Re: Paul

From: David Moore (
Date: Thu Sep 14 1995 - 10:51:13 EDT

Shaughn Daniel <> wrote:


>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.


>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
>had. =)

        Although I'm not certain to which of Hengle's works you're
referring, since I'm not subscribed to ioudaios-l where Larry's message
was apparently posted, allow me to comment on the meaning of the witnesses
laying their coats at the feet of Paul.

        The witnesses are most probably those mentioned in Deut. 17:7
which says, "The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put
him to death." This, in turn refers to the two or three witnesses
required for conviction in any capital offense (v. 6). In applying this
to Paul, we see someone who apparently did not take a direct part in
putting Stephen to death. Nevertheless, his actions show that he was in
accord with those who did the actual stoning. Something like, "You're
going to stone Stephen? Here, let me hold your coat." This scenario
would also agree with Luke's report of Paul's recollection of the incident
(Acts 22:20).

David L. Moore Southeastern Spanish District
Miami, Florida of the Assemblies of God Department of Education

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:37:27 EDT