A reason to doubt about the historicity of Paul

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Giuseppe
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A reason to doubt about the historicity of Paul

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:16 am

Compare two arguments:

1)
for Maurice Mergui, Paul is named Paul because he is a Saul/Sheol (the death) who is won by Jesus:


1 Samuel 9:1-2:
There was a Benjamite, a man of standing, whose name was Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bekorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin. Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head TALLER than anyone else.


2)
for Detering, Paul is named Paul because the his greatness comes from God by grace alone and is not a his own merit:

Moreover, that the name Paul could already be conceived in a figurative sense by the writer of the Pauline letters can be clearly seen in 1 Cor 15:9, where “Paul” speaks of himself as the last and the smallest, like a “miscarriage” as it were. B. Bauer correctly commented about this: “He is the last, the unexpected, the conclusion, the dear nestling. Even his Latin name, Paul, expresses smallness, which stands in contrast to the majesty to which he is elevated by grace in the preceding passages of the letter.”

(The Falsified Paul, p. 145)

What surprises myself is the difference between two different approaches to the question: a scholar who sees all in terms of Jewish midrash and another scholar who sees all in terms of gnosticism. The difference is that for Mergui Paul is named Paul in virtue of a punition: he ceases to be a Saul. For Detering, Paul is named Paul in virtue of an exaltation: he owes all to the gnostic Father, nothing to himself.

Who would be more correct?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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