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date: 21 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Paul was at home in the three worlds of the title of this chapter, which formed a complex and variegated whole. Paul presents us with a range of his Jewish credentials, including that he is ‘a Hebrew born of Hebrews’ and a Pharisee. We have no reason to doubt that he was born in Tarsus and received some education in Jerusalem (Acts 22: 3). A number of dimensions of Paul’s theology can be seen to have come from his Jewish framework of thought, even as he reworks that thought in the light of his new experience in Christ. Dimensions of Paul’s language and thought can also be seen to reflect the all-pervasive Graeco-Roman culture of the day, in which Paul was thoroughly at home. He had received some elements of Hellenistic education and was both a citizen of Tarsus and a Roman citizen. All three contexts are important when we are interpreting Paul’s letters, and we would be wrong to ask if any one context dominated his thought. He was ideally suited then to take a Jewish Gospel to the Graeco-Roman world.

Keywords: Acts of the Apostles, Citizenship of Tarsus, Graeco-Roman Context, Jerusalem, Jewish Context, Pharisee, Rhetoric, Roman citizenship, Septuagint, Tarsus

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