Category:Paul of Tarsus (subject)

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Portrait of Paul of Tarsus (Ravenna, ca.500)

Paul of Tarsus (1st century CE) was a Second Temple Jewish religious figure, a former Pharisee who became one of the leaders of the nascent Christian movement.

< Life of Paul  : Paul's Early Life -- Paul Persecuting the Church -- Conversion of Paul -- Paul's First Missionary Journey -- Council of Jerusalem -- Incident at Antioch -- Paul's Second Missionary Journey -- Paul's Third Missionary Journey -- Paul's Last Visit to Jerusalem -- Paul in Caesarea -- Paul's Journey to Rome -- Paul in Rome -- Martyrdom of Paul -- Relics of Paul >

< Writings: Acts of Apostles -- 1 Thessalonians -- 1 Corinthians -- 2 Corinthians -- Galatians -- Romans >

< Fictional Works on Paul in : Art -- Cinema -- Literature -- Music -- Theatre >


The Pauline Letters and the Acts of Apostle offer some information about Paul's life before he joined the Jesus movement (see Paul's Early Life). In Philippians (3:5), Paul refers to himself as being "of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee". A native of Tarsus, the capital city in the Roman province of Cilicia, he was fluent in both Greek and Aramaic. He was also a Roman citizen.

Paul grew up as Pharisee, and a disciple of Gamaliel in Jerusalem. According to his letters and the Acts of Apostles he supported the Sadducees in the persecution of the Hellenist Christians; see Paul Persecuting the Church.

Then, something happened. He left the Pharisaic party and joined the Jesus movement that he so harshly had persecuted (see Conversion of Paul).

Paul soon became a leader in the new Jewish movement, active especially in spreading the "good news" to the Gentiles. The Acts of Apostles records three missionary journeys by Paul (see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey, Paul's Third Missionary Journey). Many letters also survive of his missionary activity.

Paul promoted a more liberal interpretation of the Christian message in relation to the status of the Gentile within the new community. His views were often opposed by James and the Jerusalem leadership. See Council of Jerusalem and Incident at Antioch.

Paul was eventually arrested in Jerusalem during a visit to the Jerusalem Temple; see Paul's Last Visit to Jerusalem. He was transported to Caesarea Maritima and then to Rome to be put on trial as a Roman citizen. See Paul in Caesarea and Paul's Journey to Rome.

According to Christian traditions, he was released from prison but died a few years later during a time of persecution under Nero. See Paul in Rome and Martyrdom of Paul.

Paul remains a central figure in the memory and veneration of the Christian Church. See Relics of Paul.

Paul of Tarsus, in ancient sources

Paul of Tarsus is mentioned only in Christian tradition, which has handed down a group of letters written by, or attributed to, him. He is also one of the major characters, if not the protagonist, of the Acts of Apostles.

Authentic Letters of Paul

Letters Attributed to Paul

Acts of Apostles

1 Clement

1 Clement 5: But not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to the most recent spiritual heroes. Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own generation. Through envy and jealousy, the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the Church] have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours, and when he had finally suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience.

1 Clement 47: Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. What did he write to you at the time when the Gospel first began to be preached? Truly, under the inspiration of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, because even then parties had been formed among you. But that inclination for one above another entailed less guilt upon you, inasmuch as your partialities were then shown towards apostles, already of high reputation, and towards a man whom they had approved. But now reflect who those are that have perverted you, and lessened the renown of your far-famed brotherly love. It is disgraceful, beloved, yea, highly disgraceful, and unworthy of your Christian profession, that such a thing should be heard of as that the most steadfast and ancient Church of the Corinthians should, on account of one or two persons, engage in sedition against its presbyters. And this rumour has reached not only us, but those also who are unconnected with us; so that, through your infatuation, the name of the Lord is blasphemed, while danger is also brought upon yourselves.

2 Peter

2 Peter: ...we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. 14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures...

