paul's writings give some insight into his thinking regarding his relationship with Judaism. He is strongly critical both theologically and empirically of claims of moral or lineal superiority of Jews while conversely strongly sustaining the notion of a special place for the Children of Israel.

Paul asserted that he received the Gospel not from any person, but by a personal revelation
Revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

 of Jesus Christ. Paul claimed independence from the Jerusalem community (possibly in the Cenacle
Cenacle
The Cenacle , also known as the "Upper Room", is the term used for the site of The Last Supper. The word is a derivative of the Latin word cena, which means dinner....

), but was just as quick to claim agreement with it on the nature and content of the gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

. What is remarkable about such a conversion is the changes in the thinking that had to take place. He had to change his concept of who the messiah was, particularly the absurdity of accepting a crucifed messiah. Perhaps more challenging was changing his conception of the ethnic superiority of the Jewish people. There are debates as to whether Paul understood himself as commissioned to take the gospel to the Gentiles at the moment of his conversion.

Early ministry




After his conversion
Conversion of Paul
The Conversion of Paul the Apostle, as depicted in the Christian Bible, refers to an event reported to have taken place in the life of Paul of Tarsus which led him to cease persecuting early Christians and to himself become a follower of Jesus; it is normally dated by researchers to AD 33–36...

, Paul went to Damascus, where Acts states he was healed of his blindness and baptized by Ananias of Damascus
Ananias of Damascus
Ananias , was a disciple of Jesus at Damascus mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible, which describes how he was sent by Jesus to restore the sight of "Saul, of Tarsus" and provide him with additional instruction in the way of the...

. Paul says that it was in Damascus that he barely escaped death . Paul also says that he then went first to Arabia, and then came back to Damascus. Paul's trip to Arabia is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible, and some suppose he actually travelled to Mt. Sinai for meditations in the desert. He describes in Galatians how three years after his conversion he went to Jerusalem
Jerusalem in Christianity
For Christians, Jerusalem's place in the ministry of Jesus and the Apostolic Age gives it great importance, in addition to its place in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible.-Jerusalem in the New Testament and early Christianity:...

. There he met James
James the Just
James , first Bishop of Jerusalem, who died in 62 AD, was an important figure in Early Christianity...

 and stayed with Simon Peter for 15 days.

Paul asserted that he received the Gospel not from any person, but by the revelation
Revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

 of Jesus Christ. Paul claimed almost total independence from the Jerusalem community and yet appeared eager to bring material support to Jerusalem from the various budding Gentile churches that he planted. In his writings, Paul persistently used the persecutions he claimed to have endured, in terms of physical beatings and verbal assaults, to claim proximity and union with Jesus and as a validation of his teaching.

Paul's narrative in Galatians states that 14 years after his conversion he went again to Jerusalem. It is not completely known what happened during these so-called "unknown years," but both Acts and Galatians provide some partial details. At the end of this time, Barnabas
Barnabas
Barnabas , born Joseph, was an Early Christian, one of the earliest Christian disciples in Jerusalem. In terms of culture and background, he was a Hellenised Jew, specifically a Levite. Named an apostle in , he and Saint Paul undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts...

 went to find Paul and brought him back to Antioch.

When a famine occurred in Judea, around 45–46, Paul and Barnabas journeyed to Jerusalem to deliver financial support from the Antioch community. According to Acts, Antioch had become an alternative center for Christians following the dispersion of the believers after the death of Stephen
Saint Stephen
Saint Stephen The Protomartyr , the protomartyr of Christianity, is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches....

. It was in Antioch that the followers of Jesus were first called "Christians."

First missionary journey


The author of the Acts arranges Paul's travels into three separate journeys. The first journey, led initially by Barnabas, takes Paul from Antioch to Cyprus then southern Asia Minor (Anatolia), and back to Antioch. In Cyprus, Paul rebukes and blinds Elymas
Elymas
Elymas, also known as Bar-Jesus , was a Jewish magician who appears in the New Testament in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 13....

 the magician who was criticizing their teachings. From this point on, Paul is described as the leader of the group.

They sail to Perga
Perga
Perga was an ancient Greek city in Anatolia and the capital of Pamphylia, now in Antalya province on the southwestern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Today it is a large site of ancient ruins east of Antalya on the coastal plain. Located there is an acropolis dating back to the Bronze Age...

 in Pamphylia
Pamphylia
In ancient geography, Pamphylia was the region in the south of Asia Minor, between Lycia and Cilicia, extending from the Mediterranean to Mount Taurus . It was bounded on the north by Pisidia and was therefore a country of small extent, having a coast-line of only about 75 miles with a breadth of...

. John Mark leaves them and returns to Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas go on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they go to the synagogue. The leaders invite them to speak. Paul reviews Israelite history from life in Egypt to King David. He introduces Jesus as a descendant of David brought to Israel by God. He said that his team came to town to bring the message of salvation. He recounts the story of Jesus' death and resurrection. He quotes from the Hebrew scriptures to show that Jesus was the promised Messiah who brought them forgiveness for their sins. Both the Jews and the 'God-fearing' Gentiles invited them talk more the next Sabbath. At that time almost the whole city gathered. This upset some influential Jews who spoke against them. Paul used the occasion to announce a change in his mission which from then on would be to the Gentiles.

Antioch served as a major Christian center for Paul's evangelizing.

Second missionary journey



Paul leaves for his second missionary journey from Jerusalem, in late Autumn 49, after the meeting of the Jerusalem council
Council of Jerusalem
The Council of Jerusalem is a name applied by historians and theologians to an Early Christian council that was held in Jerusalem and dated to around the year 50. It is considered by Catholics and Orthodox to be a prototype and forerunner of the later Ecumenical Councils...

 where the circumcision question was debated. On their trip around the Mediterranean sea, Paul and his companion Barnabas stopped in Antioch where they had a sharp argument about taking John Mark
John Mark
John Mark is a character in the New Testament. According to William Lane, an "unbroken tradition" identifies him with Mark the Evangelist. John Mark is mentioned several times in the Acts of the Apostles...

 with them on their trips. The book of Acts said that John Mark had left them in a previous trip and gone home. Unable to resolve the dispute, Paul and Barnabas decided to separate; Barnabas took John Mark with him, while Silas
Silas
Saint Silas or Saint Silvanus was a leading member of the Early Christian community, who later accompanied Paul in some of his missionary journeys....

 joined Paul.

