Who was Saint Paul?
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26-10-2012, 07:44 AM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(25-10-2012 11:09 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
Mark Fulton Wrote:  If this is true, Christianity has been the most monumental fraud ever inflicted on humankind."

Nope. You are 100 % WRONG sir. Sorry to contradict you, Mark. You cannot be further from the truth. How could you say such a thing ?

It's not a matter of "if". It IS the largest monumental pile of crap ever inflicted on mankind. Whether the details of your version are exactly true or not, and it's off by a detail or a few details, is irrelevant. The fact is we KNOW it was 100 % concocted by humans who attempted to change the details of the culture in which it arose to benefit themselves. The fraud continued for literally thousands of years, and continues to this day. Everything about it is wrong. From the "sin and disobedience" dualism that did NOT exist in the ancient Near East, to the countless "goofs" in this thread. Everything about it looks wrong, upon inspection. Every rock that's overturned exposes more fraud, and ignorance. EVERY "doctrine" is 1000% bullshit. 10,000 years from now, humans will laugh that anyone EVER took even 1 sentence of the bullshit seriously. It refutes itself. in every way.

Tongue

Quit being so freakin' wishy-washy. Drinking Beverage

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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26-10-2012, 06:12 PM (This post was last modified: 26-10-2012 06:32 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(22-10-2012 07:03 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Resurrection, a second look, or, what can Humpty Dumpty Teach us about Jeebus,

The purpose of this post is to take another look at what has come to be called a *resurrection event*, specifically the "event", which
is an element of the faith content, or faith affirmation of those who call themselves "Christians", today.

I propose that what we think today as the "resurrection" event, is misguided, for a number of reasons. They include the facts that :
1. The meanings of the words, have been taken out of context, and redefined, in a culturally dependent way they were never intended.
2. The historical context has been misunderstood, and deliberately misstated.
3. The words in the texts have not been carefully examined in their historical context.
4. The motives of the writer's of the texts have not been understood.

In the English language, when we say "rise", or "to rise", or "risen" in general, it means something or someone "gets up", or "moves up", from a lower to a higher position, or "rises" from sleep, or "goes up" as in a "loaf of bread rises".
The normal use does not usually include, in normal usage, that a human "rises up" after their own death has occurred. The normal, everyday use of the word, does not include, "getting up from the dead", or that someone has "gotten up" from the dead. Humans never "get up" when they are dead. In human history, there is not one documented case and anyone ever "getting up" after dying. There is not one proven action, or artifact having been formed or changed, by a dead human. Dead humans are "beyond the reach" of those who exist in a time which is later than the time of the death of the person who is said to be dead. They have no continuing biological activity.

When the words are used in language to signify that the human who people think of as "Jesus of Nazareth" *rose from the dead*, it is a very special and unique use of the words, and language. It *signifies* something which is out of normal human experience.

In 2012, when the words are spoken or thought *Jesus rose from the dead*, it also rests in our cultural assumptions of what we *think* the Bible teaches about humans.
In other words we assume it *flows* from a context in which those words make sense, or might have made sense, and that we understand, what we *think* the humans who said them actually meant the same thing we understand them too mean, when we hear them today.

These assumptions are entirely unfounded in this case. I shall examine the reasons for this.

If I say, "Babe Ruth has achieved immortality", we all understand that means he achieved a certain pre-eminent status in his sport. It does NOT mean he is actually physically alive, or still playing baseball. (Some people may actually *think* his "soul" exists, but that's not a part of the content of that statement, normally.) The normal use, is not a special religious use. It is a statement about his status with respect to his sport. If I say "Babe Ruth, during his career, *rose* to *immortal* status, it also does not mean he actually is playing baseball today. It means we, live humans, *remember* him, as a great baseball player.

Our brains have become accustomed to automatically *convert* or translate or move into an "alternate mode" of meaning, when we use and hear the words about Jesus' resurrection. It is a very specific learned response. Why is that and where does that response come from ?

We will look here at some of the assumptions, and fallacies underlying that learned response, and why they are incorrect.

When we hear or say today that someone is a "son" of someone, in normal usage, we mean a biological son. When we say someone is a "Son of Norway", our brains instantly convert or translate that to understand, what is meant, and that it is metaphorical. In the same way, when a Jew in Jesus' day, said someone was a "son of God" the culture of that day, used the term in general to mean the person was a "righteous person". It was applied to many people : politicians, generals, famous military heroes , and other cultural "good"guys". It did NOT mean, that a person was actually physically generated in any way by the deity, In some instances id could mean that a human had. (just as Babe Ruth), *attained* that status. Yahweh had become a monotheist god by the time of Jesus, and ANY meaning of "divine as equal" status to Yahweh was unthinkable, to a Jew. Even with the Doctrine of the Trinity, just the name "Father", as opposed to "Son" *IS* a hierarchical relationship, which is inescapable. If not, why not just say "Brothers", if they really are equal ? It was unthinkable for a Jew of the day of Jesus to claim equality with Yahweh. Anyone claiming that would be stoned on the spot. Even if Yeshua claimed sonship, (which we don't know), it does NOT mean he claimed equality. There were other offenses for stoning also, but that certainly was one. Any other use of that term with a DIFFERENT meaning would have to be proven in it's context. When Hebrews heard the phrase "Jesus was a "son of god" it meant he was a "righteous man". Later, the use of that word became an issue of great contention in Christianity, as it grew to mean something else, and there were large fights over the meaning in the Councils of early Christianity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filioque , and how it relates to what developed into the Doctrine of the Trinity. In Jesus' day, he was not thought of as a being with a "divine" nature. Also those with "divine" natures, were not necessarily considered equal to Yahweh. (see below). So the use of words, and what they mean was, and is very important in Christianity, and its' history.

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Matthew 28:5 Do not be afraid. I know that you are seeking Jesus, the crucified one. He is not here. For he has been raised, just as he said.
....28:7 ....He goes before you to Galilee.

Matthew 28:17 When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
They did NOT really believe that they were seeing a "risen" human corpse.
Not "some doubted". Not "Thomas doubted". They ALL doubted,. THAT late, JUST before the "great commission". In Galilee. That's what Matthew says. It's in the text.
By then, wouldn't they be used to seeing the "shade".

Luke : Luke 24:37 But they were startled and terrified, and thought they were seeing a "shade". (NOT a modern day "ghost")
They did not recognize him. Even after he said "Peace be with you".

John.20:19-24 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.... But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
There were only 11 at that point. Oops. If they just "called it "numerical Twelve". even though one was missing, finding another would NOT be important. If Having 11, and one ws missing, then there were really 10, and they should have called themselves '"The Eleven". If, having one missing, and STILL calling themselves The Twelve, talking about the missing one would be irrelevant. If calling themselves "The Twelve" with only 10 present, and Eleven in the group, they don't know how to count. If "The Twelve " is just a "title", and they didn't mean 12, then nothing about this is reliable.

The Road to Emmaus, they saw him, talked with him, walked with him, yet did not recognize him.
Whatever it was that rose, it was not the body of Yeshua ben Josef. This time whatever they saw, was not a "shade" but resembles a human enough that they were not afraid of it.

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This subject is a fascinating one. It employs all the skills a Biblical scholar can muster, and bring to bear on a topic. I'm an amateur here. My specialty is NOT these texts. I find the older texts more interesting, and more of a puzzle, and challenge. I've never really had much interest in the Christian writings. (They all presume a content in Genesis, which is absent, yet which is foundational to "salvation", thus whatever all this is all about is simply moot. Genesis is not really about sin and disobedience, and there is no immortality in Hebrew culture.) But it's a fun exercise in scholarship to tackle, as it pulls together so many themes and topics.

