I. PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS A. Apocryphal Acts of St. Paul
Professor Schmidt has published a photographic copy, a transcription, a German translation, and a commentary of a Coptic papyrus composed of about 2000 fragments, which he has classified, juxtaposed, and deciphered at a cost of infinite labour ("Acta Pauli aus der Heidelberger koptischen Papyrushandschrift Nr. 1", Leipzig, 1904, and "Zusatze" etc., Leipzig, 1905). Most critics, whether Catholic (Duchesne, Bardenhewer, Ehrhard etc.), or Protestant (Zahn, Harnack, Corssen etc.), believe that these are real "Acta Pauli", although the text edited by Schmidt, with its very numerous gaps, represents but a small portion of the original work. This discovery modified the generally accepted ideas concerning the origin, contents, and value of these apocryphal Acts, and warrants the conclusion that three ancient compositions which have reached us formed an integral part of the "Acta Pauli" viz. the "Acta Pauli et Theclae", of which the best edition is that of Lipsius, ("Acta Apostolorum apocrypha", Leipzig, 1891, 235-72), a "Martyrium Pauli" preserved in Greek and a fragment of which also exists in Latin (op. cit., 104-17), and a letter from the Corinthians to Paul with the latter's reply, the Armenian text of which was preserved (cf. Zahn, "Gesch. des neutest. Kanons", II, 592-611), and the Latin discovered by Berger in 1891 (d. Harnack, "Die apokryphen Briefe des Paulus an die Laodicener und Korinther", Bonn, 1905). With great sagacity Zahn anticipated this result with regard to the last two documents, and the manner in which St. Jerome speaks of the periodoi Pauli et Theclae (De viris ill., vii) might have permitted the same surmise with regard to the first.
Another consequence of Schmidt's discovery is no less interesting. Lipsius maintained -- and this was hitherto the common opinion -- that besides the Catholic "Acts" there formerly existed Gnostic "Acts of Paul", but now everything tends to prove that the latter never existed. In fact Origen quotes the "Acta Pauli" twice as an estimable writing ("In Joann.", xx, 12; "De princip.", II, i, 3); Eusebius (Hist. eccl., III, iii, 5; XXV, 4) places them among the books in dispute, such as the "Shepherd" of Hermas, the "Apocalypse of Peter", the "Epistle of Barnabas", and the "Teaching of the Apostles". The stichometry of the "Codex Claromontanus" (photograph in Vigouroux, "Dict. de la Bible", II, 147) places them after the canonical books. Tertullian and St. Jerome, while pointing out the legendary character of this writing, do not attack its orthodoxy. The precise purpose of St. Paul's correspondence with the Corinthians which formed part of the "Acts", was to oppose the Gnostics, Simon and Cleobius. But there is no reason to admit the existence of heretical "Acts" which have since been hopelessly lost, for all the details given by ancient authors are verified in the "Acts" which have been recovered or tally well with them.
The following is the explanation of the confusion: The Manicheans and Priscillianists had circulated a collection of five apocryphal "Acts", four of which were tainted with heresy, and the fifth were the "Acts of Paul". The "Acta Pauli", owing to this unfortunate association, are suspected of heterodoxy by the more recent authors such as Philastrius (De haeres., 88) and Photius (Cod., 114). Tertullian (De baptismo, 17) and St. Jerome (De vir. ill., vii) denounce the fabulous character of the apocryphal "Acts" of Paul, and this severe judgment is amply confirmed by the examination of the fragments published by Schmidt. It is a purely imaginative work in which improbability vies with absurdity. The author, who was acquainted with the canonical Acts of the Apostles , locates the scene in the places really visited by St. Paul ( Antioch, Iconium, Myra, Perge, Sidon, Tyre, Ephesus, Corinth, Philippi, Rome ), but for the rest he gives his fancy free rein. His chronology is absolutely impossible. Of the sixty-five persons he names, very few are known and the part played by these is irreconcilable with the statements of the canonical "Acts". Briefly, if the canonical "Acts" are true the apocryphal "Acts" are false. This, however, does not imply that none of the details have historical foundation, but they must be confirmed by an independent authority.B. Chronology
