Chapter I.
Tarsus

I

When Paul told Claudius Lysias that he was a Tarsian, "a citizen of no mean city "—a city "not inconspicuous "—he was not speaking idly. Legend said it was founded by one of the Argives, who, with Triptolemos, sought Io, when she was turned into a cow. Xenophon had been there some four centuries or so before Paul's day, and found the palace of a Cilician King Syennesis. The greek mercenaries of Cyrus signalized their stay first by looting in the city, and then by a mutiny which Clearchus and Cyrus settled by a 50 per cent rise in pay. Antiochus Epiphanes, it is inferred, settled Jews as colonists there in 171 b.c. the place had a name for a famous stoic school; and visitors from other greek regions of the mediterranean found a pleasing conservatism in tarsus, as Chicago people perhaps do still in Boston. modern travellers speak of the scenery round tarsus as magnificent; and it is remarked that Paul never alluded to it. Neither did Xenophon, apart from its bearing on military affairs. The ancients were not apt to expatiate, without provocation, upon scenery. An episode recurs to the reader of Plato, where Socrates is taken to a pleasant spot outside Athens—to hear a speech read; and when his guide tells Socrates that he speaks of the place like a stranger, he owns that he is a stranger, trees and flowers cannot teach him, men can; so he stays with men in the city. Gratuitous description of scenery in prose was a trick of the rhetorical school; and what survives of such attempts makes the reader content that there is so little.

If we follow Socrates' example and ask what men had to teach in the city, we learn that long before the Roman times tarsus was a centre of greek culture. Strabo, who wrote or compiled his geography about the Christian era, says that the Tarsians had an enthusiasm for philosophy, and for education generally, that outwent Athenians and Alexandrians or any other citizens of what we should call university towns; nearly all the students in tarsus are natives, strangers rarely come, but the Tarsians go abroad to study, and they are rather apt to stay abroad when they have got their education. In other such places, Alexandria excepted, the students are strangers, and the natives rarely study either in their own universities or anywhere else—which suggests modern Cambridge and oxford, while tarsus is perhaps more like Aberdeen. Strabo speaks of stoic studies flourishing, and mentions by name five eminent stoics, one a friend of Marcus Cato, another of Caesar; he adds the names of a great academic (the tutor of Augustus' nephew Marcellus), and of others, all men of tarsus; "Rome is full of them and of Alexandrians."

Tarsus was a "free city" from Antony's time; it paid no tribute, and it had self-government. Dio Chrysostom speaks of the workers in sailcloth at tarsus, and of their repute for being many in number and disorderly in ways, and their uneasy position in the city, of which however they are not full citizens; and he urges the concession of full rights to them. Readers of the Acts will recall that Paul in his day worked at the trade; and the suggestion is easy that Aquila and Priscilla may have been Tarsians themselves (Acts 18:3).

The river Cydnus, Strabo tells us, flows through the city, hard by the young men's gymnasium—a cool and headlong stream. With one last scene on this river recalled to mind, we may pass from the "not inconspicuous city" to its most famous citizen. It was here that Cleopatra came to meet Antony "sailing up the river Cydnus, in a barge with gilded stern and outspread sails of purple, while oars of silver beat time to the music of flutes and fifes and harps. She herself lay at full length under a canopy of gold, dressed like Venus in a picture, and beautiful boys, like painted Cupids, stood on each side to fan her. Her maids were attired like sea nymphs and graces, some steering at the rudder, some working at the ropes." so Plutarch; and English readers will know where to turn for a more splendid version drawn, like so much else, by our greatest dramatist from Plutarch.

That Paul's family, or at least his father, enjoyed Roman citizenship, he tells us himself, when he informs Claudius Lysias that he was "born free." How the citizenship was gained, whether for services rendered or for money, or on the manumission of an enslaved ancestor, we do not know. Paul says more of the Jewish traditions of the family; they were Benjamites as he twice tells us (Phil. 3:5; Rom. 11:1), Hebrews of of the Hebrews; and it has been an easy and profitless conjecture that he owed his Hebrew name Saul to memories of the tribe's one king. The social and financial position of the family has been much discussed, and we cannot quite escape it; but the fact that Paul at one time worked at a trade has to be ruled out as evidence. It appears that it was usual for a young Jew to learn a trade; at least the rabbis are quoted as inculcating this upon parents. It has been conjectured that Paul's father may have been concerned with the sale of the fabric in the markets of the east. Travel seems to have come naturally to Paul, but that cannot be pressed as an argument. He alludes to his "kin"—Junia and Lucius bearing Roman names, and others greek; and the list in which they appear is now in his epistle to the Romans, whatever may be the value of guesses as to how it came there. But with a people, who shifted about the world as the Jews have done since Alexander the great, there is no telling where these "kin" belonged. A nephew lived, or at one time resided, in Jerusalem (Acts 23:16). It was common for Jews, then as now, to have gentile names, which sometimes suggest their own. Thus Joshua might be Hellenized as Jesus, or transformed into Jason or Justus. a Roman citizen took a Roman name, as the satirist reminds us in his sardonic picture of the change of Dama into Marcus, to the great improvement of his character. But however the name Paullus came to the family whom we are now considering, Paul inherited the name, and, as we shall see, a good deal of the Roman with it.

