Murphy-O’Connor has a detailed chapter in Paul, a Critical Life about Paul’s youth in Tarsus.
It is true that it is Acts, not the letters, that speak of Tarsus. However, Paul is clearly a diaspora Jew and his statement in Galatians 1:21 that he began is ministry in the “regions of Syria and Cilicia” is most easily explained if he traveled to Cilicia, of which Tarsus was capital, because he was already familiar with it. Syria was an important place where churches may have already existed. But his journey to Cilicia must have another motive. So we should believe Luke in this case.
The chapter attempts to answer a number of questions about Paul.
What do we know about Paul’s family? Philippians 3:5 is where Paul gives us the most information:
I was circumcised on the eighth day, from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews. I lived according to the law as a Pharisee (NET…
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