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  #1  
Old Sep 26, '13, 3:53 pm
Augustine3 Augustine3 is offline
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Default Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

At an early date, ecclesiastical tradition has supposed that Gamaliel embraced the Christian Faith, and remained a member of the Sanhedrin for the purpose of helping secretly his fellow-Christians (cf. Recognitions of Clement, I, lxv, lxvi). According to Photius, he was baptized by St. Peter and St. John, together with his son and with Nicodemus. His body, miraculously discovered in the fifth century, is said to be preserved at Pisa, in Italy.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06374b.htm

I guess the Church’s reluctance to canonize Gamaliel proves the details of Gamaliel’s body discovered and preserved may be apocryphal...

Any thoughts?
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Old Sep 26, '13, 3:57 pm
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Default Re: Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

Hmm...
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Old Sep 26, '13, 5:25 pm
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Default Re: Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

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Originally Posted by Augustine3 View Post
At an early date, ecclesiastical tradition has supposed that Gamaliel embraced the Christian Faith, and remained a member of the Sanhedrin for the purpose of helping secretly his fellow-Christians (cf. Recognitions of Clement, I, lxv, lxvi). According to Photius, he was baptized by St. Peter and St. John, together with his son and with Nicodemus. His body, miraculously discovered in the fifth century, is said to be preserved at Pisa, in Italy.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06374b.htm

I guess the Church’s reluctance to canonize Gamaliel proves the details of Gamaliel’s body discovered and preserved may be apocryphal...

Any thoughts?
Just because he converted (if he did) doesn't mean that he would be canonized.
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Old Sep 26, '13, 5:35 pm
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Default Re: Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

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Originally Posted by Augustine3 View Post
At an early date, ecclesiastical tradition has supposed that Gamaliel embraced the Christian Faith, and remained a member of the Sanhedrin for the purpose of helping secretly his fellow-Christians (cf. Recognitions of Clement, I, lxv, lxvi). According to Photius, he was baptized by St. Peter and St. John, together with his son and with Nicodemus. His body, miraculously discovered in the fifth century, is said to be preserved at Pisa, in Italy.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06374b.htm

I guess the Church’s reluctance to canonize Gamaliel proves the details of Gamaliel’s body discovered and preserved may be apocryphal...

Any thoughts?
I seriously doubt it. He was well schooled in Jewish belief and tradition....if he was a contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth, he would have read the gospels in the midrashic tradition they were written in as they followed the Jewish liturgical year to coincide with each Sabbath reading of the Hebrew scriptures as they pertained to the liturgical year....those who came to believe Jesus of Nazareth was the messiah and worshipped in the synagouges read passages that related to the liturgical season they were in.

Gamaiel if he was a contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth would have been more knowledgable in such matters.

Christianity didn't become a "force of nature" until after the fall of Jerusalem in 70CE, when from then on, it became mostly a Gentile religous movement.

I would think that the writer of Acts would have made a great deal of his conversion..if it occured..which is extremely doubtful.
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Old Sep 26, '13, 5:56 pm
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Default Re: Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

He is venerated as a Saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church. I personally believe that he became a Christian as the tradition reports it. Jimmy Akin seems to think that its unlikely, here is a link to his short answer http://jimmyakin.com/2007/04/st_rabban_gamal.html
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Old Sep 26, '13, 6:23 pm
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Default Re: Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Augustine3 View Post
At an early date, ecclesiastical tradition has supposed that Gamaliel embraced the Christian Faith, and remained a member of the Sanhedrin for the purpose of helping secretly his fellow-Christians (cf. Recognitions of Clement, I, lxv, lxvi). According to Photius, he was baptized by St. Peter and St. John, together with his son and with Nicodemus. His body, miraculously discovered in the fifth century, is said to be preserved at Pisa, in Italy.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06374b.htm

I guess the Church’s reluctance to canonize Gamaliel proves the details of Gamaliel’s body discovered and preserved may be apocryphal...

Any thoughts?
Church historians would mention it if he had.

