"Much Learning Doth Make Thee Mad"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 169

Context: The author tells of Paul's arrest and trial in Jerusalem after the completion of his third missionary journey. The people, stirred up by some Asian Jews, seize Paul in the temple. The mob is prevented from killing him in the street by the intervention of some Roman soldiers. Paul is brought to trial before the high court of the Jews, the Sanhedrin. Paul throws the session into chaos by declaring that he is a Pharisee and believes in the Resurrection; the Pharisees and Sadducees begin arguing so violently that Paul has to be transferred to prison in Caesarea, where he is tried first by Felix and then by Festus, Roman rulers. Paul finally appeals his case to Caesar. In the meantime King Agrippa comes to salute Festus on his ascending to power in Caesarea. Paul repeats his testimony of defense before Agrippa and Festus:

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And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice,
Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.

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