It has been pointed out that, while Jesus was conspicuously a man of fields and country towns, Paul, as plainly, in allusion, metaphor, and illustration, shows that he is a man of the city, and, further, that he had been a boy there. If we trace back his metaphors to their first appearance in his mind, we shall see the boy on his way through the streets of tarsus stopping to watch the builders at the new house—how the wise master-builder (architecton) draws the cords and lays the foundation and another builds on it, and how sometimes the work of the latter has to be taken down and done over again; and the boy hears that the man's wages are reduced for his bad work (1 Cor. 3:10). Or a wrong-headed labourer breaks brickwork down and has to rebuild it (Gal. 2:18). Later in life he has many hints of the scene, disguised in our English version by the rather obsolete word edify. He has the boy's interest in shops—none the less that in the orient there were no huge plate-glass windows, no departmental stores with hordes of shop-girls, but that barter prevailed, and all the shops of a kind were in a row and more or less open, as they are in the bazars of Smyrna or Calcutta to-day. Here are the butchers (1 Cor. 10:25) with the perplexities that grow for a boy about the distinctions between Kosher and other meat, and the carcases of pagan sacrifice; there again are other traders, huckstering, wheedling, and bargaining, illustrating everything that led the Greek to his contempt for "shop-keepering" (kapeleuo). Paul later on repudiates that style of procedure in recommending the word of god; it does not need tricks; give it sunlight and sincerity and god looking on, and it will do (2 Cor. 2:17). It is noted, further, that he uses metaphors of debt, and of the market, and "calculates."

Slaves no doubt abounded, as they did not in Galilee, though tarsus certainly must have had much fewer than Rome; and Paul, like other boys in greek and Hellenistic towns, probably got his first conceptions of the world's variety of races from the sorrowful figures of slaves. He does not allude to the slave-market, but he must have seen it; and he does speak of the branded slave (Gal. 6:17). One can imagine the small boy's bright interest in recognizing one of the greek letters he was learning on the side of a man's brow, and how indelible would be the memory of his first discovery of the cruelty that men could show to men. Another day, soldiers marched through the streets perhaps, rough enough, though not conquerors in a free town; and perhaps, as a very small boy to-day will find acute pleasure in a salvation army band, the small Saul was impressed with the trumpets, and it was explained to him that the trumpet was blown to tell the soldier when to get ready for march or battle (1 Cor. 14:8). Later on, he draws many illustrations from the soldier's life (2 Cor. 10:2-5; 2 Tim. 2:3, 4). The custom-house perhaps did not claim the boy's attention at the beginning, any more than the tax-collector; but they were part of the city-life, and Paul the traveller must eventually have seen as much as he wanted of the former at least (Rom. 13:6-7). the publican comes oftener in the talk of Jesus.

But if shops and slaves and soldiers formed a part of Tarsus life, a Hellenistic city had more variety to offer in its amusements. We have already had an allusion to the gymnasium of tarsus. It was a matter of amusement to the greek that orientals were so fussy about being seen naked; they laughed at the very white bodies of their captives, when Agesilaus had them stripped to be sold. on their side the Jews were shocked at greek nudity. In the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, among the lawless enormities of Jason, who bought the High Priesthood and set about Hellenizing Jerusalem and making a little Antioch of the sacred city, the historian notes with horror the establishment of a gymnasium and the introduction of the broad-brimmed greek petasos. "He gladly planted a gymnasium under the acropolis itself, and the strongest (or noblest) of our youths he brought under the greek hat" (2 Macc. 4:6). To the modern in the West all this seems very innocent, but in the east race and faith are in a turban to this day. "In god's name wear red for blue," says Mahbub Ali to Kim—the Muslim colour not the Hindu. Bombay has some sixty varieties of turban, all with significance, and pictured in the gazetteer of the city. But Jerusalem and tarsus were far apart; distance, environment and the lapse of two centuries changed things. Children are not particular about caste or colour if the other boy has points of contact; and there is something about the running of a race that captures the boy's mind, even if it is naked greeks—or, even worse, Hellenizing half-greeks—who are running. If we cannot certainly answer the question, Was he allowed to watch the heathen at their athletics? it is easier to answer the question, did he watch them?