If we admit according to the almost unanimous opinion of exegetes that Acts 15 and Galatians 2:1-10 , relate to the same fact it will be seen that an interval of seventeen years — or at least sixteen, counting incomplete years as accomplished — elapsed between the conversion of Paul and the Apostolic council, for Paul visited Jerusalem three years after his conversion ( Galatians 1:18 ) and returned after fourteen years for the meeting held with regard to legal observances ( Galatians 2:1 : " Epeita dia dekatessaron eton "). It is true that some authors include the three years prior to the first visit in the total of fourteen, but this explanation seems forced. On the other hand, twelve or thirteen years elapsed between the Apostolic council and the end of the captivity, for the captivity lasted nearly five years (more than two years at Caesarea, Acts 24:27 , six months travelling, including the sojourn at Malta, and two years at Rome, Acts 28:30 ); the third mission lasted not less than four years and a half (three of which were spent at Ephesus, Acts 20:31 , and one between the departure from Ephesus and the arrival at Jerusalem, 1 Corinthians 16:8 ; Acts 20:16 , and six months at the very least for the journey to Galatia, Acts 18:23 ); while the second mission lasted not less than three years (eighteen months for Corinth, Acts 18:11 , and the remainder for the evangelization of Galatia, Macedonia, and Athens, Acts 15:36 - 17:34 ). Thus from the conversion to the end of the first captivity we have a total of about twenty-nine years.
Now if we could find a fixed point that is a synchronism between a fact in the life of Paul and a certainly dated event in profane history, it would be easy to reconstruct the Pauline chronology. Unfortunately this much wished-for mark has not yet been indicated with certainty, despite the numerous attempts made by scholars, especially in recent times. It is of interest to note even the abortive attempts, because the discovery of an inscription or of a coin may any day transform an approximate date into an absolutely fixed point. These are
- the meeting of Paul with Sergius Paulus, Proconsul of Cyprus, about the year 46 ( Acts 13:7 )
- the meeting at Corinth with Aquila and Priscilla, who had been expelled from Rome, about 51 ( Acts 18:2 )
- the meeting with Gallio, Proconsul of Achaia, about 53 ( Acts 18:12 )
- the address of Paul before the Governor Felix and his wife Drusilla about 58 ( Acts 24:24 ).
All these events, as far as they may be assigned approximate dates, agree with the Apostle's general chronology but give no precise results. Three synchronisms, however, appear to afford a firmer basis:
(1) The occupation of Damascus by the ethnarch of King Aretas and the escape of the Apostle three years after his conversion ( 2 Corinthians 11:32-33 ; Acts 9:23-26 ). -- Damascene coins bearing the effigy of Tiberius to the year 34 are extant, proving that at that time the city belonged to the Romans. It is impossible to assume that Aretas had received it as a gift from Tiberius, for the latter, especially in his last years, was hostile to the King of the Nabataeans whom Vitellius, Governor of Syria, was ordered to attack (Joseph., "Ant.", XVIII, v, 13); neither could Aretas have possessed himself of it by force for, besides the unlikelihood of a direct aggression against the Romans, the expedition of Vitellius was at first directed not against Damascus but against Petra. It has therefore been somewhat plausibly conjectured that Caligula, subject as he was to such whims, had ceded it to him at the time of his accession (10 March, 37). As a matter of fact nothing is known of imperial coins of Damascus dating from either Caligula or Claudius. According to this hypothesis St. Paul's conversion was not prior to 34, nor his escape from Damascus and his first visit to Jerusalem, to 37.
(2) Death of Agrippa, famine in Judea, mission of Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to bring thither the alms from the Church of Antioch ( Acts 11:27 - 12:25 ). -- Agrippa died shortly after the Pasch ( Acts 12:3 , 12:19 ), when he was celebrating in Caesarea solemn festivals in honour of Claudius's recent return from Britain, in the third year of his reign, which had begun in 41 (Josephus, "Ant.", XIX, vii, 2). These combined facts bring us to the year 44, and it is precisely in this year that Orosius (Hist., vii, 6) places the great famine which desolated Judea. Josephus mentions it somewhat later, under the procurator Tiberius Alexander (about 46), but it is well known that the whole of Claudius's reign was characterized by poor harvests (Suet., "Claudius", 18) and a general famine was usually preceded by a more or less prolonged period of scarcity. It is also possible that the relief sent in anticipation of the famine foretold by Agabus ( Acts 11:28-29 ) preceded the appearance of the scourge or coincided with the first symptoms of want. On the other hand, the synchronism between the death of Herod and the mission of Paul can only be approximate, for although the two facts are closely connected in the Acts , the account of the death of Agrippa may be a mere episode intended to shed light on the situation of the Church of Jerusalem about the time of the arrival of the delegates from Antioch. In any case, 45 seems to be the most satisfactory date.
