This article argues that Luke’s characterization of Saul as a god-fighter can be read as modeled on the biblical King Saul and on Pentheus from Euripides’s Bacchae, and that the characterization of Paul in Acts 13:4–17:15 can be read as modeled on the Bacchae’s Dionysus. My approach, appealing to the Bacchae as a literary model, avoids a weakness of similar interpretations of the name Saul, which date to the early church, that it is a reference to King Saul. Saul remains “Saul” after the Damascus Road experience in order to demonstrate the appropriate response of one found to be a god-fighter, emulating Pentheus’s model.

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