Did Paul consider himself the only one to see Jesus?

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rgprice
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Did Paul consider himself the only one to see Jesus?

Post by rgprice » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:56 pm

Other than 1 Cor 15:3-11, is there anything else in Paul's letters that would indicate that Jesus had been reveled to other people? It seems that a part of Paul's theology implies he believes himself to be the only one to which Jesus has been revealed.

I'm certain 1 Cor 15:3-11 is an interpolation, and the point of it seems to be refuting the idea that Paul's claimed revelation is unique to him.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Did Paul consider himself the only one to see Jesus?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:05 pm

rgprice wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:56 pm
Other than 1 Cor 15:3-11, is there anything else in Paul's letters that would indicate that Jesus had been reveled to other people? It seems that a part of Paul's theology implies he believes himself to be the only one to which Jesus has been revealed.

I'm certain 1 Cor 15:3-11 is an interpolation, and the point of it seems to be refuting the idea that Paul's claimed revelation is unique to him.
Are you questioning only whether Cephas and James and the rest had received (or claimed to have received) revelations of Jesus Christ? Or are you questioning whether they preached Jesus Christ at all?

rgprice
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Re: Did Paul consider himself the only one to see Jesus?

Post by rgprice » Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:51 am

Are you questioning only whether Cephas and James and the rest had received (or claimed to have received) revelations of Jesus Christ?
Yes, sort of. It seems that Paul's apostleship is based on the claim that Christ had been revealed to him alone. I'm asking is there any reason to think that Paul believed that Christ had been revealed to anyone other than himself, other than 1 Cor 15:3-11?

gryan
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Re: Did Paul consider himself the only one to see Jesus?

Post by gryan » Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:00 am

rgprice wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:51 am
...is there any reason to think that Paul believed that Christ had been revealed to anyone other than himself, other than 1 Cor 15:3-11?
What about the categorization of Cephas (and possibly James) among "those who were apostles before me" (Gal. 4:17)?

It could be argued that, unlike Paul, Cephas's call to be an "apostle" was from a human source, but Matt. 16:17 would argue against that inference from Paul's words: "Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven."
Last edited by gryan on Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Did Paul consider himself the only one to see Jesus?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:49 am

I do not think there is any pat answer to the question the OP asks. Paul tells us precious little about the actual beliefs and apostolic practices of Cephas, Apollos, James, John, and others. Therefore, any argument from silence (Paul does not mention revelations to those people, therefore they did not claim them) is obviously invalid. But that invalidity does nothing to establish the proposition that the other apostles did receive revelations.

As I mentally rescan the Pauline epistles for what must be the millionth time of my adult life, the things that seem most relevant are:
  1. Paul is, by his own reckoning, not the first apostle (as gryan points out), according to Galatians 1.17. He seems to be thinking of a certain kind of person, a certain office in the faith, so our task is to determine what he means by that term. What makes somebody an apostle?
  2. In 1 Corinthians 9.1 Paul lays his seeing of the Lord alongside his being an apostle. I do not think it is valid to read this verse as suggesting that anyone who sees the Lord is automatically an apostle (since not everyone who is free is automatically an apostle), but the wording is what we would expect if, to be an apostle, one has to have seen the Lord (that is, seeing the Lord is a necessary but not sufficient requirement); I am not sure it is what we would expect if seeing the Lord had nothing to do with being an apostle.
  3. In the same chapter, in verse 14, Paul writes, "So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel." This verse is traditionally interpreted as referring to Jesus' mission instructions to the Twelve during his ministry, but if that is the case then of course it is game over for this entire line of questioning. It is possible to interpret this command as coming from God the Father, here called Lord, but I am not convinced that Paul ever, of his own accord, calls the Father by that title to the exclusion of Jesus. In verse 1, for instance, he refers explicitly to "Jesus our Lord," and in 8.6 he has just stated that there is one God, the Father, and "one Lord, Jesus Christ." If the Lord giving this commandment to the apostles is Jesus, then, how would the other apostles have received it if not by some kind of revelation? In context, they seem to be following the command, since Paul himself is the one who has to explain why his practice differs, so why are they following the command? If this command is one of the things revealed to those other apostles by the Lord Jesus, this question is answered trivially. If not, what is the real answer?
  4. In 2 Corinthians 12.1-5, precisely in the context of Paul comparing himself to and contrasting himself with other apostles, Paul writes of his own vision of the Lord, and the contrast he draws is not that he had the vision at all, but rather the greatness of the vision.
  5. In 1 Corinthians 14.26, in the context of church meetings, Paul envisions that pretty much any believer can have a revelation. If anyone can have a revelation, why not the other apostles? I imagine one could get around this point by distinguishing between different kinds of revelation, but I would have to see the argument.
A possible indication in the other direction, that an apostolic revelation was unique to Paul, might be Galatians 1.1. Paul could perhaps be read as suggesting that his own apostleship is from Jesus directly, whereas the other apostles were sent by men. I am not sure that is the best reading of that verse, but it seems possible, all else being equal.

