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Re: [XTalk] martyrdom of Paul in Rome

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  • Jan Sammer
    The earliest specific mention of Paul s beheading seems to be in Tertullian s Prescription Against Heretics, chapter 36, in the second half of the second
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 21, 2001
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      The earliest specific mention of Paul's beheading seems to be in
      Tertullian's Prescription Against Heretics, chapter 36, in the second half
      of the second century:

      (begin quote)
      ...Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority
      (of apostles themselves). How happy is its church, on which apostles poured
      forth all their doctrine along with their blood! where Peter endures a
      passion like his Lord's! where Paul wins his crown in a death like John's,
      where the Apostle John was first plunged, unhurt, into boiling oil, and
      thence remitted to his island-exile!
      (end quote)

      The first John is of course John the Baptist, who was beheaded; the second
      John the apostle, whom Tertullian evidently identifies as the author of the

      Eusebius in Book II, ch. XXV of his Ecclesiastical History, states the
      following concerning Nero:

      (begin quote)
      Thus publicly announcing himself as the first among God's chief enemies, he
      was led on to the slaughter of the apostles. It is, therefore, recorded that
      Paul was beheaded in Rome itself, and that Peter likewise was crucified
      under Nero. This account of Peter and Paul is substantiated by the fact that
      their names are preserved in the cemeteries of that place even to the
      present day.
      It is confirmed likewise by Caius, a member of the Church, who arose under
      Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome. He, in a published disputation with Proclus, the
      leader of the Phrygian heresy, speaks as follows concerning the places where
      the sacred corpses of the aforesaid apostles are laid:
      "But I can show the trophies of the apostles. For if you will go to the
      Vatican or to the Ostian way, you will find the trophies of those who laid
      the foundations of this church."
      And that they both suffered martyrdom at the same time is stated by
      Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, in his epistle to the Romans, in the following
      words: "You have thus by such an admonition bound together the planting of
      Peter and of Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both of them planted and likewise
      taught us in our Corinth. And they taught together in like manner in Italy,
      and suffered martyrdom at the same time." I have quoted these things in
      order that the truth of the history might be still more confirmed.
      (end quote)

      Jan Sammer
      Prague, Czech Republic
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