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Biblical Archaeology Review 49:2, Summer 2023

Epistles: Five Myths About the Apostle Paul

By David Christian Clausen

Biblical Archaeology Review

Historians and theologians, not to mention everyday readers, have wrestled with Paul’s writings since his letters first began to circulate in the earliest Christian centuries (2 Peter 3:16). However, it seems that scholarship has now turned a decisive corner by coming to understand this prolific apostle in the context of his own social and religious milieu.1 Much has changed to demystify Paul and help us understand him in a consistent, historical, and contextualized way. With this approach, many of the contradictions and misunderstandings surrounding Paul are resolved, and certain long-held myths evaporate. Let’s look at how this works by addressing five myths associated with Paul.

Myth 1: Paul abandoned Judaism for Christianity.

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