Saul of Tarsus – a witness for Jesus?
One is informed by Acts that St Paul's early
day stance was as "Saul, the Christian persecutor".
Yet if Saul really was a vigilante for
orthodox Judaism at the time of Stephen's stoning (Acts 7.58-8.3),
becoming the chief persecutor of Christians, no less – one
wonders just where was Saul, not long before, when a supposed radical
rabbi called Jesus was stirring up whole towns and villages?
Paul's role as religious policeman seems not to have
awakened until shortly after the godman's
death. But in itself this suggests Jesus of Nazareth had no great
impact. After all, Saul was a contemporary of
Jesus in time and place, raised in Jerusalem ("at the feet
of Gamaliel" – Acts 22.3) at precisely the time the
godman was overturning moneychangers in the Temple and generally
provoking Pharisees and Sadducees.
Would not Saul, a young religious hothead ("exceedingly
zealous of the traditions" – Galatians 1.14)
have waded into those multitudes to heckle and attack the Nazarene
himself? Would he not have been an enthusiastic witness to JC's
blasphemy before the Sanhedrin? And where was Saul during "passion
week", surely in Jerusalem with the other zealots celebrating
the holiest of festivals? And yet he reports not a word of the
Paul, another "witness for Jesus", saw
and heard nothing!
Two Pauls – One Illusion
The trail-blazing Christian missionary and apostle,
St Paul, appears nowhere in the secular histories of his age (not
in Tacitus, not in Pliny, not in Josephus, etc.) Though Paul,
we are told, mingled in the company of provincial governors and
had audiences before kings and emperors, no scribe thought it worthwhile
to record these events. The popular image of the saint is selectively
crafted from two sources: the Book of Acts and the Epistles which
bear his name. Yet the two sources actually present two radically
different individuals and two wildly divergent stories. Biblical
scholars are only too familiar with the conundrum that chunks of
Paul's own story, gleaned from the epistles, are incompatible with
the tale recorded in Acts but live with the "divine mystery" of
it all. Perish
the thought that they might recognize the whole saga is a work
of pious fiction.
The Paul of Acts is a team
player. His conversion on the road to Damascus is so important
that it is repeated three times (son et
From a previous state of error (as "Saul", the persecuting
Jewish zealot) he is brought into the loving embrace of the fledgling
Now part of the brethren ("with them coming
in and going out at Jerusalem" - 9.28), he is "managed" by
the elders. Disciples "took him" from Damascus (9.25)
and Barnabas "brought him" to the apostles (9.27). They "brought
him" to Caesarea and then they "sent him" to Tarsus.
Barnabas "brought" Paul back to Antioch (11.26) and then
with him was "sent" to Jerusalem with famine relief (11.30) – (as
it happens, a visit to Jerusalem completely unknown to Paul himself).
Eventually the brethren "send" Paul on
his first missionary journey (13.4). As a missionary, Paul is very
much on the collective message:
"And as they went through the cities
they delivered them the decrees for to keep
that were ordained of the apostles and elders which
were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established." – Acts
From Thessalonica, Paul is "sent away" to
Berea by the brethren (17.10). He is also "sent away" by
sea and "brought" to Athens (17.14,15). In Cenchrea,
Paul even takes a Jewish vow and shaves his head! (18.18).
Though his name is cited in Acts 177 times, "Paul" is
never coupled with the familiar honorific "apostle".
The closest Acts comes to bestowing the title is 14.14 where his
name follows Barnabas and the plural is used. In every other instance,
Paul is an entity quite separate from, and implicitly subordinate
to, the apostles. The slight is striking, given that Acts was supposedly
written by Luke, Paul's companion and admirer.
In stark contrast, the Paul of the Epistles is
a bombastic maverick, representing no one but himself and under
no one's direction. It is Paul who is doing the directing. Full
of his own importance, in all his letters Paul hammers home the
point that he is an apostle and that
his appointment comes directly from the divine. His "proof" of
this is his own success as a missionary (e.g.
2 Corinthians 2,3) – an argument of dubious merit still used
by churches today. Look at our success! We must be right!
Paul makes no reference to a "Damascene road"
conversion nor to an origin in Tarsus (Jerome reported
that Paul was from Galilee!). He makes no reference to Cyprus
and the battle with a rival magician, nor does he refer to the
edict from James on food prohibitions and fornication. Paul, it
seems, owes nothing to any man. A bad-tempered bully, he wastes
little sympathy on those who do not accept his point of view. Thus
when he loses the support of Peter and Barnabas over eating with
Gentiles, Paul rebukes Peter publicly and writes that he has reneged
out of "fear" and Barnabas has been naively "carried
away" (Galatians 2.12,13).
