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Is it mentioned anywhere in all of the Mishna or the Talmud that Paul of Tarsus was a student of Rabban Gamaliel?

Acts 22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.

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    Just a question, can it be affirmed that this "Gamaliel" is the same man as Rabbi Gamliel from the Talmud? Or is that just an assumption because who else would it be? – ezra Aug 27 '17 at 6:51
  • @ezra Do note that there was more than one Raban Gamliel during that time, but also note that most likely, if it’s referring to any of the Nesiim, it’s a reference to the former Rabban Gamliel, who would have lived during the time period in question. (As in, the Rabban Gamliel who was ousted as Nasi, not the Rabban Gamliel who was a contemporary of Rebbi.) – DonielF Aug 27 '17 at 12:49
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    @DonielF Paul was a contemporary of the one who lived at the end of the Second Temple. The one who was ousted (contemporary with Rabbi Yehoshua etc.) lived afterwards. – b a Aug 27 '17 at 12:57
  • @ba Did I get them backwards? My bad. Sorry. – DonielF Aug 27 '17 at 12:58
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For more information, I would recommend reading "Paul and Gamliel", in Jacob Neusner and Bruce Chilton (eds.), In Quest of the Historical Pharisees (Baylor University Press, 2007), 175-223 - but especially p208 onwards.

Short answer: nobody named Paul (nor, for that matter, Shaul) ever gets mentioned as a student of this or any other Gamliel, although some teachings associated with Gamliel might be viewed as an influence over some Pauline passages in the NT epistles.

A few caveats: note that growing up in the dust at someone's feet does not necessarily equal being a disciple, and people may have taken more disciples than those that get named.

Secondly, the rabbinic corpus has a distinct anti-sectarian tendenz, so even if Paul really were a disciple of Gamliel's it is unlikely that he would be so named.

And thirdly, there is also a well-attested phenomenon whereby a convert or a penitent might exaggerate the nature of their former religiosity (or lack thereof). Christian scholars generally assume Paul's claim in this regard to be one such example of an exaggeration. Note that Gamliel is nowhere else mentioned by Paul - not even in his epistle to the Philippians, where he claims to have once been a Pharisee.

  • "Christian scholars generally assume Paul's claim in this regard to be one such example of an exaggeration." Is this a smooth way of saying he lied? Also, can you name some Christian scholars who say Paul exaggerated by saying he was a student of Gamliel? – SolaGratia May 5 '18 at 21:47
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Although Paul of Tarsus is not mentioned by name, the Talmud in Shabbat 30b has a student of Rabbi Gamliel* who scoffs at his teachings.

Some scholars have suggested that this character might be Paul, but there is really no firm evidence to back this claim. So the answer to your question: no, Paul is not mentioned to be a student of Rabbi Gamliel in the Mishnah or Talmud. In fact, he is not mentioned at all, and Christianity seems to be a very hushed topic in the Talmud anyways.


*This Rabbi Gamliel is Gamliel I, known as "Rabban (our teacher) Gamliel."

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