(3) Replacing of Felix by Festus two years after the arrest to Paul ( Acts 24:27 ). -- Until recently chronologists commonly fixed this important event, in the year 60-61. Harnack, 0. Holtzmann, and McGiffert suggest advancing it four or five years for the following reasons:
(1) In his "Chronicon", Eusebius places the arrival of Festus in the second year of Nero (October, 55-October, 56, or if, as is asserted, Eusebius makes the reigns of the emperors begin with the September after their accession, September, 56-September, 57). But it must be borne in mind that the chroniclers being always obliged to give definite dates, were likely to guess at them, and it may be that Eusebius for lack of definite information divided into two equal parts the entire duration of the government of Felix and Festus.
(2) Josephus states (Ant., XX, viii, 9) that Felix having been recalled to Rome and accused by the Jews to Nero, owed his safety only to his brother Pallas who was then high in favour. But according to Tacitus (Annal., XIII, xiv-xv), Pallas was dismissed shortly before Britannicus celebrated his fourteenth anniversary, that is, in January, 55. These two statements are irreconcilable; for if Pallas was dismissed three months after Nero's accession (13 October, 54) he could not have been at the summit of his power when his brother Felix, recalled from Palestine at the command of Nero about the time of Pentecost, arrived at Rome. Possibly Pallas, who after his dismissal retained his wealth and a portion of his influence, since he stipulated that his administration should not be subjected to an investigation, was able to be of assistance to his brother until 62 when Nero, to obtain possession of his goods, Nero had him poisoned.
The advocates of a later date bring forward the following reasons:
(1) Two years before the recall of Felix, Paul reminded him that he had been for many years judge over the Jewish nation ( Acts 24:10-27 ). This can scarcely mean less than six or seven years, and as, according to Josephus who agrees with Tacitus, Felix was named procurator of Judea in 52, the beginning of the captivity would fall in 58 or 59. It is true that the argument loses its strength if it be admitted with several critics that Felix before being procurator had held a subordinate position in Palestine.
(2) Josephus (Ant., XX, viii, 5-8) places under Nero everything that pertains to the government of Felix, and although this long series of events does not necessarily require many years it is evident that Josephus regarded the government of Felix as coinciding for the most part with the reign of Nero, which began on 13 October, 54.
In fixing as follows the chief dates in the life of Paul all certain or probable data seem to be satisfactorily taken into account: Conversion, 35; first visit to Jerusalem, 37; sojourn at Tarsus, 37-43; apostolate at Antioch, 43-44; second visit to Jerusalem, 44 or 45; first mission, 45-49; third visit to Jerusalem, 49 or 50; second mission, 50-53; ( 1 and 2 Thessalonians ), 52; fourth visit to Jerusalem, 53; third mission, 53-57; ( 1 and 2 Corinthians ; Galatians ), 56; ( Romans ), 57; fifth visit to Jerusalem, arrest, 57; arrival of Festus, departure for Rome, 59; captivity at Rome, 60-62; ( Philemon ; Colossians ; Ephesians ; Philippians ), 61; second period of activity, 62-66; ( 1 Timothy ; Titus ), second arrest, 66; ( 2 Timothy ), martyrdom, 67. (See Turner, "Chronology of the New Testament" in Hastings, "Dict. of the Bible" Hönicke, "Die Chronologie des Lebens des Ap. Paulus", Leipzig, 1903.
II. LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL A. Birth and Education
From St. Paul himself we know that he was born at Tarsus in Cilicia ( Acts 21:39 ), of a father who was a Roman citizen ( Acts 22:26-28 ; cf. 16:37 ), of a family in which piety was hereditary ( 2 Timothy 1:3 ) and which was much attached to Pharisaic traditions and observances ( Philippians 3:5-6 ).
St. Jerome relates, on what ground is not known, that his parents were natives of Gischala, a small town of Galilee and that they brought him to Tarsus when Gischala was captured by the Romans ("De vir. ill.", v; "In epist. ad Phil.", 23). This last detail is certainly an anachronism, but the Galilean origin of the family is not at all improbable.
As he belonged to the tribe of Benjamin he was given at the time of his circumcision the name of Saul, which must have been common in that tribe in memory of the first king of the Jews ( Philippians 3:5 ). As a Roman citizen he also bore the Latin name of Paul. It was quite usual for the Jews of that time to have two names, one Hebrew, the other Latin or Greek, between which there was often a certain assonance and which were joined together exactly in the manner made use of by St. Luke ( Acts 13:9 : Saulos ho kai Paulos ). See on this point Deissmann, "Bible Studies" (Edinburgh, 1903, 313-17.) It was natural that in inaugurating his apostolate among the Gentiles Paul should have adopted his Roman name, especially as the name Saul had a ludicrous meaning in Greek.
As every respectable Jew had to teach his son a trade, young Saul learned how to make tents ( Acts 18:3 ) or rather to make the mohair of which tents were made (cf. Lewin, "Life of St. Paul", I, London, 1874, 8-9). He was still very young when sent to Jerusalem to receive his education at the school of Gamaliel ( Acts 22:3 ). Possibly some of his family resided in the holy city ; later there is mention of the presence of one of his sisters whose son saved his life ( Acts 23:16 ).
From that time it is absolutely impossible to follow him until he takes an active part in the martyrdom of St. Stephen ( Acts 7:58-60 ; 22:20 ). He was then qualified as a young man ( neanias ), but this was very elastic appellation and might be applied to a man between twenty and forty.B. Conversion and early Labours
We read in the Acts of the Apostles three accounts of the conversion of St. Paul ( 9:1-19 ; 22:3-21 ; 26:9-23 ) presenting some slight differences, which it is not difficult to harmonize and which do not affect the basis of the narrative, which is perfectly identical in substance. See J. Massie, "The Conversion of St. Paul" in "The Expositor", 3rd series, X, 1889, 241-62. Sabatier, agreeing with most independent critics, has well said (L'Apotre Paul, 1896, 42):
blockquote>These differences cannot in any way alter the reality of the fact; their bearing on the narrative is extremely remote; they do not deal even with the circumstances accompanying the miracle but with the subjective impressions which the companions of St. Paul received of these circumstances. . . . To base a denial of the historical character of the account upon these differences would seem therefore a violent and arbitrary proceeding.
All efforts hitherto made to explain without a miracle the apparition of Jesus to Paul have failed. Naturalistic explanations are reduced to two: either Paul believed that he really saw Christ, but was the victim of an hallucination, or he believed that he saw Him only through a spiritual vision, which tradition, recorded in the Acts of the Apostles , later erroneously materialized. Renan explained everything by hallucination due to disease brought on by a combination of moral causes such as doubt, remorse, fear, and of physical causes such as ophthalmia, fatigue, fever, the sudden transition from the torrid desert to the fresh gardens of Damascus, perhaps a sudden storm accompanied by lightning and thunder. All this combined, according to Renan's theory, to produce a cerebral commotion, a passing delirium which Paul took in good faith for an apparition of the risen Christ.
The other partisans of a natural explanation while avoiding the word hallucination , eventually fall back on the system of Renan which they merely endeavour to render a little less complicated. Thus Holsten, for whom the vision of Christ is only the conclusion of a series of syllogisms by which Paul persuaded himself that Christ was truly risen. So also Pfleiderer, who however, causes the imagination to play a more influential part:An excitable, nervous temperament; a soul that had been violently agitated and torn by the most terrible doubts ; a most vivid phantasy, occupied with the awful scenes of persecution on the one hand and on the other by the ideal image of the celestial Christ ; in addition the nearness of Damascus with the urgency of a decision, the lonely stillness, the scorching and blinding heat of the desert -- in fact everything combined to produce one of those ecstatic states in which the soul believes that it sees those images and conceptions which violently agitate it as if they were phenomena proceeding from the outward world ( Lectures on the influence of the Apostle Paul on the development of Christianity , 1897, 43).
