Timoteüs, Paulus' ideale medewerker?
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In this masterthesis we are searching for an answer to the question: Why did the writer of Acts describe that Paul circumcised Timothy? We look first to patriliniarity and matriliniarity from the time of Ezra until the Mishnah. In Ezra, but also in the Mishnah, you can see matrilinearity. Matrilinearity is introduced to keep the priest and his offspring holy. From the time of the Mishnah traditions until now, matriliniarity is the way to show that the child has the same status as the mother and not of the father (patriliniarity). This is important because the marriage class of a child is dependent on the status of the mother. In the time of the Jubilee and of Philo there was (a growing) openness to matriliniarity. Because of this openness it is possible that Timothy was seen as a Jew by Paul and those around him. In the next part we investigate circumcision. It is necessary for men to be circumcised to be a Jew. Without circumcision someone can be a sympathizer, but the person is still a non-Jew. Josephus and Philo didn‘t emphasize circumcision to non-Jews, but underlined that keeping the Jewish law is important. They understood that circumcision wasn‘t acceptable for non-Jews. In Acts we see the movement from Jerusalem to Rome. When Paul visited a city he went first to the synagogue, but he also went several times to the temple in Jerusalem. It was very important for him to reach the Jews first. After that, when the Jews didn‘t listen, he went to the non-Jews. After the Apostle conference (Acts 15) Paul spreads the apostle‘s decree, which tells the gentile Christians that all they had to do is to abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. There is nothing said about circumcision, although it is implied that he still fights the circumcision of non-Jewish Christians. Paul needed a co-worker and Timothy was the best one. He was half Jew and half-Greek. By circumcising him he became the perfect co-worker; he had a link with the Greek people, but also with the Jewish people. Timothy was circumcised to make it possible that he could go with Paul to the synagogue and the temple to bring the gospel. Paul did everything to keep contact with the Jews. In Acts 21:26 you see him doing a Jewish ceremony to reach that goal. When we look to the letters of Paul, we see in Galatians that Paul is angry about the people that claim that gentile Christians must be circumcised in order to be saved. Paul is very clear: only Jesus Christ can save people. However, when circumcision was needed to become part of the Jewish people or to reach Jewish people he was willing to let it be done. In 1 Corinthians, we see that Paul makes clear that a partner and a child are made holy by his or her believing partner or father/mother. Paul makes clear what is really important: love. Circumcision isn‘t a major point for him; he makes clear that circumcision is nothing. On the other hand he makes clear that he likes to be a Jew for the Jew and a Greek for the Greek. Paul shows that adaptation of the message of Jesus Christ isn‘t possible, but that the adaptation of the messenger is possible! That is the freedom of the gospel by Paul. He can be as a Jew to win the Jews in freedom. In 1 and 2 Timothy we see how Timothy is shown as a good messenger of the gospel. He is the ideal messenger for Paul, and also an example for other Christians that do work in the church.His mother and grandmother are discussed, and their belief is shown to make clear he is standing in a tradition of believers. In Titus we see that only Christ can save people, Jewish things such as genealogies and other things cannot save. The most important thing should be belief in Christ. Finally, I conclude that Paul could contemplate and ultimately go ahead and circumcise Timothy because it didn‘t conflict with his theology and standpoints.