“God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5
We do not know the name of Saint Paul’s father. This may strike you as trivial, a trick question for the daily double on Bible Jeopardy, but I think there’s deep theological significance in this important omission.
We know a great deal about Saint Paul, because he intertwines bits of his biography into his teaching. Scholars can date his missionary journeys down to the month, and he names dozens of his friends and associates scattered around the Mediterranean world. He tells us that he came from the city of Tarsus, that before he met Jesus he was a member of the Pharisee sect within Judaism. We know that Saint Paul’s father came from the ancient tribe of Benjamin, and that he was a Roman citizen, a fairly unusual fact for Jew of this time, and a fact on which the drama of his son’s later life turned.
But Saint Paul never names him. In that respect he is unlike almost every major figure in the Old Testament.