We have quoted Pfleiderer's words at length because his "psychological" explanation is considered the best ever devised. It will readily be seen that it is insufficient and as much opposed to the account in the Acts as to the express testimony of St. Paul himself.
- Paul is certain of having "seen" Christ as did the other Apostles ( 1 Corinthians 9:1 ); he declares that Christ "appeared" to him ( 1 Corinthians 15:8 ) as He appeared to Peter, to James, to the Twelve, after His Resurrection.
- He knows that his conversion is not the fruit of his reasoning or thoughts, but an unforeseen, sudden, startling change, due to all-powerful grace ( Galatians 1:12-15 ; 1 Corinthians 15:10 ).
- He is wrongly credited with doubts, perplexities, fears, remorse, before his conversion. He was halted by Christ when his fury was at its height ( Acts 9:1-2 ); it was "through zeal " that he persecuted the Church ( Philippians 3:6 ), and he obtained mercy because he had acted "ignorantly in unbelief" ( 1 Timothy 1:13 ).
All explanations, psychological or otherwise, are worthless in face of these definite assertions, for all suppose that it was Paul's faith in Christ which engendered the vision, whereas according to the concordant testimony of the Acts and the Epistles it was the actual vision of Christ which engendered faith.
After his conversion, his baptism, and his miraculous cure Paul set about preaching to the Jews ( Acts 9:19-20 ). He afterwards withdrew to Arabia -- probably to the region south of Damascus ( Galatians 1:17 ), doubtless less to preach than to meditate on the Scriptures . On his return to Damascus the intrigues of the Jews forced him to flee by night ( 2 Corinthians 11:32-33 ; Acts 9:23-25 ). He went to Jerusalem to see Peter ( Galatians 1:18 ), but remained only fifteen days, for the snares of the Greeks threatened his life. He then left for Tarsus and is lost to sight for five or six years ( Acts 9:29-30 ; Galatians 1:21 ). Barnabas went in search of him and brought him to Antioch where for a year they worked together and their apostolate was most fruitful ( Acts 11:25-26 ). Together also they were sent to Jerusalem to carry alms to the brethren on the occasion of the famine predicted by Agabus ( Acts 11:27-30 ). They do not seem to have found the Apostles there; these had been scattered by the persecution of Herod.C. Apostolic Career of Paul
This period of twelve years (45-57) was the most active and fruitful of his life. It comprises three great Apostolic expeditions of which Antioch was in each instance the starting-point and which invariably ended in a visit to Jerusalem.
(1) First mission (Acts 13:1-14:27)
Set apart by command of the Holy Ghost for the special evangelization of the Gentiles, Barnabas and Saul embark for Cyprus, preach in the synagogue of Salamina, cross the island from east to west doubtless following the southern coast, and reach Paphos, the residence of the proconsul Sergius Paulus, where a sudden change takes place. After the conversion of the Roman proconsul, Saul, suddenly become Paul, is invariably mentioned before Barnabas by St. Luke and manifestly assumes the leadership of the mission which Barnabas has hitherto directed.
The results of this change are soon evident. Paul, doubtless concluding that Cyprus, the natural dependency of Syria and Cilicia, would embrace the faith of Christ when these two countries should be Christian, chose Asia Minor as the field of his apostolate and sailed for Perge in Pamphylia, eighth miles above the mouth of the Cestrus. It was then that John Mark, cousin of Barnabas, dismayed perhaps by the daring projects of the Apostle, abandoned the expedition and returned to Jerusalem, while Paul and Barnabas laboured alone among the rough mountains of Pisidia, which were infested by brigands and crossed by frightful precipices. Their destination was the Roman colony of Antioch, situated a seven day's journey from Perge. Here Paul spoke on the vocation of Israel and the providential sending of the Messias, a discourse which St. Luke reproduces in substance as an example of his preaching in the synagogues ( Acts 13:16-41 ). The sojourn of the two missionaries in Antioch was long enough for the word of the Lord to be published throughout the whole country ( Acts 13:49 ).
