Paul is an agitator and the ringleader of the Nazarene sect (Acts 24:5)

“We have,

In fact,

Found this man

A pestilent fellow.

He is an agitator

Among all the Jews

Throughout the world.

He is a ringleader

Of the sect

Of the Nazarenes.”

εὑρόντες γὰρ τὸν ἄνδρα τοῦτον λοιμὸν καὶ κινοῦντα στάσεις πᾶσιν τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις τοῖς κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην πρωτοστάτην τε τῆς τῶν Ναζωραίων αἱρέσεως,

The author of Acts indicated that Tertullus said that they had found (εὑρόντες γὰρ) this man Paul (τὸν ἄνδρα τοῦτον) to be a pestilent fellow (λοιμὸν) and an agitator stirring insurrection (καὶ κινοῦντα στάσεις) among all the Jews (πᾶσιν τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις τοῖς) throughout the world (κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην).  He was a ringleader (πρωτοστάτην τε) of the sect (αἱρέσεως) of the Nazarenes (τῆς τῶν Ναζωραίων).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word πρωτοστάτην, that means one who stands first, a leader, a ringleader, or a chief.  Tertullus’ argument against Paul was that he was troublemaker who provoked disturbances everywhere he went among the various Jewish communities throughout the Roman empire.  Therefore, he was a threat to the pax Romana or the Roman order.  He was always fermenting rebellion.  That was of course true, but it was against the Jewish leaders and not the Roman emperor.  Next, Tertullus said that Paul was not a true Jewish person, but actually the ringleader of a Jewish heretical sect of Nazarenes.  A sect could be a name given to the Pharisees, Sadducees, or Essenes.  In other words, they were an unorthodox Jewish party.  He did not call Paul or his followers Christians.  This is the only time that the early Christian community was called Nazarenes, since quite often they were referred to as Galileans, not people from Nazareth.  Jesus was called a Nazarene at times.  Only in Antioch had the name Christian developed.  Quite often it was referred to as the Way, or the Way of Jesus.  What would you call the early followers of Jesus?

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