© Sonia Halliday and Laura Lushington

“A light from heaven” (Acts 9:3) descends upon Saul of Tarsus, soon to become the apostle Paul. Paul falls to the ground in shock as he hears the voice of Jesus advising him: “Arise and go into [Damascus] and you will be told what your must do” (Acts 9:1–9, 22:4–11, 26:9–18). This 19th-century stained-glass window in Lincoln Cathedral, England, shows Paul with a halo already encircling his head.

Although this incident is traditionally known as “the conversion of Paul,” scholars debate whether Paul can truly be called a convert. Judaism and Christianity were not yet separate religions, and Paul himself believed that he remained within Judaism. On the other hand, traditional Jews probably regarded Paul as moving beyond Judaism, perhaps even into a new religion.