Silas

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Saint Silas
Silas, apostle.jpg
Prophet, Disciple, Evangelist, Missionary, Bishop, & Martyr
Died65 – 100 AD
Macedonia
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Catholic Churches, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, and Lutheranism
Feast January 26 (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Episcopal Church)
February 10 (Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod)
July 13 (Roman Martyrology)
July 30 (Eastern Orthodoxy)
July 13 (Syriac, Malankara Calendars)
Attributes Christian Martyrdom

Silas or Silvanus ( /ˈsləs/ ; Greek: Σίλας/Σιλουανός; fl. 1st century AD) was a leading member of the Early Christian community, who accompanied Paul the Apostle on parts of his first and second missionary journeys. [1]

Koine Greek, also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the common supra-regional form of Greek spoken and written during the Hellenistic period, the Roman Empire, and the early Byzantine Empire, or late antiquity. It evolved from the spread of Greek following the conquests of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC, and served as the lingua franca of much of the Mediterranean region and the Middle East during the following centuries. It was based mainly on Attic and related Ionic speech forms, with various admixtures brought about through dialect levelling with other varieties.

Paul the Apostle Early Christian apostle and missionary

Paul the Apostle, commonly known as Saint Paul and also known by his Jewish name Saul of Tarsus, was an apostle who taught the gospel of Christ to the first-century world. Paul is generally considered one of the most important figures of the Apostolic Age and in the mid-30s to the mid-50s AD he founded several churches in Asia Minor and Europe. He took advantage of his status as both a Jew and a Roman citizen to minister to both Jewish and Roman audiences.

Contents

Name and etymologies

Silas is traditionally assumed to be the Silvanus mentioned in four epistles. Some translations, including the New International Version, call him Silas in the epistles. Paul, Silas and Timothy are listed as co-authors of the two letters to the Thessalonians. Second Corinthians mentions Silas as having preached with Paul and Timothy to the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:19) and Peter's first epistle regards Silas as a 'faithful brother' (1 Peter 5:12).

<i>New International Version</i> English translation of the Bible

The New International Version (NIV) is an English translation of the Bible first published in 1978 by Biblica. The NIV was published to meet the need for a modern translation done by Bible scholars using the earliest, highest quality manuscripts available. Of equal importance was that the Bible be expressed in broadly understood modern English.

There is some disagreement over the proper form of his name: he is consistently called "Silas" in Acts, but the Latin Silvanus, which means "of the forest," is always used by Paul and in the First Epistle of Peter; [2] it may be that "Silvanus" is the Romanized version of the original "Silas", or that "Silas" is the Greek nickname for "Silvanus." Silas is thus often identified with Silvanus of the Seventy. Catholic theologian Joseph Fitzmyer points out that Silas is the Greek version of the Aramaic "Seila" (שְׁאִילָא), a version of the Hebrew "Saul" (שָׁאוּל), which is attested in Palmyrene inscriptions. [3]

Acts of the Apostles Book of the New Testament

The Acts of the Apostles, often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book of Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the founding of the Christian church and the spread of its message to the Roman Empire.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Silvanus (mythology) deity

Silvanus was a Roman tutelary deity of woods and fields. As protector of the forest, he especially presided over plantations and delighted in trees growing wild. He is also described as a god watching over the fields and husbandmen, protecting in particular the boundaries of fields. The similarly named Etruscan deity Selvans may be a borrowing of Silvanus, or not even related in origin.

Biblical narrative

Silas is first mentioned in Acts 15:22, where he and Judas Barsabbas (known often as 'Judas') were selected by the church elders to return with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch following the Jerusalem Council. Silas and Judas are mentioned as being leaders among the brothers, prophets and encouraging speakers. Silas was selected by Paul to accompany him on his second mission after Paul and Barnabas split over an argument involving Mark's participation. It was during the second mission that he and Paul were imprisoned briefly in Philippi, where an earthquake broke their chains and opened the prison door. Silas is thus sometimes depicted in art carrying broken chains. [4] Acts 16:25-37.

Judas Barsabbas was a New Testament prophet and one of the 'leading men' in the early Christian community in Jerusalem at the time of the Council of Jerusalem in around 50 A.D.

Philippi ancient city in eastern Macedonia, in the Edonis region

Philippi was a major city northwest of the nearby island, Thasos. Its original name was Crenides after its establishment by Thasian colonists in 360/359 BC. The city was renamed by Philip II of Macedon in 356 BC and abandoned in the 14th century after the Ottoman conquest. The present municipality, Filippoi, is located near the ruins of the ancient city and is part of the region of East Macedonia and Thrace in Kavala, Greece. It was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016.

According to Acts 17-18, Silas and Timothy travelled with Paul from Philippi to Thessalonica, where they were treated with hostility in the synagogues by some traditional Jews. The harassers followed the trio to Berea, threatening Paul's safety, and causing Paul to separate from Silas and Timothy. Paul travelled to Athens, and Silas and Timothy later joined him in Corinth. [5]

Synagogue Jewish or Samaritan house of prayer

A synagogue is a Jewish or Samaritan house of worship.

Athens Capital and largest city of Greece

Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence started somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.

Ancient Corinth city-state in ancient Greece

Corinth was a city-state (polis) on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern city of Corinth is located approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) northeast of the ancient ruins. Since 1896, systematic archaeological investigations of the Corinth Excavations by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens have revealed large parts of the ancient city, and recent excavations conducted by the Greek Ministry of Culture have brought to light important new facets of antiquity.

These events can be dated to around AD 50: the reference in Acts 18:12 to Proconsul Gallio helps ascertain this date (cf. Gallio inscription). [6] According to Acts 18:6-7, Paul ceased to attend the synagogue in Corinth as a result of Jewish hostility, Silas is not mentioned thereafter in the Acts narrative.

Veneration

Saint Silas is celebrated in the Calendar of Saints of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Church on January 26 with Timothy and Titus, and separately on July 13 by the Roman Catholic Church and February 10 by the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Saint Silas is also venerated by the Eastern Orthodox Church on July 30 along with the Apostles Silvanus, Crescens, Epenetus, and Andronicus and on January 4th where he is venerated with all the apostles.

See also

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References

  1. "Notes on 1 Peter". Archived from the original on 2015-10-03. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
  2. 1 Peter 5:12
  3. Fitzmyer, Joseph J. (1998). The Anchor Bible: The Acts of the Apostles . New York: Doubleday. p. 564. ISBN   0-385-49020-8.
  4. The Holy Disciples from the Seventy
  5. Acts 18:5
  6. "Paul, St", Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005
  7. "Nag Hammadi Library". gnosis.org. Retrieved 2019-03-25.