Paul, it must be recognized, kept something of the boy's mind to the very end, the boy's easy gift of "making friends with fellows," the boy's keenness—his very tangents of thought show it. "Don't you know that the runners in the stadium all run and only one gets the prize? run to win!" (1 Cor. 9:24). And this reprobate Jew, who had in his boyhood watched the greek heathen at their sports, forgetful of old Jewish proprieties and greek indecencies, goes on to make it clear, not only that he had been interested in racing, but in boxing. He does not "run uncertainly," he says, and we can believe it; he will know which end of the course he has to reach and keep his eye on it, and "run to win." When he boxes he will not, waste his blows on the air; the other man shall know that he can punch (so men found who ventured on controversy with him); and he will keep fit like a good athlete. The whole passage is illuminative. Paul is not "drawing illustrations from local interests" any more than Jesus thinks out allusions to "natural objects"; the racing and the boxing interested him. Of course they did; and one might guess that there were Tarsians, who, if they read his letters, could have borne personal testimony to his not hitting the air when he fought as a boy, as well as to his keenness in running. From the energy of the man, his extraordinary powers of physical endurance, the vitality of his mind, it is not too much to conclude that if he took no part as a youth in the gymnasium, the stadium and the wrestling ground, it was not because he would not have liked it; the reasons must be looked for in nationalism and religious tradition, and the life of renunciation began before his 'teens. One is not a Hebrew of Hebrews for nothing. But even in antiquity children played, and fought, and ran races. Epictetus tells what they played; they were "sometimes athletes, sometimes monomachi, sometimes gladiators."

The theatre was another feature of greek life to be found wherever the greek went, an obvious factor in all Hellenization, pagan through and through. Running was human, boxing, too, and soldiering; but the stage was idolatrous, the play was a heathen ceremony in essence, its arguments were drawn from legends of false gods, and the performance was liable to be grossly indecent—"a ligge or a tale of baudry." yet the Jews, as we learn from an inscription, had a special place assigned to them in the theatre at Miletus. If the son of strict Jews might not go to the theatre, he knew all about it. "We are made a spectacle (theatron) to the world, to angels and to men," he says (1 Cor. 4:9); he plays Hecuba himself, with all the universe looking on; the sight

Would have made milche the Burning eyes of Heaven and passion in the gods.

Life in a greek or oriental town was carried on a good deal out of doors. "the city teaches the man," as Simonides said—πόλις ἄνδρα διδάσκει. Paul began to learn what we call his universalism in the streets of tarsus as a boy, too human to feel that the other boys were not human too, whatever he was taught within doors, even if actually for a while he persuaded himself to believe it. We must not forget that life in a Hellenistic city might influence him by moods of antipathy. The family was obviously a strict one, as Pharisee in outlook and practice as the foreign soil allowed; the discipline and the name implied division and separation, and greeks were not always genial to Jews. We must not forget the training of the home. But here, too, in spite of itself, the household helped to broaden the boy's outlook. It was inevitable.

The two great languages of the nearer east were greek and Syriac, to which the Aramaic of Palestine is closely akin. Tarsus stands where the two met, a frontier town. Westward, thought and speech were Greek; eastward, and very far and significantly eastward, thought and speech were Syriac. Westward lay philosophy and literature. Syriac seems never to have had much literature till it became a Christian speech. How far eastward it reached is not always realized, but of late years Syriac books and script have been found in Turkestan. I have myself been present at a Christian service in Calcutta, when a liturgy was conducted in Syriac by men calling themselves Syrians, whose ancestors had been Christians in India longer perhaps than the Anglo-Saxon stock, Christian or pagan, had been in England at all. In China, at Si-ngan-fu, stands a Syrian Christian monument, conspicuous among all the inscriptions of the Church. Greek and Aramaic in some form were inevitable in Paul's upbringing. Luke tells us, further, that Paul made a speech at Jerusalem in Hebrew without preparation (Acts 21:40). Conceivably the speech may have been in Aramaic; Yiddish is often called Hebrew to-day. It is likely that Paul learnt Hebrew and read the old testament in Hebrew, but it is clear that he knew the book best in the Septuagint version. His religious and ethical vocabulary, his quotations, alike show that it was not the Hebrew but the greek Bible that was in his heart. a hint of a play on words, as impossible in greek as in English, suggests that he at least sometimes thought in Aramaic; "long hair" and "disgrace" are not an assonance in greek, but in Aramaic they are. It is hardly thinkable that, in all his intercourse with Roman officials and magistrates, he knew no Latin. there was not the greek's contempt for that barbarian tongue to stop him, and even greeks, though shaky now and then like Plutarch in Latin grammar, knew more of the language than they pretended.