Paul and Silas initially visited Tarsus
Tarsus, Mersin
Tarsus is a historic city in south-central Turkey, 20 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea. It is part of the Adana-Mersin Metropolitan Area, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Turkey with a population of 2.75 million...

 (Paul's birthplace), Derbe
Derbe
Derbe is an ancient city in today's Turkey. This city is mentioned in the biblical book of Acts - , and was situated near ancient Lystra.- Location :...

 and Lystra
Lystra
Lystra was a city in what is now modern Turkey. It is mentioned five times in the New Testament. It was visited a few times by the Apostle Paul, along with Barnabas or Silas.-Location:...

. In Lystra, they met Timothy, a disciple who was spoken well of, and decided to take him with them. The Church kept growing, adding believers, and strengthening their faith daily.

In Philippi, certain men were not happy about the liberation of their soothsaying servant girl, who had been possessed with a spirit of divination, and they turned the city against the missionaries and Paul and Silas were put in jail. After a miraculous earthquake, the gates of the prison fell apart and Paul and Silas were able to escape but remained; this event led to the conversion of the jailor. They continued traveling, going by Berea and then to Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 where Paul preached to the Jews and God-fearing Greeks in the synagogue and to the Greek intellectuals in the Areopagus
Areopagus
The Areopagus or Areios Pagos is the "Rock of Ares", north-west of the Acropolis, which in classical times functioned as the high Court of Appeal for criminal and civil cases in Athens. Ares was supposed to have been tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon's son Alirrothios .The origin...

.

Around 50–52, Paul spent 18 months in Corinth. The reference in Acts to proconsul Gallio helps ascertain this date (cf. Gallio inscription). Paul met Aquila and Priscilla in Corinth who became faithful believers and helped Paul through his other missionary journeys. The couple followed Paul and his companions to Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

, and stayed there to start one of the strongest and most faithful churches at that time. In 52, the missionaries sailed to Caesarea to greet the Church there and then traveled north to Antioch where they stayed for about a year before leaving again on their third missionary journey.

Third missionary journey


Paul began his third missionary journey by traveling all around the region of Galatia and Phrygia to strengthen, teach and rebuke the believers. Paul then traveled to Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

, an important center for early Christianity
Early centers of Christianity
Early Christianity spread from Western Asia, throughout the Roman Empire, and beyond into East Africa and South Asia, reaching as far as India. At first, this development was closely connected to centers of Hebrew faith, in the Holy Land and the Jewish diaspora...

, and stayed there for almost 3 years. He performed numerous miracles, healing people and casting out demons, and he apparently organized missionary activity into the hinterlands. Paul left Ephesus after an attack from a local silversmith resulted in a pro-Artemis
Artemis
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

 riot involving most of the city. During his stay in Ephesus, Paul wrote 4 letters to the church in Corinth admonishing them for their pagan behavior.

Then Paul went through Macedonia
Macedonia (Roman province)
The Roman province of Macedonia was officially established in 146 BC, after the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus defeated Andriscus of Macedon, the last Ancient King of Macedon in 148 BC, and after the four client republics established by Rome in the region were dissolved...

 into Achaea
Achaea (Roman province)
Achaea, or Achaia, was a province of the Roman Empire, consisting of the Peloponnese, eastern Central Greece and parts of Thessaly. It bordered on the north by the provinces of Epirus vetus and Macedonia...

, and as he was getting ready to leave for Syria, he changed his plans because of Jews who had made a plot against him and had to go back through Macedonia. At this time it is likely that Paul visited Corinth for three months (56–57). In Paul wrote that he visited Illyricum
Illyricum (Roman province)
The Roman province of Illyricum or Illyris Romana or Illyris Barbara or Illyria Barbara replaced most of the region of Illyria. It stretched from the Drilon river in modern north Albania to Istria in the west and to the Sava river in the north. Salona functioned as its capital...

, but he may have meant what would now be called Illyria Graeca, which lay in the northern part of modern Albania, but was at that time a division of the Roman province of Macedonia, .

Paul and his companions hit other cities on their way back to Jerusalem such as Philippi
Philippi
Philippi was a city in eastern Macedonia, established by Philip II in 356 BC and abandoned in the 14th century after the Ottoman conquest...

, Troas, Miletus, Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

, and Tyre. Paul finished his trip with a stop in Caesarea where he and his companions stayed with Philip the Evangelist
Philip the Evangelist
Saint Philip the Evangelist appears several times in the Acts of the Apostles. He was one of the Seven Deacons chosen to care for the poor of the Christian community in Jerusalem . He preached and performed miracles in Samaria, converted Simon Magus, and met and baptised an Ethiopian man, an...

 before finally arriving at Jerusalem.

Journey to Rome and beyond


After Paul's arrival in Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey, he became involved in a serious conflict with some Asian Jews. The conflict eventually led to Paul's arrest and eventual imprisonment in Caesarea for about a year and a half. Finally, Paul and his companions sailed for Rome where Paul would eventually stand trial for his alleged crimes. Acts states that Paul preached in Rome for two years from his rented home while awaiting trial. It does not state what happened after this time, but it is likely Paul was freed by Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

 and continued to preach in Rome. It is possible that Paul also traveled to other countries like Spain and Britain before dying as a martyr. See the Arrest and death section below.

Council of Jerusalem


Most scholars agree that a vital meeting between Paul and the Jerusalem church took place some time in the years 48 to 50, described in and usually seen as the same event mentioned by Paul in . The key question raised was whether Gentile
Gentile
The term Gentile refers to non-Israelite peoples or nations in English translations of the Bible....

 converts needed to be circumcised. At this meeting, Paul claims in his letter to the Galatians that Peter, James, and John accepted Paul's mission to the Gentiles. See also Circumcision controversy in early Christianity
Circumcision controversy in early Christianity
There is evidence of a controversy over religious male circumcision in Early Christianity. A Council of Jerusalem, possibly held in approximately 50 AD, decreed that male circumcision was not a requirement for Gentile converts. This became known as the "Apostolic Decree" and may be one of the...

.

Jerusalem meetings are mentioned in Acts, in Paul's letters, and some appear in both. For example, the Jerusalem visit for famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 relief apparently corresponds to the "first visit" (to Cephas and James only). F. F. Bruce suggested that the "fourteen years" could be from Paul's conversion rather than the first visit to Jerusalem.

Incident at Antioch



Despite the agreement achieved at the Council of Jerusalem, as understood by Paul, Paul recounts how he later publicly confronted Peter, also called the "Incident at Antioch" over Peter's reluctance to share a meal with Gentile Christians in Antioch.