The Implausible Paul
It is curious that no Jewish rabbinic writings of
the 1st or 2nd century so much as mention a renegade student
of Gamaliel who, having studied under the master and vigorously
enforced orthodoxy on behalf of the high priests, experienced a
life-changing vision on an away mission. Not a word emerges from
the rabbis about the star pupil who "went bad", a heretic
who scrapped the prohibitions of the Sabbath, urged his followers
to disregarded Judaism's irksome dietary regulations, and pronounced
the Law and circumcision obsolete. Surely such a renegade could
not have completely escaped the attention of the scribes?
How likely is it that Paul really studied
under the Pharisaic grandee (Acts 22.3)? Paul clearly had difficulty
with the Hebrew language: all his scriptural references are taken
from the Greek translation of Jewish
scripture, the Septuagint.
How likely is it that,
as a young man, Paul – supposedly a Roman citizen and
from the Hellenised diaspora – even got the job as chief
policeman of the ultra-orthodox of Jerusalem?
And if Paul really had secured such a
position, he surely would have had far bigger fish to fry than
a miniscule "Jesus group" in Damascus. We are told in Acts that
the apostles continued to preach in Jerusalem even after the death
of Stephen ("They all scattered abroad ... except
the apostles." – Acts 8.1,2). So why didn't
Paul go for the ringleaders, closer to hand?
"Nothing in his letters suggests that
Paul had any official standing in his treatment of Christians
... Hence, in opposition to what Luke says, he could not have
used arrest, torture or imprisonment as a means of forcing
Christians to recognize that they had been misled." – Murphy
O'Connor, Paul, His History, p19.
Given that the Jewish High Council (the Sanhedrin)
had no authority to empower a heresy hunter to operate
in the independent city of Damascus, Paul's road trip is even more
|Where DID they get
their ideas from?
earthquake – likely to do rather more
than "loosen shackles and open doors".
|Josephus was himself betrayed
by 'John', chose an ally named 'Silas', and made a miraculous escape!
when John [of Gichala] was come
to the city of Tiberias, he persuaded the men
to revolt from their fidelity to me ...
A messenger had come to me
from Silas, whom I had made governor
of Tiberias ...
Upon the receipt of this letter
of Silas, I took two hundred men along with
me, and traveled all night ...
Having dismissed the guards I
had about me, excepting one, and ten armed
men that were with him,
I attempted to make
a speech to the multitude ... But
before I had spoken ... to provide for my
own safety, and escape my enemies there
[I was] carried upon the back
of one Herod of Tiberias, and guided by him
down to the lake, where I seized a ship, and
got into it, and escaped my enemies unexpectedly,
and came to Tarichese."
– Josephus, Life 17
Paul thought not good to take John with
them, who departed from them from Pamphylia ...
And Paul chose Silas,
and departed, being recommended by the brethren
unto the grace of God.– Acts 15.38,40
" And at midnight Paul
and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God:
and the prisoners heard them.
And suddenly there was a great
earthquake, so that the foundations
of the prison were shaken: and immediately all
the doors were opened, and every
one's bands were loosed.
And the keeper of the prison
awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison
doors open, he drew out his sword, and would
have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners
had been fled.
But Paul cried with
a loud voice, saying, Do thyself
no harm: for we are all here. Then he called
for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling,
and fell down before Paul and Silas".
– Acts 16.25,29
How likely is it that Saul/Paul
converted within a year or two of the crucifixion (Irenaeus says
eighteen months)? If he truly was a precocious zealot of Judaism
and was completely untouched by the perambulations and miraculous
deeds of the godman himself – short of the supposed blinding "miracle" – why
would he, of all people, so readily embrace the heresy? The four
Gospels neither mention nor even hint at a pioneering apostle called
There is also a curious parallel between the alleged "persecution" speech
spoken by the celestial Christ to the blinded Paul ("Saul,
Saul ... ") and the persecution of Dionysius found
in Euripides work "the Bacchae" – and
both use the word "goads".
If Paul (Saul) really had
apostatised to the extent of joining (or establishing) a radical
new sect, how is it the rabbis did not anathematize his name? To
be sure, Jewish Christians (Ebionites) did condemn
Paul and did so in the harshest terms – even suggesting
that in reality he had been a malcontented Greek convert, whose
ardour had been rejected by the High Priest's daughter! (Epiphanius, Panarion, 16).