rgprice
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Re: Did Paul consider himself the only one to see Jesus?

Post by rgprice » Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:10 am

Thanks Ben, that's pretty much what I concluded as well.

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MrMacSon
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Re: Did Paul consider himself the only one to see Jesus?

Post by MrMacSon » Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:53 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:49 am
Paul tells us precious little about the actual beliefs and apostolic practices of Cephas, Apollos, James, John, and others.
Yep. And it creates a 'lacuna' which supersedes all lacunae.

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:49 am
Therefore, any argument from silence (Paul does not mention revelations to those people, therefore they did not claim them) is obviously invalid.
Argument from silence is not fallacious -so not invalid- where silence is or would be unexpected (in the overall scheme of things).

And your comments move the goalposts from anticipated "actual beliefs and apostolic practices of Cephas, Apollos, James, John, and others" - and from anticipated mention of them - to "revelations to those people".

I wouldn't normally worry about terminology about categorisation of revelations but you then again appeal to revelations -
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:49 am

But that invalidity does nothing to establish the proposition that the other apostles did receive revelations.
- to receiving revelations (or not), no less.


The bottom line is
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:49 am
Paul tells us precious little about the actual beliefs and apostolic practices of Cephas, Apollos, James, John, and others.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Did Paul consider himself the only one to see Jesus?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:03 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:53 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:49 am
Paul tells us precious little about the actual beliefs and apostolic practices of Cephas, Apollos, James, John, and others.
Yep. And it creates a 'lacuna' which supersedes all lacunae.
What?
And your comments move the goalposts from anticipated "actual beliefs and apostolic practices of Cephas, Apollos, James, John, and others" - and from anticipated mention of them - to "revelations to those people".
Are you sure you understand what I am saying?

Bernard Muller
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Re: Did Paul consider himself the only one to see Jesus?

Post by Bernard Muller » Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:38 pm

The Galileans (like James, Peter, John) did not claim they got any revelation (nor they believed Jesus resurrected) because they did not share the new Christian beliefs.
See http://historical-jesus.info/108.html Did the early Galilean pillars of the Church of Jerusalem (Peter, John & Jesus' brother James) become Christians? There is an abundance of evidence and clues leading to a NO answer, despite the effort by the early Christian authors to show otherwise.

Cordially, Bernard

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MrMacSon
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Re: Did Paul consider himself the only one to see Jesus?

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:35 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:03 pm
Are you sure you understand what I am saying?
Yes, you wrote
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:49 am
Therefore, any argument from silence (Paul does not mention revelations to those people, therefore they did not claim them) is obviously invalid. But that invalidity does nothing to establish the proposition that the other apostles did receive revelations.
You're proposing the other apostles [probably] did receive revelations but they did not claim them.

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