|Rev. Judith Lichtenberger|
Final Essay for "The Life of St. Paul" course:
In an obscure monastic library in Patmos, a research historian comes upon various copies from "Acts of the Apostles" and more interestingly, pages from "Epistles" by St. Paul. These letters copied meticulously from the originals were written in colloquial Greek, the "koine" Greek of the Apostle's time. This was the Greek used by the common man in everyday language.
Paul's writings were found to be highly readable, a style much more than communicative- a style of simple wonder. When utilized by the "Apostle to the Gentiles", it spoke volumes. To the newly converted Greco-Christians, it was as if one of their own, not a university-educated type, had happened by to tell them good news. Later on, the Eastern Church Fathers of Orthodox faith would "translate" Paul's epistles into a more formal and grammatical writing style but by then, Paul would have accomplished much of his work. His mission had been to convey Christ's message and his own wisdom in order to cement together the loosely fitted communities of early Christendom. These communities were separated not only geographically and by local dialect but by background and belief. Paul put it all together: the bolstering of courage, the creation of new traditions, introducing new creeds of moral conduct and most importantly of all-an all enduring love and patience in all of these things about which Jesus Christ would have been proud. Paul never lost his faith or enthusiasm, attributes which shine forth in the manuscripts and Paul, peculiar in the Biblical personality sense, remained even in his street-wise Greek, as Christ-centered as ever he was after his experience on the road to Damascus.
He was an inspired preacher, a stern but compassionate father-figure to those in Christian infancy. None of this was lost in translation albeit a bit of the local color/flavor so endearing to his audience.
It is a clever and intelligent man who can argue convincingly in government court and then enter a poor man's abode and be made welcome. The Gentiles who benefited most by Paul's efforts were often the poor or middle class citizens, former pagans, never having had the benefit of a classical education. Paul, with the help of a Holy-Spirit-inspired ministry brought his beloved Gentiles into a cohesive community. Where is the measure of success? When donations are made from poor Gentile-Christians for the benefit of famine-stricken Judeo-Christians (considering how some of the Jewish converts mistreated their Gentile brethren) then I believe that is genuine success.
REFERENCES: THE GREEK WORLD edited by Stonehenge Publishers, Oxford, England 1980 ST PAUL,THE APOSTLE:HIS LIFE AND MISSION by Ronald Witherup, Catholic Updates July, 2008
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