When Gary Habermas stands in front of his small audiences and *pretends*, with a degree in History, (from Michigan State), that somehow he is competent to examine the context, meanings, and truthfulness of the resurrection stories, and that that degree enables him to comment on religious texts from the ancient Near East, it is completely, utterly preposterous. The real scholars of Ancient Semitic languages think he's a fraud. He would be thrown out on his ear from gatherings of the field he pretends to speak for. He has the contempt of the academic community. The gymnastics he pulls on the stage, about Paul, is so laughable, it's beyond laughable. It's why he's relegated to Liberty University, as they all are. The academic backwaters. The same goes for William Craig, and Edward Feser. Third rate schools is the best they can do. Presuppositionsalists all. Also the fact that in the Habermas spiel, he uses Paul, as his dates are earlier, he doesn't even get it, that the gospels were placed first, as the gospels had primacy. He ignores that, as he wants dates.

They are like the Ugly American. They are the Ugly Christians. They do not really serve their own cause. They are not really academics. They are "plastic" *what passes for* fake versions of real academia, and what it is like, and what is done with a subject, such as the resurrection of Yeshua ben Josef. He is no more qualified to discuss this subject than his friend, the JOURNALIST-with-no-training-in-the-subject, Lee Strobel, who thinks interviewing people with favorable attitudes toward a view, is somehow evidence for the view. THAT is not even good journalism.

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So that said, let's look at the resurrection.
Where to start ? The Letter of Paul. They were the earliest Christian documents.

Much of what we see in Paul's texts, we see through the lens of a 21st Century reader. It's hard to jettison our automatic pre-judgements about what words mean, and what the value is, of dropping our prejudices, at all. For a "person of faith", is an honest "search for truth" even possible ? For the Presuppositionalists, (Craig, Habermas. Feser, Licona and Co. ), apparently it is not. If you don't come out at their predetermined outcome, it's because you have a moral failing. and you just "don't understand" correctly. There is only one outcome that is legitimate. If you read the mission statement of Biola University, http://offices1.biola.edu/hr/ehandbook/1.3/ , for example, the search is not about the search for truth. The "truth" is presumed to be "their truth", (and only their truth). Thus for them, if the truth were to lead away from their presupposed truth, they would reject it, because they did not ALREADY believe it.

While this model is EXACTLY the way that communities in the ancient Near East accepted or rejected a gospel text, ie : did it "fit" with their presupposed common idea of what the truth was about the Jesus Event, and thus used as a gospel text, it's no good in helping us with the texts of Saul of Tarsus, since they were not used as "proclaimed faith" documents in liturgical services, in their original intent. They were just letters. This difference is maintained to this day. They are not gospels.

Always, there exists the problem of translation. All translation involves at least some interpretation. Presumed attitudes, and unseen premises abound, at every turn, unless one is very careful. For this discussion, I won't get into this much except to point out the common errors. I will explain sources for translations, if anyone is interested.

So ok. in 2012, no one can say or read the word *resurrection* and not have their brain cells associate that word, at least subconsciously with the resurrection of Jeebus. I will continue to use that word, as it is a reminder that any discussion of the resurrection event implies that those involved in the discussion are taking about an historical person. I do not presume that. Jeebus may have be a person, a conflation of two Jesuses, or a total myth. Thus Jeebus, is not a disrespectful word. It's a "place holder" for, and reminder of the above. All the usual historical references to the "historical" Jeebus, are either forgeries, (such as Josephus 18), or references to Christians. Never Jesus as an historical person. I admit there was a "something" .. or "somethings". To me the proof is mostly that the growing cult argued about the meaning of the event. Why would a growing cult mention the fight s at all, if they were just making up something. They would white-wash it all, if there was nothing.

Also I will presume, for the moment "good faith". in Saul. There are good reasons NOT to do that, That's a discussion for another day. That's also why I will continue to say "Saul". He well may have had an ulterior motive. He changed his name to honor a Roman emperor.

Resurrection. The word has a few meanings.
1. An event in time, in which a previously live biological entity, after (clinical) death, resumes it's actual previous live biological processes . A secular meaning. This has never been observed. For this to happen, would involve so many problems with the science, (*see the below scientific discussion) I can't even begin to discuss the implications. It's not one miracle. It's billions, and trillions, if not more, of miracles.
2. The event in Christianity, which, without further definition, or further examination, just means the (supposed) event, in time that happened on Easter Sunday, early in the morning.
3. As a shutout to my friends up in Hollywood, I guess I can give you a Zombie definition also. Tongue Don't say I didn't do ya no favors.

Ok. So, imagine yourself as Saul of Tarsus. It's 50 CE. No gospels, No Mark, no John, no telephones, no TV, Only letters, but 95 % of the population are illiterate. Not only are they pre-scientific, with all that means. It also means they they have many apocalyptic preachers who do miracles, and some come back to life, You're on your own baby. How are you going to impart your message, and try to keep the adherents to your religion in line. You write them letters.

In "The Problem with The Resurrection", Dr. B. B. Scott does a brilliant comparison to Humpty Dumpty. Tell yourself that rhyme. Then ask yourself, what actually happened in that rhyme. If you tell me, "oh an egg fell off the wall, and smashed" ... I say nuh-uh. Nowhere does it say an egg fell. How do you KNOW an egg fell ? You presumed an egg fell. It's the same with the resurrection. Because of all the pictures, and picture books you've seen, you presume it was an egg.

So lets look at some words. "Resurrection" in English is defined above. Saul's letters were written in Greek In the second chapter of Luke, verse 34, the author has Simeon say, (to Mary and Joseph), "For this child is destined for the rise and fall of many in Israel. The Greek word used, is "anastasin". The Greek word here, is used, as anyone would normally use it in Greek, as in the "rising of the sun", would mean to us. LATER, after cultural and historical overlay, when "anastasin" is used, (just as in the Humpty Dumpty examaple, ), the word's meaning has TWO different meanings. A normal one, and a religious one. So there is an intra-gospel example of the post event cognitive change. There also is a good example we know of from Saul, and the Gospel of John. When Jesus gets up from the table, at the Last Supper, he (in the Greek), is said to "egeiretai", he "gets up". (For those who know Latin, the similarity is obvious.) When Saul uses this SAME verb in 1 Corinthians, 15:12, it's translated "For if our message is that the Anointed has been raised, how can you possibly be saying there is no such thing as the resurrection of the dead". Thus without the later religious overlay, the phrase SHOULD be translated,as "he is gotten up from among the dead". This "gotten up" is equivalent to the way a Greek would have said "I *got up* this morning". It DOES NOT mean, I "rose from the dead" this morning.

We all think of the resurrection, the way we do, because of past Easter bunnies, and Easter church, and the way we have seen countless pictures of crappy sentimental art with pretty Caucasian Jeebuses

So before, we even start, we have to agree, the only objective way to examine this question, is without cultural overlay.

Before we get to the Historical and Biblical aspects, it's necessary to look at two ideas.


The Egyptians believed in an after life. They had for thousands of years. The concept of a "soul" as distinct from the body, and surviving the body, was called the "ka". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egy...f_the_soul
They speculated about what it would be in the Book of the Dead.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_the_Dead

The Sumerians talked about it in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
While there are obvious things appropriated from Sumerian texts, in the Bible, they did not import content about an after -life.

