Paul in Pamphylia (Acts 13.13–14a; 14.24b–26): A Critical Note
Acts states in 13.13–14a that Paul sailed on his outward journey from Paphos in Cyprus to Pergê in Pamphylia (Περγη), proceeding then to Pisidian Antioch – literally, Antioch-towards-Pisidia. (Pamphylia is the westernmost of two alluvial coastal shelves on the south coast of present-day Turkey; a relatively self-contained geographical area.) Acts states that John-Mark left for Jerusalem from this point after a disagreement, and also does not mention the coastal port of Attaleia (‘Ατταλεια), present-day Antalya. On the return journey, however, noted in 14.24–26a, the remaining missionaries are said to preach in Pergê and then proceed to Attaleia, from which point they sail on to Syrian Antioch, presumably actually disembarking at Seleucia. Now this all looks a little odd at first glance, especially since Pergê is some distance inland for any arrival on the first leg of this journey, and most interpreters have reacted accordingly. I want to suggest here, however, that the author's comments about these two traverses through Pamphylia, although brief and initially a little puzzling, are deliberately asymmetrical, and it is this that betrays their almost certain accuracy in historical terms.
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