National Geographic : 1956 Dec
"I Am Verily... a Jew ... Brought Up in This City at the Feet of Gamaliel"-Acts 22:3 Addressing Jerusalemites late in his life, St. Paul recounted his boyhood. He had studied in the Holy City under the learned Gamaliel. Often, as a student, Saul must have sat as these boys do about their rabbi, being "taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers." The youngsters study in the Israel sector of Jeru salem at the General Talmud Torah Schools and Grand Yeshiva Etz-Hayim. Founded in 1841, the orthodox school is one of the oldest religious insti tutions in Israel. of Stephen. Damascus Gate of the Old City was also once named for St. Stephen. Halfway up Mount Zion I found a second contradictory tradition about St. Paul. Outside the Holy City's wall stands the ruin of a long stone stairway, laid down in Old Testament times. Jesus may have climbed it, and so may Saul, up Mount Zion. Halfway to the top is a church called St. Peter in Gallicantu. It means "St. Peter at the crow ing of the cock" (page 720). Where St. Peter Denied Christ It was here, in the opinion of Catholic As sumptionist Fathers, that Christ was interro gated in the House of Caiaphas, the high priest. Here, the Assumptionists say, Caiaphas questioned Jesus on the fateful Thursday night before He was led to Pontius Pilate for judgment. Simon Peter, the Galilean fisherman who was the first of Jesus' disciples, loitered about the palace through the night. Pretending to be only a curious bystander, he tried to learn what was happening to his Master. Three times before the crowing of the cock at dawn, he denied knowing Jesus. Peter's beloved Teacher Himself had predicted it would be so. Farther up the hill, atop Mount Zion and not far from the traditional tomb of King David, stands the Armenian Monastery of the Holy Saviour. Here, others claim, is the true location of the House of Caiaphas. But it stands deserted in no man's land, and I could not visit it. I was thus saved the problem of choosing one site in preference to the other. For unless you are an archeological scholar, you make these choices largely on the basis of how the actual settings agree with the way you imag ine them. It was not difficult, then, for me to think that Saul had climbed this stairway up M1ount 712 Zion. He would have come here to take from the hands of the high priest his authority for casting into prison those Jews who believed Christ was the Messiah. After having taken part in the stoning of Stephen, Saul, like a madman, "made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison" (Acts 8:3). "And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues..." (Acts 9:1-2). Saul Sets Out for Damascus What Saul wanted of Caiaphas was a war rant to raid the large Jewish congregation in the city of Damascus. He would search out those who had accepted the teaching of Jesus and return them in bonds to Jerusalem for judgment.