Was Paul a classical Greek scholar?
[This is Appendix 3 from Ancient History from Primary Sources: A Literary Timeline by
Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, 2003, revised 2019.]
[XT = eXegetical Translation, New Testament]
It is one thing to deal with classical Greek myths, and quite another to deal with myths about classical Greek. One such myth, which has had rather wide circulation, is the notion that Paul was a scholar of classical Greek literature and philosophy.
It is alleged that the Apostle Paul quoted several classical Greek authors, and this is presented as conclusive and irrefutable evidence of his classical scholarship. We will first examine the three quotations – real or alleged – which are presented as the primary examples for Paul’s scholarship.
Whence did he get the saying, ‘The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slow-bellies,’ but from a perusal of The Oracles of Epimenides, the Cretan Initiator? Or how would he have known this ‘For we are also his offspring,’ had he not been acquainted with The Phenomena of Aratus the astronomer? Again this sentence, ‘Evil communications corrupt good manners,’ is a sufficient proof that he was conversant with the tragedies of Euripides. —-Socrates Scholasticus, History of the Church, 3.16
Read the rest of the article in Appendix 3 of Ancient History from Primary Sources: A Literary Timeline