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Featured Was the biblical Paul a Roman citizen or not?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Nowhere Man, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. James stainsby

    James stainsby New Member

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    which he exercised once when he was arrested.
     
  2. amatuerscholar

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    A Jew could be a Roman citizen. Jospehus is one example, but as you pointed out, that is a weird case. So it's possible, but not all that common.

    If we look at Acts and the Epistles of Paul, we only get the idea that Paul was a Roman citizen based on Acts. Paul himself never mentions it. The fact that Paul doesn't mention it himself is rather interesting. Paul really doesn't miss a chance to brag himself up, as he can then use it to show how much he has changed, how much he has given up. So Paul is silent about it.

    The other problem within the Epistles of Paul is that there are numerous times in which Paul talks about being punished, and he seems just to take it. If he was a Roman citizen, then he never used it to his benefit. Which actually stands in contrast to Acts, where Paul is about to be beaten, but then announces his Roman citizenship. Paul himself never mentions that.

    So if Paul was a Roman citizen, he doesn't really care nor does he use it to his benefit, at least not as far as we can tell in his letters. He doesn't mention it when it would suit him, and really seems to be unaware of it. The only place we hear of it is in Acts, but there are problems there.

    I think Donald Akenson probably best sums this up by saying that we can't trust Acts unless Paul also confirms the story. This is the best process because Acts disagrees with Paul in so many places, that one of them must be wrong, and it's more likely Paul is correctly reporting what he is doing.

    He didn't really get away with a lot though. If we look at the early Jesus movement, we know that Paul was just one among a larger group. We have the Jerusalem group, composed of James, John and Peter, and then Paul mentions a few others who he is competing against. So we know that there is a good number of people going out and preaching about Jesus. This only grows throughout the next few decades, as we see the movement grow. Generally speaking, there was no major blow back against Christians, at least not for anti-Imperialist ideology. And most of the blow back is generally from local populations.

    So we don't have a lot of evidence for members of this movement being persecuted at all for anti-Imperialist ideology. It really doesn't happen. Paul also doesn't fully condemn Rome either. What we see from this movement is that Christians tend to downplay Roman corruption, or at least speak of it in code.


    Not really. He wasn't a religious fanatic at all. He is often portrayed as such later on, but he was just one in a group of people that was spreading this message. He is often blown out of proportion simply because we know who he is.


    Most scholars, at least since the New Perspective on Paul, don't see him as a Roman citizen. Most come from a stance that the book of Acts isn't all that credible when it comes to Paul. So they don't use Acts unless the story is also included in Paul's own letters.
     
  3. firedragon

    firedragon Well-Known Member

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    who are the scholars you refer to?
     
  4. amatuerscholar

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    Any scholar who take the New Perspective of Paul seriously. Among those would be Krister Stendahl, E.P. Sanders, James D.G. Dunn, N.T. Wright, John Dominic Crossan, Bart Ehrman, James Charlesworth, Pamela Eisenbaum, Amy-Jill Levine, Donald Akenson, Marcus Borg, just among a few.
     
  5. lukethethird

    lukethethird Well-Known Member

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    Dude, read the epistles attributed to him, if Paul is not the quintessential religious fanatic, no one is.
     
  6. firedragon

    firedragon Well-Known Member

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    Are you saying all of them think that Paul was not a Roman citizen?
     
  7. amatuerscholar

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    I've read the Epistles. He is passionate, but he's also speaking to fellow members of the movement. At times, he is angry because of what he is hearing, but none of what he does goes that far outside of Judaism at that time.

    Yes. The consensus among scholars today is that Paul was not a Roman.
     
  8. firedragon

    firedragon Well-Known Member

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    Can you quote the book and page number of lets say ehrman and wright where it says paul was not a roman citizen?
     
