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Paul: A Critical Life$
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Jerome Murphy-OʼConnor

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780192853424

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192853424.001.0001

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Growing Up in Tarsus

Growing Up in Tarsus

(p.32) 2 Growing Up in Tarsus
Paul: A Critical Life

Jerome Murphy-oʼconnor

Oxford University Press

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

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