Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-4btjb Total loading time: 0.309 Render date: 2022-05-24T00:57:45.726Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

6 - Why did Paul persecute the church?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2010

Graham N. Stanton
Affiliation:
King's College London
Guy G. Stroumsa
Affiliation:
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Get access

Summary

This question is seldom asked, but once put, is surprisingly difficult to answer.

Let us be clear from the outset that the nature and extent of Paul's persecuting activity should not be exaggerated. The language of Acts 9:1 is bloodthirsty (‘saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord's disciples’), and there is an allusion in Acts 26:10 to the death penalty. Nevertheless, there is no reason to think that Paul ever shed blood. For one thing, these two passages of Acts belong, I believe, to the latest redactional level of Acts and bring an element into the narrative which was not even implicit in its earlier stages of development. The language which Paul himself employs is not specific, and its vehement tone contributes to a rhetorical effect which Paul no doubt intended. Furthermore, when Paul refers to ‘persecutions’ (διωγμοί) which he himself has suffered (2 Cor. 12:10), it is in a recapitulation of his account of the hardships of many kinds which he has endured for the sake of the gospel (11:2360.), and the only one which he certainly suffered at the hands of fellow Jews was the ‘forty lashes less one’, which he says he received on five occasions (11:24). It is to be presumed that he went no further when he was a persecutor.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1998

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×