TYRANNUS (tī-răn'ŭs, Gr. Tyrannos, tyrant). According to a well-supported reading of
TYRANNUS tī răn’ əs (Τύραννος, tyrant), an Ephesian in whose hall Paul lectured (
It is not certain just who Tyrannus was. There were lecture halls in gymnasia to be found in every Gr. city where a philosopher, orator or poet could expound his views or give a recitation. Tyrannus may have been a Gr. rhetorician living in Ephesus at that time, having his own private lecture hall. Meyer thinks he was a Jewish rabbi, in whose private synagogue Paul and his doctrines were more secure from annoyance than in the public synagogue (H. A. W. Meyer, Handbook to the, in loc.). The Western text adds, “a certain Tyrannus,” indicating a particular individual. It may be that the “hall of Tyrannus” was either a building for hire, named after its owner, or the private residence of a sympathetic donor. Whatever the case, Paul’s regular and unmolested use of the room for two years, with such a wide hearing, indicates his exclusive use of a spacious, well-situated room for a period of each day.
H. A. W. Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Acts of the Apostles, 4th ed. (1869), 368; W. M. Ramsay, The Church in theBefore A.D. 170, 7th ed. (1903), 152; W. M. Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller and Roman Citizen, 8th ed. (1905), 271; F. J. Foakes-Jackson and K. Lake, The Beginnings of Christianity, IV (1933), 239; R. B. Rackham, The Acts of the Apostles, 14th ed. (1951), 251, 252.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
When the Jews of Ephesus opposed Paul’s teaching in the synagogue, he withdrew, and, separating his followers, reasoned daily in the school of Tyrannus. "This continued for the space of two years" (
(1) a Greek rhetorician or
(2) a Jewish rabbi.
(1) This is the common opinion, and many identify him with a certain Tyrannus, a sophist, mentioned by Suidas. Paul would thus appear to be one of the traveling rhetors of the time, who had hired such a hall to proclaim his own peculiar philosophy (Ramsay, Paul the Traveler, 246, 271).
(2) Meyer thinks that as the apostle had not passed wholly to the Gentiles, and Jews still flocked to hear him, and also that as Tyrannus is not spoken of as a proselyte (sebomenos ton Theon), this schole is the beth Midrash of a Jewish rabbi. "Paul with his Christians withdrew from the public synagogue to the private synagogue of Tyrannus, where he and his doctrine were more secure from public annoyance" (Meyer in the place cited.).
(3) Another view (Overbeck) is that the expression was the standing name of the place after the original owner.
S. F. Hunter