  9. Wandering Monk

    Wandering Monk Well-Known Member

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  10. amatuerscholar

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    Normally, I wouldn't go this far to prove this point, as I think it's unnecessary. But I like this group, so I will do that. I will have to come back to NT Wright, but Ehrman states:

    I don’t think there’s anything to tie Paul to Romans. In fact, I think the claim that Paul was a Roman citizen (found only in Acts) is highly dubious. In fact, I don’t buy it!

    I'm quoting that from https://ehrmanblog.org/did-paul-invent-the-resurrection-for-members/ He says such in the answer to a question.
     
  11. firedragon

    firedragon Well-Known Member

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    You see the reason I asked you for reference from their books is to understand their scholarly view. These scholars are very particular in differentiating their scholarly analysis vs their personal opinion though their opinion may become their scholarly analysis.

    1. This is what NT Wright states in his book "Paul in fresh perspective" on page 70.

    "He uses his own Roman citizenship when it suits the demands of his mission. But at the same time he is fearless in announcing, and living by, a different allegiance."

    So I think you misquoted N.T Wright.

    2. I agree that its highly unlikely that Paul was a Roman citizen. But to claim that the majority of scholars think he is not is incorrect. In fact, this is what Bart Ehrman says in his book Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene page 108.

    "One claim in Acts that recurs in later legends about Paul is that he was a Roman citizen (Acts 22:25). This has struck some historians as highly unlikely."

    Ehrman is always precise in his statements. If he quotes the majority of scholars, he says "Majority of scholars". Yet in this matter, he says "some historians". So I think we should follow suit and be mindful not to make claims like "Majority of scholars" without due diligence, with all due respect.
     
  12. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    Was the biblical Paul a Roman citizen or not?

    The way Paul faked a vision of seeing Jesus and making him an apostle heir, he could do anything. Right, please?

    Regards
     
  13. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Roman citizens could only be put to death for patricide or treason.

    Roman Crucifixion. It was indeed the Romans who practiced crucifixion as a common method of execution. According to Roman law a Roman citizen could not be crucified, crucifixion was for slaves and extreme criminals, political or religious agitators, pirates, or those who had no civil rights.
    Ancient Crucifixion - Background Bible Study (Bible History ...
    www.bible-history.com/biblestudy/crucifixion.html
     
  14. firedragon

    firedragon Well-Known Member

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    Paul never said anything about being a Roman Citizen. It was the author of Luke. True or false, it is not the work of Paul.
     
  15. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    The Book of Acts indicates that Paul the Apostle was a Roman citizen by birth - though not clearly specifying which class of citizenship - a fact which had considerable bearing on Paul's career and on the way he shaped the new religion of Christianity.

    However, by the century previous to Caracalla, Roman citizenship had already lost much of its exclusiveness and become more available.[6]


    (Paul's father had served as an auxiliarius in the Roman military for his term, learned the trade of tentmaker, and gained citizenship.

    The most convenient way on gaining a Roman citizenship was to be born as one, like Shaul ha-Tarsi did. The second most convenient was to serve in the Roman military. You could also purchase the citizenship.)

    Roman citizenship - Wikipedia
     
  16. firedragon

    firedragon Well-Known Member

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    Yes, and more. But there is no evidence that Pauls's father served in the Roman army. "MAYBE" Paul's grandfather served during Caesar's time. But it also is a "MAYBE" there is no historicity to any of this. That's the whole point.

    But what's your point?
     
  17. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Why else would Paul have had the right to go to Rome for trial?
     
  18. firedragon

    firedragon Well-Known Member

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    Well. It’s sound to believe he was a Roman citizen. Most bible scholars do.
     
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  19. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    "The Book of Acts indicates that Paul the Apostle was a Roman citizen by birth - though not clearly specifying which class of citizenship - a fact which had considerable bearing on Paul's career and on the way he shaped the new religion of Christianity."

    Is it a fact that Paul shaped the new religion called Christianity which had nothing to do with Jesus who was never a Christian but Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, please?

    Regards
     
  20. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Jesus was most definitely a Jew and he was a teacher whether you call him Rabbi or not.
     
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