When by their intrigues the Jews had obtained against them a decree of banishment, they went to Iconium, three or four days distant, where they met with the same persecution from the Jews and the same eager welcome from the Gentiles. The hostility of the Jews forced them to take refuge in the Roman colony of Lystra, eighteen miles distant. Here the Jews from Antioch and Iconium laid snares for Paul and having stoned him left him for dead, but again he succeeded in escaping and this time sought refuge in Derbe, situated about forty miles away on the frontier of the Province of Galatia. Their circuit completed, the missionaries retraced their steps in order to visit their neophytes, ordained priests in each Church founded by them at such great cost, and thus reached Perge where they halted to preach the Gospel, perhaps while awaiting an opportunity to embark for Attalia, a port twelve miles distant. On their return to Antioch in Syria after an absence of at least three years, they were received with transports of joy and thanksgiving, for God had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
The problem of the status of the Gentiles in the Church now made itself felt with all its acuteness. Some Judeo-Christians coming down from Jerusalem claimed that the Gentiles must be submitted to circumcision and treated as the Jews treated proselytes. Against this Paul and Barnabas protested and it was decided that a meeting should be held at Jerusalem in order to solve the question. At this assembly Paul and Barnabas represented the community of Antioch. Peter pleaded the freedom of the Gentiles ; James upheld him, at the same time demanding that the Gentiles should abstain from certain things which especially shocked the Jews.
It was decided, first, that the Gentiles were exempt from the Mosaic law. Secondly, that those of Syria and Cilicia must abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from fornication. Thirdly, that this injunction was laid upon them, not in virtue of the Mosaic law, but in the name of the Holy Ghost. This meant the complete triumph of Paul's ideas.
The restriction imposed on the Gentile converts of Syria and Cilicia did not concern his Churches, and Titus, his companion, was not compelled to be circumcised, despite the loud protests of the Judaizers ( Galatians 2:3-4 ). Here it is to be assumed that Galatians 2 and Acts 15 relate to the same fact, for the actors are the same, Paul and Barnabas on the one hand, Peter and James on the other; the discussion is the same, the question of the circumcision of the Gentiles ; the scenes are the same, Antioch and Jerusalem ; the date is the same, about A.D. 50; and the result is the same, Paul's victory over the Judaizers.
However, the decision of Jerusalem did not do away with all difficulties. The question did not concern only the Gentiles, and while exempting them from the Mosaic law, it was not declared that it would not have been counted meritorious and more perfect for them to observe it, as the decree seemed to liken them to Jewish proselytes of the second class. Furthermore the Judeo-Christians, not having been included in the verdict, were still free to consider themselves bound to the observance of the law. This was the origin of the dispute which shortly afterwards arose at Antioch between Peter and Paul. The latter taught openly that the law was abolished for the Jews themselves. Peter did not think otherwise, but he considered it wise to avoid giving offence to the Judaizers and to refrain from eating with the Gentiles who did not observe all the prescriptions of the law. As he thus morally influenced the Gentiles to live as the Jews did, Paul demonstrated to him that this dissimulation or opportuneness prepared the way for future misunderstandings and conflicts and even then had regrettable consequences. His manner of relating this incident leaves no room for doubt that Peter was persuaded by his arguments ( Galatians 2:11-20 ).
(2) Second mission (Acts 15:36-18:22)
The beginning of the second mission was marked by a rather sharp discussion concerning Mark, whom St. Paul this time refused to accept as travelling companion. Consequently Barnabas set out with Mark for Cyprus and Paul chose Silas or Silvanus, a Roman citizen like himself, and an influential member of the Church of Jerusalem, and sent by it to Antioch to deliver the decrees of the Apostolic council. The two missionaries first went from Antioch to Tarsus, stopping on the way in order to promulgate the decisions of the Council of Jerusalem ; then they went from Tarsus to Derbe, through the Cilician Gates, the defiles of Tarsus, and the plains of Lycaonia. The visitation of the Churches founded during his first mission passed without notable incidents except the choice of Timothy, whom the Apostle while in Lystra persuaded to accompany him, and whom he caused to be circumcised in order to facilitate his access to the Jews who were numerous in those places.