Ignatius of Antioch' Letter to the Romans

I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles of Jesus Christ, but I am the very least [of believers]: they were free, as the servants of God; while I am, even until now, a servant. But when I suffer, I shall be the freedman of Jesus Christ, and shall rise again emancipated in Him.

Polycarp to the Philippians

Chap. 3 -- 1 These things, brethren, I write to you concerning righteousness, not at my own instance, but because you first invited me. 2 For neither am I, nor is any other like me, able to follow the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul, who when he was among you in the presence of the men of that time taught accurately and stedfastly the word of truth, and also when he was absent wrote letters to you, from the study of which you will be able to build yourselves up into the faith given you; 3 "which is the mother of us all" when faith follows, and love of God and Christ and neighbour goes before. For if one be in this company he has fulfilled the command of righteousness, for he who has love is far from all sin.

Chap. 9 -- 1 Now I beseech you all to obey the word of righteousness, and to endure with all the endurance which you also saw before your eyes, not only in the blessed Ignatius, and Zosimus, and Rufus, but also in others among yourselves, and in Paul himself, and in the other Apostles; 2 being persuaded that all of these "ran not in vain," but in faith and righteousness, and that they are with the Lord in the "place which is their due," with whom they also suffered. For they did not "love this present world" but him who died on our behalf, and was raised by God for our sakes.

Chap. 11 -- 1 I am deeply sorry for Valens, who was once made a presbyter among you, that he so little understands the place which was given to him. I advise, therefore, that you keep from avarice, and be pure and truthful. Keep yourselves from all evil. 2 For how may he who cannot attain self-control in these matters enjoin it on another? If any man does not abstain from avarice he will be defiled by idolatry, and shall be judged as if he were among the Gentiles who "know not the judgment of God." Or do we "not know that the saints shall judge the world?" as Paul teaches. 3 But I have neither perceived nor heard any such thing among you, among whom the blessed Paul laboured, who are praised in the beginning of his Epistle. For concerning you he boasts in all the Churches who then alone had known the Lord, for we had not yet known him. 4 Therefore, brethren, I am deeply sorry for him [i.e. Valens] and for his wife, and "may the Lord grant them true repentance." Therefore be yourselves also moderate in this matter, and "do not regard such men as enemies," but call them back as fallible and straying members, that you may make whole the body of you all. For in doing this you edify yourselves.

Martyrdom of Polycarp

In Martyrdom of Polycarp (12:2), the same words once referred to to Paul: "This one is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, the destroyer of our gods, who teaches many not to sacrifice nor to worship." (Acts 16:20-21) are repeated by "the entire crowd of heathen and Jews who lived in Smyrna" in reference to Polycarp.

