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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Sat May 21, 2016 10:16 am
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Questioning Paul/Saul

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A great deal of the New Testament (31% of the total and thirteen of the twenty seven books of the New Testament) is attributed to Paul/Saul. He was apparently a (or the) driving force / originator of early Christianity and a mainstay of modern Christianity.

However, there are reasons to question the truth and accuracy of what his writings.

First, Christian scholars and theologians are in general agreement that some epistles attributed to Paul/Saul were actually written by others.

Quote:
There is wide consensus in modern New Testament scholarship on a core group of authentic Pauline epistles whose authorship is rarely contested: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. [b]Several additional letters bearing Paul's name lack academic consensus, namely Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. Scholarly opinion is sharply divided on whether Ephesians and Colossians are the letters of Paul; however, the remaining four–2 Thessalonians, as well as the three known as the Pastoral epistles–have been labeled pseudepigraphical works by most critical scholars.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Pauline_epistles

Thus, seven (about half) are deemed authentic Paul/Saul, four are generally considered pseudepigraphical (written by others and falsely assigned) and two are disputed.

Second, Paul/Saul himself said VERY little about the “vision” (“conversion”) and did NOT describe the event. All he said was:

Quote:
In the Pauline epistles, the description of the conversion experience is brief. The First Epistle to the Corinthians[9:1][15:3-8] describes Paul as having seen the risen Christ:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
— 1 Cor. 15:3–8, NIV

The Epistle to the Galatians also describes his conversion as a divine revelation, with Jesus appearing to Paul.
I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.
— Galatians 1:11-16, NIV
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_of_Paul_the_Apostle#Pauline_epistles

Detailed accounts of the “vision” were written by the author of “Acts of the Apostles” attributed to Luke (whoever that may have been). Acts 9:3–9, –  Acts 9:13–19. That is a second-hand account by a person whose identity is unknown to or disputed by scholars and theologians – and who cannot be shown to have personal knowledge of the event (only what he was told by others) – AND who was writing decades or generations after the claimed event.

Christianity is heavily dependent upon the “vision” tale being true. If it is not, much of Christianity is based upon a false / fictional / imaginary event – that was NOT described by the supposed participant.

Questions for debate:

1. Why believe the “vision” tale?

2. Why believe anything said by or about Paul/Saul?

3. Are there additional reasons to question the authenticity / veracity of Paul/Saul?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Sat May 21, 2016 11:37 am
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Re: Questioning Paul/Saul

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Zzyzx wrote:



Are there additional reasons to question the authenticity / veracity of Paul/Saul?


From the simple psychological view of expressing in words a life-changing experience, we would expect a very full account. Paul would be aware that his words would be placed under later scrutiny and what better method to pass on his message than to give the exact truthful details? He avoids doing so, and this avoidance might be ignored over an event that was peripheral to his message; but the event connects him intimately with Christ and gives him his authority. It is his passport, which he conceals, suggesting it is a fake passport. That he did not make full use of his experience to persuade others, suggests it did not happen.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Sat May 21, 2016 1:53 pm
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It adds another layer to the vision onion instead of peeling one back. Think of how much in these stories pivots on visions and dreams. And that the author and the dreamer or seer or hearer or audience to angels aren't the same person...

So something outrageous is proposed to me. I get it ''explained'' to me by an ''angel'' in a dream. But then someone ELSE writes about it, and anonymously at that.

Third hand story-telling of second hand accounts of first hand visions...

When you think about how many crucial elements to this giant whopper of a story revolve around dreams and visions and voices ''recorded'' by someone else entirely...

well, it makes my head spin in despair a bit. I don't mind saying it. I worry about our collective mental health. This is the sort of nonsense we should have slogged off a very long time ago.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Sat May 21, 2016 3:04 pm
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Inigo Montoya wrote:



[/i] well, it makes my head spin in despair a bit. I don't mind saying it. I worry about our collective mental health. This is the sort of nonsense we should have slogged off a very long time ago.


And the fact we held on to Paul's story and practically made Paul a replacement Christ suggests we humans NEED a parental divine figure, and Paul attaches us umbilically to that figure. Many people will think we have gone too far, built too many high towers and created too many clerics to abandon everything now. Did Paul appreciate what an organisation he was starting? I suppose he merely saw through a glass darkly.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Sat May 21, 2016 3:29 pm
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Paul is surely the prophet of Christianity rather than Jesus.
Paul, previously contracted to put down Christian groups in Jerusalem, and having made a name for himself, was contracted to go up into the Decapolis on further such missions.
Was his experience a blinding vision, or a blinding idea?
He set out to manipulate Christian groups to his own ideas, and only used the stories of Jesus's resurrection rather than anything to do with Jesus's life, actions, words or vocation. I don't think that Paul knew about or cared much about Jesus at all, he didn't write anything about Jesus in those contexts.
Paul's manic hatred of transvestites, effeminate men and homosexuals, subdugation of women and his other personal directions to the Churches were clearly all his own.

Paul, together with John and Luke, are responsible for most of the extremist Christian Sects, and they identify themselves with aggressive, ignorant, hateful, , right-wing, arrogance.

