From: Shaughn Daniel (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Sep 14 1995 - 03:31:07 EDT
Your reference to Hengel's book made me pick it up again. I read the thing
back in 1992 when I first came to Tuebingen. I didn't realize all the good
stuff in there.
CONCERNING SAUL THE PERSECUTOR
Hengel mentions Saul as in the "subordinate" position of keeping the coats
at Stephen's stoning. I reread the passage in Ac to which Hengel refers in
an endnote and began to wonder a lot of things.
1. Who are the MARTURES of Ac 7.58 and what is their function at the event?
2. Is "laying coats at the feet of s.o." a Jewish or ANE practice of some
special sort? If the MARTURES is not the same group who is dragging out and
stoning Stephen, then this could have some sort of symbolic meaning, not
necessarily a "subordinate" meaning, but one of exhaltation or honoring.
The imaginative stage: Saul was there as a teacher/defender of the law
(just like the scenarios of all the Pharisee groups that are asking and
debating questions with Jesus in the gospels). Stephen's speech is
'recorded', but it was part of a debate between many folks, probably even
including Saul. I know, a lot of imagination, but just wondering while
typing. The witnesses are there to decide who wins. The witnesses lay their
coats at Saul's feet, symbolically announcing his victory (and maybe he got
paid for winning, too, since his subsequent preaching of the Gospel after
conversion is without pay--at least that is what my mirror-reader says).
The crowd runs Stephen out and stones him. In this scheme of things, Saul
could have actually been stoned on that day, instead he "gives approval" to
the stoning of Stephen (maybe Saul was making a decision among disciplinary
procedures of flogging, imprisoning, whipping, or stoning; hence, Saul's
decision is for stoning (Saul could be seen as an extension of the
Sanhedrin court, the same in which Peter and the other apostles were
flogged--this would also mark a division within Gamaliel's school, of
course, all this is assuming that the Gamaliel in Ac is Paul's teacher--I
mean Gamaliel's ending of his speech does become a self-fulfilling prophecy
for Saul, e.g., "fighting against God" and "kicking the goads" as two
loosely connected ideas). The "young" Saul won and increased in popularity
among the other churches (synagogues?) outside. So when Saul was coming to
town, then everyone was hoping that they had been nice, not naughty. (Now
if someone can give me some evidence, then I'll prove the vision I've just
All of this may not be very original, but it represents my hearing of the
spirits today in Tuebingen.
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