Almost all the surrounding cultures of ancient Israel DID believe in some sort of afterlife. Israel was an odd exception to this. It has perplexed scholars. Why Not ? I will propose my personal explanation for this later. There is both a positive, and negative case for this. It is important. Israel was not concerned with a personal afterlife. Genesis 3:19 says, "For dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return". God breathed life into the man, not a soul. While there are examples of exceptions to this where in 1 Samuel 28:15, Saul calls the Witch of Endor, and she conjures up the shade of Samuel, who is angry to be disturbed. He was in a "dormant" state". not a "blissful" state. Conjuring was forbidden. Apart from the magic, there was just no cultural content of the ideal of an individual ("happy", or "sad") state of immortality. That does not mean immortality was not present. We'll look at that later.

Psalm 39 :
"Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart, and am no more"

Psalm 115 :
The dead do not praise the Lord,
nor do any that go down into silence".

However ALL the dead, both good and bad, were thought to go to an underground region called "Sheol". And Sheol is referenced in mostly the Wisdom texts. It's certainly NOT where God lives.
Psalm 6 : "For in death there is no remembrance of you, in Sheol, who can give you praise ?"

However, ....
The Biblical texts were written, by the upper-class priests. In Canaan , ancestors remained powerful, after death, and had to be fed, and placated. Because of it's threat to monotheism, shamanism and witchcraft had to be suppressed. The fact it had to be suppressed, means it was widespread, and perceived as a threat. Saul expelled the mediums and the wizards. When the Witch of Endor conjures Samuel's "shade", Saul asks the witch, "What do you see". She answers, "I see a DIVINE being, (the word is "elohim"), coming up out of the ground. (Only the witch could *see* or perceive the shade). Saul asks "What does he look like ?". She describes him. And the text then says, (just as the text in the New Testament does about the "Road to Emmaus" incident), "So Saul knew it was Samuel...etc" because of the description. The DEAD SHADE HAD TO BE INFERRED. In Hebrew culture, the dead did not have recognizable human shapes. or appearances. !!!. Read that again, please. The identity of dead shades was not apparent. The "shade" of Jesus also was not recognized, when they said they saw it. Next, if a shade is a "divine being", it speaks volumes about what that means to them. If a dead human's shade is of the SAME essential nature as other divine beings, (and there were many, in the polytheistic Hebrew culture), then it calls into question our notion of "supernatural". In our culture a "god" is perceived as "up there", watching from above, powerful from on high, riding the clouds of heaven. Obviously from the Samuel's shade remark we see that was not true of the Hebrews. Instead of saying "super-natural", it would be more correct to say "other than natural", as it denoted an equal, or equivalency of power and status. There is no hierarchical paradigm implied.

Historically there is a long, very interesting historical set of occurrences, in which the Greek, and Roman, and Seleucid empire's forces are battling for ascendancy in the Near East) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes .
Suffice it to say the Greeks purchased the High Priesthood in Israel, and Jason, (Greek equivalent name of Jesus), imported Hellenistic ideas, even more than they had been already, as recounted in 2 Maccabees, which drove some changes in the Hebrew culture, and it's assumptions. The famous "abomination of desolation" resulted from the interaction of the forces from these days, when the desolate temple, was associated, with not allowing Jews to perform their practices arose. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abomination...solationry involved Unfortunately it would lead us too far afield here, to do all the history involved here, but as a result of persecution in the Maccabeean period, there arose the idea of Martyrdom,

In the Book of Daniel, in chapter 12, for the first time the idea of rising from the dead appears in the Old Testament. Interestingly enough, it also involves a redemptive aspect.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel Daniel was a prophet who was taken into exile in 606BCE. Thus we know that before that date, there was NO concept of general, or individual immortality, in Hebrew culture. Daniel had to try to make sense of the horrific experience. He had the "trial in lions den", etc, which symbolized the horrible time in Babylon. How would he make sense of the awful experience. Daniel 12:3 "Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars, for ever and ever." They get rewarded for suffering. And immortality is born.

A few years later, post Exile, also, we have Isaiah saying:
Isaiah 26:19
Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise.
O dweller in the dust, awake and sing for joy !
For your dew is a radiant dew, and the Earth will give birth to those long dead.

The first text in the Bible to be written was the Book or Torah of Job, was also an attempt to ask why, and make sense of the experience of "exile".

So, just as with everything else in Hebrew culture, the horror of the Exilic period, gives rise to it's MOST important changes, and ideas. Religion had to rationalize how an absent god could allow his chosen people to undergo such a horror. Who cares, if you live forever, and there was another life after this one ?
So something clearly has changed here. This is when and how the Hebrew's prophets and priests, added the notion of an afterlife to a culture which had none, previously. The culture was ready for this new addition, for another reason, as you will see below. However, these men, in no way say everyone rises, or that eternal life is for everyone, or where the resurrection takes place, or how exactly how this is made manifest.

There is a transitional period, as always. In Maccabees 2, there is the famous set of speeches of the seven sons of Hannah.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman_with_seven_sons
Each of the sons gives a speech before they are martyred for refusing to eat pork, ("an" abomination of desolation). In the speeches, they refer to SOME people being given eternal life, not all. Saint Paul STILL had this "some" idea. Only the saved have eternal life, in the Pauline literature.

Saul of Tarsus thought the apocalypse was next week. The end-times were immanent for him, just as for Jeebus. The Thessalonians were worried that the dead would be disadvantaged when the end-time came, Saul had to convince them otherwise. He told them "the living will not be given preference over those who have already fallen asleep", and goes into great detail how the end-times will play out. (1 Thess 4:13-18).

Alright, so that's a very simplistic background.

A human being who says, "I believe that Jesus rose from the dead", or "I have seen the risen Lord", is saying the linguistic equivalent to "I have experienced the risen Lord". Two are active, one is passive. They are all equivalent with respect to an empiric truth. As we have seen above, the content of the words is 100 % dependent on cultural context.

There is a lot of razzle-dazzle among apologists, concerning where Saul got his message and authority to preach. It's all irrelevant. He told us he made it up, and how he felt about himself :

"Let me make it clear, friends, the gospel I announced does not conform to human expectations. I say this because it was NOT transmitted to me by anyone, nor did anyone teach it to me. Rather it came to me as an insight from God, about Jesus as God's Anointed." ...... "I went WAY beyond most of my contemporaries in my observance of Judaism"..... I would proclaim God's world-transforming news to the nations." Galations 1

Well la tee da. Isn't he just special. This man is fricking insane.
The REASON he changed from being a self-righteous Jew to an Apostle, was he was an insane megalomaniac, and he found a better way to express it. He goes so far as to invoke Jeremiah, ABOUT HIMSELF, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you". (Jeremiah 1:5, Isaiah 49:1).
"However when God who designated me before I was born, and commissioned me through his grace ..." Gal 1: 11-17.