An argument has been put forward by a learned German scholar that Paul "did not come from the literary upper class, but from the artisan non-literary classes, and that he remained with them "; that he was a tent-maker "whose trade was the economic foundation of his existence," who worked night and day (1 Thess 2:9; 2 Thess 3:8), who wrote in "large letters" (Gal. 6:11), clumsily and awkwardly, with "a workman's hand deformed by toil," and preferred an amanuensis. Poverty it is plain that Paul knew, at all events in Corinth and in Thessalonica. But Wendland is probably right in denying Deissmann's thesis outright, and asserting categorically that Paul was not of the lower class, either in social status or education, and that to count his language vulgar and non-literary is an unjustifiable application of attic standards—though he allows that Paul's is not yet a triumphant style. He certainly was suspected by Felix of being able to lay his hands on money (Acts 24:26); and in Rome he had his own hired house (Acts 28:30).

We learn from the Acts that, at an age which we are left to conjecture, Paul removed, or was taken, to Jerusalem. There, according to Paul's speech as given by Luke, Paul was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Whatever be the part of Luke or of other historians in reporting the speeches of their heroes, there need be no hesitation in accepting the statement that Paul was the pupil of Gamaliel. Though we are not told at what age he left tarsus and came to Jerusalem, the question is not without importance. The only available evidence is internal. That greek was his native speech is proved, says Wendland, by his familiarity with the Septuagint. Casual references and broken quotations will tell what text or edition of a book a man has read; and these, with passages, where Paul bases arguments on the greek which would not rest on the Hebrew, prove that he used the greek Bible. Deissmann ably deduces from his being a man of the Septuagint a later date than childhood for his leaving tarsus; he must have spent a good part of his youth, or at least his boyhood, there. His "sovereign command of Hellenistic colloquial" points in the same direction, and that general familiarity, which we have remarked, with the ordinary life of a Hellenistic town. It is held by another scholar that all his Hebraisms are due to the Septuagint, with the addition of a few Hebrew words, while now and then, if he happens to translate from the Hebrew, a hint of its structure can be seen in his greek.

Greek then is his mother-tongue, and greek his milieu—in neither case the greek of the great classical period; he belongs to the Graeco-Roman world, but his background is Semitic, and his religion Hebrew. He thus stands at the centre of things, equipped for the very task he was to undertake, the interpretation of Christ to the heart of the world. But before we consider his capture by Christ, we have to look more closely at the influences that played upon him and to see, if possible, how far they shaped him. If our course for the time is devious, if it yields little in positive statement about the man himself, it will enable us to see a little more of that Graeco-Roman world, which, if it did not influence him as directly this way or that way as some have held, was yet his home and his battleground. The time should not be quite wasted.

II

The interests of ordinary life in a Hellenistic town we have seen to be among the early associations of Paul. But Hellenistic life and greek thought are two different things; the Hellene remained a different creature from his neighbours who shared his ideas and his outlook, different even if they had any element of greek blood in their veins. The theatre and the gymnasium passed more easily into men's habits than greek discipline into their minds. Men in that age of travel and talk picked up in popular lectures and conversation more ideas than they ever thought out, much as people do in newspapers and novels and on trains to-day. They learnt the language and even something of the style of Greece; but the greek spirit was not so easily caught. No example perhaps can be so telling as that of Plutarch himself; he was greek by blood and greek by birth; he was steeped in the history, the literature, and the philosophy of the older Greece; but, however much it might have surprised him to be told so, no one could be much further from the mind and outlook of Plato.

When we turn to Paul, the obvious starting-point is given by two quotations. Luke tells us (Acts 17:28) that Paul in his address in Athens quoted half a hexameter, τοῦ γὰρ καὶ γένος ἐσμέν, "for we are also his offspring "—which, curiously enough, comes both in the astronomical poem of the Cilician Aratus (translated into Latin by Cicero), and in the hymn of the stoic Cleanthes. Till we have decided how far Luke, like other contemporary historians, felt and took a freedom in re-modelling the speeches of his characters, or (as sir William Ramsay insists) reproduced the addresses of Peter and Paul with strict faithfulness, we cannot build much on this single fragment. A safer instance of quotation is the whole line which Paul himself cites in writing to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:33).

