Was Paul Contemplating Suicide?

I will get back to contradictions in my next post. For now, something else has come up. In my two previous posts I’ve mentioned Phil. 1:21, where Paul says, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” I’ve been asked by several blog-readers about this, and it occurs to me that it might be useful to sketch out one set of reflections on the verse, as I lay it out in one of my side-comments in my textbook on the New Testament. Here is what I say there: ******************************************************************************************************************* In an intriguing book that discusses suicide and martyrdom in the ancient world (A Noble Death: Suicide and Martyrdom among Christians and Jews in Antiquity. HarperSanFrancisco, 1992) Arthur Droge and James Tabor argue that the modern notion that suicide is a “sin” stems not from the Bible but from the fifth-century Saint Augustine. Prior to Augustine, suicide per se was not condemned by pagans, Jews, and Christians. On the contrary, in certain circumstances it was even advocated as the right and noble thing to do. Indeed, [...]