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Augustinianum

Volume 58, Issue 2, December 2018

Pierluigi Leone Gatti
Pages 315-342
DOI: 10.5840/agstm201858222

Le Faussaire et la Ville
la correspondance entre Sénèque et l’apôtre Paul mise à l’épreuve de l’archéologie

In this article the author provides new external evidence demonstrating that the correspondence between the philosopher Seneca and the apostle Paul is a forgery. The author compares archaeological data offered by inscriptions, graffiti and regionarii with information conveyed by the apocryphal letters. The setting of the epistles, as well as information about the duration and damages of the Neronian fire, contrast with the archaeological data, indicating that the text should be considered a forgery. The contribution shows that the forger worked rather in a literary mode. Conversely, the only archaeological date (CIL XIV 566) that scholars have brought to support authenticity is probably not a Christian inscription and does not prove anything regarding a meeting between Seneca and Paul or Seneca’s conversion. The origin of the correspondence should instead be traced to the cult of the apostles Paul and Peter during the 3rd and 4th centuries.