Friday 8 October 2010

Thalatta! Tarsus!

My wandering walkabout, roaming like a dream between the spare beds of London, is over. In honour of my new address, we shall have a little post about Saint Paul. Saul of Tarsus is responsible for one of the greatest passages in the English language, 1 Corinthians 13, and of course he gave us a couple of sayings like as you sow, so shall you reap (Gal 6v7) and the wages of sin is death (Rom 6v23). This latter statement is not accurate.

Yet dear old Paul also gave us little linguistic morsels that we might never notice, because they aren't large enough to be a quotation at all. The first labour of love was that of the Thessalonians, for which Paul gave thanks in his letter. Paul was the first man to be all things to all men.

To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
   Corinthians 9v22

Paul was the first man to see people fallen from grace (Gal 5v4), the first to fight the good fight (1Tim 6v12), and the first powers that be did their being in Tyndale's translation of Romans 13v2.

I'm not sure whether I'd get on with Paul. Wittgenstein said that the stream that had flowed so purely in the gospels seemed to have acquired froth in the epistles of the apostle. Somebody once told me that Paul had to be understood as a fallible and fallen man struggling to make a church out of a life. This may be so and I may be nothing more than Alexander the coppersmith. Paul's language may be chaotic and his grammar byzantine, as anybody who has tried to read him aloud will acknowledge. But when he was good he was divine, and he also gave the language a Damascene conversion.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept my faith... The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpas, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
(2Tim 4)

The Inky Fool moves in

N.B. This post works on the basis that the King James Bible was divinely inspired, and that in Heaven everybody speaks archaic English. If Heaven is not like that, I shall refuse to go in, and join my friends in  Hell.


  1. Why "the wages of sin is death"? Surely that should be "... are death"?

  2. Damn right!!! You should join us anyway!!!

  3. I was expecting a mention of Xenophon in there somewhere...

  4. The art critic Bernard Berenson is quoted as saying: What a beautiful religion Christianity might have been but for those two rascals Peter and Paul.