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220px-V&A - Raphael, The Conversion of the Proconsul (1515)

Raphael - Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork

Elymas also known as Bar-Jesus (Ancient Greek: Βαριεσοῦ, Aramaic: Bar-Shuma‎‎, Latin: Bariesu), is a Jew in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 13,[1]in the New Testament. Acts of the Apostles calls him a magus, which the King James Bible here translates as "sorcerer". He is represented as opposing the disciple Paul the Apostle, who is called at this point for the first time with his Roman name, and Barnabas in the city of Paphos onCyprus, when Sergius Paulus, the Roman Proconsul, wishes to hear Paul and Barnabas speak about Jesus. Because of this opposition, Paul claims that God had decided to make him temporarily blind. A cloud of darkness immediately begins blocking his sight;after this Sergius Paulus is converted to Christianity.

Elymas’s intentions for Sergius are unclear, only that he was desperate to keep him from receiving the word about Jesus. Perhaps he had the proconsul’s ear and was his advisor on matters of faith. This would make sense as Sergius is obviously learned about Jewish teachings and Elymas is Jewish. The message Paul and Barnabas bring threatens the false-prophet’s usefulness to the island's most powerful administrator.

Bar-Jesus received the same curse that Paul himself did: temporary blindness.It is clear from the passage that Bar-Jesus had the ear of the proconsul and was well known throughout the region. He was a self-proclaimed prophet of God who may have had his own religious agenda.

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