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View Diary: Why the Upset? On the History Channel Jesus is a White Surfer Guy and Satan Looks Like Barack Obama (263 comments)

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  •  Just for accuracy's sake, (12+ / 0-)

    Saul/Paul was born in the Roman city of Tarsus, Cilicia. Which gave him Roman citizenship by birthright, though he did have to assert it in order to have his final case heard in Rome rather than submit to the judgment of the Sanhedrin.

    Young Saul became a student of Gamaliel as a teen. Gamaliel was the grandson of Hillel and head of the Sanhedrin in the time of Jesus. He was a scholar [lawyer], and under the header of "day job" was a prosecutor for the Sanhedrin. Acts of the Apostles portrays him as prosecutor prior to his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus, and he describes himself thus in his letter to the Galatians.

    James - brother of Jesus - was head of the Christian sect in Jerusalem, where Paul won the dispute over whether converts needed to be circumcised (and follow the rest of the Jewish religious laws) in order to become Christians. So apparently he was a pretty good lawyer to boot.

    •  asdf- Roman archaeology degree here (7+ / 0-)

      Roman citizenship was not automatic throughout the Empire until 212 CE (or "AD" if you must have it so).  Greeks, Egyptians and Jews (among others) had to acquire citizenship from Roman officials or patrons.  The reported names of Paul's family members follow Greek naming conventions, which would make them at best Hellenized Jews.  

      Point the Second:  the Bible is not history, it is a literary work.  A number of scholars, particularly but not exclusively Jewish ones, are not convinced that the apostle (if he existed) really studied with Gamliel any more than I studied with Ronald Syme or Robert Graves as a teen, both being too lofty for my station and retired for years.   Some have even expressed doubt that he was really a Jew, much less a Pharisee as he seemed to have been very quick to cast off Jewish law.  Paul's livelihood as a tentmaker is from Acts of the Apostles.  

      Finally:  Paul did not win his dispute with James in Jewish court, he won a referendum of the membership of their sect, as one city council member might prevail over a rival at a public meeting today.  The result of that decision was to open membership to non-Jews, which made for greater enrollment overall, but meant the sect split off from Judaism completely.  Skills as a lawyer are not in evidence; as a salesman and marketing pioneer he was outstanding.  As a Jew, he was lousy.    Sorry, but my religious education was Jewish.

      "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity" -W.B. Yeats

      by LucyandByron on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 11:25:36 PM PDT

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    •  Accuracy? (1+ / 0-)
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