But that was in the 2nd century, long after any life and death
of the apostle.
The "persecution" of the early church seems
an extraordinarily unlikely construct because
once Saul, the "destroyer of the saints", transforms
into Paul the apostle, and is whisked away by the brethren to safety
in Caesarea and home to Tarsus, the persecution abruptly
stops. The "persecution" is entirely a one man
" Then had the churches rest throughout all
Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified;
and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of
the Holy Ghost, were multiplied." – 9:31
The entire pre-Christian "Saul, the scourge
of the church" makes no sense at all as history – but
does make a great deal of sense as theology. "Zealous
Jew sees the light of Jesus, becomes Christian." The
theological purpose is as obvious as the historical vignette is
"Murderous Jews" of Damascus
How likely is Paul's "escape
by basket" from the city of Damascus (Acts 9.25)
? Typically, baskets lowered by rope are used by tenement dwellers
to buy bread from street vendors, first lowering the basket with
payment then raising the basket with their loaf. But man-sized
baskets? And why could not Paul just climb down the
rope like a normal person?
And just who was Paul escaping from? According to
Paul's "own" testimony (2 Corinthians 11.32,33) it was "the
governor under Aretas the king". Aretas IV was the Nabataean
monarch who ruled a vast area from his capital of Petra, though
Paul gives no explanation as to why Aretas was out to get him.
But Acts, consistent with its hostility to "the
Jews", tells us it was Jews of murderous intent (Acts
9.23,24). Why were the Jews so murderous? Any reputation
Paul had among the Jews of Damascus would have been as an enforcer
of Judaism, not as a Christian heretic. The weak explanation
offered by Acts is that the converted Saul had "confounded" the
Jews in the synagogue with his Christ. Apparently, that was sufficient
cause for them to organise the intended assassination and watch
the city gates (and there were at least seven of them) "day
and night" – a considerable investment of manpower.
O'Connor asks the reasonable question:
"Why should the Jews
watch the gates, when it would have been perfectly easy to
find out where Paul was living and arrange an 'accident' there?" – O'Connor, A
Critical Life, p6.
Faced with such hostility from his erstwhile co-religionists,
how plausible is it that Paul, having
just experienced a life-changing conversion, instead of joining
the earthly companions of his newly acquired Lord, instead goes
off to "Arabia" for three years – an "Arabia" that
has just chased him out of Damascus?!
Surely he would seek safety with fellow Christians?
Surely he would wish to speak with his Saviour's still living mother,
visit the places where Jesus wrought his miracles, tread the path
to Calvary and ponder on the spot where his Lord suffered his passion? (Could
it be that Paul does NOT do any of these things because virgin
birth, miraculous deeds and earthly crucifixion have not yet been
added to the story??!!)
|Where DID they get their ideas
NOT necessary – says Josephus!
this time it was that two great men, who were
under the jurisdiction of king Agrippa, came
to me out of the region of Trachonius, bringing
their horses and their arms, and carrying with
them their money also.
And when the Jews would
force them to be circumcised, if
they would stay among them, I would
not permit them to have any force
put upon them, but said to them,
"Every one ought to
worship God according to his own inclinations,
and not to be constrained by force;
and that these men, who had fled to us for
protection, ought not to be so treated as
to repent of their coming hither."
– Josephus, Life 23
certain men which came down from Judaea taught
the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised
after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.
And after they had held their
peace, James answered ...
Wherefore my sentence is,
that we trouble not them,
which from among the Gentiles are turned
– Acts 15.1,19
Council of Jerusalem?
Acts 15 reports that Paul's "long abode" at
Antioch which followed his first missionary journey is interrupted
by "legalizers" from Judaea who insist that salvation
required circumcision. The brethren are alarmed and Paul and Barnabas
are chosen to lead a delegation to Jerusalem to meet the apostles
and elders. The meeting is the famed "Council of Jerusalem".
Conventionally dated anywhere between the years 48 and 52, Acts
reports a pretty harmonious get together, with the main issue readily
resolved. Paul regales the brothers with tales of "miracles
and wonders" among the gentiles (15.12) and James rules that
as far as circumcising the Gentiles is concerned, "we trouble
them not" (15.19). Back in Antioch, the brethren "rejoiced" (15.32).
