The "Monty Python" view of Palestine [of New Testament times] as a sort of Jewish state under Roman occupation misses out on the fact that, culturally speaking, it's a very Hellenized country. It was part of Alexander's empire already, so it's been under Hellenic influence for three centuries [i.e., by the time Jesus was born].
As a matter of historical possibility, do we think that Paul could have read Stoic texts? Or is the idea more that Stoicism was "in the air" in his intellectual environment?
Professor G.B. Stones (Durham University):
I find it more plausible to think that it was "in the air". He clearly has very profound rhetorical training. He writes Greek that is indicative of a high level of Greek education.
I discovered the podcast series just recently and like the ones I've heard, though I can't follow what he's saying a lot of the time, I must admit. As of this writing in April 2015, he's up to episode #221 about somebody living in the 1100s AD called Hildegard of Bingen. (At this rate, the series might finally finish recording in the 2020s.)