Paul of Tarsus

Paul of Tarsus

Paul of Tarsus

Paul of Tarsus

Excerpt

"He is certainly one of the great figures in Greek literature." So says Mr Gilbert Murray; and whether one judge the great writers by the number of their readers age after age, or of those whose minds they shape and whose lives they guide, whether we measure them by their gift of transcending their disciples and commentators, and suggesting perpetually new avenues of thought and experience to be explored, or whether we apply to them the test not merely of knowing what to say, but how to say it, Paul stands among the greatest of the Greeks. It might surprise him to find himself so placed; they too might be surprised; but who of them, apart from Homer and Plato, has had so wide and so long an influence, who has opened up more of the real world to men, whose words have lived more in the hearts of their readers?

He is no easy author. Homer is simpler, and Plato's thought is plainer to follow. Paul can be simple and direct, but when he soars, it is into another region of beauty than Plato knew, and with wings uneven. A bilingual man pays for his gifts, and the Semite who thinks in Greek never quite forgets Jerusalem and the speech of Canaan; his genitives accumulate, his threads break, and it is in losing his way that he arrives. In any case a man who, like the Greek Odysseus, has seen in the spiritual world so many cities of men and learnt their mind, who has . . .

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