Writing later of the incident, Paul recounts: "I opposed [Peter] to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong". Paul reports that he told Peter: "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew
Hellenistic Judaism
Hellenistic Judaism was a movement which existed in the Jewish diaspora that sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism...

. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs
Judaizers
Judaizers is predominantly a Christian term, derived from the Greek verb ioudaïzō . This term is most widely known from the single use in the New Testament where Paul publicly challenges Peter for compelling Gentile believers to "judaize", also known as the Incident at Antioch.According to the...

?" Paul also mentions that even Barnabas
Barnabas
Barnabas , born Joseph, was an Early Christian, one of the earliest Christian disciples in Jerusalem. In terms of culture and background, he was a Hellenised Jew, specifically a Levite. Named an apostle in , he and Saint Paul undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts...

 (his traveling companion and fellow apostle until that time) sided with Peter.

The final outcome of the incident remains uncertain. The Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Encyclopedia
The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index...

 states: "Paul's account of the incident leaves no doubt that Peter saw the justice of the rebuke." In contrast, L. Michael White
L. Michael White
L. Michael White is an American Biblical scholar. He is Ronald Nelson Smith Chair in Classics and Christian Origins, and director of the Institute for the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins, at the University of Texas at Austin...

's From Jesus to Christianity claims: "The blowup with Peter was a total failure of political bravado, and Paul soon left Antioch as persona non grata
Persona non grata
Persona non grata , literally meaning "an unwelcome person", is a legal term used in diplomacy that indicates a proscription against a person entering the country...

, never again to return."

The primary source
Primary source
Primary source is a term used in a number of disciplines to describe source material that is closest to the person, information, period, or idea being studied....

 for the Incident at Antioch is Paul's letter to the Galatians.

Visits to Jerusalem in Acts and the epistles


This table is adapted from White, From Jesus to Christianity. Note that the matching of Paul's travels in the Acts and the travels in his Epistles is done for the reader's convenience and is not approved of by all scholars.
Acts Epistles
  • First visit to Jerusalem
    • "after many days" of Damascus conversion
    • preaches openly in Jerusalem with Barnabas
    • meets apostles
  • First visit to Jerusalem
    • three years after Damascus conversion
    • sees only Cephas (Peter) and James
  • Second visit to Jerusalem,
    • for famine relief
  • There is debate over whether Paul's visit in Galatians 2 refers to the visit for famine relief (Acts 11:30, 12:25) or the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). If it refers to the former, then this was the trip made "after an interval of fourteen years" (Gal. 2:1).
  • Third visit to Jerusalem
    • with Barnabas
    • "Council of Jerusalem
      Council of Jerusalem
      The Council of Jerusalem is a name applied by historians and theologians to an Early Christian council that was held in Jerusalem and dated to around the year 50. It is considered by Catholics and Orthodox to be a prototype and forerunner of the later Ecumenical Councils...

      "
    • followed by confrontation with Barnabas in Antioch
  • Another visit to Jerusalem
    • 14 years later (after Damascus conversion?)
    • with Barnabas and Titus
    • possibly the "Council of Jerusalem"
    • Paul agrees to "remember the poor"
    • followed by confrontation with Peter and Barnabas in Antioch
  • Fourth visit to Jerusalem
    • to "greet the church"
  • Apparently unmentioned.
  • Fifth visit to Jerusalem
    • after an absence of several years
    • to bring gifts for the poor and to present offerings
    • Paul arrested
  • Another visit to Jerusalem
    • to deliver the collection for the poor

  • Arrest and death


    Paul arrived in Jerusalem in 57 with a collection of money for the community there. Acts reports that he was warmly received. But Acts goes on to recount how he was interrogated by James for 'teaching all the Jews living among the gentiles to forsake Moses, and that you tell them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs'.(Acts 21, 21) Paul underwent a purification ritual in order to give the Jews no grounds to bring accusations against him for not following their law.
    Paul however continued to preach that circumcision, Jewish dietary restrictions, and other requirements of the Torah were not requirements of salvation as was taught by the Jewish leaders of that time. This made a final rift inevitable with the Jews. Paul caused a stir when he appeared at the Temple, and he escaped being killed by the crowd by being taken into custody. He was held as a prisoner for two years in Caesarea until a new governor reopened his case in 59. When accused of treason, he appealed to Caesar, claiming his right as a citizen of Rome to appear there before a proper court and to defend himself of the charges.

    Acts recounts that on the way to Rome Paul was shipwrecked on "Melita" (Malta
    Malta
    Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

    ), where he was met by Publius and the islanders, who showed him "unusual kindness". He arrived in Rome c 60 and spent two years under house arrest. All told, during his ministry Paul spent roughly 5½ to 6 years as a prisoner or in prison.

    Irenaeus of Lyons in the 2nd century
    Christianity in the 2nd century
    The 2nd century of Christianity was largely the time of the Apostolic Fathers who were the students of the apostles of Jesus, though there is some overlap as John the Apostle may have survived into the 2nd century and the early Apostolic Father Clement of Rome is said to have died at the end of the...

     believed that Peter
    Saint Peter
    Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

     and Paul had been the founders of the Church in Rome and had appointed Linus
    Pope Linus
    Pope Saint Linus was, according to several early sources, Bishop of the diocese of Rome after Saint Peter. This makes Linus the second Pope. According to other early sources Pope Clement I was the Pope after Peter...

     as succeeding bishop
    Bishop
    A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

    . Paul was not a bishop of Rome nor did he bring Christianity to Rome since there were already Christians in Rome when he arrived there (Acts 28:14-15). Also Paul wrote his letter to the church at Rome before he had visited Rome (Romans 1:1,7,11-13; 15:23-29). However, Paul would have played an important role in the life of the early church at Rome.

    Neither the Bible nor other history says how or when Paul died. According to Christian tradition, Paul was beheaded
    Decapitation
    Decapitation is the separation of the head from the body. Beheading typically refers to the act of intentional decapitation, e.g., as a means of murder or execution; it may be accomplished, for example, with an axe, sword, knife, wire, or by other more sophisticated means such as a guillotine...

     in Rome during the reign of Nero
    Nero
    Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

     around the mid-60s at Tre Fontane Abbey
    Tre Fontane Abbey
    Tre Fontane Abbey , or the Abbey of Saints Vincent and Anastasius, is a Roman Catholic abbey in Rome, currently held by the Trappist Fathers of the Cistercian Order. It is known for raising the lambs whose wool is used to weave the pallia of new metropolitan archbishops. The Pope blesses the lambs...

