Paul and the case for mythicism
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03-11-2014, 03:50 PM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
(03-11-2014 03:25 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(03-11-2014 02:57 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Well, yeah. Waiting for Bucky to weigh in...

But for myself, sola fides does not mean "exempt from good works" but rather "good works are inevitable." Thumbsup

I thought sola fide meant "by faith alone" that one was redeemed or saved.Consider

Exactly. Paul's prophecy was handed down through Saint Augustine and comes through us today as Crowley's "do what thou wilt is the extent of the law."

Because everything thou wills through Holy Spirit is good. True story. Thumbsup

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03-11-2014, 04:12 PM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
I think 'paul' is as much of a literary construction as 'jesus.'

The earliest xtian writer for whom we have any appreciable body of work is Justin Martyr who wrote to Emperor Antonius Pius c 160 AD. Justin apparently never heard of any 'paul.' This in spite of the proposition that it was 'paul' who brought the word to the gentiles a century earlier. Justin was a gentile himself having been born in Neapolis (Naples). How could he not know of such a vital figure in the story? It would be like someone writing a recap of the American revolution to Queen Victoria a century after it happened and never once mentioning George Washington.

At some point you have to employ the 'what is more likely' test.

Is it more likely that Justin was an idiot in this one point, or, was the 'paul' fiction assembled after he wrote the first apology? I go with the latter.

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03-11-2014, 04:45 PM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
(03-11-2014 04:12 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  I think 'paul' is as much of a literary construction as 'jesus.'

Interesting. I thought Paul's existence was pretty well documented and accepted. I'll have to do some reading about Martyr.

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03-11-2014, 09:43 PM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
(03-11-2014 04:12 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  I think 'paul' is as much of a literary construction as 'jesus.'

The earliest xtian writer for whom we have any appreciable body of work is Justin Martyr who wrote to Emperor Antonius Pius c 160 AD. Justin apparently never heard of any 'paul.' This in spite of the proposition that it was 'paul' who brought the word to the gentiles a century earlier. Justin was a gentile himself having been born in Neapolis (Naples). How could he not know of such a vital figure in the story? It would be like someone writing a recap of the American revolution to Queen Victoria a century after it happened and never once mentioning George Washington.

At some point you have to employ the 'what is more likely' test.

Is it more likely that Justin was an idiot in this one point, or, was the 'paul' fiction assembled after he wrote the first apology? I go with the latter.

At the time Justin wrote in the 150s and early 160s, the Catholic Church, as a whole, hadn't embraced Paul as yet. Remember Paul was Marcion's guru. It was probably Marcion who introduced Paul's writings to Rome. Marcionism was much bigger than Catholicism in the second century. It was only late in the second century that some of the Catholics embraced Paul's writings, and no doubt tried to pinch many of Marcion's patrons while doing so.
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03-11-2014, 09:48 PM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2014 10:01 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
(03-11-2014 04:45 PM)unfogged Wrote:  
(03-11-2014 04:12 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  I think 'paul' is as much of a literary construction as 'jesus.'

Interesting. I thought Paul's existence was pretty well documented and accepted. I'll have to do some reading about Martyr.

You might find this interesting on Justin Martyr...

Justin (100–165 CE) was an important founding father of Catholicism, which 150 years after his time, became the establishment version of Christianity. (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/justin.html).

Most of what is known about him comes from his own writings. He was from a Greek-speaking family, had property and had studied philosophy. He travelled widely in his early life, and in 140–150 CE settled in Rome as a Christian teacher, founding a school that attracted a wide following, and devoted his life to teaching what he declared was the true doctrine. A large volume of his work has survived to give us a glimpse of the daily life of some of the Christians of the time.

Unlike Marcion, Justin sought to retain the Old Testament and the importance of Israel by merging them with the tradition of a Christ. Yet he also pitted burgeoning Christianity against Judaism, claiming that the Jews had misunderstood their own scripture, and that he could provide the correct interpretation. He thereby relegated the Old Testament to a secondary status; he attempted to neutralize, but not totally ignore it as a source of doctrine. He thought that Christ removed the need for circumcision, animal sacrifices, the Sabbath, and the laws regarding food.

Justin taught that the Greek philosophers had borrowed their teachings from the Old Testament; that Plato learned from Moses! These are claims that all scholars know to be fallacious. He also claimed that the ancient Greeks and Jews had only a partial understanding of true philosophy, because only Christ revealed real enlightenment. Justin promoting these proposals successfully is perhaps not only testament to how unquestioning his students were, but also how willing Justin was to mislead them.

By claiming a connection with Israel’s heritage, the early Catholic Christians were in direct competition with traditional Jews, including the Nazarenes. In his Dialogue with the Jew Trypho, (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/te...ypho.html) Justin admitted the the Nazarene’s existence, and he acknowledged they believed that Jesus had merely been a human prophet. Justin didn’t condemn the Nazarenes outright. He granted they were entitled to observe Mosaic Law if they wished, and even thought they might achieve salvation, yet admitted that many Christians thought the Nazarenes would be denied a place in heaven.