One of the Sauls in Acts DEMANDED apostolic status for himself based on revelation, alone. and grants it to himself. Apostleship is never "given" or offered to him in Jerusalem by that community. He proclaimed himself the "Apostle to the Gentiles" on the way out the door. He GAVE HIMSELF a very important, hitherto unknown status in the new community. A job description he created for himself. Quite the entrepreneur, this Saul. After the introduction of Saul ends in Acts 9:30, the text is silent on him, and leaves him abruptly in Tarsus, The Saul, from Damascus Road disappears from Acts, and is not seen again, until much later. Acts 9:31 says that now, before the next Saul appears, the church was at peace. It says nothing more about a Saul, who, BTW, IS STILL being called SAUL, in the text. until, out of the blue, without explanation, a man also named Saul, is spoken of, in words that *could* be seen as saying it was another man, in Acts 13, but he is now in Antioch. . Acts introduces him all over again, without saying it was the SAME man which was spoken of earlier. If we hadn't been culturally told they were the same, we would have no way of knowing it WAS the same guy. Despite many opportunities, the new Saul does NOT refer to any conversion experience. in Acts 13, until much later. Why would an historical "look back" point of view not call him, consistently "Paul" ? In Acts 13:9, it says "But Saul, also known as Paul". We are NOT told it happened at the conversion. Why would the writer, all of a sudden choose to explain this fact HERE, if it's not a new actor in the text ? "Paul" is a "Romanized" name which means "small". Is this some sort of joke in the text, or does the name refer to Saul's "abnormal from birth" comment ? Was Saul abnormally short ? There are 3 times Acts recount the conversion. After the first one, Saul continues to be called "Saul". In the first one, when the god calls Ananias to baptize him, clearly the author wants the hearer to remember the Moses story when Moses was called from the burning bush, as Ananias, being called by the god, says "Here I am Lord". It happens in a dream. Clearly it's allegorical. Saul is NOT "baptized" here. It's a "laying-on" of hands. In Act 22:16 he IS baptized, AND it says "his sins are washed away". This is a HUGE paradigm shift. "Washing away of sins" is NOT a Hebrew idea. I shall deal with it below. In this second account, his name is changed but not explained. In the third account before Agrippa, the name change is not mentioned. Also too long for here is an examination of the Essene roots of Jeebus, except I would mention the Essene Book of Jesus, http://www.thenazareneway.com/essene_gos...ok_two.htm , says EXACTLY the SAME thing, as the Gospel of John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.".

Ok. Back to "experiencing" the "risen Lord".
Saul is THE first human in the Christian literature to actually write down that he had experienced a risen Lord. Acts were written many years later. The Paul in acts, is not Paul of Tarsus, or anyway, they are different "enough" to question one of them. We can accept that there IS a Saul of Tarsus, as his ideas are "Greeky", even while Jewish, and are non-Jewish enough that we know he was not from Israel. There are substantial underlying assumptions about Reality in the two Pauls, but it's too long for here. I'll post a link to a video about this subject at the end.

In Numbers 25: 6-13, Phinehas was zealous, don't cha know. Phinehas was "zealous for the Lord". The ends justify the means. Violence, and whatever is needed to achieve an outcome is valued, as the ULTIMATE value. Thus in his culture, "pious fraud" was 100 % acceptable. It was seen as a great thing to be "zealous for the Lord". You could do whatever you felt was necessary to get the outcome you *thought* your deity wanted accomplished. Saul was a Zealot. A Zealous Pharisee.

So why did they make such a big deal about Saul's change, (conversion), if he just stayed the same, essentially. He was already a Jew. He already believed in Yahweh. There IS no Christianity yet to convert to, Christians are NOT yet called Christians. (Acts 11:26 is NOT proof of anything, as Acts was written MUCH later), he continued to think of himself as a Jew,. He STILL thought women were to be "under the law", He is NOT in need of "moral conversion", (from before his Damascus Road experience). He says he was "As to the Torah, blameless") Phil 3:6.

So WTF IS going on here ? It's a mass of contradictions.

So next we will look at what Saul actually says about his "resurrection experience".

1. Scholars think the earliest reference in existing written form to a risen Jeebus, is a rather strange "hymn" or poem which we see placed in the beginning of the 2nd chapter of Philippians. Just as in the Old Testament, a "hymn" may be the oldest fragment, placed into another text. In Philippians 2: 6-11, there is a poem called the "Carmen Christi". The name comes from a letter of Pliny the Younger, in which he tells the Emperor Trajan, about (111-112 CE) what he found in the Provinces of Pontus and Bithynia, in Asia Minor. The Christian sect was being accused of various crimes, and he could find nothing especially seriously wrong about them. He didn't really know what to do. He says in Latin, "carmenque Christo quasi deo dicere secum invicem"..or "they chant verses alternately among themselves, in honor of the Christ, as if to a god". That's all he could find. Nothing especially bad. But that's why the hymn is called the "Carmen" Christi.. it's a (probably) chanted hymn. (I personally think he heard the chanting of alternate verses of psalms, but I have no proof, as they were done that way also). This hymn has been studied to death, by scholars. By the 1990's the "hymn" status was even being questioned, but whatever it is, ( a Greek "encomion" ? ), it doesn't really fit with Saul's known writing style. So he got it from somewhere. We know Philippians was a combo job, because, among other things, the author says "finally" more than once, (3:1, 4:8), and more importantly, the tone of the text does not match the surrounding text. Some think from 4:10 on, is yet a third author. Some think the hymn may have come from inside the community at Phillipi, and Saul approved of it, so he included it. In any case, the hymn says Jeebus was "super-exalted", after being humbled. What does that mean, exactly ? The academic examination of this poem is extensive, but an interesting part, is in the Greek, the form of preposition and verb compounding, called a "hyperypsosen". It's a linguistic element used which intensifies the verb. "Super-exalted", or "extra-exalted" are just made-up English words which attempt to translate the meaning, as there is not an English equivalent. Anyway, the "high" position is used to intensify the difference from the "humbled" of the low position. Anyway, Saul KNEW the context, and that the Romans would hear of this, and/or, it would be "heard" in a cognitive sense, as a shocking insult. A pathetic criminal, whom the Romans had executed, now was "raised" to a very high position. It was the equivalent to a (political) "obscenity". It would be the same as an American "wacko-preacher" telling HIS audience, in a US military setting, that Osama bin Laden had been raised to the highest place in heaven. There is a VERY strong anti-Imperial "ring" to the last part of the poem. So the first citing of the resurrection theme, can be seen in a striking political context. If you wanted to get the Romans mad at the Christians, or justify Roman anger toward Christians, you would use such a poem.

2. The first original, and most extensive passage in the NT about the resurrection, is in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15. If the gospels are not the first mention of the event, why is it the accounts in Saul's letters not looked at more carefully, or first ? Scholars know why. They were, capriciously put in the canon in the order they are in, for no particular legitimate ordering reason. No one has ever claimed "ordering" was important, or that it enhanced legitimacy claims, or inspiration claims. Opening the NT, one just comes to Mark first. Paul is less well known, also as he is used in liturgy less, in the sense that the gospel stories are used more often, than any one Pauline passage is used. Lastly, the artistic legacy, depicts the gospel story frequently. So visually we *think* of a "risen lord* the way we do. Ask yourself, "When I think of the resurrected lord, what do I think of ?". Probably a Caucasian, adult male around 30 years old, with long hair, and pleasant features". THAT is NOT what the gospels said they saw. The gospels all say they did not recognize him, and they were afraid of what they saw. Our thought has been determined by our culture, not the facts. Next what are the best known stories you remember ? Probably Mary Magdalene being told not to touch, and the doubting Thomas story. If Thomas DID recognize Jeebus, why would he HAVE to put his fingers into the wounds ? The problem is not faith, it's "recognition". They do NOT know who or what they see. If it WAS the actual body of Jeebus, they would recognize him. We will return to that. The accounts in Paul are brief, and our brains fill in the gaps, with our cultural assumptions. We know the *real* 1 Corinthians is missing, as the letter referenced in 1 Cor 5:9 is unknown. 1 Corinthians is a combo job. The section in 1 Cor 14:33-36 was likely added by a scribe who liked Timothy and Titus.

Bucky thanks for all the work in this excellent post.

Re "There is a lot of razzle-dazzle among apologists, concerning where Saul got his message and authority to preach. It's all irrelevant. He told us he made it up, and how he felt about himself :

"Let me make it clear, friends, the gospel I announced does not conform to human expectations. I say this because it was NOT transmitted to me by anyone, nor did anyone teach it to me. Rather it came to me as an insight from God, about Jesus as God's Anointed." ...... "I went WAY beyond most of my contemporaries in my observance of Judaism"..... I would proclaim God's world-transforming news to the nations." Galations 1" YEP....HE MADE IT ALL UP.