    (English: Three Fountains Abbey). By comparison, tradition has Peter being crucified upside-down. Paul's Roman citizenship accorded him the more merciful death by beheading.

    In June 2009, Pope Benedict
    Pope Benedict XVI
    Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

     announced excavation results concerning the tomb of Paul at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls
    Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls
    The Papal Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls , commonly known as St Paul's Outside the Walls, is one of four churches that are the great ancient major basilicas or papal basilicas of Rome: the basilicas of St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, and St. Peter's and Saint Paul Outside the Walls...

    . The sarcophagus was not opened but was examined by means of a probe, which revealed pieces of incense, purple and blue linen, and small bone fragments. The bone was radiocarbon dated to the 1st or 2nd century. According to the Vatican, these findings were consistent with the traditional claim that the tomb is Paul's.

    Writings



    Fourteen epistle
    Epistle
    An epistle is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter. The epistle genre of letter-writing was common in ancient Egypt as part of the scribal-school writing curriculum. The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians...

    s in the New Testament
    New Testament
    The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

     are attributed to Paul. Seven of these -- Romans
    Epistle to the Romans
    The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, often shortened to Romans, is the sixth book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by the Apostle Paul to explain that Salvation is offered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ...

    , 1st Corinthians, 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Phillipians, 1st Thessalonians and Philemon
    Epistle to Philemon
    Paul's Epistle to Philemon, usually referred to simply as Philemon, is a prison letter to Philemon from Paul of Tarsus. Philemon was a leader in the Colossian church. This letter, which is one of the books of the New Testament, deals with forgiveness.Philemon was a wealthy Christian of the house...

     -- are almost universally accepted as being actually written by Paul. Scholars generally agree that four others were not written by Paul, those being 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy, Titus
    Titus
    Titus , was Roman Emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman Emperor to come to the throne after his own father....

    , and Hebrews
    Hebrews
    Hebrews is an ethnonym used in the Hebrew Bible...

    . As to the remaining three -- Ephesians, Colossians and 2nd Thessalonians -- scholars are almost evenly divided. Of those written by Paul, all except Galatians appear to have been dictated through a secretary, who would paraphrase the message, as was the practice among 1st-century scribes. The epistles were circulated in the Christian community and read aloud by church members along with other works. Paul's epistles were viewed from early times as scripture and later established as Canon of Scripture. Critical scholars regard Paul's epistles, which were written between 50 and 62 AD, to be the earliest books of the New Testament. They are referenced as early as c. 96 by Clement of Rome.

    Authorship




    Paul's letters are largely written to churches which he had visited; he was a great traveler, visiting Cyprus
    Cyprus
    Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

    , Asia Minor
    Asia Minor
    Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

     (modern Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

    ), mainland Greece
    Greece
    Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

    , Crete
    Crete
    Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

    , and Rome
    Rome
    Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

    . His letters are full of expositions of what Christians should believe and how they should live. He does not tell his correspondents (or the modern reader) much about the life of Jesus; his most explicit references are to the Last Supper
    Last Supper
    The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

    and the crucifixion and resurrection
    Death and Resurrection of Jesus
    The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

    . His specific references to Jesus' teaching are likewise sparse, raising the question, still disputed, as to how consistent his account of the faith
    Pauline Christianity
    Pauline Christianity is a term used to refer to the Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul of Tarsus through his writings. Most of orthodox Christianity relies heavily on these teachings and considers them to be amplifications and explanations of the teachings of...

     is with that of the four canonical Gospels, Acts, and the Epistle of James
    Epistle of James
    The Epistle of James, usually referred to simply as James, is a book in the New Testament. The author identifies himself as "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ", with "the earliest extant manuscripts of James usually dated to mid-to-late third century."There are four views...

    . The view that Paul's Christ is very different from the historical Jesus
    Historical Jesus
    The term historical Jesus refers to scholarly reconstructions of the 1st-century figure Jesus of Nazareth. These reconstructions are based upon historical methods including critical analysis of gospel texts as the primary source for his biography, along with consideration of the historical and...

     has been expounded by Adolf Harnack among many others. Nevertheless, he provides the first written account of what it is to be a Christian and thus of Christian spirituality.

    Of the fourteen letters attributed to Paul and included in the Western New Testament canon, there is little or no dispute that Paul actually wrote at least seven, those being Romans
    Epistle to the Romans
    The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, often shortened to Romans, is the sixth book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by the Apostle Paul to explain that Salvation is offered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ...

    , First Corinthians, Second Corinthians, Galatians
    Epistle to the Galatians
    The Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, often shortened to Galatians, is the ninth book of the New Testament. It is a letter from Paul of Tarsus to a number of Early Christian communities in the Roman province of Galatia in central Anatolia...

    , Philippians, First Thessalonians, and Philemon
    Epistle to Philemon
    Paul's Epistle to Philemon, usually referred to simply as Philemon, is a prison letter to Philemon from Paul of Tarsus. Philemon was a leader in the Colossian church. This letter, which is one of the books of the New Testament, deals with forgiveness.Philemon was a wealthy Christian of the house...

    . Hebrews (no relation to the Gospel according to the Hebrews), which was ascribed to him in antiquity, was questioned even then, never having an ancient attribution, and in modern times is considered by most experts as not by Paul (see also Antilegomena
    Antilegomena
    Antilegomena, a direct transliteration from the Greek , refers to written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed.Eusebius in his Church History written c. 325 used the term for those Christian scriptures that were "disputed" or literally those works which were "spoken against" in Early...

    ). The authorship of the remaining six Pauline epistles is disputed to varying degrees.

    The authenticity of Colossians has been questioned on the grounds that it contains an otherwise unparalleled description (among his writings) of Jesus as 'the image of the invisible God,' a Christology
    Christology
    Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

     found elsewhere only in John's gospel. On the other hand, the personal notes in the letter connect it to Philemon, unquestionably the work of Paul. Internal evidence shows close connection with Philippians. Ephesians is a very similar letter to Colossians, but is almost entirely lacking in personal reminiscences. Its style is unique. It lacks the emphasis on the cross to be found in other Pauline writings, reference to the Second Coming
    Second Coming
    In Christian doctrine, the Second Coming of Christ, the Second Advent, or the Parousia, is the anticipated return of Jesus Christ from Heaven, where he sits at the Right Hand of God, to Earth. This prophecy is found in the canonical gospels and in most Christian and Islamic eschatologies...

     is missing, and Christian marriage
    Christian views of marriage
    Christian views on marriage typically regard it as instituted and ordained by God for the lifelong relationship between one man as husband and one woman as wife, and is to be "held in honour among all...."...

     is exalted in a way which contrasts with the reference in . Finally, according to R.E. Brown
    Raymond E. Brown
    The Reverend Raymond Edward Brown, S.S. , was an American Roman Catholic priest, a member of the Sulpician Fathers and a major Biblical scholar of his era...