Yet Paul's own report on the meeting with "those
who seemed to be the pillars" is very different. He goes to
Jerusalem as a result of his own "revelation" (Galatians
2.2) and records what is actually a confrontation.
If there really was
a "Council of Jerusalem" at which Paul won the argument
that Gentiles did not need to be circumcised why
did Paul so soon afterward personally circumcise Timothy,
a disciple he found in Lystra? (16.3)
To be sure, Timothy we are told is a half Jew so an apologetic
argument is that it was to "gain acceptance" by the
Jews of the region but such an argument
presupposes a huge public awareness of poor Timothy's genitals. (There's
no hint that Timothy was even asked how he felt about it!)
But even more curious is what Paul himself says. Paul
specifically declares that, not Timothy, but his other Greek
sidekick Titus, was not circumcised!
"Yet not even Titus, who was with me,
was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.
This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated
our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and
to make us slaves." – Galatians 2.3,4.
"False brothers", "spies", are
trying to make Paul and his entourage "slaves"?!
Such love, such Christian fellowship.
Founder of Churches?
More oddities exist. Paul supposedly established
the church at Ephesus (Acts 18.18ff; 19.5,7), spending more time
with his acolytes in that city than anywhere else (three months
during the second mission, three years during
the third). We are encouraged to believe that Paul's first and
second "Letters to the Corinthians" were
written from Ephesus, and that it was here that Paul received troubled
delegates from Corinth and presided over Christianity's first book
burning (Acts 19.19).
Yet it was the apostle John,
settling in Ephesus after the crucifixion, who was ever after credited
as founder of the Ephesian church. At the behest of Jesus himself,
the Blessed Virgin had been placed in John's care and it seems
off they had traipsed to Ephesus. Here Mary's house had
been lovingly built by John with his own hands – a house
which is is to be seen to this very day!
John was also said to have been the teacher of the
venerable Bishop Polycarp, at nearby Smyrna. Whereas Mary's ultimate
fate was not dreamed up for centuries, according to 2nd century
Irenaeus (quoted by Eusebius, 23) John remained in Ephesus until
the time of Emperor Trajan (98-117) and, according to 3rd century
Dionysius of Alexandria, had not one but two Ephesian
Thus the story has it that the apostle John was a
long-term resident in the very city evangelised by Paul on his
second journey, "popularly" supposed to have begun in
the year 49.
Yet for all the overlap in time and place, Paul
neither met Mary nor consulted with fellow apostle John. Curious,
to say the least.
Just what is going on here: mutual ignorance, churlishness,
hostility – at the heart of the church of love?
What we are dealing with are two distinct
(and rival) traditions, one centred on the collective
of the apostles and underscoring the leadership of Peter (and
hence Roman Catholicism); the other starring the apostle Paul,
the pioneering theological genius and founder of churches.
And for whom does "Paul" speak? Why, the faction
that lost the political struggle – the church
of Marcion, the very person who first "discovered" the
epistles of Paul in the mid-to-late 2nd century.
In their original form (from the pen of the Marcionites)
the Pauline epistles were far too dualistic and gnostic for a "mass
market", with a theology which embraced escape from
the material world. But they provided useful tales of
the Holy Spirit at work among the Gentiles. The core Pauline (Marcionite)
theology of individual salvation – "justification by
faith" – severed the attachment to an exclusive Jewish
bloodline and dispensed with the irksome dictates of Mosaic law.
Initially alarming to the Jewish element of Catholicism, geopolitical
developments would soon make such a theology very appealing.
The protracted struggle between the pro- and anti- "Jewish" Christian
factions of the first half of the 2nd century ended after the Bar
Kosiba war of 130-135 and the opprobrium in Rome of all things
Jewish. In a half-baked fashion, the two "traditions" came
together. The book of Acts was a Catholic triumph,
which cut Paul down to size and brought the hero of the Marcionites
into the securing arms of would-be orthodoxy.
To be sure, Paul himself was "glorified" and
credited with extensive missionary activity, replete with miracles quite
unrecorded in the eponymous letters. But in the new story, Paul writes
no epistles. Instead, he delivers one from the top
dogs in Jerusalem! In a weakly thought out story the "leader" of
the Jerusalem apostles is moved to Rome ahead of Paul, and is placed
upon the "pope's" chair. Paul, the superstar of a fabricated
1st century evangelical crusade, would ever after stand awkwardly
at the shoulder of a far flimsier creature fashioned by the church
in Rome – St Peter.