Allow me to expand on this....

The Source of Paul’s Theology

One might assume that Paul had a legitimate and verifiable source for his hypotheses. I have imagined going back in time to ask him what it was. He got anxious when his credibility was questioned, so his answer would be intense. He frequently wrote at length about himself, so he would probably tell me how hard he works, how genuine he is, how he has suffered for his beliefs, and how sure he is that what he preaches is the truth. The actual answer to the question would be a long time arriving.

Paul wrote, “The fact is, brothers, and I want you to realize this, the Good News I preached is not a human message that I was given by men, it is something I learned only through a revelation of Jesus Christ. You must have heard of my career as a practicing Jew, how merciless I was in persecuting the Church of God, how much damage I did to it, how I stood out among other Jews of my generation, and how enthusiastic I was for the traditions of my ancestors. Then God, who had specifically chosen me while I was still in my mother's womb, called me through his grace and chose to reveal his son in me, so that I may preach the Good News about him to the pagans” (Gal. 1:11–24, NJB). This is from one of his best-known letters. He specifically stated that the message he preached came not from human sources but from God “through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”

He told his readers it was God himself who granted him authority, and this was not the only occasion he said so; “I, Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle” (1 Cor. 1:1, NJB) and “But our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5 NKJB). What he meant was that he thought he had a God given talent enabling him to interpret the same God’s words in scripture. That was, after all, the job description for a Pharisee. I fail to see how this could inspire confidence in his credibility.

Paul took things one step further than his more traditional colleagues. He thought he alone had a divine mandate from God. Consider the opening lines of his letter to the Romans: “From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus who has been called to be an apostle, and specially chosen to preach the Good News that God promised long ago through his prophets in the scriptures” (Rom. 1:1–3, NJB). Paul promoted himself as a very special interpreter of scripture, and he regularly bad-mouthed anyone who happened to interpret scripture differently (see 1 Corinthians 15:1–3).

Yet objective scholars and all traditional Jews agree that Paul’s “good news” is not to be found in scripture. Moreover, Paul often changed the meaning of scripture to suit himself. For example, he wrote, “so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory of the Father” (Phil. 2:10–11, NJB). The source of this was “Before me every knee shall bend, by me every tongue shall swear, saying ‘From Yahweh alone come victory and strength.’” (Isa. 45:23–24, NJB). Paul replaced Yahweh with Jesus Christ, to fit with his own manufactured theology. One of Paul’s main themes was that gentiles could be God’s special people too. He wrote, “Well, we are those people; whether we were Jews or pagans we are the ones he has called. That is exactly what God says in Hosea: ‘I shall say to a people that was not mine, ‘you are my people,’ and to a nation I never loved ‘I love you’” (Rom. 9:24, NJB). However a reading of chapters one and two of Hosea (too long to reproduce here) reveals that the people “God” was referring to were not gentiles, but Jews whom he was accepting back under his wing after a misdemeanor. Paul changed the meaning of scripture to sell his own story to Gentiles living in Rome.

Douglas Lockhart (http://douglaslockhart.com/) believes Paul’s theological system also received input from Arabian sources. Mithras, the pagan god of an ancient eastern cult, shared many features with Paul’s Christ, and Tarsus, Paul’s home town, was a major center of Mithraic belief. I also think Paul wrote about his Christ to counter the dreams of the Nazarenes, who were hoping for a political messiah. It is apparent to me that Paul’s theology was the product of a very complex mishmash of ideas. I don’t think any of his possible sources add any credibility to his theology.

I think Paul’s theology stemmed primarily from his own fertile imagination. Paul presumed his readers would believe that God inspired him, yet there is no objective reason to do so. One only needs to turn on a Christian television channel today to hear the modern equivalent of Paul; someone claiming God has talked to them. He was clearly a master confabulator, inventing fictions to support his own views, and not above borrowing concepts from other cults.

He knew he was fabricating, but didn’t let that niggle at his conscience. He was on a mission to snare converts, and in his mind the end justified the means. I suspect the more he thought and talked about the divinity of Christ, his sacrificial death, and his resurrection, the more real and useful these ideas became to him. It didn’t bother him, or he may not have been aware, that his ideas were fundamentally odd. He wouldn’t have wasted time questioning his own themes. He was too busy for that, too obsessed with converting people.

Paul was preaching and writing to people who, judged by today’s standards, were naïve, unsophisticated and isolated in the sense that they were unread. Most of them would have had Paul’s letters read to them. A well-written letter must have been impressive. Paul was also a self-righteous and confident teacher, which may have been enough to give him some credibility within the communities to which he wrote.
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26-10-2012, 06:23 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
I love what Bucky has written here...

"This man is fricking insane.
The REASON he changed from being a self-righteous Jew to an Apostle, was he was an insane megalomaniac, and he found a better way to express it. He goes so far as to invoke Jeremiah, ABOUT HIMSELF, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you". (Jeremiah 1:5, Isaiah 49:1).
"However when God who designated me before I was born, and commissioned me through his grace ..." Gal 1: 11-17.

One of the Sauls in Acts DEMANDED apostolic status for himself based on revelation, alone. and grants it to himself. Apostleship is never "given" or offered to him in Jerusalem by that community. He proclaimed himself the "Apostle to the Gentiles" on the way out the door. He GAVE HIMSELF a very important, hitherto unknown status in the new community. A job description he created for himself. Quite the entrepreneur, this Saul."

You guessed it folks, I'm going to add my spiel to what Bucky wrote....

Paul the Cult Leader

A cult is a relatively small group that has religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister. That was how the outside world must have regarded Paul’s communities.

Like all cult leaders, Paul did his best to bolster his personal power and prestige. I think his ego was partly responsible for his self-styled theology. Despite his wordy protestations that he was only working for everyone else’s welfare, his letters lay bare his burning need to brow-beat the reader into believing that he was the ultimate authority. He referred to his teachings as “my gospel,” a very apt description. As best we know, only he or his travelling partners ever articulated his theology - so it elevated him to the status of the master teacher. Paul insisted his gospel was the only path to salvation:
“Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you - believing anything else will not lead to anything” (1 Cor. 15:1–3, NJB). Wise men are interested in the opinions of others and are not overly dogmatic, but the puerile Paul wouldn’t consider any conflicting convictions. Humanitarians give people space to find their own paths to meaning and happiness, but he would have none of that. Authentic teachers do not need to threaten their students; he did.

He insisted his readers imitate him:
“Take me for your model, as I take Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1, NJB). Paul thought he was the next best thing to God; that he was the personal deputy of his deity.

A few years later he wrote,
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20, KJV). By this time God’s right hand man had become God himself. His shoddily disguised delusions of grandeur were pathetic.

Status and power were not the only rewards Paul craved. He needed food and shelter, items that usually needed to be bought. Money was a niggling issue:
“That is why I have thought it necessary to ask these brothers to go on to you ahead of us, and make sure in advance that the gift you promised is all ready, and that it all comes as a gift out of your generosity and not by being extorted from you. Do not forget that thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you reap. Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:5–7, NJB). Cult leaders trying to earn a quid love a cheerful giver too!

Paul tried to justify living off the communities he visited:
“Nobody ever paid money to stay in the army, and nobody ever planted a vineyard and refused to eat the fruit of it. Who has there ever been that kept a flock and did not feed on the milk from his flock?” (1 Cor. 9:7, JB). Paul milked money from his fraternities. Anyone he clashed with was compromising his income and his ego.

He clearly didn’t have an easy time selling his ideas, as he repeatedly wrote about his own credentials. If he had impressed more people, he wouldn’t have needed to sell himself.
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26-10-2012, 06:37 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(25-10-2012 11:09 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
Mark Fulton Wrote:  If this is true, Christianity has been the most monumental fraud ever inflicted on humankind."

Nope. You are 100 % WRONG sir. Sorry to contradict you, Mark. You cannot be further from the truth. How could you say such a thing ?

It's not a matter of "if". It IS the largest monumental pile of crap ever inflicted on mankind. Whether the details of your version are exactly true or not, and it's off by a detail or a few details, is irrelevant. The fact is we KNOW it was 100 % concocted by humans who attempted to change the details of the culture in which it arose to benefit themselves. The fraud continued for literally thousands of years, and continues to this day. Everything about it is wrong. From the "sin and disobedience" dualism that did NOT exist in the ancient Near East, to the countless "goofs" in this thread. Everything about it looks wrong, upon inspection. Every rock that's overturned exposes more fraud, and ignorance. EVERY "doctrine" is 1000% bullshit. 10,000 years from now, humans will laugh that anyone EVER took even 1 sentence of the bullshit seriously. It refutes itself. in every way.

Tongue

Agreed. Totally. Yet...let's make it 200 years, not 10,000 !
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26-10-2012, 06:44 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(26-10-2012 06:23 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I love what Bucky has written here...

"This man is fricking insane.
The REASON he changed from being a self-righteous Jew to an Apostle, was he was an insane megalomaniac, and he found a better way to express it. He goes so far as to invoke Jeremiah, ABOUT HIMSELF, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you". (Jeremiah 1:5, Isaiah 49:1).
"However when God who designated me before I was born, and commissioned me through his grace ..." Gal 1: 11-17.

One of the Sauls in Acts DEMANDED apostolic status for himself based on revelation, alone. and grants it to himself. Apostleship is never "given" or offered to him in Jerusalem by that community. He proclaimed himself the "Apostle to the Gentiles" on the way out the door. He GAVE HIMSELF a very important, hitherto unknown status in the new community. A job description he created for himself. Quite the entrepreneur, this Saul."

You guessed it folks, I'm going to add my spiel to what Bucky wrote....

Paul the Cult Leader

A cult is a relatively small group that has religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister. That was how the outside world must have regarded Paul’s communities.

Like all cult leaders, Paul did his best to bolster his personal power and prestige. I think his ego was partly responsible for his self-styled theology. Despite his wordy protestations that he was only working for everyone else’s welfare, his letters lay bare his burning need to brow-beat the reader into believing that he was the ultimate authority. He referred to his teachings as “my gospel,” a very apt description. As best we know, only he or his travelling partners ever articulated his theology - so it elevated him to the status of the master teacher. Paul insisted his gospel was the only path to salvation:
“Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you - believing anything else will not lead to anything” (1 Cor. 15:1–3, NJB). Wise men are interested in the opinions of others and are not overly dogmatic, but the puerile Paul wouldn’t consider any conflicting convictions. Humanitarians give people space to find their own paths to meaning and happiness, but he would have none of that. Authentic teachers do not need to threaten their students; he did.

He insisted his readers imitate him:
“Take me for your model, as I take Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1, NJB). Paul thought he was the next best thing to God; that he was the personal deputy of his deity.

A few years later he wrote,
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20, KJV). By this time God’s right hand man had become God himself. His shoddily disguised delusions of grandeur were pathetic.

Status and power were not the only rewards Paul craved. He needed food and shelter, items that usually needed to be bought. Money was a niggling issue:
“That is why I have thought it necessary to ask these brothers to go on to you ahead of us, and make sure in advance that the gift you promised is all ready, and that it all comes as a gift out of your generosity and not by being extorted from you. Do not forget that thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you reap. Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:5–7, NJB). Cult leaders trying to earn a quid love a cheerful giver too!

Paul tried to justify living off the communities he visited:
“Nobody ever paid money to stay in the army, and nobody ever planted a vineyard and refused to eat the fruit of it. Who has there ever been that kept a flock and did not feed on the milk from his flock?” (1 Cor. 9:7, JB). Paul milked money from his fraternities. Anyone he clashed with was compromising his income and his ego.

He clearly didn’t have an easy time selling his ideas, as he repeatedly wrote about his own credentials. If he had impressed more people, he wouldn’t have needed to sell himself.

It's really humorous, once you drop the preconceived ideas, from cultural overlay, and see what he's actually saying, what a strange dude he was.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist
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26-10-2012, 07:58 PM (This post was last modified: 26-10-2012 08:27 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(26-10-2012 06:44 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(26-10-2012 06:23 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I love what Bucky has written here...

"This man is fricking insane.
The REASON he changed from being a self-righteous Jew to an Apostle, was he was an insane megalomaniac, and he found a better way to express it. He goes so far as to invoke Jeremiah, ABOUT HIMSELF, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you". (Jeremiah 1:5, Isaiah 49:1).
"However when God who designated me before I was born, and commissioned me through his grace ..." Gal 1: 11-17.

One of the Sauls in Acts DEMANDED apostolic status for himself based on revelation, alone. and grants it to himself. Apostleship is never "given" or offered to him in Jerusalem by that community. He proclaimed himself the "Apostle to the Gentiles" on the way out the door. He GAVE HIMSELF a very important, hitherto unknown status in the new community. A job description he created for himself. Quite the entrepreneur, this Saul."

You guessed it folks, I'm going to add my spiel to what Bucky wrote....

Paul the Cult Leader

A cult is a relatively small group that has religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister. That was how the outside world must have regarded Paul’s communities.

Like all cult leaders, Paul did his best to bolster his personal power and prestige. I think his ego was partly responsible for his self-styled theology. Despite his wordy protestations that he was only working for everyone else’s welfare, his letters lay bare his burning need to brow-beat the reader into believing that he was the ultimate authority. He referred to his teachings as “my gospel,” a very apt description. As best we know, only he or his travelling partners ever articulated his theology - so it elevated him to the status of the master teacher. Paul insisted his gospel was the only path to salvation:
“Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you - believing anything else will not lead to anything” (1 Cor. 15:1–3, NJB). Wise men are interested in the opinions of others and are not overly dogmatic, but the puerile Paul wouldn’t consider any conflicting convictions. Humanitarians give people space to find their own paths to meaning and happiness, but he would have none of that. Authentic teachers do not need to threaten their students; he did.

He insisted his readers imitate him:
“Take me for your model, as I take Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1, NJB). Paul thought he was the next best thing to God; that he was the personal deputy of his deity.

A few years later he wrote,
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20, KJV). By this time God’s right hand man had become God himself. His shoddily disguised delusions of grandeur were pathetic.

Status and power were not the only rewards Paul craved. He needed food and shelter, items that usually needed to be bought. Money was a niggling issue:
“That is why I have thought it necessary to ask these brothers to go on to you ahead of us, and make sure in advance that the gift you promised is all ready, and that it all comes as a gift out of your generosity and not by being extorted from you. Do not forget that thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you reap. Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:5–7, NJB). Cult leaders trying to earn a quid love a cheerful giver too!

Paul tried to justify living off the communities he visited:
“Nobody ever paid money to stay in the army, and nobody ever planted a vineyard and refused to eat the fruit of it. Who has there ever been that kept a flock and did not feed on the milk from his flock?” (1 Cor. 9:7, JB). Paul milked money from his fraternities. Anyone he clashed with was compromising his income and his ego.

He clearly didn’t have an easy time selling his ideas, as he repeatedly wrote about his own credentials. If he had impressed more people, he wouldn’t have needed to sell himself.

It's really humorous, once you drop the preconceived ideas, from cultural overlay, and see what he's actually saying, what a strange dude he was.

Of all the characters in the bible, he is the only one who we can honestly say we "know" in any real way.

He jumps out of his own pages as a thoroughly unlikeable fellow. He was
-a liar
-a scheemer
-manipulative
-deluded
-homophobic
-misogynistic
-controlling
-opinionated
-obsessive
-and anxious.

He knew a whole lot less about the world than we do.

Yet for no good reason his awful, convoluted beliefs and prejudices are promoted to millions of people as the truth. That is a travesty against humanity.
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28-10-2012, 06:36 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
The Last Supper

Paul had almost nothing to say about Jesus the person. There is, however, one notable exception, (although it may be an interpolation,) when in the first letter to the Corinthians, the author claimed he knew what Jesus said on the night he was betrayed. The writer had just finished lecturing women in the Corinthian community on what they should wear and what to do with their hair when he turned to instructing them on when to eat and drink. He used a story about Jesus at the Last Supper, and even claimed to quote him, in an attempt to get the Corinthians to eat their meals together.

“For this is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death, and so anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be behaving unworthily toward the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone is to recollect himself before eating this bread and drinking this cup; because a person who eats and drinks without recognizing the Body is eating and drinking his own condemnation. In fact that is why many of you are weak and ill and some of you have died. If only we recollected ourselves, we should not be punished like that. But when the Lord does punish us like that, it is to correct us and stop us from being condemned with the world. So to sum up, my dear brothers, when you meet for the Meal, wait for one another” (1 Cor. 11:23–34, NJB).

If Paul actually wrote this, he was attempting to change some of the social habits of the community, perhaps to foster unity, and invented a story about the Lord to do it. What is surprising is that he acknowledged that a flesh-and-blood person actually ate and drank with others; nowhere else do any of the genuine Pauline letters admit the Lord’s humanity, which is why I suspect this part of Corinthians was a second- or third-century interpolation.

One of the factors that makes Christianity so dangerous and contagious is the blend of guilt, dependence and ceremony it engenders. The rituals that Paul discusses here are critical; they bring people together to do something. Communion commemorates the sacrifice of an innocent man dying because you are a sinner. By participating in the event, Christians are repeatedly reminded they are flawed and need Christ and the church to be redeemed. That facilitates power; there is nothing petty about it, and churchmen know it.

There are three serious problems with the historical reality of this story.

No sane person would portray his own impending death as part of a covenant with God, and I’m sure Yeshua wasn’t insane. He would have had no intention of dying in the foreseeable future.

What is more, he was Jewish, as were his disciples, and they obeyed the Torah. To them, eating human flesh or drinking blood, even in a symbolic sense, would have broken the strict kosher dietary rules. Even today the Jews insist on draining the blood from slaughtered animals, as written in the scriptures (Lev. 7:26–27, 17:10–14) and will only eat the meat from animals that chew cud and have cloven hooves (Lev. 11:3, Deut. 14:6). Yeshua would have been repulsed by the thought of anyone drinking his blood and eating his body.

This Last Supper scene was not invented by “Paul,” but was borrowed by him (or whoever wrote in his name) from Mithraism, a religion that had existed for two thousand years before Jesus, and with which Paul was familiar. Mithraic initiates believed that by eating a bull's flesh and drinking its blood they would be born again. This was supposed to give physical strength, and bring salvation to the soul (http://www.farvardyn.com/mithras4.php). Yeshua was Jewish, so wouldn’t have copied these concepts from a pagan cult. Paul, or one of his interpolators, made this up to mimic what was a popular pagan practice.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke have similar verses in their Gospels, and their inspiration could have been from Paul’s letter.

Many Christians recognize the reenactment of this scenario as part of their modern Mass in which bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, yet the idea has no truthful historical basis.
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28-10-2012, 08:19 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(28-10-2012 06:36 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  The Last Supper

Paul had almost nothing to say about Jesus the person. There is, however, one notable exception, (although it may be an interpolation,) when in the first letter to the Corinthians, the author claimed he knew what Jesus said on the night he was betrayed. The writer had just finished lecturing women in the Corinthian community on what they should wear and what to do with their hair when he turned to instructing them on when to eat and drink. He used a story about Jesus at the Last Supper, and even claimed to quote him, in an attempt to get the Corinthians to eat their meals together.

“For this is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death, and so anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be behaving unworthily toward the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone is to recollect himself before eating this bread and drinking this cup; because a person who eats and drinks without recognizing the Body is eating and drinking his own condemnation. In fact that is why many of you are weak and ill and some of you have died. If only we recollected ourselves, we should not be punished like that. But when the Lord does punish us like that, it is to correct us and stop us from being condemned with the world. So to sum up, my dear brothers, when you meet for the Meal, wait for one another” (1 Cor. 11:23–34, NJB).

If Paul actually wrote this, he was attempting to change some of the social habits of the community, perhaps to foster unity, and invented a story about the Lord to do it. What is surprising is that he acknowledged that a flesh-and-blood person actually ate and drank with others; nowhere else do any of the genuine Pauline letters admit the Lord’s humanity, which is why I suspect this part of Corinthians was a second- or third-century interpolation.

One of the factors that makes Christianity so dangerous and contagious is the blend of guilt, dependence and ceremony it engenders. The rituals that Paul discusses here are critical; they bring people together to do something. Communion commemorates the sacrifice of an innocent man dying because you are a sinner. By participating in the event, Christians are repeatedly reminded they are flawed and need Christ and the church to be redeemed. That facilitates power; there is nothing petty about it, and churchmen know it.

There are three serious problems with the historical reality of this story.

No sane person would portray his own impending death as part of a covenant with God, and I’m sure Yeshua wasn’t insane. He would have had no intention of dying in the foreseeable future.

What is more, he was Jewish, as were his disciples, and they obeyed the Torah. To them, eating human flesh or drinking blood, even in a symbolic sense, would have broken the strict kosher dietary rules. Even today the Jews insist on draining the blood from slaughtered animals, as written in the scriptures (Lev. 7:26–27, 17:10–14) and will only eat the meat from animals that chew cud and have cloven hooves (Lev. 11:3, Deut. 14:6). Yeshua would have been repulsed by the thought of anyone drinking his blood and eating his body.

This Last Supper scene was not invented by “Paul,” but was borrowed by him (or whoever wrote in his name) from Mithraism, a religion that had existed for two thousand years before Jesus, and with which Paul was familiar. Mithraic initiates believed that by eating a bull's flesh and drinking its blood they would be born again. This was supposed to give physical strength, and bring salvation to the soul (http://www.farvardyn.com/mithras4.php). Yeshua was Jewish, so wouldn’t have copied these concepts from a pagan cult. Paul, or one of his interpolators, made this up to mimic what was a popular pagan practice.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke have similar verses in their Gospels, and their inspiration could have been from Paul’s letter.

Many Christians recognize the reenactment of this scenario as part of their modern Mass in which bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, yet the idea has no truthful historical basis.