And because a "preserved body" is in no way required for canonization, the finding of one would not be grounds for it, either.

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Old Sep 26, '13, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

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Originally Posted by COPLAND 3 View Post
He is venerated as a Saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church. I personally believe that he became a Christian as the tradition reports it. Jimmy Akin seems to think that its unlikely, here is a link to his short answer http://jimmyakin.com/2007/04/st_rabban_gamal.html
I tend to agree with Jimmy here. Many early Christians had this habit of coopting figures perceived to be sympathetic to the Christian cause - to the point that they assumed that oh, they must have later become Christians as well. Pilate I think is the prime example of this.
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Old Sep 26, '13, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

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Church historians would mention it if he had.

And because a "preserved body" is in no way required for canonization, the finding of one would not be grounds for it, either.

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Plus relics aren't the basis of our faith and should not be taken as such. What would we do then with the multiple heads of John the Baptist or Jesus' foreskins?
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  #9  
Old Sep 26, '13, 7:26 pm
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Default Re: Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

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I seriously doubt it. He was well schooled in Jewish belief and tradition....if he was a contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth, he would have read the gospels in the midrashic tradition they were written in as they followed the Jewish liturgical year to coincide with each Sabbath reading of the Hebrew scriptures as they pertained to the liturgical year....those who came to believe Jesus of Nazareth was the messiah and worshipped in the synagouges read passages that related to the liturgical season they were in.

Gamaiel if he was a contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth would have been more knowledgable in such matters.

Christianity didn't become a "force of nature" until after the fall of Jerusalem in 70CE, when from then on, it became mostly a Gentile religous movement.

I would think that the writer of Acts would have made a great deal of his conversion..if it occured..which is extremely doubtful.

I don't see how "being well schooled in Jewish belief" disqualifies him. After all, Paul was extremely well educated as a Jew.

Further if he was in the down low it would make sense he was omitted from Acts. Acts does not list every first century Christian.
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  #10  
Old Sep 26, '13, 9:21 pm
Cathoholic Cathoholic is offline
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Default Re: Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

This post is why I would think Rabbi Gamaliel was possibly not an early Christian.

As COPLAND 3 states:

Quote:
Jimmy Akin seems to think that its unlikely, here is a link to his short answer http://jimmyakin.com/2007/04/st_rabban_gamal.html
For Jimmy Akin to say Rabbi Gamaliel perhaps wasn’t an early Christian has a lot of influence on me.

In the final analysis we don’t know for sure in this life as Jimmy also intimates:

Quote:
The Church doesn’t have a position on either.
What would some of the arguments against Rabbi Gamaliel being an early Christian be?

Well as Jimmy said:

Quote:
Gamaliel is not stated in the New Testament to be a disciple of Jesus . . .
. . . In any event, if Gamaliel had become a Christian, we’d know about it from Jewish sources.
What do I think? I don’t know. I am still deliberating this point. The above post is the “no” in my mind.

Recall the question of the thread was "Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?” We can’t know with the historical evidence so far. Perhaps someday there will be more evidence one way or the other.

What about the “yes” in my mind? Why would I think Gamaliel MAY have been a Christian?

I’ll answer that on the next post.
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  #11  
Old Sep 26, '13, 11:23 pm
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Default Re: Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

The fact that the Eastern Orthodox have a historical tradition affirming this is no small approbation. The Eastern Orthodox are very good (not perfect but very good) custodians of traditions.

Why else would I think that Rabbi Gamaliel could possibly have been a Christian?

Recall when the Sanhedrin put St. Peter and the Apostles on trial, St. Peter actually put the Sanhedrin on trial.

Then the Sanhedrin (on the orders of Rabbi Gamaliel) had them removed for a while. Yet someone knew enough to relate what happened to St. Luke much later so Luke could write it down in the book of Acts.

ACTS 5:34 34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, held in honor by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a while.

Was it Gameliel who told the Apostles what happened in their absence while being whisked away from the Sanhedrin during their deliberation? We don’t know. It could have been.