φθείρουσιν ἤθη χρήσθ ὁμιλίαι κακαί.

The rendering of our English version—"Evil communications corrupt good manners "—hardly suggests its source in a comedy of Menander. It does not follow that Paul knew the original comedy. If Paul is responsible for the epistle to Titus in its present form, he quoted a line of Epimenides upon the Cretans, a line that, like several in Shakespeare's plays and a famous quatrain in sir Walter Scott, owes more to the man who quoted it than to its author.

But, when we compare the pleasure in quotation from the great literature that his greek contemporaries show, and the close familiarity that half-allusions betray, it must be felt that Paul is of another school. His quotations, his borrowed phrases and half-phrases, echoes and assonances, point in very much the same way as theirs to an older literature; but with him it is the Septuagint. Take a page of the Christian Clement of Alexandria, who wrote about a.d. 200—or, better, any twenty consecutive pages—and compare the same length of passage from Paul, and the contrast will confirm the view that Paul was not an enthusiast for greek literature; he did not love it as Clement did, and other men; he did not know it and live in it; his allegiance and his tradition were elsewhere.

Paul practically says as much himself, when he tells the Corinthians that he did not come to them "with excellency of speech or of wisdom," that he brought no "enticing words of man's wisdom" (1 Cor. 2:1,4). When he says he was "rude (idiôtes) in speech" (2 Cor. 11:6), his meaning is quite plain. Elsewhere he speaks of the idiôtes (1 Cor. 14:16, 23, 24) in exactly the sense which Greeks gave to the word—the "unlearned," the "layman," the "outsider," the "ordinary person." It is, above all, the man who has not had the education, which was summed up in the name rhetoric, but which included literature—a scheme of culture which was first thought out and practised by Isocrates at Athens, and from which, by a direct lineal succession, oxford culture is descended. It is true that it was a commonplace for speakers to disclaim rhetorical skill. Socrates, in a clever passage of Plato's dialogue Ion (532 D), says to the rhapsode Ion—"you rhapsodes and actors, and the poets whose verses you sing, are clever fellows, you know; but I can only tell you the plain truth, as an ordinary person (idiôtes) would." But Paul was not playing with Socratic irony; it was obvious enough that his interests did not lie along the lines of ordinary greek culture; he did not study their great poets, he did not practise their modes of speech. If students of greek rhetoric recognize in his writings forms and turns of speech, some thirty figures in all, to which the experts gave technical names, it is more than likely that Paul could not have told the names. If a comparison with Tristram shandy is tolerable in this connexion, the fellows of Jesus College remarked with surprise upon the skill with which Walter shandy used logical processes which he could not have labelled in scholastic language. Paul was not trained in rhetoric, either in the narrower sense of the art of speaking or in the larger sense of greek literary and philosophical culture.

Here we touch a most interesting question, for a great many coincidences have been remarked between Paul and the stoics, some in language and some in ideas. Thus Norden notices a "Stoic doxology" in the Romans, when Paul writes, "Of him and through him and to him are all things" (Rom. 11:36). "Self-sufficient" (autarkês, Phil. 4:11) is a word with stoic antecedents, a word embodying a great deal of essential stoic belief, but that is not to say that Paul uses it in any strict stoic sense. Indeed, when he goes on to say that he "can do all things in him that strengtheneth me," it is plain how little of the original doctrine survives in the stoic word. It had clearly been popularized. The contrast between soul and body (2 Cor. 5:1) is pronounced to be "the clearest instance of his debt to greek philosophy," but here again Paul's outlook is not that of the stoics. If with them he traces sin to the guilty flesh, he has not their faith in the soul's ability to control the flesh and the passions of the body —very far from it, as we see elsewhere (Rom. 7:23). The stoic emphasized "spirit" and contrasted physical and spiritual, as Paul does; but Paul's account of "spirit" is not stoic doctrine; behind his view is a personal god who bestows it, in their judgment it is a universal force in all nature. the "holy spirit" of Seneca is quite another thing from the "holy spirit" of Paul. Paul's emphasis on the irrelevance of sex or slavery in the things of Christ (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11) is not unlike the stoic insistence on the same thing in thought; perhaps the idea is borrowed or suggested, because, while it is not irrelevant to the real results of Christ's incarnation, it is not clear that Paul draws all the necessary consequences from it. Paul may speak of "reasonable, or logical, service" (Rom. 12:1), but he is not ready to carry logic to the lengths of the stoic. To find in his use of the allegoric method the influence of stoicism is to ignore its wide employment by people who were not stoics, even if they did borrow it originally. The classification of sins, the comparison of man's body to a temple (1 Cor 6:19; 3:17), or to a vessel or a tent, the likening of society to a body—one cannot feel that it was absolutely necessary for Paul to attend stoic lectures to manage such matters.