This "blood" thing is one of the most supportive arguments to your ideas. Ever since the traditions, (The Law) arose in Ancient Israel, touching or having anything to do with either animal or human blood was an "abomination". There were three levels of abominations. This was the worst. (An abomination to God). There is NO conceivable way, under ANY possible circumstance, that a Jew could EVER imagine actually drinking blood. It is simply not possible. It was a cultural anathema. The entire system of "Kosher" is built on this idea. I'm still trying to figure out when the "commemoration" was conflated with "*drinking* body and blood", but it was fairly early, before the First Century ended. But it's complicated. Since the Nazorenes were Jews, THEY must have had a different concept of the "memorial". Paul got his "Eucharist" straight from Mithraism, as they had a "thanksgiving" feast or "eucharist", (a Greek word). He conflated the two ideas, but STILL the Jews would never think about drinking blood. There are statements about drinking blood by some sources pretty early, but it couldn't have been universal. The idea we have today, (or that Catholics have today), about drinking blood and flesh, and transubstantiation, (which is a Greek concept built on the Dualism of substance vs "accident"), developed over a LONG period. Also why do the Catholics have to keep re-doing the sacrifice ? Are they afraid it didn't "take" the first time ? Tongue

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28-10-2012, 08:34 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(28-10-2012 08:19 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(28-10-2012 06:36 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  The Last Supper

Paul had almost nothing to say about Jesus the person. There is, however, one notable exception, (although it may be an interpolation,) when in the first letter to the Corinthians, the author claimed he knew what Jesus said on the night he was betrayed. The writer had just finished lecturing women in the Corinthian community on what they should wear and what to do with their hair when he turned to instructing them on when to eat and drink. He used a story about Jesus at the Last Supper, and even claimed to quote him, in an attempt to get the Corinthians to eat their meals together.

“For this is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death, and so anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be behaving unworthily toward the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone is to recollect himself before eating this bread and drinking this cup; because a person who eats and drinks without recognizing the Body is eating and drinking his own condemnation. In fact that is why many of you are weak and ill and some of you have died. If only we recollected ourselves, we should not be punished like that. But when the Lord does punish us like that, it is to correct us and stop us from being condemned with the world. So to sum up, my dear brothers, when you meet for the Meal, wait for one another” (1 Cor. 11:23–34, NJB).

If Paul actually wrote this, he was attempting to change some of the social habits of the community, perhaps to foster unity, and invented a story about the Lord to do it. What is surprising is that he acknowledged that a flesh-and-blood person actually ate and drank with others; nowhere else do any of the genuine Pauline letters admit the Lord’s humanity, which is why I suspect this part of Corinthians was a second- or third-century interpolation.

One of the factors that makes Christianity so dangerous and contagious is the blend of guilt, dependence and ceremony it engenders. The rituals that Paul discusses here are critical; they bring people together to do something. Communion commemorates the sacrifice of an innocent man dying because you are a sinner. By participating in the event, Christians are repeatedly reminded they are flawed and need Christ and the church to be redeemed. That facilitates power; there is nothing petty about it, and churchmen know it.

There are three serious problems with the historical reality of this story.

No sane person would portray his own impending death as part of a covenant with God, and I’m sure Yeshua wasn’t insane. He would have had no intention of dying in the foreseeable future.

What is more, he was Jewish, as were his disciples, and they obeyed the Torah. To them, eating human flesh or drinking blood, even in a symbolic sense, would have broken the strict kosher dietary rules. Even today the Jews insist on draining the blood from slaughtered animals, as written in the scriptures (Lev. 7:26–27, 17:10–14) and will only eat the meat from animals that chew cud and have cloven hooves (Lev. 11:3, Deut. 14:6). Yeshua would have been repulsed by the thought of anyone drinking his blood and eating his body.

This Last Supper scene was not invented by “Paul,” but was borrowed by him (or whoever wrote in his name) from Mithraism, a religion that had existed for two thousand years before Jesus, and with which Paul was familiar. Mithraic initiates believed that by eating a bull's flesh and drinking its blood they would be born again. This was supposed to give physical strength, and bring salvation to the soul (http://www.farvardyn.com/mithras4.php). Yeshua was Jewish, so wouldn’t have copied these concepts from a pagan cult. Paul, or one of his interpolators, made this up to mimic what was a popular pagan practice.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke have similar verses in their Gospels, and their inspiration could have been from Paul’s letter.

Many Christians recognize the reenactment of this scenario as part of their modern Mass in which bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, yet the idea has no truthful historical basis.

This "blood" thing is one of the most supportive arguments to your ideas. Ever since the traditions, (The Law) arose in Ancient Israel, touching or having anything to do with either animal or human blood was an "abomination". There were three levels of abominations. This was the worst. (An abomination to God). There is NO conceivable way, under ANY possible circumstance, that a Jew could EVER imagine actually drinking blood. It is simply not possible. It was a cultural anathema. The entire system of "Kosher" is built on this idea. I'm still trying to figure out when the "commemoration" was conflated with "*drinking* body and blood", but it was fairly early, before the First Century ended. But it's complicated. Since the Nazorenes were Jews, THEY must have had a different concept of the "memorial". Paul got his "Eucharist" straight from Mithraism, as they had a "thanksgiving" feast or "eucharist", (a Greek word). He conflated the two ideas, but STILL the Jews would never think about drinking blood. There are statements about drinking blood by some sources pretty early, but it couldn't have been universal. The idea we have today, (or that Catholics have today), about drinking blood and flesh, and transubstantiation, (which is a Greek concept built on the Dualism of substance vs "accident"), developed over a LONG period. Also why do the Catholics have to keep re-doing the sacrifice ? Are they afraid it didn't "take" the first time ? Tongue

Thanks for your comments.

Do you agree with me that this is the only place in Paul's writings where he actually mentioned anything that Jeebus did or said? I'm guessing this is an interpolation. What do you think?
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28-10-2012, 08:49 PM
RE: Who was Saint Paul?
(28-10-2012 08:34 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(28-10-2012 08:19 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  This "blood" thing is one of the most supportive arguments to your ideas. Ever since the traditions, (The Law) arose in Ancient Israel, touching or having anything to do with either animal or human blood was an "abomination". There were three levels of abominations. This was the worst. (An abomination to God). There is NO conceivable way, under ANY possible circumstance, that a Jew could EVER imagine actually drinking blood. It is simply not possible. It was a cultural anathema. The entire system of "Kosher" is built on this idea. I'm still trying to figure out when the "commemoration" was conflated with "*drinking* body and blood", but it was fairly early, before the First Century ended. But it's complicated. Since the Nazorenes were Jews, THEY must have had a different concept of the "memorial". Paul got his "Eucharist" straight from Mithraism, as they had a "thanksgiving" feast or "eucharist", (a Greek word). He conflated the two ideas, but STILL the Jews would never think about drinking blood. There are statements about drinking blood by some sources pretty early, but it couldn't have been universal. The idea we have today, (or that Catholics have today), about drinking blood and flesh, and transubstantiation, (which is a Greek concept built on the Dualism of substance vs "accident"), developed over a LONG period. Also why do the Catholics have to keep re-doing the sacrifice ? Are they afraid it didn't "take" the first time ? Tongue

Thanks for your comments.

Do you agree with me that this is the only place in Paul's writings where he actually mentioned anything that Jeebus did or said? I'm guessing this is an interpolation. What do you think?

I'll have to look. It probably is, but the question is did HE even write this ? Since all his letters are combo jobs, you can tell when the writing styles and Greek vocabulary changes. I'll have to puzzle over the quotes with my "Greek" hat on. But yes, in general, the *Risen Lord*, or *The Christ* or *The Anointed One Who Was Raised* is a wholly "new understanding" of Yeshua. It's a concept that *The Exalted One* "bears a resemblance" (secondary to having been granted martyr status), but Yeshua is dead and gone. The *Exalted One* is a "new creation", or a part of the "new creation". We hear those words so often they cease to actually have the real meaning that actually had, when he first wrote them. Our brains take them back and forth to metaphor. Some he meant that way. Some he really meant.

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