It was probably at Antioch of Pisidia , although the Acts do not mention that city, that the itinerary of the mission was altered by the intervention of the Holy Ghost . Paul thought to enter the Province of Asia by the valley of Meander which separated it by only three day's journey, but they passed through Phrygia and the country of Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Ghost to preach the word of God in Asia ( Acts 16:6 ). These words ( ten phrygian kai Galatiken choran ) are variously interpreted, according as we take them to mean the Galatians of the north or of the south (see GALATIANS). Whatever the hypothesis, the missionaries had to travel northwards in that portion of Galatia properly so called of which Pessinonte was the capital, and the only question is as to whether or not they preached there. They did not intend to do so, but as is known the evangelization of the Galatians was due to an accident, namely the illness of Paul ( Galatians 4:13 ); this fits very well for Galatians in the north. In any case the missionaries having reached the upper part of Mysia ( kata Mysian ), attempted to enter the rich Province of Bithynia, which lay before them, but the Holy Ghost prevented them ( Acts 16:7 ). Therefore, passing through Mysia without stopping to preach ( parelthontes ) they reached Alexandria of Troas, where God's will was again made known to them in the vision of a Macedonian who called them to come and help his country ( Acts 16:9-10 ).
Paul continued to follow on European soil the method of preaching he had employed from the beginning. As far as possible he concentrated his efforts in a metropolis from which the Faith would spread to cities of second rank and to the country districts. Wherever there was a synagogue he first took his stand there and preached to the Jews and proselytes who would consent to listen to him. When the rupture with the Jews was irreparable, which always happened sooner or later, he founded a new Church with his neophytes as a nucleus. He remained in the same city until persecution, generally aroused by the intrigues of the Jews, forced him to retire. There were, however, variations of this plan. At Philippi, where there was no synagogue, the first preaching took place in the uncovered oratory called the proseuche , which the Gentiles made a reason for stirring up the persecution. Paul and Silas, charged with disturbing public order, were beaten with rods, imprisoned, and finally exiled. But at Thessalonica and Berea, whither they successively repaired after leaving Philippi, things turned out almost as they had planned.
The apostolate of Athens was quite exceptional. Here there was no question of Jews or synagogue, Paul, contrary to his custom, was alone ( 1 Thessalonians 3:1 ), and he delivered before the areopagus a specially framed discourse, a synopsis of which has been preserved by Acts 17:23-31 as a specimen of its kind. He seems to have left the city of his own accord, without being forced to do so by persecution. The mission to Corinth on the other hand may be considered typical. Paul preached in the synagogue every Sabbath day, and when the violent opposition of the Jews denied him entrance there he withdrew to an adjoining house which was the property of a proselyte named Titus Justus. He carried on his apostolate in this manner for eighteen months, while the Jews vainly stormed against him; he was able to withstand them owing to the impartial, if not actually favourable, attitude of the proconsul, Gallio. Finally he decided to go to Jerusalem in fulfillment of a vow made perhaps in a moment of danger. From Jerusalem, according to his custom, he returned to Antioch. The two Epistles to the Thessalonians were written during the early months of his sojourn at Corinth. For occasion, circumstances, and analysis of these letters see THESSALONIANS.
(3) Third mission (Acts 18:23-21:26)
Paul's destination in his third journey was obviously Ephesus. There Aquila and Priscilla were awaiting him, he had promised the Ephesians to return and evangelize them if it were the will of God ( Acts 18:19-21 ), and the Holy Ghost no longer opposed his entry into Asia. Therefore, after a brief rest at Antioch he went through the countries of Galatia and Phrygia ( Acts 18:23 ) and passing through "the upper regions" of Central Asia he reached Ephesus ( 19:1 ). His method remained the same. In order to earn his living and not be a burden to the faithful he toiled every day for many hours at making tents, but this did not prevent him from preaching the Gospel. As usual he began with the synagogue where he succeeded in remaining for three months. At the end of this time he taught every day in a classroom placed at his disposal by a certain Tyrannus "from the fifth hour to the tenth" (from eleven in the morning till four in the afternoon), according to the interesting addition of the "Codex Bezae" ( Acts 19:9 ). This lasted two years, so that all the inhabitants of Asia, Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord ( Acts 19:20 ).
