Paul the Apostle

Paul the Apostle[note 1][7] (c.5 – c.64/67 AD), commonly known as Saint Paul and also known by his Hebrew name Saul of Tarsus,[note 2][8] was a Christian apostle (although not one of the Twelve Apostles) who spread the teachings of Jesus in the first-century world.[9] Generally regarded as one of the most important figures of the Apostolic Age,[8][10] he founded several Christian communities in Asia Minor and Europe from the mid-30s to the mid-50s AD.[11]

Paul the Apostle
Saint Paul by Guercino
Apostle to the Gentiles, Martyr
BornSaul of Tarsus
c.5 AD[1]
Tarsus, Cilicia, Roman Empire (modern-day Turkey)
Diedc.64/67 AD (aged 61–62 or 64–65)[2][3][4]
Rome, Italia, Roman Empire[2][5]
Venerated inAll Christian denominations that venerate saints
Major shrineBasilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Rome, Italy
AttributesChristian martyrdom, sword, book
PatronageMissionaries, theologians, evangelists, and Gentile Christians
Theology career
EducationSchool of Gamaliel[Acts 22:3]
OccupationChristian missionary
Notable work
Theological work
EraApostolic Age
LanguageKoine Greek
Tradition or movementPauline Christianity
Main interestsTorah, Christology, eschatology, soteriology, ecclesiology
Notable ideasPauline privilege, Law of Christ, Holy Spirit, unknown God, divinity of Jesus, thorn in the flesh, Pauline mysticism, biblical inspiration, supersessionism, non-circumcision, salvation

According to the New Testament book Acts of the Apostles, Paul was a Pharisee; he participated in the persecution of early disciples of Jesus, possibly Hellenised diaspora Jews converted to Christianity,[12] in the area of Jerusalem, prior to his conversion.[note 3] In the narrative of Acts, Paul was traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus on a mission to "arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem" when the ascended Jesus appeared to him in a great bright light. He was struck blind, but after three days his sight was restored by Ananias of Damascus and Paul began to preach that Jesus of Nazareth was the Jewish messiah and the Son of God.[Acts 9:20–21] Approximately half of the Book of Acts deals with Paul's life and works.

Fourteen of the 27 books in the New Testament have traditionally been attributed to Paul.[13] Seven of the Pauline epistles are undisputed by scholars as being authentic, with varying degrees of argument about the remainder. Pauline authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews is not asserted in the Epistle itself and was already doubted in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.[note 4] It was almost unquestioningly accepted from the 5th to the 16th centuries that Paul was the author of Hebrews,[15] but that view is now almost universally rejected by scholars.[15][16] The other six are believed by some scholars to have come from followers writing in his name, using material from Paul's surviving letters and letters written by him that no longer survive.[9][8][note 5] Other scholars argue that the idea of a pseudonymous author for the disputed epistles raises many problems.[18]

Today, Paul's epistles continue to be vital roots of the theology, worship and pastoral life in the Latin and Protestant traditions of the West, as well as the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox traditions of the East.[19] Paul's influence on Christian thought and practice has been characterized as being as "profound as it is pervasive", among that of many other apostles and missionaries involved in the spread of the Christian faith.[9]