I was reviewing an old post, "Does the New Testament quote extrabiblical writers?", and mentally linked it to a question on Mi Yodeya: "Is studying Greek culture a sin?".
Paul, in giving an autobiographical reference, declares:
"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today." (Acts 22:3)
and so notes that he was not only zealous for God (and I would assume by implication the Jewish faith), but that he had studied in the House of Hillel under Hillel's grandson Gamaliel. If this is the case would he have been aware of the prohibition on studying Greek culture (poets and philosophers) which he quotes on several occasions; or does this prohibition post-date Paul?
This raises the following sub-question. A response in a previous post mad the claim that
. . . during his quiet retreat at Tarsus (see Acts 9:30), Paul gave himself to the study of Greek literature, which given his calling as an apostle to the Gentiles may have been conscripted to be used as fodder for future sermons. [rhetorician]
Yet, in Paul's own retelling of of the Damascus Road conversion he adds the phrase "kick against the pricks" (Acts 26:14).
The phrase “kick against the pricks” “comes from Aeschylus (525–456 B.C.), Agamemnon, line 1624--or lines 2341 & 2342 at (see Stewart Custer, Witness to Christ, BJU Press, p.164). We do not readily think of the risen Christ quoting a Greek playwright (in Hebrew, no less!), but since Paul's educational background likely included the study of the "Greek classics," Jesus used Paul's familiarity with the work of Aeschylus to reveal to Paul the futility of resisting His grace. [rhetorician]
Rhetorician's argument suggests that Paul would have recognized the passage before his journey to Tarsus thereby implying he already knew the Greek literary reference.
Therefore the question is: "Did the religious zeal of Paul (and Gamaliel, et al; Acts 22:3) preclude them from studying Greek literature and philosophy?" And the potential sub-question is: "If so, is Paul's knowledge of them an example of freedom from the law (and its commentaries) post Acts 22?"