Maybe this knowledge of what occurred with the Sanhedrin was infused by God. Or, St. Paul may have been there as a member or “job shadowing” with Gamaliel whom he studied under (Acts 22:3). St. John the Evangelist was possibly even related to the High Priest (John 18:15) and perhaps it was him (the high Priest himself) or Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea or someone else that explained to the Apostles what went on with the Sanhedrin in the absence of the Apostles. . . . but possibility it was Gamaliel himself.

ACTS 5:29-34 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him." 33 When they heard this they were enraged and wanted to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, held in honor by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a while.

The book of Acts also tells us Rabbi Gamaliel was instrumental in sparing the lives of the Apostles. Listen to the words of Gamaliel . . .

ACTS 5:35-40 35 And he said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you do with these men. 36 For before these days Theudas arose, giving himself out to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was slain and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!" 40 So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

WHY would the Jews of the Sanhedrin NOT know if Gamaliel were among the Jews of the Christians?

Well if that were public knowledge what would happen to Gamaliel (and probably his family)?

I think Acts 5:33 gives us good insight to the consensus among the Sanhedrin members.

ACTS 5:33 33 When they heard this they were enraged and wanted to kill them.

What do you think would occur if the Sanhedrin was aware of Gamaliel being a fulfilled Jew (a Christian)?

Rabbi Gamaliel would have to work among them in secret or not only merely be himself martyred, but cause the deaths of many other Jewish Christians too.

Why have Gamaliel stay there in the Sanhedrin?

Recall there was a persecution of the fulfilled Jews (Christians) by the Jews of the Sanhedrin. The information they could get from Gamaliel may have saved many Jewish Christian lives. Gamaliel was highly thought of by the Sanhedrin and even by Rabbinic Jews today. Rabbinic Jewish tradition states (Sotah 15:18):
Quote:
"Since Rabban Gamaliel the Elder died, there has been no more reverence for the law, and purity and piety died out at the same time"
Possibly this question of a secret Christian among the Sanhedrin being raised is one reason why the rabbis later, after the destruction of the Temple, eventually instituted curses against some of their fellow Jews (Jews who become Christians, whom the rabbis wrongly considered heretics). This curse is "prayed" to this very day in the Amidah (Shemoneh Esrei) in "prayer" number 12.

It would have been against our faith for any Jewish Christian to pray an anti-blessing or an anti-benediction or a malediction (a curse) against any fellow Jews or even anybody else now with the graces of the New Covenant afforded to us. If a leader in the synagogue refused to curse these Jews, they themselves could have been expelled from the Synagogue. With the malediction or curse added to the Amidah, the Christian Jew who refused to "pray" this anti-Jewish curse, would in effect have been "outed" and rejected and quite possibly killed.

The fact that the Birkat HaMinim ("prayer" number 12) was added to the Amidah close to this time in history, may possibly be indirect evidence that if not Gamaliel himself, at least others were suspected of being secret Christian Jews by the rabbis among the Synagogue.

What other reasons might we consider Rabbi Gamaliel's Christianity?
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  #12  
Old Sep 26, '13, 11:53 pm
Cathoholic Cathoholic is offline
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Default Re: Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

If the book of Acts were written before the destruction of the Temple (and it almost certainly was) then it would be a matter of life and death to keep the fact that Gamaliel was a Christian a secret.

Yet Gameliel’s influence and information could have life-saving consequences as we saw in Acts 5:33.

As Augustine3 has already linked:

Quote:
At an early date, ecclesiastical tradition has supposed that Gamaliel embraced the Christian Faith, and remained a member of the Sanhedrin for the purpose of helping secretly his fellow-Christians (cf. Recognitions of Clement, I, lxv, lxvi).
According to Photius, he (Gamaliel) was baptized by St. Peter and St. John, together with his son and with Nicodemus. His body, miraculously discovered in the fifth century, is said to be preserved at Pisa, in Italy.
The incorrupt body is helpful, but without verifiable identification, this body could belong to someone else other than Gamaliel.

