Was Paul from a Wealthy Family?

Reading Acts

Apostle PaulAlthough Longenecker says there is no evidence to indicate Paul grow up with “a silver spoon in his mouth” (Thinking through Paul, 26), John Polhill speculates Paul may have been wealthy for several reasons (Paul and His Letters, 9). First, Paul was born a citizen, so his father or grandfather obtained citizenship. In order to “buy” a citizenship, one might need to spend 18 months wages or more on necessary gifts in order to receive the honor.

Second, the fact Paul was a tent maker from Tarsus may imply he worked with the costly material cilcium, used for both tents and saddles. Since Jews were known to have worked in the very active textile industry in Tarsus, it is possible that Paul’s family was connected to this trade.

On the other hand, Paul may have learned his trade through his rabbinical training.  A trade was…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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