The bigotry against outsiders (such as the Nazarenes) that became a feature of churches was already obvious.

Justin’s writings also detail Baptism, the Eucharist, and Sunday worship.
When Christianity came under intellectual attack from secular critics such as Celsus, and no doubt numerous others, for being baseless. Justin replied by writing a chapter titled

“The Christians Have Not Believed Groundless Stories,” (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.iv.ix.html) but he offered no proof for this assertion, only protestations unsupported by historical facts.

Interestingly, Justin never mentioned the existence of any of the four canonical Gospels. If they’d been written in the late first century, and distributed, and named, and in the form we have them now, as most Christians believe, surely he would have had access to them and referred to them.

Although Justin was one of the first Catholic Church fathers living in Rome, and wrote extensively on various topics, he didn’t acknowledge in his writings there had ever been a Roman Prince Peter or Pope Peter. This undeniable fact proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Pope Peter is a myth
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03-11-2014, 09:59 PM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
(03-11-2014 02:04 PM)unfogged Wrote:  I've been reading about the mythicist view of Jesus recently and would appreciate any feedback on my understanding of where Paul fits into the picture. The chronology I have is:

- Paul (as Saul) was critical of Christians in the 30's; the extent of his 'persecution' of Christians is not well defined but he knew of them and, at the very least, spoke out against their beliefs
- sometime around the year 40 he had his Damascus road experience and converted
- for the next 14 years he developed and preached his version of Christianity based on his revelation and his reading of older scriptures but in all that time he didn't go to Jerusalem to meet with any of the apostles there, or with anybody who had known the historical Jesus
- when he did meet with Cephas and James they basically agreed to disagree on whether or not Christians had to follow the Jewish laws
- his known writings start around the year 50, before he met with the 'Pillars' in Jerusalem and continuing afterwards

I had always considered Paul's writings about the existence of Christian sects in the late 30's to be an indication that there was probably a historical figure at the core of the myth. Now that I really think about it however, Paul's actions don't make a lot of sense to me. I would expect him to want to talk immediately with people still living in Jerusalem who actually knew Jesus in the flesh. The idea that he put that off for more than a decade makes more sense if he didn't know about a historical figure and was taking his personal revelation to be just as valid as any understanding he'd get from somebody else. I'd also expect the opinion of the 'Pillars' to carry more weight than it apparently did if they could reliably claim to have known the actual man.

If I have the general facts straight then I'd say Paul's writings and actions lend weight to the mythicist view and are hard to align with a historical Jesus. Opinions?

"I'd say Paul's writings and actions lend weight to the mythicist view and are hard to align with a historical Jesus. Opinions?"

Agreed.

Although, bear in mind Paul may have heard of a Jesus, a crucified zealot from a couple of decades earlier, but thought nothing of him. He would have had no idea that this Jesus would one day be associated with his Christ. It was only when the gospels were created in the 70's that this Jesus became a hero figure, and then I think only in the second century that this hero figure and Paul's Christ were merged into one.

For what it's worth that's my best guess as to what happened.
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03-11-2014, 10:27 PM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
Quote: It was probably Marcion who introduced Paul's writings to Rome.


Or....... Marcion created Paul to be his 'spokesman' for the new non-jewish variant of xtianity that he was pushing in the aftermath of the bar Kohkba revolt when jews were decidedly persona non grata in the Roman Empire.

Afterwards, some church father decided to keep "paul" even as they jettisoned Marcion. Who knows how they homogenized whatever Marcion originally attributed to 'paul?'

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04-11-2014, 02:05 AM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
(03-11-2014 10:27 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  
Quote: It was probably Marcion who introduced Paul's writings to Rome.


Or....... Marcion created Paul to be his 'spokesman' for the new non-jewish variant of xtianity that he was pushing in the aftermath of the bar Kohkba revolt when jews were decidedly persona non grata in the Roman Empire.

Afterwards, some church father decided to keep "paul" even as they jettisoned Marcion. Who knows how they homogenized whatever Marcion originally attributed to 'paul?'

Yeah that's a possibility that Marcion created Paul.

I reckon it's unlikely though. Marcion would have had to be a writer of Shakespearean talent to create the character of Paul. Reading Paul is like having a lesson from a psychiatry manual. He was anxious, obsessive, delusional, jealous, homophobic, irritable, and had an odd combination of narcissism and poor self-esteem. Only a genius could create such a character!
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04-11-2014, 04:55 AM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
(04-11-2014 02:05 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  ...
He was anxious, obsessive, delusional, jealous, homophobic, irritable, and had an odd combination of narcissism and poor self-esteem. Only a genius could create such a character!

Apart from the last bit, he sounds like the perfect Republican presidential candidate.

Consider

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04-11-2014, 05:17 AM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
(04-11-2014 04:55 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(04-11-2014 02:05 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  ...
He was anxious, obsessive, delusional, jealous, homophobic, irritable, and had an odd combination of narcissism and poor self-esteem. Only a genius could create such a character!

Apart from the last bit, he sounds like the perfect Republican presidential candidate.

Consider

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