Are the Recognitions of Clement reliable enough being two or three centuries removed?

We don’t know. There may have been other writings in between that are no longer available. This may have all been passed down orally too. Again we just don’t know.

Recall babies giving miraculous understandable audible praise to God hadn’t occurred since the crossing of the Red Sea (see Wisdom 10:1, 18-21 and Psalm 8:1-2) and Jesus now applies Wisdom 10 and Psalm 8 to Himself (“have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast brought perfect praise'?") so something very significant is occurring in the Temple when Jesus enters it on Palm Sunday.

MATTHEW 21:9, 15-16
9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" . . . . 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant; 16 and they said to him, "Do you hear what these are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast brought perfect praise'?"

OK. But what does this "babes speaking perfect praise" have to do with Gamaliel?

Bear with me a moment.

We know some of the Temple authorities witnessed this "babes speaking perfect praise" event for they were “indignant” over this miraculous occurrence.

We also know Gamaliel was in a sense a Temple authority (Sanhedrin).

If The Recognitions of Clement are reliable testimony to Gamaliel’s Christianity, then Gamaliel himself seems to recognize the significance of this Temple event.

This MAY be one of many reasons why there is evidence Rabbi Gamaliel was a Christian who secretly remained among the Pharisees (“secretly” probably to protect the early Christians’ lives).

For Rabbi Gamaliel’s safety, very few Christians would have been aware of this during the lifetime of Gamaliel (and possibly for several generations afterwards).

Let's go to directly here to The Recognitions of Clement (1:65):

Quote:
Gamaliel, who, as we have said, was of our faith, but who by a dispensation remained amongst them, . . . .
See THE ANTE-NICENE FATHERS: The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325, Volume VIII Fathers of the Third and Fourth... by Reverend Alexander Roberts (May 1, 2007) source here or here:

Then shortly later in The Recognitions we have as it were from Gamaliel himself seeming to comment on this Temple event something quite significant (at least to me).

Quote:
RABBI GAMALIEL "'If I, Gamaliel, deem it no reproach either to my learning or to my old age to learn something from babes and unlearned ones, if haply there be anything which it is for profit or for I safety to acquire (for he who lives reasonably knows that nothing is more precious than the soul), ought not this to be the object of love and desire to all, to learn what they do not know, and to teach what they have learned?

Rabbi Gamaliel talking of himself learning from babes is almost certainly alluding to Matthew 21:16 . . . .IF The Recognitions are authentic.

This miraculous event of little infants verbally and understandably praising and giving testimony to Jesus upset the chief priests and scribes. Why?

Because it gave further testimony to Jesus authority and discredited the Pharisees indictment of Jesus simultaneously.

If this Testimony of The Recognitions of Clement is true (and keep in mind there were good reasons to keep all of this under wraps for a loooong time so we wouldn’t expect to know about it openly immediately within Christendom), then almost certainly Rabbi Gamaliel was a fulfilled Jew (a Christian). If the Recognitions are not accurate, then it is not as easy to say concerning Rabbi Gamaliel’s furtive or cryptic Christianity.

There are other reasons too, but this at least gives us all something to think about.
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Old Sep 27, '13, 12:23 am
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Default Re: Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

Oh one other interesting item relating to all of this Rabbi Gamaliel’s Jewish Christianity elsewhere.

Dr. Nelson L. Price on his website gives the following account . . . .

