It appears that Saul
was his "circumcision name" and that Paul
may or may have not been given to him as a "liaison name" for use with non-Jews.
According to a Catholic encyclopedia site (for what its worth)(http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11567b.htm) he was given both names Saul
at birth, but opted for Paul
) because the Greek adaptation of Saul
(Savlos) indeed had ludicrous connotations (as I pointed out above).
Poor joke alert: It is possible that Paul
had held on to Saul
, the spread of Christianity could have failed, at least in areas where Greek was the *lingua* *franca*. In the same vein, had Ralph
Lipschitz not changed his name to Ralph Lauren
, maybe very few English-speakers would be prorting shirts with polo ponies on them :)