Historian Says Apostle Paul May Have Been Roman Spy

LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) - The head of the history department at Virginia Military Institute suggests that the Apostle Paul may have been spying for the Romans.

Rose Mary Sheldon, the co-author of "Operation Messiah: St. Paul, Roman Intelligence and the Birth of Christianity," presented her thesis last week at the International Spy Museum in Washington.

She suggests that Paul may have faked his conversion on the road to Damascus so he could infiltrate Christian congregations and report to Rome on suspicious elements in synagogues across the empire.

Sheldon says Paul's interaction with Roman officials seems to have been remarkably friendly, and she notes that in his letter to the Romans, he urges Christians to obey them.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by Eric C. Hansen Location: Dallas, TX on Apr 28, 2011 at 07:14 AM
    It should not be hard for people to contemplate Paul as a Spy. After all, Jesus chose Judas, and Judas ended up being a Spy. Would you let a multiple offense child molester babysit your children. Would you let a multiple offense DWI driver drive your kids. Would you let a person with multiple offense Bank Fraud invest your money. Would you let a person with multiple offenses against Christianity and Christians be the guardian of your child's soul? Would you let Judas? Should you let Paul?
  • by Mary Location: Vncouver on Jun 7, 2010 at 07:55 PM
    Brava Rosemary, I love it when we humans use our brains and think for ourselves.
  • by judith Location: brighton, UK on Feb 3, 2010 at 11:34 AM
    I have studied Saint Paul, his 'conversion' and his relations with Rome. It is obvious he was a Roman 'black ops' person. I cannot but think that many, many historians are unable to avoid this conclusion but are scared of speaking their truth. Mary Sheldon, I salute your courage.
  • by Bill Location: USA on Oct 13, 2009 at 07:32 PM
    ...and then Paul's church became the official church of the Roman Empire, the corrupt Roman Catholic Church, and any sects of followers of Christ who didn't conform were murdered. Which of the other apostles had visions like Paul claimed to have? I don't recall any. Sounds like a valid theory to me. Paul wrote much of the New Testament (the books of which were decided after the fact by his own church), and his writings were very different from the teachings of Christ. "And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:"
  • by Lou Location: L on Jul 29, 2009 at 07:23 AM
    Congratulations! This is likely to be the winner of the Most Ridiculous Theory Of 2009 award!
  • by Alex Location: Atlanta on Dec 18, 2008 at 07:19 AM
    Really? Is this what's passing for scholarship these days? With inane research like this going on, it's no wonder that-- when universities make budget cuts--humanities faculty are the first to go.
  • by stephen Beardsley Location: Chicago on Dec 17, 2008 at 05:43 AM
    My son is looking at schools to attend to study computer science and History. Thank you Ms. Sheldon, now I can cross VMI off my list of places where "intelligence" has died. I swear, if you work in the humanities you can propose any inane theory and no one will give you the public humiliation you deserve. Thanks for doing it for us and simplifying my sons school search.
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