    , it exalts the Church in a way suggestive of a second generation of Christians, 'built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets' now past. The defenders of its Pauline authorship argue that it was intended to be read by a number of different churches and that it marks the final stage of the development of Paul of Tarsus's thinking. It has to be noted, too, that the moral portion of the Epistle, consisting of the last two chapters has the closest affinity with similar portions of other Epistles, while the whole admirably fits in with the known details of St. Paul's life, and throws considerable light upon them.



    The Pastoral Epistles
    Pastoral epistles
    The three pastoral epistles are books of the canonical New Testament: the First Epistle to Timothy the Second Epistle to Timothy , and the Epistle to Titus. They are presented as letters from Paul of Tarsus...

    , 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus have likewise been put in question as Pauline works. Three main reasons are advanced: first, their difference in vocabulary, style, and theology
    Christian theology
    - Divisions of Christian theology :There are many methods of categorizing different approaches to Christian theology. For a historical analysis, see the main article on the History of Christian theology.- Sub-disciplines :...

     from Paul's acknowledged writings;
    Defenders of the authenticity note, that they were then probably written in the name and with the authority of the Apostle by one of his companions, to whom he distinctly explained what had to be written, or to whom he gave a written summary of the points to be developed, and that when the letters were finished, St. Paul read them through, approved them, and signed them.
    Secondly, the difficulty in fitting them into Paul's biography as we have it. They, like Colossians and Ephesians, were written from prison but suppose Paul's release and travel thereafter.
    However, Christianity was not yet declared a religio illicita at the time they were written, and according to Roman law there was nothing deserving of death against him.
    Finally, the concerns expressed are very much the practical ones as to how a church should function. They are more about maintenance than about mission.

    2 Thessalonians, like Colossians, is questioned on stylistic grounds, with some noting, among other peculiarities, a dependence on 1 Thessalonians yet a distinctiveness in language from the Pauline corpus. This, again, is explainable by the possibility of St. Paul requesting one of his companions to write the letter for him under his instructions.

    Atonement



    Paul wrote down much of the theology of atonement. Paul taught that Christians are redeemed from the Law (see Supersessionism
    Supersessionism
    Supersessionism is a term for the dominant Christian view of the Old Covenant, also called fulfillment theology and replacement theology, though the latter term is disputed...

    ) and from sin by Jesus' death and resurrection. His death was an expiation; as well as a propitiation, and by Christ's blood, peace is made between God and man. By baptism
    Baptism
    In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

    , a Christian shares in Jesus' death and in his victory over death, gaining, as a free gift, a new, justified status of sonship.

    Relationship with Judaism



    Some scholars see Paul (or Saul) as completely in line with 1st-century Judaism (a "Pharisee" and student of Gamaliel
    Gamaliel
    Gamaliel the Elder , or Rabban Gamaliel I , was a leading authority in the Sanhedrin in the mid 1st century CE. He was the grandson of the great Jewish teacher Hillel the Elder, and died twenty years before the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem...

    ), others see him as opposed to 1st-century Judaism (see Marcionism
    Marcionism
    Marcionism was an Early Christian dualist belief system that originated in the teachings of Marcion of Sinope at Rome around the year 144; see also Christianity in the 2nd century....

    ), while still others see him as somewhere in between these two extremes, opposed to "Ritual Laws" (see for example Circumcision controversy in early Christianity
    Circumcision controversy in early Christianity
    There is evidence of a controversy over religious male circumcision in Early Christianity. A Council of Jerusalem, possibly held in approximately 50 AD, decreed that male circumcision was not a requirement for Gentile converts. This became known as the "Apostolic Decree" and may be one of the...

    ) but in full agreement on "Divine Law
    Divine law
    Divine law is any law that in the opinion of believers, comes directly from the will of God . Like natural law it is independent of the will of man, who cannot change it. However it may be revealed or not, so it may change in human perception in time through new revelation...

    ". These views of Paul are paralleled by the views of Biblical law in Christianity
    Biblical law in Christianity
    Christian views of the Old Covenant have been central to Christian theology and practice since the circumcision controversy in Early Christianity. There are differing views about the applicability of the Old Covenant among Christian denominations...

    . In light of these findings, it should also be noted, that while Jesus Christ made clear by his advocacy for mercy instead of sacrifice ( as relates to animals in the temple, and his eventual crucifixion ) thereby championing the rights of animals, that Paul himself would later indicate that those that will not eat meat , were 'weak in faith' , thereby further alienating himself from the historic Jesus and his followers, and their beliefs.

    Paul's theology of the gospel accelerated the separation of the messianic sect of Christians from Judaism, a development contrary to Paul's own intent. He wrote that the faith of Christ was alone decisive in salvation
    Salvation
    Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

     for Jews and Gentiles alike, making the schism between the followers of Christ and mainstream Jews inevitable and permanent. He argued that Gentile converts did not need to become Jews, get circumcised
    Circumcision controversy in early Christianity
    There is evidence of a controversy over religious male circumcision in Early Christianity. A Council of Jerusalem, possibly held in approximately 50 AD, decreed that male circumcision was not a requirement for Gentile converts. This became known as the "Apostolic Decree" and may be one of the...

    , follow Jewish dietary restrictions, or otherwise observe Mosaic laws
    Abrogation of Old Covenant laws
    While many Christian theology systems reflect the view that at least some Mosaic laws have been set aside under the New Covenant, there are some theology systems that view the entire Mosaic or Old Covenant as abrogated in that all of the Mosaic laws are set aside for the Law of Christ...

    . Nevertheless, in Romans he insisted on the positive value of the Law, as a moral guide.

    E. P. Sanders
    E. P. Sanders
    Ed Parish Sanders is a New Testament scholar, and is one of the principal proponents of the New Perspective on Paul. He has been Arts and Sciences Professor of Religion at Duke University, North Carolina, since 1990. He retired in 2005....

    ' publications have since been taken up by Professor James Dunn
    James Dunn (theologian)
    James D. G. Dunn was for many years the Lightfoot Professor of Divinity in the Department of Theology at the University of Durham. Since his retirement he has been made Emeritus Lightfoot Professor. He is a leading British New Testament scholar, broadly in the Protestant tradition. Dunn is...

     who coined the phrase "The New Perspective on Paul
    New Perspective on Paul
    The "New Perspective on Paul" is a significant shift in the way some scholars, especially Protestant scholars, interpret the writings of the Apostle Paul.-Description:Since the Protestant Reformation The "New Perspective on Paul" is a significant shift in the way some scholars, especially...

