Paul the Apostle

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Paul the Apostle, also called the Apostle Paul, Paul of Tarsus, and Saint Paul, (Ancient Greek: Σαούλ (Saul), Σαῦλος (Saulos), and Παῦλος (Paulos); Latin: Paulus or Paullus; Hebrew: שאול התרסיŠaʾul HaTarsi (Saul of Tarsus)[3] (c. 5 - c. 67 ),[2] was of the tribe of Benjamin.[4][5] He was a zealous Jew, who persecuted the early followers of Jesus Christ. However after his "Resurrection experience", he became a Christian and referred to himself as the "Apostle to the Gentiles".[6][7]

According to the Acts of the Apostles, his conversion to faith in Jesus took place in a profound life-changing experience on the road to Damascus. Together with Simon Peter and James the Just, he is considered among the most notable of early Christian leaders.[8] He was also a Roman citizen—a fact that afforded him a privileged legal status with respect to laws, property, and governance.[5][9]

Thirteen epistles, or letters, in the New Testament are attributed to Paul. Within these epistles, other letters are referenced that do not appear in the Bible, such as a Laodicean epistle.[10] His authorship of six of the thirteen is questioned by some scholars,[11] three of which are more widely debated.[12] Paul's influence on Christian thinking arguably has been more significant than any other New Testament author.[11] Augustine of Hippo developed Paul's idea that salvation is based on faith and not "Works of the Law".[11] Martin Luther's interpretation of Paul's writings heavily influenced Luther's doctrine of sola fide.

Paul's conversion dramatically changed the course of his life. Through his activity and writings, his beliefs eventually changed religious belief and philosophy throughout the Mediterranean basin. His leadership, influence and legacy led to the formation of communities dominated by gentile groups that adhered to the Judaic "moral code" but relaxed or abandoned the "ritual" obligations of the Mosaic law on the basis of the life and works of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant. These communities eventually formed Christianity, in the split of early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism.

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