In reading the introduction to Acts and scheming through some of the articles that present research regarding the authorship of this text, I have learn a couple of interesting and somewhat knowledgeable facts of things not typically read or understood on the surface by bible readers. Much of what I have learned of the history of the text, I am not sharing in this current blog but something as simple as finding out that Luke is believed to be the author of this text is interesting. My question this week will focus on who is Gamaliel, and how did he influence Christianity?
When searching through the usual Google search engine for accessible information, my hunt led me to multiple encyclopedias. The encyclopedia had information of Gamaliel and his life which contained multiple aspects and subjects that presented the information somewhat in chronological order. My first Oder of business was to find out who exactly is Gamaliel. I looked up his name because of its form and uniqueness and found that Gamaliel is a masculine proper name, from Greek Gamaliel, and in Hebrew Gamli’el, meaning ‘reward of God,’” and that he was to many etymonline.com. Gamaliel came from a line of leaders dating back to the Old Testament, he was son to “Pedahzur” leader of Manasseh studylight.org. He was also the grandson of the “great Rabbi Hillel,” who was a respected and prominent leader among the Jewish community, he is said to have created the group of Pharisee’s and the Law “Torah” Jewish Encyclopedia. Gamaliel was a “Pharisee” which I thought it would be beneficial to give knowledge of what this word means and where it derived. Pharisee as described by etymonline.com is, “Late Latin Pharisæus, from Greek Pharisaios, from Aramaic perishayya, emphatic plural of perish “separated, separatist,” corresponding to Hebrew parush, from parash “he separated.” Ancient Jewish sect (2c. B.C.E.-1c. C.E.) distinguished by strict observance but regarded as pretentious and self-righteous, at least by Jesus (Matt. xxiii:27). Meaning “self-righteous person, formalist, hypocrite” is attested from 1580s.” Gamaliel was also a doctor of law which is something he inherited from his grandfather Rabbi Hillel, Gamaliel is also honored by Paul as being his teacher bartleby.com .
During the time of Gamaliel’s life, persecution and criticism towards Gentiles and Jews surrounded Jerusalem and the movement that Christianity or era of Christianity served as a reminder, a aversive relationship felt amongst the community of Romans and elites toward Christians and Gentiles. Gamaliel’s influence toward Christianity is spoken of in Acts the 5th chapter and the 34th verse, yet his influence in increasing the spread of Christianity had been cleverly hidden, but also started way before that of Paul his student, where Paul is known to have a primitive role in Christianity. After reading St. Gamaliel, I was intrigued to find out that St. Stephen was buried at Gamaliel’s home, he is said to have been buried near Stephen, there is also speculation that after Stephens death, he was baptized and converted by Peter and John Catholic Forum. Gamaliel’s life as well as after his death, his reoccurrence in 415 is considered apocryphal. The story is explained, “that Gamaliel whom is dead at this time, appeared in angelic form on three occasions to Lucian the priest, upon appearing to Lucian, he gave the instructions to, ‘tell bishop john to open the tomb’ where he “Gamaliel,” St.Stephen, and other servants of Christ lay” Relics of St.Stephen . This location had been concealed and could only be known by Gamaliel, upon finding this location and the body of St.Stephen’s an incident which recorded as follows, “Upon the opening of Saint Stephen’s coffin the earth trembled, and there came from the coffin an agreeable scent. There was at that moment a vast multitude of people assembled at the burial place, among whom were many persons afflicted with various maladies; seventy-three recovered their health instantly” Relics of St.Stephen. The history and myths of such a legend is wondrous and is important to the embodiment of Gamaliel’s life and his act to preserve and honor someone such as Stephen and other Christ followers, this is “apocryphal.” The research of his significance in Christianity and his objection to having the apostles flawed instead of stoned was an act of valor. His act of intervening and explaining the reasons why there acts incur a less severe punishment was a catalyst in favoring and of the foundations and progression in Christianities success.