Paul of Tarsus, in the arts

Performing Paul

Year Performer Film/play/opera Notes
1912 Louis R. Grisel (1849-1928), American actor The Holy City (1912 Arnaud), short film Produced and released in the United States (July 1912).
1913 Frank Van Buren, American actor The Daughter of the Hills (1913 Dawley), short film Produced and released in the United States (December 1913).
1938 Neal Arden (1900-2014), British actor Life of St. Paul (1938 Walker), feature film Produced and released in the United Kingdom (1938).
1949 Nelson Leigh (1905-1985), American actor Life of St. Paul Series (1949 Coyle), feature film Produced and released in the United States (1949).
1951 Abraham Sofaer (1896-1988), American actor Quo Vadis (1951 LeRoy), feature film Produced and released in the United States. Based on Quo Vadis? (1895 Sienkiewicz), novel.
1952 Jean-Marc Tennberg (1924–1971), French actor Le chemin de Damas (The Road to Damascus / 1952 Glass), feature film Produced and released in France.
1954 Jack Stewart (1913–1966), Scottish actor Earthquake in Macedonia (1954 Milroy), TV film Produced and released in the United Kingdom.
1955 Vincent Cervera, American actor (uncredited) Wine of Morning (1955 Stenholm), feature film Produced and released in the United States.
1960 Patrick Troughton (1920–1987), British actor Paul of Tarsus (1960 Harington), TV mini-series Produced and broadcast in the United Kingdom. Paul of Tarsus appears in all 10 episodes of the series.
1963 Roger Coggio (1934–2001), French actor Le chemin de Damas (1963 Hubert), TV film Produced and broadcast in France.
1969 Edoardo Torricella (b.1935), Italian actor Atti degli Apostoli (Acts of the Apostles / 1969 Rossellini), TV mini-series Produced and broadcast in Italy (6 April to 4 May 1969). Paul of Tarsus appears in 4 of the 5 episodes of the series.
1980 Fred J. Scollay (1923–2015), American actor I, Paul (1980 Arbusto), short film Produced and released in VHR in the United States.
1981 Anthony Hopkins (b.1937), Welsh actor Peter and Paul (1981 Day), TV mini-series Produced and broadcast in the United States (12-14 April 1981).
1985 Philip Sayer (1947-1989), Welsh actor A.D. - Anno Domini (1985 Cooper), TV mini-series Produced and broadcast in the United Kingdom and Italy (Fall 1985). Adapted from The Kingdom of the Wicked (1985 Burgess), novel. Paul of Tarsus appears in all 5 episodes of the series.
1985 Philippe Leroy (b.1930), French Italian actor Quo Vadis? (1985 Rossi), TV mini-series Produced and broadcast in Italy. Based on Quo Vadis? (1895 Sienkiewicz), novel. Paul of Tarsus appears in 2 of the 6 episodes of the series.
1988 Harry Dean Stanton (b.1926), American actor The Last Temptation of Christ (1988 Scorsese), feature film Produced and released in video in the United States.
1990 Brian Nissen, American actor (voice) Saul of Tarsus (1990 Rich), animated short film Produced and released in video in the United States.
1992 Ray Porter, American actor (voice) The Ministry of Paul (1992 Rich), animated short film Produced and released in video in the United States.
1994 Henry O. Arnold, American actor Acts (1994 Bergh), feature film Produced and released in video in the United States.
1997 Garry Cooper (b.1955), American actor The Emissary (1997 Marcarelli), feature film Produced and released in the United States (November 1997).
1998 Johannes Brandrup (b.1967), German actor Stephen’s Test of Faith (1998 Yake), short film Produced in the United States.
2000 Johannes Brandrup (b.1967), German actor San Paolo (St. Paul / 2000 Young), TV mini-series Produced and broadcast in Italy (3-4 December 2000).
2001 Zbigniew Waleryś (b.1957), Polish actor Quo Vadis? (2001 Kawalerowicz), feature film Produced and released in Poland (September 2001). Based on Quo Vadis? (1895 Sienkiewicz), novel.
2004 Thiago Lacerda (b.1978), Brazilian actor Irmãos de Fé (Brothers in Faith / 2004 Góes), feature film Produced and released in Brazil (September 2004).
2005 Daniele Pecci (b.1970), Italian actor San Pietro (St. Peter / 2005 Base), TV mini-series Produced and broadcast in Italy (24-25 October 2005).
2006 Fernando Guillén Cuervo (b.1963), Spanish actor L'inchiesta (The Final Inquiry / 2006 Base), TV mini-series Produced and broadcast in Italy.
2010 Jacobo Muñoz, Spanish actor Pablo de Tarso: el último viaje (Paul of Tarsus: The Final Journey / 2010 Moreno), feature film Produced and released in Spain (October 2010).
2014 Mike Wilford, American actor With The Lions of Rome (2014 Dohrmann), short film Produced in the United States.
2014 Kyle Schmid (b.1984), Canadian actor Saul: The Journey to Damascus (2014 Azzopardi), feature film Produced in Canada.
2015 Henry Zammit Cordina, actor The Shipwreck (2015 My), documentary Produced in Malta.
2015 Emmett J. Scanlan (b.1979), Irish actor A.D.: The Bible Continues (2015 Downey, Burnett), TV series Produced and broadcast in the United States (5 April to 21 June 2015). Paul of Tarsus appears in 6 of the 12 episodes of the series.


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Pages in category "Paul of Tarsus (subject)"

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