Naturally there were trials to be endured and obstacles to be overcome. Some of these obstacles arose from the jealousy of the Jews, who vainly endeavoured to imitate Paul's exorcisms, others from the superstition of the pagans, which was especially rife at Ephesus. So effectually did he triumph over it, however, that books of superstition were burned to the value of 50,000 pieces of silver (each piece about a day's wage). This time the persecution was due to the Gentiles and inspired by a motive of self-interest. The progress of Christianity having ruined the sale of the little facsimiles of the temple of Diana and statuettes of the goddess, which devout pilgrims had been wont to purchase, a certain Demetrius, at the head of the guild of silversmiths, stirred up the crowd against Paul. The scene which then transpired in the theatre is described by St. Luke with memorable vividness and pathos ( Acts 19:23-40 ). The Apostle had to yield to the storm. After a stay at Ephesus of two years and a half, perhaps more ( Acts 20:31 : trietian ), he departed for Macedonia and thence for Corinth, where he spent the winter. It was his intention in the following spring to go by sea to Jerusalem, doubtless for the Pasch ; but learning that the Jews had planned his destruction, he did not wish, by going to sea, to afford them an opportunity to attempt his life. Therefore he returned by way of Macedonia. Numerous disciples divided into two groups, accompanied him or awaited him at Troas. These were Sopater of Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus of Thessalonica, Gaius of Derbe, Timothy, Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia, and finally Luke, the historian of the Acts , who gives us minutely all the stages of the voyage: Philippi, Troas, Assos, Mitylene, Chios, Samos, Miletus, Cos, Rhodes, Patara, Tyre, Ptolemais, Caesarea, Jerusalem.
Three more remarkable facts should be noted in passing. At Troas Paul resuscitated the young Eutychus, who had fallen from a third-story window while Paul was preaching late into the night. At Miletus he pronounced before the ancients of Ephesus the touching farewell discourse which drew many tears ( Acts 20:18-38 ). At Caesarea the Holy Ghost by the mouth of Agabus, predicted his coming arrest, but did not dissuade him from going to Jerusalem.
St. Paul's four great Epistles were written during this third mission: the first to the Corinthians from Ephesus, about the time of the Pasch prior to his departure from that city; the second to the Corinthians from Macedonia, during the summer or autumn of the same year; that to the Romans from Corinth, in the following spring; the date of the Epistle to the Galatians is disputed. On the many questions occasioned by the despatch and the language of these letters, or the situation assumed either on the side of the Apostle or his correspondents, see EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS ; EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS ; EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS .D. Captivity (Acts 21:27-28:31)
Falsely accused by the Jews of having brought Gentiles into the Temple, Paul was ill-treated by the populace and led in chains to the fortress Antonia by the tribune Lysias. The latter having learned that the Jews had conspired treacherously to slay the prisoner sent him under strong escort to Caesarea, which was the residence of the procurator Felix. Paul had little difficulty in confounding his accusers, but as he refused to purchase his liberty. Felix kept him in chains for two years and even left him in prison in order to please the Jews, until the arrival of his successor, Festus. The new governor wished to send the prisoner to Jerusalem there to be tried in the presence of his accusers; but Paul, who was acquainted with the snares of his enemies, appealed to Caesar. Thenceforth his cause could be tried only at Rome. This first period of captivity is characterized by five discourses of the Apostle : The first was delivered in Hebrew on the steps of the Antonia before the threatening crowd; herein Paul relates his conversion and vocation to the Apostolate, but he was interrupted by the hostile shouts of the multitude ( Acts 22:1-22 ). In the second, delivered the next day, before the Sanhedrin assembled at the command of Lysias, the Apostle skillfully embroiled the Pharisees with the Sadducees and no accusation could be brought. In the third, Paul, answering his accuser Tertullus in the presence of the Governor Felix, makes known the facts which had been distorted and proves his innocence ( Acts 24:10-21 ). The fourth discourse is merely an explanatory summary of the Christian Faith delivered before Felix and his wife Drusilla ( Acts 24:2
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online