Apart from all that, Paul was OK.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Sat May 21, 2016 3:37 pm
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Was Paul/Saul the Donald Trump of his day -- egotistical, arrogant, narcissistic, opportunist, ruthless, fanatical, bigoted, inexperienced in the cause, willing to say whatever the audience wants to hear -- whether true or not, disdainful of opposition, pandering to the fears and prejudices of followers, etc?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Sat May 21, 2016 6:36 pm
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Re: Questioning Paul/Saul

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Zzyzx wrote:

.
A great deal of the New Testament (31% of the total and thirteen of the twenty seven books of the New Testament) is attributed to Paul/Saul. He was apparently a (or the) driving force / originator of early Christianity and a mainstay of modern Christianity.

However, there are reasons to question the truth and accuracy of what his writings.

First, Christian scholars and theologians are in general agreement that some epistles attributed to Paul/Saul were actually written by others.

Quote:
There is wide consensus in modern New Testament scholarship on a core group of authentic Pauline epistles whose authorship is rarely contested: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. [b]Several additional letters bearing Paul's name lack academic consensus, namely Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. Scholarly opinion is sharply divided on whether Ephesians and Colossians are the letters of Paul; however, the remaining four–2 Thessalonians, as well as the three known as the Pastoral epistles–have been labeled pseudepigraphical works by most critical scholars.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Pauline_epistles

Thus, seven (about half) are deemed authentic Paul/Saul, four are generally considered pseudepigraphical (written by others and falsely assigned) and two are disputed.

Second, Paul/Saul himself said VERY little about the “vision” (“conversion”) and did NOT describe the event. All he said was:

Quote:
In the Pauline epistles, the description of the conversion experience is brief. The First Epistle to the Corinthians[9:1][15:3-8] describes Paul as having seen the risen Christ:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
— 1 Cor. 15:3–8, NIV

The Epistle to the Galatians also describes his conversion as a divine revelation, with Jesus appearing to Paul.
I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.
— Galatians 1:11-16, NIV
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_of_Paul_the_Apostle#Pauline_epistles

Detailed accounts of the “vision” were written by the author of “Acts of the Apostles” attributed to Luke (whoever that may have been). Acts 9:3–9, –  Acts 9:13–19. That is a second-hand account by a person whose identity is unknown to or disputed by scholars and theologians – and who cannot be shown to have personal knowledge of the event (only what he was told by others) – AND who was writing decades or generations after the claimed event.

Christianity is heavily dependent upon the “vision” tale being true. If it is not, much of Christianity is based upon a false / fictional / imaginary event – that was NOT described by the supposed participant.

Questions for debate:

1. Why believe the “vision” tale?

2. Why believe anything said by or about Paul/Saul?

3. Are there additional reasons to question the authenticity / veracity of Paul/Saul?


There is no reason to believe him, especially as his message conflicted with the law and the testimonies (Is 8:20) Yeshua taught that you were not to believe anyone who said he was seen in the wilderness (Mt 24:26) Paul's witness is the unknown writer of 2 Peter, and that witness calls him a brother. As the actual Peter fulfilled Zechariah 11:16-17, who "leaves the flock", the "lost sheep of Israel", for the Gentiles per Acts 15:7, one should be highly suspicious of Peter as well. Together they are prophesied to team up as the two shepherds who were to "pasture" "the flock doomed to slaughter" (Zech 11:7). I would steer clear of both, and any institutions which follows them as their leaders and teachers. There is only one leader, and there is only one teacher, much to the chagrin of Paul. (Mt 23:7-8)

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Sun May 22, 2016 3:01 am
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Re: Questioning Paul/Saul

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2ndpillar wrote:


I would steer clear of both, and any institutions which follows them as their leaders and teachers. There is only one leader, and there is only one teacher, much to the chagrin of Paul. (Mt 23:7-8)




And so we have more division.

" Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. " Matthew 5:13

The one leader never wrote anything down, a strange carelessness.
When we take a Good Book and find that it has lost much of its meaning, and its principal supports are suspect, what is the point of upholding it as truth? It is just another very fallible point of view.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Sun May 22, 2016 3:35 am
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Re: Questioning Paul/Saul

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[Replying to post 1 by Zzyzx]


"However, there are reasons to question the truth and accuracy of what his writings.

First, Christian scholars and theologians are in general agreement that some epistles attributed to Paul/Saul were actually written by others."

Therefore nobody would want to hear Blue Danube if we did not know who composed it?
Nobody would admire Mona Lisa or Sistine Chapel if we did not know name of the artist?

I can imagine Jews were highly irate that their highly respected Paul decided to betray them. Do away with Paul we do away with much of the NT; it does not work that way.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Sun May 22, 2016 4:14 am
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If you visit threads and posts on extremist Christian Forums you will notice that members quote the bible quite often. A huge % of bible citations are from Paul's letters, quasi-letters and John's writings, and this clearly shows where the nucleus of their type of Christianity is seated.

Paul, and John...... the nucleus of Christianity. ........ and I think that Luke took many facts and actions that happened during those times and then manipulated, spun and twisted them to suit the Pauline concept of Christianity.

There's your trinity......... those three.

One last point....... If you read the posts of such extreme Christians, you will notice that much of what they write is intangible drivvle, but they've spoken and heard this stuff for so long that it's become like a mantra to them and they don't realise what rubbish it is.

I knew an Irish lady from County Kerry (this is not a rude limerick) who stopped going to Mass when latin was dropped for English. She didn't like the services after that. I asked her if she spoke latin well, and she looked at me in amazement..... she could not speak latin, she just liked the sound of it. It sounded nice!

None of the intangible drivvel is anything to do with Jesus or his vocation, which was clearly to win Just and Fair treatment for the peasant classes of Galilee and if possible, beyond.

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