The Book of Acts and Paul in Roman Custody

The Book of Acts and Paul in Roman Custody

The Book of Acts and Paul in Roman Custody

The Book of Acts and Paul in Roman Custody

Synopsis

This volume provides a unique opportunity not only to learn about the custodial system of the Graeco-Roman world, but to better view Paul's persona and Christian mission as well. Brian Rapske's outstanding study shows Luke himself to be an ardent helper of Paul the missionary prisoner.

Excerpt

Accepted inequalities before the Roman law played a significant role both when individuals were being imprisoned and when they stood in a court of law. Such influences frequently intruded into the setting of custody. Imprisonment sarved several purposes. Custody could be to protect, to assure the accused person’s appearance in court, to compel recalcitrant individuals to obedience, and to await the execution of sentence, including death. Punitive incarceration became increasingly common over time.

The severity of one’s imprisonment depended on the prison into which one was cast and also on the part of that prison. in Rome the worst place was the state prison, and the worst place within that structure was the Tullianum or death cell. More tolerable was confinement in the Roman quarry prison. Whether one was chained or not was a further indication of the severity of one’s imprisonment. Custodia libera denotes a less harsh type of imprisonment. Military custody was another less severe form of confinement: a barracks venue was generally most harsh; a private house, much less so. Less severe still than military custody was entrustment to sureties. the accused resided in the house of the one charged with his or her care. a later development was more consultative and limited the liability of the one giving the undertaking. Release on one’s own recognizances was the least severe custodial option.

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