Growing Up in Tarsus

Jerome Murphy-oʼconnor

in Paul: A Critical Life

Published in print May 1998 | ISBN: 9780192853424
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670589 | DOI:
Growing Up in Tarsus

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This chapter argues that Paul does not explicitly state his origin. Luke hinted that Paul was born in Tarsus, capital of Cilica. It is a city that was prosperous and well-governed by the Romans. Paul tells us that he was a ‘Hebrew born of Hebrews’. In the first century, Greeks refer to ‘Hebrews’ as members of the Jewish people. Paul used ‘Hebrew’ to imply a positive relationship to Palestine, not just a mere synonym for Israelite. Luke accounted that Paul's father may have acquired their Roman citizenship after being freed by a Roman citizen of Tarsus. It has been suggested that the cognomen Paulus (meaning small) was chosen as the most similar Latin name of the Hebraic name Saul. Paul had a married sister and a nephew in Jerusalem. Paul was educated under the Hellenistic educational system in Tarsus.

Keywords: Tarsus; Cilica; Romans; Palestine; Israelites; citizenship; cognomen; Hebrew; Jerusalem; educational system

Chapter.  10024 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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