    " and N.T. Wright, the Anglican Bishop of Durham. Wright, noting a difference between Galatians and Romans, the latter being much more positive about the continuing covenant between God and his ancient people than the former, contends that works are not insignificant but rather proof of attaining the redemption of Jesus Christ by grace (free gift received by faith) and that Paul distinguishes between works which are signs of ethnic identity and those which are a sign of obedience to Christ.

    World to come



    According to Ehrman, Paul believed that Jesus would return within his lifetime. He states that Paul expected that Christians who had died in the mean time would be resurrected
    Resurrection of the dead
    Resurrection of the Dead is a belief found in a number of eschatologies, most commonly in Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian. In general, the phrase refers to a specific event in the future; multiple prophesies in the histories of these religions assert that the dead will be brought back to...

     to share in God's kingdom
    Kingdom of God
    The Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven is a foundational concept in the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.The term "Kingdom of God" is found in all four canonical gospels and in the Pauline epistles...

    , and he believed that the saved would be transformed, assuming supernatural bodies.

    Paul's teaching about the end of the world is expressed most clearly in his letters to the Christians at Thessalonica. Heavily persecuted, it appears that they had written asking him first about those who had died already, and, secondly, when they should expect the end. He assures them that the dead will rise first
    Resurrection of the dead
    Resurrection of the Dead is a belief found in a number of eschatologies, most commonly in Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian. In general, the phrase refers to a specific event in the future; multiple prophesies in the histories of these religions assert that the dead will be brought back to...

     and be followed by those left alive. This suggests an imminence of the end but he is unspecific about times and seasons, and encourages his hearers to expect a delay. The form of the end will be a battle between Jesus and the man of lawlessness
    Man of Sin
    The Man of Sin or Man of Lawlessness is a figure referred to in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, who is usually equated with the Antichrist.-Second Thessalonians, Chapter Two:...

    whose conclusion is the triumph of Christ.

    Role of women



    A verse in the first letter to Timothy, 1 Timothy 2:12 ("I suffer not a woman")
    1 Timothy 2:12 ("I suffer not a woman")
    1 Timothy 2:12 is a passage from the first letter, I Timothy, of the pastoral epistles in the New Testament. The excerpt is typically raised in opposition to women being ordained as clergy and holding certain other positions of ministry and leadership in Christianity...

    , traditionally attributed to Paul, is often used as the main biblical authority for prohibiting women from becoming ordained clergy and or holding certain other positions of ministry and leadership in Christianity
    Christianity
    Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

    , though Paul's authorship of this letter is debated. The Letter to Timothy is also often used by many churches to deny women a vote in church affairs, reject women from serving as teachers of adult Bible classes, prevent them from serving as missionaries, and generally disenfranchise women from the duties and privileges of church leadership.
    The KJV translation of this passage seems to be saying that women in the churches are to have no leadership roles vis-à-vis men. Whether it also forbids women from teaching children and women is dubious as even those Catholic churches that prohibit female priests, permit female abbesses to teach and exercise authority over other females. Any interpretation of this portion of Scripture must wrestle with the theological, contextual, syntactical, and lexical difficulties embedded within these few words. Fuller Seminary
    Fuller Theological Seminary
    Fuller Theological Seminary is an accredited Christian educational institute with its main campus in Pasadena, California and several satellite campuses in the western United States...

     theologian J. R. Daniel Kirk finds evidence in Paul’s letters of a much more inclusive view of women. He writes that is a tremendously important witness to the important role of women in the early church. Paul praises Phoebe for her work as a deaconess
    Deaconess
    Deaconess is a non-clerical order in some Christian denominations which sees to the care of women in the community. That word comes from a Greek word diakonos as well as deacon, which means a servant or helper and occurs frequently in the Christian New Testament of the Bible. Deaconesses trace...

     and Junia
    Junia
    Junia or Junias was a 1st century Christian highly regarded and complimented by the apostle Paul: Paul describes Junia as kinsmen, fellow prisoners, and as being "in Christ" before Paul's dramatic Damascus road conversion...

     who was (according to some scholars) an Apostle
    Apostle (Christian)
    The term apostle is derived from Classical Greek ἀπόστολος , meaning one who is sent away, from στέλλω + από . The literal meaning in English is therefore an "emissary", from the Latin mitto + ex...

    . Kirk points to recent studies that have led "many scholars" to conclude that the passage in ordering women to "be silent" during worship was a later addition, apparently by a different author, and not part of Paul’s original letter to the Corinthians. Other scholars such as Giancarlo Biguzzi, claim that Paul's restriction on women speaking in is genuine to Paul but applies to a particular case of prohibiting asking questions or chatting and is not a general prohibition on any woman speaking since in Paul affirms the right of women to prophesy.
    Kirk's third example of a more inclusive view is : "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (italics added). In pronouncing an end within the church to the divisions which are common in the world around it, he concludes by highlighting the fact that "...there were New Testament
    New Testament
    The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

     women who taught and had authority in the early churches, that this teaching and authority was sanctioned by Paul, and that Paul himself offers a theological paradigm within which overcoming the subjugation of women is an anticipated outcome."

    Homosexuality



    All three of the verses in the New Testament that purportedly contain explicit references to homosexuality are contained within letters attributed to Paul : it is argued that his statements condemn homosexuals and homosexual behavior. Porneia appears a number of times in Paul's letters, always with arsenokoitais. Yale University
    Yale University
    Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

     professor John Boswell argues in his book "Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality" that 'arsenokoitai' in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 refers specifically to male prostitution; various conservative writers have presented countering arguments.

    Influence on Christianity


    Paul's influence on Christian thinking arguably has been more significant than any other New Testament author. Paul declared that faith in Christ made the Torah unnecessary for salvation
    Abrogation of Old Covenant laws
    While many Christian theology systems reflect the view that at least some Mosaic laws have been set aside under the New Covenant, there are some theology systems that view the entire Mosaic or Old Covenant as abrogated in that all of the Mosaic laws are set aside for the Law of Christ...

    , exalted the Christian church as the body of Christ, and depicted the world outside the Church as under judgment.

    Lord's Supper


    Paul's writings include the earliest reference to the supper of the Lord, a rite traditionally identified as the Christian Eucharist
    Eucharist
    The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

    .