But as instances of possible suggestion, at any rate, as parallels, accumulate, it grows clear that, living in a world of popular lecturers, who travelled from place to place and gave demonstrations or displays of their accomplishments in philosophy, criticism, and style, Paul snared the inevitable atmosphere of his time, and caught something of the language and with it something of the ideas. Stoic terms and stoic ideas were not to be escaped by a man of intelligence living among men, and used to handling ideas, even if he did not himself frequent stoic schools. It would have been difficult for him to find teachers who were not influenced by greek ideas, even if he had wished to find them. He went in fact to Gamaliel, of whom it is recorded that above other Jewish teachers he was free from prejudice against greek thought. the case is completed when we find some of the central ideas of stoicism in what we may call the necessary and unconscious intellectual equipment of Paul.

Thus to take an illuminative passage—"When the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which show the work of law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing them witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another" (Rom. 2:14, 15). There are in this passage blended elements—"The law" is pure Judaism; yet a stoic, unacquainted with Judaism, might not have noticed anything very foreign in the term; nor would he have recognized an undoubted echo of the language of Jeremiah (31:31 f.) in "the law written in their hearts"; it would have seemed to him a not-out-of-the-way variant upon the two great stoic conceptions, on which the sentence really turns—nature and Conscience. Conscience was a stoic word, of their own coining apparently—a word really needed by any who studied man's mind, a tool of thought so obvious that it seems odd that it was not invented earlier. Nature was the very foundation of all stoic philosophy; "to live according to nature" was their most famous watchword. Paul here is using a conception which we do not find in the old testament. "Let nature be your teacher "—if we may give a slightly different connotation to Wordsworth's line—is it a stoic or is it Paul speaking? It is exactly with the stoic apprehension of a common basis under all experience, of a common law written from the beginning in every man's mind, in his whole composition, that Paul speaks. Sometimes he is not so successful in catching the stoic tone; the question about nature teaching a man not to have long hair (1 Cor. 11:14) they would certainly have answered differently and contradicted him. But he was probably hardly aware how close he was coming at any time to the language of the school, and he was almost certainly indifferent. But to sum up his relations with stoicism. The school coined the language; the roving lecturers and the audiences that quoted them gave it currency; it came to Paul. He slid, as we also do, into using the speech of our day, where it coincides with what we observe to be true. the stoics and their followers pointed to a great correspondence between what we may call, in antithesis, nature and human nature; they are made for one another; there are laws of nature, and these are also the laws of human nature. Conscience is that operation of the human mind, that function, aspect or part of it, by which we become aware of these laws. Nature and Conscience work together, just as Paul says. If it was a nominally heathen greek who pointed it out, a good Jew can verify it in the real world which the true god made, and can find (as our passage shows) a hint in Jeremiah that the true god intended the link between man and all nature—the union, the community, of all God's works—to be discovered. If Paul, as we should suppose, absorbed these ideas from current phrase and the common stock of axiomatic ideas, we deduce not a stoic school or a stoic teacher, but a cosmopolitan world in which ideas are no longer private or racial property—a world conscious through the terms it shares of a common experience and an interest in every man's experience of god. And from other sources we know that this was the milieu in which a cosmopolitan Jew of Paul's day must move, whatever his powers of resistance or assimilation.

Paul, then, is not a man regularly trained in greek culture; he is, as he avows, not a product of the schools; nor is he a philosopher, if philosophers pure and simple at all survived and philosophy were not merged in ethics and psychology. His traditions are those of orthodox Judaism; he conceived himself to be an orthodox Jew. But an open mind in such a world receives impressions from many sources, and he could not use greek speech unreflectively. It was bound to tell upon him and it did. He met the greek spirit in tarsus, city of athletes, rhetoricians and stoics, and the very fact that his scriptures were in greek secured the influence of that spirit; he was to be a man of all the world. But meanwhile he was a young Jew and orthodox.

—Paul of Tarsus