>The Oldest Image of the Apostle Paul


Image: The Oldest Image of the Apostle Paul

Archaeologists have found an image on the walls of the Catacomb of Santa Tecla in Rome that may be the oldest image of the Apostle Paul. According to archeologists, the image is dated to the late fourth century A.D.

Archaeologists have also opened the white marble sarcophagus located under the Basilica of St. Paul. They found traces of linen cloth laminated with gold, red incense, protein, and limestone. Roman authorities say that scientific tests of the remains indicate that the remains belong to the apostle Paul.

Read the article here.

Read also: Paul’s Tomb Found in Rome

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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6 Responses to >The Oldest Image of the Apostle Paul

  1. markpenrith says:

    >I never pictured him with a long pointy beard. I'm a bit disappointed. I was expecting him to be more Jewish looking, less Romanish, um, and balder.What is the material used to make the markings? Seems to have lasted an awfully long time?How does the statement, "scientific tests of the remains indicate that the remains belong to the apostle Paul." make any sense? What did they test against?Sounds a bit like the "refinding" of the various gnostic gospel manuscripts that happen periodically to me. Hype.


  2. >Mark,There are two things in the news report that raise questions:1. The image is dated to the 4th century. How did people who lived in the 4th century remembered someone who lived 300 years in the past?2. As you mentioned, how could the test prove that the remains belonged to Paul?Unfortunately, the news report did not provide enough information on these issues.Thank you for your comment.Claude Mariottini


  3. Nate says:

    >This may be the oldest known picture, but it's certainly not anywhere near the definitive appearance since, as you mentioned, it's 300-400 years separated from the actual living Paul.As for the corpse, the Vatican simply confirmed that the body dates to approximately the first century AD—as would any number of people who would've died around that time in Rome.


  4. Anonymous says:

    >There seems to be some parts of the picture missing. If you look on the forehead and on the left shoulder there are two things that look like they have been erased. The beard also looks like it has been altered somehow. I realize that cleaning of the limestone had to be done, but that doesn't explain that there seems to have been something very significant on the two areas mentioned above. Funny how no matter how open things seem to be there are still mysteries that are withheld. The truth will be shown someday I suppose. Until then I continue to believe in Jesus, and the intentions of the faithful. Whether the intentions of the wicked are stronger is yet to be shown I suppose.


  5. >Nate,Thank you for your comments. You are right on both points.The problem with a discovery such as this is that the picture is so late that one cannot say that the image is a true representation of the Apostle Paul.In addition, there is no way science can confirm with certainty that the remains belonged to Paul.Claude Mariottini


  6. >Dear Anonymous, No one is saying that believers should stop believing Jesus. The reason the picture and the remains should be studied is because they represent early Christians traditions. The picture may not be an authentic representation of Paul, but it shows how early Christians viewed Paul. And this is important for the history of the church.Claude Mariottini


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