    Eastern tradition


    In the East, church fathers reduced the element of election in Romans 9 to divine foreknowledge. The themes of predestination
    Predestination
    Predestination, in theology is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others...

     found in Western Christianity do not appear in Eastern theology.

    Western tradition


    Augustine's foundational work on the gospel as a gift (grace), on morality as life in the Spirit, on predestination, and on original sin all derives from Paul, especially Romans.

    In the Reformation, Martin Luther expressed Paul's doctrine of faith most strongly as justification by faith alone
    Sola fide
    Sola fide , also historically known as the doctrine of justification by faith alone, is a Christian theological doctrine that distinguishes most Protestant denominations from Catholicism, Eastern Christianity, and some in the Restoration Movement.The doctrine of sola fide or "by faith alone"...

    . John Calvin developed Augustine's predestination into double predestination.

    Modern theology


    In his commentary The Epistle to the Romans (Ger. Der Römerbrief; particularly in the thoroughly re-written second edition of 1922) Karl Barth
    Karl Barth
    Karl Barth was a Swiss Reformed theologian whom critics hold to be among the most important Christian thinkers of the 20th century; Pope Pius XII described him as the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas...

     argued that the God who is revealed in the cross of Jesus challenges and overthrows any attempt to ally God with human cultures, achievements, or possessions. Some theologians believe this work to be the most important theological treatise since Friedrich Schleiermacher's On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers.

    As in the Eastern tradition in general, Western humanists interpret the reference to election in Romans 9 as reflecting divine foreknowledge.

    Church tradition



    Various Christian writers have suggested more details about Paul's life.

    1 Clement, a letter written by the Roman bishop Clement of Rome, around the year 90 reports this about Paul:

    "By reason of jealousy and strife Paul by his example pointed out the
    prize of patient endurance. After that he had been seven times in
    bonds, had been driven into exile, had been stoned, had preached in
    the East and in the West, he won the noble renown which was the
    reward of his faith, having taught righteousness unto the whole world and having reached
    the farthest bounds of the West; and when he had borne his testimony
    before the rulers, so he departed from the world and went unto the
    holy place, having been found a notable pattern of patient endurance."
    Commenting on this passage, Raymond Brown
    Raymond E. Brown
    The Reverend Raymond Edward Brown, S.S. , was an American Roman Catholic priest, a member of the Sulpician Fathers and a major Biblical scholar of his era...

     writes that while it "does not explicitly say" that Paul was martyred in Rome, "such a martyrdom is the most reasonable interpretation."
    Eusebius of Caesarea
    Eusebius of Caesarea
    Eusebius of Caesarea also called Eusebius Pamphili, was a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist. He became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine about the year 314. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon...

    , who wrote in the 4th century, states that Paul was beheaded in the reign of the Roman Emperor
    Roman Emperor
    The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

     Nero
    Nero
    Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

    . This event has been dated either to the year 64, when Rome was devastated by a fire, or a few years later, to 67. The San Paolo alle Tre Fontane
    San Paolo alle Tre Fontane
    San Paolo alle Tre Fontane , in English, St Paul at the Three Fountains is a church dedicated to St Paul the Apostle, at the presumed site of his martyrdom in Rome...

     church was built on the location where the execution was believed to have taken place. A Roman Catholic liturgical
    Liturgy
    Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

     solemnity of Peter and Paul
    Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
    The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, or the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, is a liturgical feast in honour of the martyrdom in Rome of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, which is observed on 29 June...

    , celebrated on June 29, may reflect the day of his martyrdom, other sources have articulated the tradition that Peter and Paul died on the same day (and possibly the same year). The apocryphal Acts of Paul, the apocryphal Acts of Peter suggest that Paul survived Rome and traveled further west. Some hold the view that he could have revisited Greece and Asia Minor after his trip to Spain, and might then have been arrested in Troas, and taken to Rome and executed. A tradition holds that Paul was interred with Saint Peter ad Catacumbas by the via Appia
    Appian Way
    The Appian Way was one of the earliest and strategically most important Roman roads of the ancient republic. It connected Rome to Brindisi, Apulia, in southeast Italy...

     until moved to what is now the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls
    Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls
    The Papal Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls , commonly known as St Paul's Outside the Walls, is one of four churches that are the great ancient major basilicas or papal basilicas of Rome: the basilicas of St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, and St. Peter's and Saint Paul Outside the Walls...

     in Rome. Bede
    Bede
    Bede , also referred to as Saint Bede or the Venerable Bede , was a monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth, today part of Sunderland, England, and of its companion monastery, Saint Paul's, in modern Jarrow , both in the Kingdom of Northumbria...

    , in his Ecclesiastical History
    Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum
    The Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum is a work in Latin by Bede on the history of the Christian Churches in England, and of England generally; its main focus is on the conflict between Roman and Celtic Christianity.It is considered to be one of the most important original references on...

    , writes that Pope Vitalian
    Pope Vitalian
    Pope Saint Vitalianus was Pope of the Catholic Church from July 30, 657, until January 27, 672.He was born in Segni, Lazio, the son of Anastasius.-Reign:...

     in 665 gave Paul's relics (including a cross made from his prison chains) from the crypts of Lucina to King Oswy of Northumbria, northern Britain. However, Bede's use of the word "relic" was not limited to corporal remains.

    Paul, who was quite possibly martyred in Rome
    Rome
    Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

    , has long been associated with that city and its church. Paul is the patron saint of London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

    .

    Critical views



    Elaine Pagels
    Elaine Pagels
    Elaine Pagels, née Hiesey , is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, she is best known for her studies and writing on the Gnostic Gospels...

    , professor of religion at Princeton University
    Princeton University
    Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

     and an authority on Gnosticism
    Gnosticism
    Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

    , argues that Paul was a Gnostic and that the anti-Gnostic Pastoral Epistles were "pseudo-Pauline" forgeries written to rebut this.

    British Jewish scholar Hyam Maccoby
    Hyam Maccoby
    Hyam Maccoby was a British Jewish scholar and dramatist specializing in the study of the Jewish and Christian religious tradition. His grandfather and namesake was Rabbi Hyam Maccoby , better known as the "Kamenitzer Maggid," a passionate religious Zionist and advocate of vegetarianism and animal...

     contended that the Paul as described in the Book of Acts and the view of Paul gleaned from his own writings are very different people. Some difficulties have been noted in the account of his life. Paul as described in the Book of Acts is much more interested in factual history, less in theology; ideas such as justification by faith are absent as are references to the Spirit, according to Maccoby. He also pointed out that there are no references to John the Baptist
    John the Baptist
    John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

     in the Pauline Epistles
    Pauline epistles
    The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

    , although Paul mentions him several times in the Book of Acts.

