Greenbelt Interfaith News
    World Brief

    September 14, 1997

    Archaeological Site Identified as St. Paul's Prison

    Archaeologists working in Caesarea, Israel, believe they have found the first-century government building that was used to imprison Paul of Tarsus, one of the earliest and most influential Christian saints. According to The Jerusalem Post, excavators working on the remains of a building complex think that the complex was Caesarea's government seat in the late fifties A.D., when it is believed that Paul was imprisoned by the Roman government for disturbing the peace. According to the New Testament, Paul ran into trouble with Jewish authorities because he was preaching the Christian faith to the Jews. Paul demanded a trial, as was his right by Roman law, and he was incarcerated in Caesarea while awaiting trial. Paul's letters, written before and during his imprisonment, make up a large portion of the Christian New Testament.

    The building complex, which has been excavated for the past two decades, is reported to include the hall where Paul was given his initial hearing, though this hall has not yet been identified. The site has only recently been dated to the time of Paul; excavations have halted because of budget cuts. Yosef Porat of the Israel Antiquities Authority told The Jerusalem Post that the site may become a major attraction for Christian pilgrims.

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    ©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson