Who was Saint Paul?
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21-08-2015, 02:47 PM (This post was last modified: 21-08-2015 03:23 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(20-08-2015 06:44 PM)Free Wrote:  Mark, before I give my opinion on Part 2, can you provide some evidence to support the following assertions?

Quote:The few passages that suggest Paul’s Christ was once a living person are probably interpolations.

Quote:Paul was heavily influenced by the Gentile world, and was probably a government agent employed to undermine and report on problematic Jews, a job he took very seriously.

Quote:What is just as unfortunate is that Churches have successfully used Paul’s messages in exactly the same way the Romans originally intended, and that was to create a docile, humbled, guilt ridden people.

Thanks.

Hi Free, thanks for asking. Big Grin Here is some of my evidence that Paul could have been a government employee...

Was Christianity a Product of the Roman Government?

What drove Paul so ardently in his efforts? Did the Roman government employ Paul to mar the power of messianic Judaism, and particularly Nazarenism? Was the Roman government trying to stop a war?

Paul taught that the Jewish messiah was the Christ, who had already been and gone, maybe because Rome did not want hopeful Jews rallying under a yet to arrive militaristic Messiah who would challenge Roman rule. Rome knew a revolt was brewing in Palestine in the 50’s and 60’s. The government sent many different procurators to Palestine to control the unrest, yet many of them were corrupt, which only made matters worse.

All Jews felt a connection with Jerusalem and the temple; they even sent money as an annual gift to the priests in the temple. The government was aware that many Jews in the Diaspora did not assimilate well with Gentiles in a political and social sense, and that made them suspicious of the Jews’ Palestinian connections and the religion that inspired their obvious differences.

Jewish extremists throughout the empire (such as Yeshua) promoted the subversive idea that their own Jewish king should govern the world on behalf of God and in place of Caesar. If the government could not pacify these Jews, it would set a dangerous precedent for other races to revolt. The government needed to keep control over the trade routes to Asia and Egypt. The government was probably frustrated at having to repeatedly use force to suppress Jewish extremists, as it was disruptive, expensive, and taxing on morale. Maybe the government thought that if it could undermine Jewish extremism using propaganda, it would prevent a whole world of hassle.

In an effort to achieve this, it is conceivable that Rome had a network of covert agents engaged in suppression of Jewish extremists, and that Paul was one of them. If so, there might have been many “Pauls” working as government employees. Paul wrote to a community in Rome to introduce himself, and it is obvious from his letter that this group already had some beliefs about a Christ, beliefs that they may have learned about from one of Paul’s co-workers.

The Roman government must have been worried that Judaism was attracting converts from Gentiles. Paul’s role may have been to stop the spread of the subversive religion. If so, Paul tried to infiltrate the Nazarenes to undermine them and their Messianic message. It could be that he passed information about the Nazarenes on to Roman authorities.

Paul’s “conversion,” in which “God’s” new ideas were revealed only to him, and by which he became the founding member of his own Christ fan club, was his rather dubious, yet ardently promoted, modus operandi.

This could explain why Paul wrote with such passion; he was desperate to sell his watered down, non-militaristic version of Judaism, one that downplayed the importance of the temple and all the Jewish ethnocentric antisocial practices. Paul’s (and the government’s) aim was to counter Jewish messianic fervor, which was building in momentum and needed to be quelled. They failed, because Jews in Palestine revolted in the war of 66 -70 CE.

What actual evidence is there that Paul was a funded insurgent? It is known that Paul was a Roman citizen, yet, if the account in the book of Acts is to be believed, Paul did not publicly reveal himself as such until he was about to be physically assaulted by Roman soldiers, which indicates that Paul was trying to norm with the community, and simultaneously hide his true identity. Being a funded agent would help explain how Paul managed to support himself financially, and undertake his ministry without doing any tent making.

It might also be why Paul hoped a financial gift to the Nazarenes in Jerusalem would be accepted; he was trying to endear himself to the Nazarenes using bribery.

Paul’s writings make it clear that he had little genuine respect for Pharisaic Judaism. Paul often insisted that the Torah was obsolete. He was, by anyone’s standards, over zealous in promoting his own theology, and too diligent in denigrating any Jewish beliefs that might be thought of as promoting Jewish exclusivity.

This idea makes clear why Paul not only promoted his new interpretation of Judaism, but also why Paul aligned himself with the non- religious administration of the Romans; the following is an extract from Paul’s letter to a Roman Jewish community:

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, who- ever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:1-7 NIV.)

One could argue that Paul sounds more like a pro administration lobbyist than an evangelist.

This theory would explain the way Paul finished off his letter to the Philippians:

“All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household” (Phil. 4:22, KJV.)

Paul had contact with the Emperor Nero’s (Roman Emperor from 54-68 CE) family, and even permitted himself to speak on their behalf!

Paul being a Roman associate fits with the fact the book of Acts states:

“Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul” (Acts 13:1, KJV.)

The earliest Christian community at Antioch boasted a member of Herod Antipas’ family, the pro-Roman Tetrarch who had murdered John the Baptist, and Paul (Saul) was associated with him.

Paul being a government agent would explain why, in the book of Acts, he was repetitively roughed up by Jews, yet was never attacked by Gentiles. There is little doubt that fundamentalist Jews would have viewed Paul as a charlatan.

Paul’s so-called “arrest” by Roman troops in Jerusalem does not necessarily mean that he was not in league with Rome. Paul was, in fact, being protected. Things had got a little out of control and Paul became a source of civil unrest, a diehard dogmatist causing trouble wherever he went. Instead of undermining Judaism, Paul incited Jews to the point of violence, something Rome did not want. The “arrest” was, in fact, for Paul’s own safety. If Paul had not been arrested, Jews, Jesus’ own people, might have killed him.

Reading between the lines, Paul was never treated by the Romans like a prisoner. Rather, there were remarkable Roman resources used to protect him. Paul had to be moved to Rome, as it was the best place for his own protection. (This will be discussed in chapter 17 about the book of Acts.)

If Paul was a spy, he was a cog in the wheel of a cunning government plan, and he knew that he was promoting manufactured dogma as a means to an end. This would mean that Rome, via Paul, created the Christ, a benign pacifist Messiah.

We do not hear from Paul after he is placed under so called “house arrest” in Rome in the early 60s. Palestine was nearly out of control. The anti-Jewish propaganda project had not worked, and the time for talk was over; the military had to be brought in. Paul had become redundant. The government no longer needed him. There is a Christian “tradition” that Paul was executed in Rome, but there is no valid reason why that would have happened, and no good evidence that it did. ( http://archives.politicususa.com/2011/12...d-to-paul- of-tarsus-it-isnt-what-you-think.html ).

Rome was not into controlling people’s minds or interfering with their belief systems unless they started impacting on Rome’s ability to garner supply of goods, services and money. Jewish messianic beliefs, such as those entertained by the Nazarenes, did just that.

If Paul’s project had been successful, the first (66-70 CE) and the second (132-5 CE) Jewish wars would have been averted. Yet it was doomed to failure. People who have been bought up in a strong religious faith rarely change their allegiances. A modern analogy might be Christian missionaries trying to promote Christianity in a strongly Islamic country such as Afghanistan.

Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon, who co-wrote “Operation Messiah,” came to a similar conclusion about Paul. They postulated that Paul was:

“...supporting the imperial structure, benefiting from it, cooperating with it, often saved by it. The end product for Rome was exactly what it wanted - a loyal, other –worldly, spiritual movement that was completely divorced from Palestinian revolutionary movements, from Jewish nationalism and from any challenge to Roman imperial authority. Its followers were supposed to pay taxes and be loyal citizens of the emperor.”

It is quite possible that Jewish and Gentile intellectuals, also working for the Roman government, after the first Jewish war, and after Paul’s failure, wrote the Gospels. The fact that belief in the divinity of Jesus arose in many diverse areas of the empire a number of decades after Jesus’ death suggests that it came from a central, well- coordinated source, and it most definitely was not Yeshua’s Jewish friends in Jerusalem. This would explain why the true identities of all four Gospel authors are unknown.

The Roman led spin-doctors, who could have been the original authors of the Gospels, knew that ideas could be just as effective as force. They tried to weaken Judaism by infiltrating and diluting it with Gentiles, just like Paul tried to do with his Christ story. They too told a tale that the Jewish Messiah had already been and gone, and he was not a political activist, but a benign religious preacher who was a spiritual intermediary between God and man.

If the idea caught on, there would be no more Messiahs and no more revolts.
It could be that Yeshua’s real story, that of a brave Nazarene martyr, was turned around 180 degrees to create an entity that was the very opposite of what the real man was. Jesus was made to say

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” “turn the other cheek,” “love your enemies” and “pay your taxes,”

which, if believed and followed, meant you did not cause trouble and you obeyed your Roman superiors. To promote this would have been a lot easier than having to use the army again.

In those times it was easier to push propaganda than it is today, because the public was less informed and less able to check out the facts. These publicists twisted the knife to wound Judaism by blaming Jesus’ death on the Jews and making Romans look like the innocent good guys. It was made out that Jesus’ own people had effectively killed their own Messiah.

The government hoped the story of the new idol would convince people that true spirituality and the promise of eternal life were synonymous with getting along with them. In those days it was always the winners who wrote the history.

Ever since ancient times, people in power have tried to control popular opinion, and have not hesitated to flagrantly manipulate the facts. The creation of Christianity by the Romans appears to be one such an example.

Creating a new religion, with a charismatic central hero figure, and embedding guilt and fear while castigating the enemy and promising believers an afterlife, is just brilliant! Consider how well it has lasted until now.

The Romans, who controlled most of the known world, wanted to keep control. They were smart. They saw how powerful the Jewish religion was amongst the Jews, so they used that knowledge to their own advantage. They would not have felt guilty about what they were doing. They just saw this as an effective strategy for delivering change and keeping the peace.

In modern times, the use of tactics like this is called propaganda, disinformation or psychological warfare, and it continues to this very day. Consider the scores of governments who have used a version of “God” to justify war.

It is fascinating to imagine these subversive tricks as part of the first-century Roman government machine, and jaw dropping to realize that the dogma has survived until today, without being exposed for what it really is. This propaganda is still coloring the way people, and in particular trusting Christians, look at the world.

It is ironic that the Gospels, purporting to be so truthful, were so manufactured, and that they became one of the most successful literary enterprises ever undertaken in world history.

The politically motivated spin may have been very clever, but it did not achieve its original aims. Just as Paul failed to stop the first war of 66-70 CE, the Gospel authors too failed in their original intention, as they did not prevent the second major war with the Jews in 132-6 CE.

The reader may be wondering why, if this is true, it is often claimed that the government persecuted Christians, particularly as there is a “tradition” that Domitian (Titus Flavius Dominatus Augustus, Roman Emperor from 81-96 CE) did just that, but the evidence for this is weak. ( http://bibleworld.com/domper.pdf ) The fact is persecution of Christians was not a policy of the state until over a century later, when it did occur in isolated areas, and only for relatively short periods. (http://www.amazon.com/The-Myth-Persecuti...Martyrdom/ dp/0062104527 ). Generally speaking, Rome was tolerant of all religions, including Christianity. In those days the ideas of one government (as controlled by one emperor) were often completely different to the next emperor. After the Flavian dynasty (the rule of Vespasian, Titus and then Domitian) ended with Domitian’s assasination in 96 CE, there was a brand new emperor. Persecution happened sporadically many years later, but usually only if Christians refused to worship the state’s gods. By this time the militaristic ambitions of peasant Jews had been finally and definitively crushed in the second Jewish war of 132-6 CE, and there were different agendas on the government’s mind. (http://www.religionfacts.com/christianit...tion.htm). Moreover, some stories of persecutions of Christians by the Roman government are now recognized as exaggerations and fabrications.

The significance of this is enormous. If this is true, Christianity has been the most monumental fraud ever inflicted on humankind.

References:

Cresswell, Peter 2010 “Jesus the Terrorist” O books, Winchester, UK.
http://bibleworld.com/domper.pdf

http://www.religionfacts.com/christianit...cution.htm


Eisenman, Robert H. “James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls”

Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon co-wrote “Operation Messiah”
http://www.amazon.com/Between-Rome-Jerusalem-Roman- Judaean-Relations/dp/0275971406

http://www.angelfire.com/wi/famtree/romned.html http://www.uhcg.org/HoI/James-Bro-of-Jesus.html

http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/jesus-pacifist- shepherd-or-zealot-warrior/
http://bhairavah.blogspot.com.au/2009/11...jesus.html
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/librivox-wars-jews- by-josephus/id345414791
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLypbbijk2I
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21-08-2015, 03:12 PM (This post was last modified: 22-08-2015 12:01 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(20-08-2015 06:44 PM)Free Wrote:  Mark, before I give my opinion on Part 2, can you provide some evidence to support the following assertions?

Quote:The few passages that suggest Paul’s Christ was once a living person are probably interpolations.

Quote:Paul was heavily influenced by the Gentile world, and was probably a government agent employed to undermine and report on problematic Jews, a job he took very seriously.

Quote:What is just as unfortunate is that Churches have successfully used Paul’s messages in exactly the same way the Romans originally intended, and that was to create a docile, humbled, guilt ridden people.

Thanks.

Perhaps the following helps justify my opinion about Christian crowds being docile, humbled and guilt ridden. (I've got a lot more on this...but...in the interests of brevity...)

Suppression, Greed and Hypocrisy

People in Churches not only buy into Biblical belief, but bow down to those pushing it too. Christianity is, and always has been, a power game.

Priests, pastors, and other preachers, claiming to orate with God’s authority, often assume they are the arbiters of people’s lives. For no rational reason, but just tradition, people in churches accept their authority. These church leaders take on the role of life coaches, and they are usually gratified by the status that gives them. They are often egotists who revel in being admired and listened to, and are out to feather their own nests rather than really help people. Their first focus usually is not on furnishing happiness for others, but on procuring power, adulation and cash. They have bought into the Christian franchise, and that means they need to push a dubious product, the Bible, for their own and maybe their institution’s gain. It’s far from ideal, but it’s too risky to deviate too far off the well- trodden path. They are out to make the most of the cards they have been dealt. In any case, most of it can be ignored.

Many preachers are poorly qualified for the job of a “life coach.” Bible school, or whatever its equivalent may be, is hardly a solid platform from which to preach morality, ethics and coping skills. One could hardly start from a more unsound base. There is usually no knowledge of psychology, medicine, or counseling required to be a preacher. That usually does not matter too much. A few unsatisfied punters will inevitably leave, bit it’s the total number, the bums on seats, that’s the important thing, particularly the well paying customers.

The typical Church service has a

“the answers everyone needs are right here”

perspective. This is a rigid, flawed approach, because it is a one-way dialogue that ignores people’s individuality. When a person needs general advice or has personal problems, a good counselor must first listen and ask questions before suggesting possible solutions. That rarely happens in a Church.

There is no worthwhile advice a “man of God” can offer people that cannot be better given by an experienced, appropriately trained humanitarian.

What is more, the advice given by preachers is often profoundly wrong. Almost invariably they suggest to pray, or to read the Bible, or to suppress worldly aspirations, or to take a long-term view, or to just hope. Some of them quote Jesus.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you will get it.” (John 15:7, NJB.)

“Happy you who weep now; you shall laugh” (Luke 6:21, NJB.)

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven...” (Matt. 5:12, NJB.)

This is not helpful advice, it is oppression! Preachers use Jesus’ words to get people to focus on the promise of eternal salvation, a pot of gold at the end of life’s rainbow, granted only to those special people who have faith. It is easy, if you are a preacher, to make promises you are never personally obliged to make come true. Those thinking players who do not buy the spiel from Jesus are trouble causers. They do not have faith, so they must not be real Christians! It is probably best they go somewhere else.
Some preachers are hypocrites. The vaunted love said to be a Christian characteristic is often not a part of their repertoire when people are in real trouble. Too often preachers find it easier to tell a punter they will be prayed for than do something concrete, but true love, or real empathy, is always more that just words.

Some preachers even advise avoidance of help from the secular world, which derails the pursuit of pragmatic answers. They are worried about outsiders treading on their turf, which may make their advice look ordinary.

Preachers often portray themselves as warm, caring people, and some of them are. Yet it is obvious that beneath the facade most Church leaders hope that people behave like sheep. Sheep are subservient, easily scared, do not ask questions, do not think for themselves and are easily fleeced. Churchmen profit most from wooing crowds. The return is much higher than from counseling or other- wise helping individuals. Even the genuinely caring preachers do not have the tools in their armory to do something real for people in need, which must be a recurrent source of frustration for them. Their obsolete book is no help.

Churchmen usually get a crowd groveling at the mute Jesus’ feet. Yet Jesus is just a priest’s sock puppet, so people are really bowing down to the priest, or the institution he represents. The master’s cold eyes stare down from the crucifix. The flock fails to figure out there is no point in pretending Jesus is their pal. A real friend talks, but Jesus has not uttered a word for nearly two thousand years. He cannot tell the people to stop wasting their time and being so servile, because he is dead.

Sitting in a church, or asking for help from a preacher, or praying to Jesus, are usually surefire ways to not find real solutions to personal problems.
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21-08-2015, 03:14 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(21-08-2015 02:03 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  
(18-08-2015 03:30 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I made a deliberate decision to use my own name and not worry about possible consequences.

I am proud of what I write. I am not afraid of being made to look, or be wrong about some things.

Meanwhile, I go to great pains to keep my online and real life identities separate. My various online identities aren't hard to figure out; I tend to use a handful of easily-identifiable usernames, signatures, avatars, and so on, and my posting style tends to be fairly distinct (like Chas, I don't usually go in for more than a handful of sentences, and I tend to repeat things like "this is not complicated" rather a lot). But I do my best not to give away too many details about who I am outside of this.

This is because, behind the keyboard, I am a writer, and a writer's ability to get published - or, after being published, to have their books sell - depends in large part on public opinion of them. I haven't said anything in my online discussions that I wouldn't be happy to say to someone's face if the discussion came up, but keeping my identities separate so that I can more easily manage public opinion will almost certainly be something that I am glad to have done down the road.

I totally get that. I write a lot of stuff online and sometimes get published locally. Some of it very provocative, particularly the online stuff.

Can't risk it being discovered for alot of it in real life.

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21-08-2015, 03:18 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(20-08-2015 06:44 PM)Free Wrote:  Mark, before I give my opinion on Part 2, can you provide some evidence to support the following assertions?

Quote:The few passages that suggest Paul’s Christ was once a living person are probably interpolations.

Quote:Paul was heavily influenced by the Gentile world, and was probably a government agent employed to undermine and report on problematic Jews, a job he took very seriously.

Quote:What is just as unfortunate is that Churches have successfully used Paul’s messages in exactly the same way the Romans originally intended, and that was to create a docile, humbled, guilt ridden people.

Thanks.

"The few passages that suggest Paul’s Christ was once a living person are probably interpolations."

I have no direct evidence to prove this. It is an opinion. I'm only going on the fact that they are so few, and that interpolating Scripture was a very common practice, and the scholars such as Richard Carrier thought they were interpolations too.
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21-08-2015, 05:43 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
.... Why exactly is he called Saint Paul?
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21-08-2015, 05:57 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(21-08-2015 05:43 PM)Aliza Wrote:  .... Why exactly is he called Saint Paul?

I think the Catholic church couldn't ignore the fact that he was so pivotal in creating Christianity. Rather ironic, as he was an asshole.
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21-08-2015, 06:39 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
Assholiness is no bar to sainthood.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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21-08-2015, 06:41 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
Mark,

You provide an argument regarding Paul being an agent for the Romans, but you must admit it is very speculative. You seem to need to interpret what you deem to be evidence in such a way as to qualify your hypothesis.

Yet, we still don't have any hard factual evidence directly connecting Paul to being a Roman agent. I think you can admit that.

One of the problems I have with your interpretation of the evidence comes from Tacitus:

"Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.

Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.

Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed."


This report by Tacitus regarding what Nero did to the Christians certainly doesn't support your case that the Romans in any way supported Christianity. If I- or any scholar- was reviewing your book, this would be the first thing to be put forward to contradict your claims.

Also, it is reported by Ignatius around Ad 110, and Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth around AD 165 that Paul was martyred, with tradition stating that he was killed in Rome. It would seem illogical for the Romans to kill one of their own agents.

What do you think?

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21-08-2015, 07:30 PM (This post was last modified: 22-08-2015 12:04 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(21-08-2015 06:41 PM)Free Wrote:  Mark,

You provide an argument regarding Paul being an agent for the Romans, but you must admit it is very speculative. You seem to need to interpret what you deem to be evidence in such a way as to qualify your hypothesis.

Yet, we still don't have any hard factual evidence directly connecting Paul to being a Roman agent. I think you can admit that.

One of the problems I have with your interpretation of the evidence comes from Tacitus:

"Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.

Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.

Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed."


This report by Tacitus regarding what Nero did to the Christians certainly doesn't support your case that the Romans in any way supported Christianity. If I- or any scholar- was reviewing your book, this would be the first thing to be put forward to contradict your claims.

Also, it is reported by Ignatius around Ad 110, and Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth around AD 165 that Paul was martyred, with tradition stating that he was killed in Rome. It would seem illogical for the Romans to kill one of their own agents.

What do you think?

Hi Free, thanks for your input. Yes, I agree with you about Tacitus. Yet, it was written ?c 114, many years after the event. Was it definitely written by Tacitus? We can't be sure. Did the Romans at this early stage persecute Christians? Probably not.

Christians in the second century loved to make out that they were persecuted and martyred. Whether that actually happened is very debatable. There's no particular reason why it would have. Generally speaking Rome was very tolerant of all religions.
I don't believe Paul was martyred. It just doesn't make sense. Why would he be? He created a bit of a ruckus in the Temple in Jerusalem, but was now safely in Rome. He was a Roman citizen. He sent letters to people from Rome in which he sent greetings from Caesar's household! I think he ended up in Rome because Palestine was a dangerous place to be in the 60s if you were pro gentile.

Anything "Ignatius" wrote... he probably didn't. Dionysus is way down the track.

Although what I am saying is hardly accepted by most scholars, if you think about what was going on politically at the time, it is far more likely that Paul was an ally of the Roman government, rather than opposed to it. The very fact some of his letters survived suggests he was not working against the government, but for it. During the Flavian dynasty the government was quite strict at controlling literature.

He may have been a Jew, but he wasn't that steeped in Judaism. He tried to reinvent it.

His theology was rather pagan.

Consider the antagonistic relationship with the Nazarenes. ( Ignore the fabriicated nonsense about Peter and Paul founding a church in Rome together)

Read again what he wrote about obeying the Government. Consider how he was kept as a guest at the palace at Caesaria for 2 years. He made out he was a prisoner in Rome, but did Roman prisoners have access to pen and paper and mailmen?

Why else would he have put so much time and enthusiasm into promoting Christology what was, let's face it, nonsense? Yes... there were some personal gains to be had (for him), but it was hard work tramping around from city to city. It was also a bit dangerous because he was not popular amongst the Jews.
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21-08-2015, 07:31 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(21-08-2015 06:39 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  Assholiness is no bar to sainthood.
As demonstrated by mother Theresa
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