Thus was Paul, erstwhile hero of the heretics, refashioned
into the "13th apostle" and assimilated into the Catholic
collective, even as the Marcionite churches were being integrated
into the greater and universal Roman church. The epistles ascribed
to Paul – too useful and too popular to be erased from the
record – were expropriated and doctored for the Catholic
cause and augmented by others composed by the Catholic ecclesia.
These so-called "pastoral" epistles,
addressed to the pastors or "shepherds" of the flock,
reined in maverick and independent clergy and underscored episcopal
authority. Nascent Catholicism, organizing itself in Rome, was
very much of this world, and saw its future glory
in accommodation with the imperial order. The approved "canon" followed,
closing the door on further creative theology.
The fabricated Paul
we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other
gospel unto you than that ye have
received, let him be accursed ... For I neither received it
of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus
Christ." – Galatians
A Catholicised sainthood was the ultimate fate
of our hero Paul but from where did the super-apostle arise? If,
as seems likely, Marcion created what would become
the New Testament Paul as a messenger for
his own ideas, he almost certainly used biographical material from
his own life, particularly the power
struggle he waged with the collective in Rome. Marcion, like "Paul",
alone knew the truth, a mystery made manifest to him by revelation.
As a shipping magnate from Sinope (a Black Sea port,
a hundred miles north of Galatia) Marcion enjoyed financial independence
and was able to travel extensively. At one point he even financed
the church in Rome before being excommunicated and returning to
the east. He would have been familiar with the sea lanes and attendant
dangers that figure so prominently in the Pauline story. To give
his theology added "authority" it had to be back projected
into an earlier "apostolic age". He may have chosen the
name Paul (meaning "small" or "humble") as
reflective of his own position.
When Catholicism commandeered Marcion's creation,
the novelists in Rome would undoubtedly have used the works
of Josephus, the all-purpose source books of the Christians,
for additional material. And here they found not a Paul but a Saul,
an Herodian aristocrat of unsavoury character. This material became
the core for the preamble to Paul's story, his "life in Judaism".
And the life of Josephus himself certainly
was plundered: episodes in the Jewish historian's biography resonate
just too closely with the Pauline story, particularly
the shipwreck on
the way to Rome.
Josephus was not just an historian. Before
the war, he had been appointed by the high priest Ananias as
governor in Galilee, with a brief that meant suppressing ("persecuting")
radical movements. One of the bandit groups he had to deal with
in and around Tiberias was led by a bandit chief called ... Jesus.
"So Jesus the son of Sapphias [chief magistrate of
Tiberias], one of those whom we have already mentioned as the leader
of a seditious tumult of mariners and poor
people, prevented us,
and took with him certain Galileans, and set the entire palace
on fire ... Jesus and his party slew all the Greeks that were inhabitants
of Tiberias, and as many others as were their enemies before the
– Josephus, Life 12.
Where DID they get their
Josephus reports on Saul, an avaricious
Herodian aristocrat, during the Jewish rebellion
of 66-74 AD. Did this nasty Saul help the author
of Acts flesh out his story of the apostle?
the men of power perceiving that the
sedition was too hard for them to subdue, and that the
danger which would arise from the Romans would come upon
them first of all, endeavoured to save themselves, and
sent ambassadors, some to Florus, the
chief of which was Simon the son of Ananias; and others
to Agrippa, among whom the most eminent
were Saul, and Antipas,
and Costobarus, who were of the
king's kindred; and they desired of them both
that they would come with an army to the city, and cut
off the seditious before it should be too hard to be
– WAR, 2, 17.
a powerful man.
Saul gains access to king Herod Agrippa.
a powerful man.
"Saul ... made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling
men and women committed them to prison." (Acts 8.3)
Saul/Paul gains access to king Herod Agrippa:
"Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: I think myself
happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching
all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews." (Acts 26.1,2)
|"Saul ... of the
||Saul is a kinsman of Herod
Saul/Paul is related
to the Herodians?
"Now there were in the church that was at Antioch
certain prophets and teachers as Barnabas and Simeon
that was called Niger and Lucius of Cyrene and Manaen
which had been brought up with Herod the
tetrarch and Saul. (Acts 13.1)
Also note: "Greet Herodion,
my relative." (Romans 16.11).
"Ananias was too
hard for the rest, by his riches, which enabled him
to gain those that were most ready to receive. Costobarus also,
and Saulus, did themselves get together
a multitude of wicked wretches, and this because they
were of the royal family; and so they
obtained favour among them, because of their kindred
to Agrippa; but still they used violence with
the people, and were very ready to plunder
those that were weaker than themselves."
