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Smiling Through the Cultural CatastropheToward the Revival of Higher Education$
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Jeffrey Hart

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300087048

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300087048.001.0001

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Paul: Universal Synthesis

Paul: Universal Synthesis

Chapter:
(p.105) Chapter Five Paul: Universal Synthesis
Source:
Smiling Through the Cultural Catastrophe
Author(s):

Jeffrey Hart

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300087048.003.0005

This chapter looks at Paul of Tarsus and how he played a major role in the coming together of biblical tradition and Greek philosophy. While he may not be so dramatic a figure as either Socrates or Jesus, Paul did play a major role in what can be called the birth of the Western mind, shaping events and being shaped by them. There was a predominated question in the mind of those Jews in and around Jerusalem at that time, and this involved the question of meaning. A Judaizing account of Jesus would place him in the tradition of the major Prophets, while for Hellenizing Jews, Jesus became intelligible through the lens of Greek philosophy. In a sense, both the Judaizing and Hellenizing Jews sought out a context of meaning in order to grasp and understand what had happened to Jesus. As a result, Paul attempted to effect in his own mind a synthesis between Athens and Jerusalem.

Keywords:   Paul of Tarsus, Greek philosophy, biblical tradition, Socrates, Jesus, Western mind, Judaizing, Hellenizing Jews

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