Paul of Tarsus and Christianity (One Significant Person in Christianity)

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Religious tradition study|
HSC studies of religion 1 assessment 2|
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10/5/2012|

Paul of tarsus
Christianity today has over 2.18 billion adherents throughout the world and is well established as the universal, monotheistic religious belief system that has developed since the life, death and resurrection (around 32 AD) of Jesus Christ. However, as Jesus was a Jew, the beginnings of Christianity revolved around the fact that Jesus had adapted the strict rules of Judaism to focus on loving human relationships. This mea (Anon., 2011) (Anon., 2011) (Anon., 2011) (Anon., 2012)nt that the followers of Jesus for the first 100 years after his death were merely a very small section of Judaism and the message of Jesus was confined only to Jewish followers.

Paul of Tarsus was born in Tarsus, the modern day turkey and died in ca. 68BC, he was a faithful Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, tent maker and roman citizen, he was taught law by Gamaliel, one of the best teachers in Jerusalem of his time and wrote thirteen out of the twenty seven books in the new testament of the bible.

Paul of Tarsus, is today considered to be the forefather of Christianity and the “13th Apostle”. He developed the doctrine that would turn Christianity from a small section of Judaism into a worldwide faith that was open to all.

Through analysis of Paul’s life, his journeys and sources such as his Letters in the Bible, it is apparent the significant impact he has made in the development of Christianity; such as challenging the status of Jews as “God’s chosen ones”, developing Christian communities around the Roman Empire and laying foundations in theology.

Paul was born in Tarsus, modern-day Turkey as Saul and worked as a tent-maker. He had the privilege of being a Roman citizen and a Jewish Pharisee, which due to the context of the time influenced Paul to be a persecutor of the “followers of Jesus”, or followers of “the Way” that were on the increase. As he writes in Philippians 3.4-6, “…following the law of the Pharisees, in my zeal a persecutor of the church.” The persecution of one follower of Jesus, Stephen, occurred in front of Paul’s eyes in Jerusalem and as he watched the man being stoned to death he decided to extend his persecution to other cities- primarily Damascus.

Paul set out around 34CE, but just outside of Damascus he experienced a vision that would symbolise the turning point in the development of Christianity as it is known today. As written in by Paul in Acts 22.6, “I fell to the ground and heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me...I am Jesus of Nazareth.” Paul was blinded and lead to Damascus, where he became certain that his vision of Jesus symbolized his calling to spread the Gospel. His sight was restored by a disciple called Ananias and he was baptized as a follower of Jesus.

This conversion that Paul experienced enabled him to believe that he had been given a divine mission in his epiphany to go to preach the word of God and the salvation brought by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul’s practice was to enter a town, seek employment there; gradually getting to know people and then start talking about both the experiences he had in coming to know the teachings of Jesus.

The extent of the change Paul implemented on the small section was extensive; he argued that salvation was for all, and challenged the Jewish notion of being “God’s chosen ones.” This saw a dramatic shift from Rabbinic Judaism as he began to convert gentiles to followers of Jesus. Paul established many Christian communities around the Roman empire, such as in Corinth, Galatia and Ephesus and Phillipi and was a very driven and enthusiastic man which enabled him to travel extensively and preach persuasively, converting Jews and gentiles; he was also able to do this because of his establishment as a Jew and as a Roman citizen. These characteristics gave Paul great influence in spreading his opinions in both Roman cities and...
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