– ANTIQUITIES 20.9.4
Saul uses violence.
He plunders those weaker than himself.
Saul uses violence
against the meek and mild Christians:
"And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples
of the Lord" (Acts 9.1)
" AFTER this calamity
had befallen Cestius, many of the most eminent of the
Jews swam away from the city, as from a ship when it
was going to sink; Costobarus, therefore,
and Saul, who were brethren, together
with Philip, the son of Jacimus, who was the commander
of king Agrippa's forces, ran away from the
city, and went to Cestius."
– WAR, 2, 20.1
Saul, like other rich
Jews, flees Jerusalem because of the
|Saul/Paul flees Jerusalem
because of the dangers:
"And he spake boldly ... and disputed against the Grecians: but they
went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought
him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus." (Acts 9.29,30)
"In the mean time,
the people of Damascus, when they were informed of
the destruction of the Romans, set about the slaughter
of those Jews that were among them; and as
they had them already cooped up together
in the gymnasium, which they had done out of the suspicion
they had of them, they thought they should
meet with no difficulty in the attempt; yet did they
distrust their own wives, which were almost all of
them addicted to the Jewish religion;
on which account it was that their greatest concern
was, how they might conceal these things from them;
so they came upon the Jews, and cut their throats,
as being in a narrow place, in number ten thousand,
and all of them unarmed, and this in one hour's time,
without any body to disturb them."
– WAR, 2, 20.2
Proselytising in Damascus leads
The Jews have convinced local Syrian wives to practice
Judaism. This causes resentment. The people turn
on the Jews, trapping them in the gymnasium and killing
Proselytising in Damascus leads
"Saul ... confounded the Jews which dwelt at
Damascus ... the Jews took counsel to kill
him ... And they watched the gates day and
night to kill him." (Acts 9.22,24)
"But then how
Antipas, who had been besieged with them in the king's
palace, but would not fly away with them, was afterward
slain by the seditious, we shall relate hereafter.
However, Cestius sent Saul and his
friends, at their own desire, to Achaia, to
Nero, to inform him of the great distress
they were in, and to lay the blame of their kindling
the war upon Florus, as hoping to
alleviate his own danger, by provoking his indignation
– WAR, 2, 20.1
Saul (and friends)
are sent to Greece (Achaia).
Saul hopes to convince Caesar Nero of his innocence.
Paul (and friends!)
are sent to Greece (Achaia) - Athens
"And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul ... And they that conducted
Paul brought him unto Athens (Acts 17.14,15)
Paul hopes to convince Caesar Nero of his innocence.
" But when Albinus
heard that Gessius Florus was coming to succeed him,
he was desirous to appear to do somewhat that might
be grateful to the people of Jerusalem; so he brought
out all those prisoners who seemed
to him to be most plainly worthy of death, and ordered
them to be put to death accordingly.
But as to those who had been put
into prison on some trifling
occasions, he took money of them,
and dismissed them; by which means the prisons were
indeed emptied, but the country was filled with robbers."
– ANTIQUITIES 20.9.5.
The Procurator hopes
for a bribe from those imprisoned on a trifling
The Procurator hopes
for a bribe from the innocent apostle:
"Felix ... sent for Paul, and heard him concerning
the faith in Christ ... He hoped also that money
should have been given him of Paul, that he might
loose him: wherefore he sent for him the
oftener, and communed with him." (Acts 24.24,26)
Hermann Detering, The Falsified
Paul, Early Christianity in the Twilight (Journal of Higher Criticism,
A. N. Wilson, Paul, The Mind of the Apostle (Sinclair-Stevenson, 1997)
John Ziesler, Pauline Christianity (Oxford, 1990)
Edward Stourton, In the Footsteps of Saint Paul (Hodder & Stoughton, 2004)
J. Murphy-O'Connor, Paul, A Critical Life (Clarendon, 1996)
J. Murphy-O'Connor, Paul, His Story (Oxford, 2005)
Daniel T. Unterbrink, Judas the Galilean (iUniverse, 2004)
Daniel T. Unterbrink, New Testament Lies (iUniverse, 2006)
Jay Raskin, The Evolution of Christs and Christianities (Xlibris, 2006)
Some fifty articles are now available as a book.
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Copyright © 2006
by Kenneth Humphreys.
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