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The Apostle Paul's Background - Admission/Application Essay Example

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The paper "The Apostle Paul's Background" highlights that Hellenism, Roman citizenship, and an orthodox Jewish upbringing in the Pharisaic branch of Judaism are all important facets of Paul’s background. It is possible to find evidence for the influence of all three of his writings…
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The Apostle Pauls Background
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Download file to see previous pages Paul himself speaks and gives information on his origins. When he was accused of being an Egyptian and causing an uproar, he spoke Greek and said: “I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city” (Acts 22:39). A little later he gets into more trouble with the Roman authorities and in order to avoid punishment and interrogation he speaks to a centurion saying “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman and uncondemned”. (Acts 23:25) It is clear from these brief passages in the book of Acts that the identity of this man Saul, or Paul as he preferred to call himself, is a complex one indeed. He claims to from a non-Jewish city called Tarsus, and a Roman citizen, and also a Jew. This paper will explore each of these in turn and try to establish which, if any, of these three major influences, the Tarsian, the Roman or the Jewish, is the most important factor in the background of Saul, who later became Paul the apostle.
The birthplace of Paul was a city of some half a million people, and he is right when he says it is “no mean city”. Covering some ten square miles in a prime spot at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, it was a busy harbour town and center of trade, and a favourite holiday spot for worldly Romans who could afford to travel there.2 Tarsus was an important port about 10.2 miles up the river Cyndus from the southern coast of what is modern-day Turkey and it had a long and illustrious history, even before the time of Paul. Alexander the Great (d. 323 B.C.) had taken it over during one of his expansionist campaigns and it was granted the privileged status of a city-state in the Greek empire in 170 B.C. The city may well have enjoyed its connections with the Greek centres of learning and power, but it is important to remember that even in this early period the Greek domains were extremely varied in their history and worldviews. Walbank3 argues that the Hellenistic influence in the period of Alexander the Great spread very fast into Asia Minor but in some places, it had much more of an effect on the local cultures and practices than in others. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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