    Others have objected that the language of the speeches is too Lukan in style to reflect anyone else's words. Moreover, George Shillington writes that the author of Acts most likely created the speeches accordingly and they bear his literary and theological marks. Conversely, Howard Marshall writes that the speeches were not entirely the inventions of the author and while they may not be accurate word-for-word, the author nevertheless records the general idea of them.

    F. C. Baur
    Ferdinand Christian Baur
    Ferdinand Christian Baur was a German theologian and leader of the Tübingen school of theology...

     (1792–1860), professor of theology at Tübingen in Germany, the first scholar to critique Acts and the Pauline Epistles, and founder of the Tübingen School of theology, argued that Paul, as the "Apostle to the Gentiles", was in violent opposition to the original 12 Apostles. Baur considers the Acts of the Apostles were late and unreliable. This debate has continued ever since, with Adolf Deissmann (1866–1937) and Richard Reitzenstein (1861–1931) emphasising Paul's Greek inheritance and Albert Schweitzer
    Albert Schweitzer
    Albert Schweitzer OM was a German theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary. He was born in Kaysersberg in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, at that time part of the German Empire...

     stressing his dependence on Judaism.

    Maccoby theorized that Paul synthesized Judaism, Gnosticism, and mysticism to create Christianity as a cosmic savior religion. According to Maccoby, Paul's Pharisaism was his own invention, though actually he was probably associated with the Sadducees. Maccoby attributed the origins of Christian anti-Semitism
    Anti-Semitism
    Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

     to Paul and claims that Paul's view of women, though inconsistent, reflects his Gnosticism in its misogynist aspects.

    Professor Robert Eisenman
    Robert Eisenman
    Robert Eisenman is an American Biblical scholar, theoretical writer, historian, archaeologist, and "road" poet. He is currently Professor of Middle East Religions, Archaeology, and Islamic Law and director of the Institute for the Study of...

     of California State University, Long Beach
    California State University, Long Beach
    California State University, Long Beach is the second largest campus of the California State University system and the third largest university in the state of California by enrollment...

     argues that Paul was a member of the family of Herod the Great
    Herodians
    The Herodians were a sect or party mentioned in the New Testament as having on two occasions — once in Galilee, and again in Jerusalem — manifested an unfriendly disposition towards Jesus .In each of these cases their name is coupled with that of the Pharisees...

    . Professor Eisenman makes a connection between Paul and an individual identified by Josephus as "Saulus," a "kinsman of Agrippa." Another oft-cited element of the case for Paul as a member of Herod's family is found in where Paul writes, "Greet Herodion, my kinsman."

    Among the critics of Paul the Apostle was Thomas Jefferson
    Thomas Jefferson
    Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

     who wrote that Paul was the "first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus." Christians anarchists
    Christian anarchism
    Christian anarchism is a movement in political theology that combines anarchism and Christianity. It is the belief that there is only one source of authority to which Christians are ultimately answerable, the authority of God as embodied in the teachings of Jesus...

    , such as Leo Tolstoy
    Leo Tolstoy
    Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist...

     and Ammon Hennacy
    Ammon Hennacy
    Ammon Ashford Hennacy was an Irish American pacifist, Christian anarchist, social activist, member of the Catholic Worker Movement and a Wobbly...

    , take a similar view.

    F.F. Powell argues that Paul, in his epistles, made use of many of the ideas of the Greek philosopher Plato
    Plato
    Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

    , sometimes even using the same metaphors and language. For example, in Phaedrus, Plato has Socrates
    Socrates
    Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

     saying that the heavenly ideals are perceived as though "through a glass dimly." These words are echoed by Paul in . Howard Brenton
    Howard Brenton
    -Early years:Brenton was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, son of Methodist minister Donald Henry Brenton and his wife Rose Lilian . He was educated at Chichester High School For Boys and read English Literature at St Catharine's College, Cambridge. In 1964 he was awarded the Chancellor's Gold Medal...

    's 2005 play "Paul
    Paul (play)
    Paul is a 2005 play by Howard Brenton, which portrays the life and career of Paul the Apostle. It was first performed in the Cottesloe auditorium of the National Theatre, London from 30 September 2005 – 4 February 2006, in modern dress....

    " takes a skeptical view of his conversion.

    See also



    • Achaichus
      Achaichus
      Achaichus was one of the members of the church of Corinth who, with Fortunatus and Stephanas, visited Paul while he was at Ephesus, for the purpose of consulting him on the affairs of the church . These three were likely the bearers of the letter from Corinth to the apostle as mentioned in ....

    • Conversion of Paul
      Conversion of Paul
      The Conversion of Paul the Apostle, as depicted in the Christian Bible, refers to an event reported to have taken place in the life of Paul of Tarsus which led him to cease persecuting early Christians and to himself become a follower of Jesus; it is normally dated by researchers to AD 33–36...

    • New Covenant
      New Covenant
      The New Covenant is a concept originally derived from the Hebrew Bible. The term "New Covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment...

    • Old Testament: Christian views of the Law
    • Paul of Tarsus and Judaism
      Paul of Tarsus and Judaism
      The relationship between Paul of Tarsus and Second Temple Judaism continues to be the subject of much scholarly research, as it is thought that Paul played an important role in the relationship between Christianity and Judaism as a whole...

    • Pauline Christianity
      Pauline Christianity
      Pauline Christianity is a term used to refer to the Christianity associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul of Tarsus through his writings. Most of orthodox Christianity relies heavily on these teachings and considers them to be amplifications and explanations of the teachings of...

    • Pauline Epistles
      Pauline epistles
      The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

    • Persecution of Christians in the New Testament
      Persecution of Christians in the New Testament
      The persecution of Christians in the New Testament is an important part of the Early Christian narrative which depicts the early Church as being persecuted for their heterodox beliefs by an alleged "Jewish establishment" in what was then Roman occupied Iudaea province.The New Testament, especially...

    • Persecution of religion in ancient Rome
    • Peter and Paul
      Peter and Paul
      Peter and Paul is a 1981 film starring Anthony Hopkins as Paul of Tarsus and Robert Foxworth as Peter the Fisherman, David Gwillim as Mark and Jon Finch as Luke. It was directed by Robert Day. The film mostly shows the works of Paul, beginning with his being struck down and converted by the Lord...

    • St. Paul's Cathedral


    External links