Saint Paul the Apostle

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Term Paper: Saint Paul the Apostle

Saint Paul the Apostle was one of the most influential early Christian missionaries of his time. He is responsible for writing many books that contributed to a large portion of the New Testament. Saint Paul was one of the most brilliant people to bring Christianity to wide spread lands. He traveled tens of thousands of miles spreading the word of Jesus Christ. These lands traveled upon included Cyprus, Asia Minor, Greece, Crete and Rome. Saint Paul helped define Christianity all around the Mediterranean. Saint Paul is very significant for numerous reasons and in various ways. He was very essential for the faith of Christianity. One way he was important (later on in life) was his upbringing as a Jew, and his miraculous conversion to Christianity. In addition to that Saint Paul was important for his campaign work, spreading Christianity to new lands. And most importantly he is essential for all of his writings that contributed to a majority of the New Testament. All of Saint Paul’s experiences throughout his lifetime are what molded him into what he was. Every stage in his life was crucial in how (later on in life) he defined Christianity to many people. He risked his life trying to share the belief Christianity all over the world. Saint Paul is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in the history of the Western world. “Paul was probably born sometime between the years 3 and 15 A.D.” (Buckmaster 1) Paul was born on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in a Provence named Tarsus. Tarsus was a very large and important trade center under the rule of Rome. Over a quarter of a million people resided there due to the abundance of work and the excellent quality of life. “Tarsus was a lodestar for merchants, philosophers, and the footloose rich who traveled tirelessly in pursuit of the sights” (Buckmaster 1) Tarsus was a very wealthy place mainly because of its trade. Also Tarsus was also known for being a center of well-educated and well-skilled people. His family worked as tent-makers and he also acquired the skill at a young age. Tarsus did not grant Roman citizenship for every citizen that resided there. If a citizen of Tarsus was from a family of social standing of four generations or more, they were generally granted citizenship status. “Tarsus was a fusion of civilizations at peace under the rule of Rome” (Pollock 4)

“Saul was a freeborn Roman citizen, and a Jew.” (Buckmaster 2) Being a Roman citizen Paul had two names. One name would show heritage apart from Rome, and the other name would show the Roman heritage. Paul's Roman name was Saul Paulus; Saul was Hebrew and Paulus was Roman. Saul meant, “desired for” and Paulus meant “small.” He was born into his Jewish heritage because his family converted to Judaism well before he was born. There were three main sections to Judaism, it included Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Essenes. The Essenes were very generous and virtuous. They would work hard and take care of the less fortunate. The Sadducees were strictest of the three in the sense that the most elite, rich and powerful fell in this category. The Pharisees was the largest and most popular. Paul and his family were of Pharisees. Pharisees believed in following the laws of Moses precisely. “Phariseeism cooled and ordered the spirit. The Pharisees laid great stress on the ritual and forms of pious law. In defense of Judaism they evolved a great body of precepts which went beyond the law of Moses.” (Buckmaster 6)

At a young age Paul went to and lived in Jerusalem, to attend the Pharisaic school. He was a student of the Rabbi Gamaliel, who was one of the greatest teachers of the first century. “During the next five or six years he sat at the feet of Gamaliel… Paul learned to dissect a text until scores of possible meaning were disclosed according to the considered opinion of the generations of rabbis, who had obscured the original sense by layers of tradition to protect...
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