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Title: Stephen: Paul and the Hellenist Israelites
Author: Pilch, John J
Publisher: Liturgical Press; Publication Date: 2008
Paperback; ISBN: 9780814652299
Volumes: 1; Pages: 100
List Price in Paper: $9.95 Our price: $8.99
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It is difficult to appreciate how Stephen qualifies as a friend of someone who attended and approved of his murder (Acts 7:58; 22:20). Yet Stephen belonged to the very group of Israelites to whom Paul later brought the Good News: the Hellenists. These Israelites lived mainly outside of Palestine, thoroughly acculturated in the Greek language and culture of their habitat, and they practiced their traditions in a very modified way. These modifications created great difficulty for Stephen and other Hellenists who resumed residence in Jerusalem, as we read in Acts 6-7. In this account we learn who Stephen was, what he said, and how he died-all things that made a huge impression on Paul. That experience set the stage for Paul's commissioning by the risen Jesus to evangelize Hellenists (Acts 9). In Stephen, John J. Pilch reflects on Stephen as a Hellenist Israelite, a collectivistic person, a "deacon" (the word does not appear in Acts), and one who true to his tradition communicates with the world of God in alternate states of consciousness. Paul has much in common with Stephen, so to know Stephen is to gain a better understanding of Paul.