Quote:
. . . Israel is a fascinating place. . . Each of our 40 visits has been different and delightful. . . . Over the years we have developed many friends in Israel. One day a couple invited us to drive to the Valley of Elah where David fought Goliath. Having been there we were ambitious to return. While there one of our friends said lets drive up to Beit Gamaliel, a religious moshav in central Israel. We had not been there. As a matter of fact we had never heard of it. On the way I reasoned “beit” means house and Gamaliel is a reference to Gamaliel who succeeded to the presidency of the Sanhedrin after Shammai in the time of Jesus. . . .
. . . While walking around enjoying the beauty of Beit Gamaliel my wife noticed a plaque and called for our friend, a guide in Israel for over forty years, and me to come see it. It read: “Buried here: Stephen and Nicodemus.” Our well schooled guide did not know of it and was astounded to see it.
Nicodemus was a fellow member of the Sanhedrin with Gamaliel. Stephen was the first Christian martyr. Why would such a prestigious scholar as Gamaliel have these two men of all people buried on his estate?
Following is merely conjecture but sometimes theory proves to be correct. Inductive reasoning led me to the following conclusion. Could it have been the scholarly student who was appointed by the court came back and shared with his venerable mentor his findings and Gamaliel also became a believer? As such he had his two fellow believers interred on his estate. . . .
See the whole post of Dr. Price's here.

Why would someone named “Stephen” and someone named “Nicodemus” be buried on the Gamaliel Estate?

Is this the same “Stephen” “Nicodemus” we know from the Scriptures?

If it is, WHY would they be buried here?
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Old Sep 27, '13, 8:14 am
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Default Re: Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

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I seriously doubt it. He was well schooled in Jewish belief and tradition....if he was a contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth, he would have read the gospels in the midrashic tradition they were written in as they followed the Jewish liturgical year to coincide with each Sabbath reading of the Hebrew scriptures as they pertained to the liturgical year....those who came to believe Jesus of Nazareth was the messiah and worshipped in the synagouges read passages that related to the liturgical season they were in.

Gamaiel if he was a contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth would have been more knowledgable in such matters.

Christianity didn't become a "force of nature" until after the fall of Jerusalem in 70CE, when from then on, it became mostly a Gentile religous movement.

I would think that the writer of Acts would have made a great deal of his conversion..if it occured..which is extremely doubtful.
The full title of the book is Acts of the Apostles. The writer of Acts of the Apostles was Luke. In the very first sentence he tells his audience why he wrote the book.
In the first book, O The-oph'ilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, (Acts 1:1)
Luke's Gospel deals with what Jesus began to do and teach while he was on earth. Acts tells us about what Jesus continues to do and teach through the action of the Apostolic Church. The Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles form a pair. The Gospel of Luke is about Jesus working on earth and Acts is about Jesus working through Apostles and the Apostolic Church. .

Paul was a disciple of Gamaliel, trained as a teacher and scholar by Gamaliel himself.
I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cili'cia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gama'li-el, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day. (Acts 22:3)
Gamaliel himself writes that Paul was a prodigy. Gamaliel was given the unofficial title Rav Gamaliel or Prince Gamaliel. He is revered by Jews to this day. Gamaliel and Paul were of the same school of thought. Luke makes a big deal about Paul's conversion, enough so that he does not have to address the conversion of Rav Gamaliel who trained Paul. The conversion of someone taught by Gamaliel, a prodigy, and choosing of such a man by Jesus to be an Apostle was far more interesting and significant. For Luke, writing about the conversion of Gamaliel was besides the point because he was not an Apostle.

The book is titled Acts of the Apostles for a reason. Chapters 1 through 12 are about Peter. Chapters 13 through 25 are about Paul. The entire book is about what Jesus did through the Apostles of the Church. Peter and Paul were Apostles in the Church. Gamaliel wasn't an Apostle.


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Old Sep 27, '13, 10:02 am
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Default Re: Did Gamaliel Convert to Christianity?

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Originally Posted by Cathoholic View Post
Oh one other interesting item relating to all of this Rabbi Gamaliel’s Jewish Christianity elsewhere.

Dr. Nelson L. Price on his website gives the following account . . . .



See the whole post of Dr. Price's here.

Why would someone named “Stephen” and someone named “Nicodemus” be buried on the Gamaliel Estate?

Is this the same “Stephen” “Nicodemus” we know from the Scriptures?

If it is, WHY would they be buried here?
Just a minor note: the place is Beit Gemal/Beit Jimal, and it is a Christian monastery.
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