Life of St. Paul – Introduction
May 11, 2009
Analyzing the years during which Passover fell on a Friday, Christ died either in A.D. 30 or A.D. 33. David Higbee tends to lean towards the latter. One of his main reasons is that Pilate would have still had a Roman protector in A.D. 30, thus his capitulation to the Jewish leaders in crucifying Christ indicates that the later date is more likely.
Using A.D. 33 as a bench-mark for the crucifixion places the stoning of Stephen at A.D. 34-35. His martyrdom marks the entrance of Paul into the Scriptures. His career as a Christian persecutor would not have lasted more than four years after this death.
Higbee will attempt to illustrate the mind and heart of God’s missionary instrument, Saul of Tarsus, though it will not be in the style of a modern biography. His hands-on approach to the apostolic work was never fully recreated. The author of at least a third of the New Testament, his mark on the Church is unparalleled. Because few have Jewish-Christian origins, most all Christians are indebted to Paul, the apostles to the Gentiles.
The most controversial figure in the New Testament (excepting Jesus) seems to have been a short feisty fellow from Asia Minor. At first he is a Rabbinical student in Jerusalem who is focused and dramatically hateful towards his enemies. On the road to Damascus, Christ profoundly calls Him to repentance and discipleship.
Before his conversion, he advanced in Judaism above and beyond his peers. Acts 14 shows that he is mistaken for Hermes/Mercury, a short, quick, talkative man. The apocryphal works the Acts of Paul and Thecla may also reveal something of his physical appearance.
Music: Boismortier’s Sonata 2 in E Minor – Vivace, from the album ‘Six Sonatas for Flute and Violin – Opus 51 – Boismortier’ performed by Duo de Bois. www.magnatune.com