Author Topic: Saul in the books of Josephus and Acts  (Read 4631 times)

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Offline Najib

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Saul in the books of Josephus and Acts
« on: November 23, 2015, 07:30:16 AM »
Two Paul?

I Will quote some points from the website:

Where DID they get their ideas from?

1) Josephus version:
 Josephus was himself betrayed by 'John', chose an ally named 'Silas', and made a miraculous escape!

" But when John [of Gichala] was come to the city of Tiberias, he persuaded the men to revolt from their fidelity to me ...

A messenger had come to me from Silas, whom I had made governor of Tiberias ...

Upon the receipt of this letter of Silas, I took two hundred men along with me, and traveled all night ...

Having dismissed the guards I had about me, excepting one, and ten armed men that were with him,

I attempted to make a speech to the multitude ... But before I had spoken ... to provide for my own safety, and escape my enemies there ...

[I was] carried upon the back of one Herod of Tiberias, and guided by him down to the lake, where I seized a ship, and got into it, and escaped my enemies unexpectedly, and came to Tarichese."

– Josephus, Life 17


Acts Version

"But Paul thought not good to take John with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia ...

And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.– Acts 15.38,40

" And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.

And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas".

Acts 16.25,29


Where DID they get their ideas from?

Josephus Version

Circumcision NOT necessary – says Josephus!

" At this time it was that two great men, who were under the jurisdiction of king Agrippa, came to me out of the region of Trachonius, bringing their horses and their arms, and carrying with them their money also.

And when the Jews would force them to be circumcised, if they would stay among them, I would not permit them to have any force put upon them, but said to them,

"Every one ought to worship God according to his own inclinations, and not to be constrained by force; and that these men, who had fled to us for protection, ought not to be so treated as to repent of their coming hither."

– Josephus, Life 23


Acts Version

"And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

And after they had held their peace, James answered ...

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God."

Acts 15.1,19


Where DID they get their ideas from?

Josephus reports on Saul, an avaricious Herodian aristocrat, during the Jewish rebellion of 66-74 AD. Did this nasty Saul help the author of Acts flesh out his story of the apostle?

1) Josephus

"So the men of power perceiving that the sedition was too hard for them to subdue, and that the danger which would arise from the Romans would come upon them first of all, endeavoured to save themselves, and sent ambassadors, some to Florus, the chief of which was Simon the son of Ananias; and others to Agrippa, among whom the most eminent were Saul, and Antipas, and Costobarus, who were of the king's kindred; and they desired of them both that they would come with an army to the city, and cut off the seditious before it should be too hard to be subdued. "
– WAR, 2, 17.

1) Story elemnt

Saul is a powerful man.


Saul gains access to king Herod Agrippa.

1)  Book of acts

Saul is a powerful man.
"Saul ... made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison." (Acts 8.3)

Saul/Paul gains access to king Herod Agrippa:
"Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews." (Acts 26.1,2)


2)  Josephus

"Saul ... of the king's kindred".

2)  Story element

Saul is a kinsman of Herod Agrippa.

2) Book of acts

Saul/Paul is related to the Herodians?

"Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers as Barnabas and Simeon that was called Niger and Lucius of Cyrene and Manaen which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch and Saul. (Acts 13.1)

Also note: "Greet Herodion, my relative." (Romans 16.11).


3) Josephus

"Ananias was too hard for the rest, by his riches, which enabled him to gain those that were most ready to receive. Costobarus also, and Saulus, did themselves get together a multitude of wicked wretches, and this because they were of the royal family; and so they obtained favour among them, because of their kindred to Agrippa; but still they used violence with the people, and were very ready to plunder those that were weaker than themselves."


3)  Story element
Saul uses violence.

He plunders those weaker than himself.

3)Book of acts

Saul uses violence against the meek and mild Christians:
"And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord" (Acts 9.1)


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