The Life of St. Paul: Paul Agrees to Take the Nazirites to the Temple (?)

Circa 1857-60
Oil on canvas
Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome

This is from a series of paintings by various artists that line the nave and transept of the basilica.

The painting appears to represent Acts 21:23-26, Paul's agreement that he should sponsor the four Jewish men who have finished their Nazirite vows. If this is so the four men in the front row of listeners would be the Nazirites. Their hair is rather long and shaggy, as would be expected of men who, following Numbers 6:5-6, have not had a shave or haircut during the period of their vow. The two in back may be some of the presbyters mentioned in Acts 21:18.

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View the page that links to the other paintings in the series.
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Photographed at the basilica by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.