'Everything you know about the Gospel of Paul is likely wrong'

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Giuseppe
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Re: 'Everything you know about the Gospel of Paul is likely wrong'

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:24 am

And still:
Thus, Paul’s missionizing activities and rhetorical demeanor are entirely ordinary tactics to cultivate authority when set alongside other similar figures. Moreover, situating him among this class of freelance figures helps explain why Paul, whose ideas about his revered deity were by no means unique in the ancient context, appealed to Gentile audiences. His behaviors tapped into their cultural expectations for how a religious specialist would appear.
http://marginalia.lareviewofbooks.org/m ... an-empire/

The question raised by Wendt according to this review of the his book:
While I am both intrigued and impressed by Wendt’s meticulous social theorizing, I remain uncomfortable with the language of self-authorized experts. The “self-authorized” detail seems potentially problematic because anyone could, in theory, authorize themselves to do anything. Indeed, what kind of author is not, in some way or another, a self-authorized expert? What Wendt seems to mean with the idea of “self-authorized” is that the individual is acting outside of an organized civic or institutional network. At the same time, though, the distinction between individual and institutional religion is often more discursive than real: she readily admits that such “freelance” figures are themselves the products of social structures and conditions.
(my bold)
As Wendt herself notes, once her framework is taken seriously, “the seemingly intractable dichotomy of mainstream versus sectarian groups dissolves into a sea of individual agents.” This model loosely resembles Max Weber’s ideas of charismatic religious leaders and their subsequent taming into “institutions.” Where Wendt differs and improves upon the Weberian model is by her close attention to social conditions that make the authority of freelance specialists possible in the ancient context.
Unlike others who struggled to figure out why early Christian ideas were appealing, Wendt shows that it was the teacher’s behaviors and discursive strategies were often the real attraction for people. In other words, individuals in the Roman Empire would have been socially conditioned to look for certain signals in the rhetorical posturing of people such as Paul, which would lead them to recognize their legitimacy as religious experts. Therefore, when Paul appeared in a city and proffered his teachings about the miracle-working Judean, his strategies would not have seemed out of place at all
This remembers the controversial passage of Tacitus about the ''Christ'' crucified by Pilate. If Tacitus despised the Christians as individual agents being intent on spreading their ''superstition'' in Rome, then also their presumed founder had to be, in the eyes of Tacitus, an individual agent already intent on spreading his superstition in the only Judea.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: 'Everything you know about the Gospel of Paul is likely wrong'

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:27 am

But then again you have the same problem: how could a crucified man be ''teaching'' something at all?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: 'Everything you know about the Gospel of Paul is likely wrong'

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:34 am

The comparison between Paul and Simon Magus may be useful to this regard.

Both were said to have proclaimed the divinity of somebody else.

Both were accused (yersteday as today) to have usurped the legacy of somebody else.

Both proclaimed implicitly their new semi-divine status as collateral effect of the divinity of that somebody else.

What can this say us about the historicity of that somebody else?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Kunigunde Kreuzerin
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Re: 'Everything you know about the Gospel of Paul is likely wrong'

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:13 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:25 am
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:33 pm
No, I think that Paul was a very eccentric person and that there were no one like Paul.
Maybe Heidi Wendt may help to classify Paul in the class of ''freelance experts in religion''. According to Wendt, his letters serve as an important witness to this class of people in antiquity.
Thank you for the mention of this really interesting work. While I can mostly agree with Heidi Wendt's points, my comment was rather related to Paul's personality and character and not his professional function.
In a lengthy introduction Wendt constructs her category of freelance experts, and the subcategory of freelance experts in religion. Freelance experts in religion were those whose recognition and legitimacy came from their demonstrations of skills and learning, and those who “directly enlisted in their practices gods and similar beings” (11). The introduction builds toward the payoff of the book: understanding Paul as an intellectualizing expert in religion (28).

All that may be true. But was Paul not also a holy fool? Was it not his uniqueness that he was both?


btw It seems that there is a good chance that the links in this thread give me a big smile

An Egyptian “priest” named Pancrates surfed the Nile on the backs of crocodiles and enchanted brooms and pestles to serve him. As James Rives notes in Religion in the Roman Empire, Pancrates was the inspiration for the sorcerer’s apprentice in Disney’s Fantasia. Image

We may be curious what James River thought. Did Huey, Dewey, and Louie – according to James River - interpolate „The Sorcerer's Apprentice“ later in the works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who was probably only a fictional person? ;)

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MrMacSon
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Re: 'Everything you know about the Gospel of Paul is likely wrong'

Post by MrMacSon » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:31 pm

.
Pauline theologian Michael Bird has commented -

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Hart pushes the Torrancian (and Doug Campbell) line that the Latin west has for too long (mis)-read Paul through the lens of Augustine’s notion of original guilt and focused on Latin categories of forensic guilt and innocence as the root of humanity’s problem. According to Hart:
Paul’s actual teachings, however, as taken directly from the Greek of his letters, emphasise neither original guilt nor imputed righteousness (he believed in neither), but rather the overthrow of bad angels. A certain long history of misreadings – especially of the Letter to the Romans – has created an impression of Paul’s theological concerns so entirely alien to his conceptual world that the real Paul occupies scarcely any place at all in Christian memory. It is true that he addresses issues of ‘righteousness’ or ‘justice’, and asserts that this is available to us only through the virtue of pistis– ‘faith’ or ‘trust’ or even ‘fidelity’. But for Paul, pistis largely consists in works of obedience to God and love of others. The only erga, ‘works’, which he is anxious to claim make no contribution to personal sanctity, are certain ‘ritual observances’ of the Law of Moses, such as circumcision or kosher dietary laws. This, though, means that the separation between Jews and gentiles has been annulled in Christ, opening salvation to all peoples; it does not mean (as Paul fears some might imagine) that God has abandoned his covenant with Israel.
Look, much of this is correct, but even James Dunn would no longer say that erga nomou (works of the Torah) refers to Jewish boundary markers or ritual observances, but refers to the whole Torah with its commands and obligations. Plus, the fact is that one need only read Rom 8.1 and 2 Corinthians 3 to see that forensic categories cannot be erased from Paul even if they are not the central or controlling motifs as Latin and Reformed traditions have supposed.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/euangelion ... ding-paul/


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