Was Paul innocent or a liar?

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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Was Paul innocent or a liar?

Post by Giuseppe »

Unfortunately, the question is not stupid.

Historicists are inclined to see Paul as a Great Liar, one who deliberately eclipsed the historical Jesus because something had to be hidden.

In a page facebook of an academic, I read something as: "I am with Jesus, not with Paul". The immediate context was a list of antithetis between "good" and "bad" things.

Mythicists see Paul as basically innocent, one who was/is accused unfairly/irrationally of having done a Great Conspiracy by eclipsing forever the "truth" about Jesus.

Given your background assumptions about human nature (the same in all the ages), do you think that the default position about the character of one has to be: guilty until proven guilty, or innocent a priori?
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mlinssen
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Re: Was Paul innocent or a liar?

Post by mlinssen »

Your are hopelessly confusing (at least) two very important differences, Giuseppe: telling the truth (to the best of your knowledge) or not telling the truth, and doing so either on purpose or by accident

1. Did Paul tell that which was the truth at the moment that he told it?

We can't judge him by any other standards or measures, truth is an opinion that changes through time, be that something gets refined or revised, or sometimes even entirely discarded

2. Was that very "truth" a real Truth, accepted by 90% of the people? Or were there many truths on the subject / topic at hand

Absolute truths don't exist, of course, nothing is 100% true unless you add context and condition.
"If you're dead you won't become alive again" is a fine example of something that is not absolutely true.
"If you have been dead for a week you won't become alive again" is absolutely true (to the best of my knowledge)

3. Should he have known what that Truth was ?

4. Should he have intended to tell that Truth, or did he have valid reasons to disagree with it?

Take the flat earth - that was a Truth at various points in time. If someone then said the earth was round, was he deliberately lying or merely making a valid point?

So, please, if you really want to get an answer, you have to define and refine your question

And change your last sentence LOL, although I rather like the attitude to view certain people as guilty until proven guilty. All Church fathers belong to that pack in my eyes
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Giuseppe
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Re: Was Paul innocent or a liar?

Post by Giuseppe »

mlinssen wrote: Sat May 15, 2021 10:51 pm Your are hopelessly confusing (at least) two very important differences, Giuseppe: telling the truth (to the best of your knowledge) or not telling the truth, and doing so either on purpose or by accident

1. Did Paul tell that which was the truth at the moment that he told it?
Paul told us the his truth: about Christ what was worthy of knowledge was only death and resurrection. Period.

Was he innocent in saying so?

Otherwise put, the Pillars before Paul would have agreed with Paul ?
  • The Mythicists answer: yes.
  • The historicists answer: no.
Tertium non datur.
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Peter Kirby
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Re: Was Paul innocent or a liar?

Post by Peter Kirby »

Giuseppe wrote: Sat May 15, 2021 9:56 pm Historicists are inclined to see Paul as a Great Liar, one who deliberately eclipsed the historical Jesus because something had to be hidden.

In a page facebook of an academic, I read something as: "I am with Jesus, not with Paul". The immediate context was a list of antithetis between "good" and "bad" things.

Mythicists see Paul as basically innocent, one who was/is accused unfairly/irrationally of having done a Great Conspiracy by eclipsing forever the "truth" about Jesus.
This is remarkably perceptive.

Christianity attracted to itself all the varieties of Judaism that posited a secondary figure other than God the Father, as shown by the incorporation of many of the texts into the Nag Hammadi Library, with all their variety. Were they waiting in the wings for a peasant to die on a cross so that they could elevate that man to divinity? Quite a remarkable idea. This may be a caricature of the mainstream view, but it's not an unfair one.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Was Paul innocent or a liar?

Post by Giuseppe »

The following is my translation of a poem written by Mauro Pesce (facebook, 7 March 2021), a historicist academic who rejects mythicism:

for the slaves not for the free
for Jesus not for Paul
for Jews not for Christians
for Symmachus not for Ambrose
for the Indios not for the Spaniards
for the Indigenous not for the pilgrim fathers
for Müntzer, Castellione and the Sozzini
For Galileo not for Bellarmine
For Descartes not for Pascal
for Richard Simon not for Bossuet
for mothers not for fathers
for thinking not for believing
for the 90% not for us well-to-do in Europe and North America
not for ratzinger and wojtyla
for water and inhabited forests
for the very poor
for those who escape and climb over walls and seas
for a sweet death for the meek

in the expression "for Jesus not for Paul" the implication is that Paul is not innocent.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Was Paul innocent or a liar?

Post by Giuseppe »

Peter Kirby wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 12:55 am Christianity attracted to itself all the varieties of Judaism that posited a secondary figure other than God the Father, as shown by the incorporation of many of the texts into the Nag Hammadi Library, with all their variety. Were they waiting in the wings for a peasant to die on a cross so that they could elevate that man to divinity?
I try to imagine how best historicists (for an example, Greg Doudna) may answer your question.
Possibly:

they were waiting in the wings for an entire people to die on a cross so that they could elevate a particular man to divinity.
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Re: Was Paul innocent or a liar?

Post by davidmartin »

In galatians he denies having anything to do with the original movement, to the supposed founders of the original movement :wtf:
This can be logically resolved if the 'pillars' he encounters are not part of the original movement, ergo these 'James' and 'Peter' are some offshoot or related sect that opposes the earlier movement. Maybe there was a real James and a Peter but it wasn't these guys he meets in galatians

Why? Because Paul's gospel looks a bit like what the earlier movement's gospel was and it was different from what the pillars were saying who possibly were trying to steer the movement to be more normal and acceptable, traditional. For this historical reading to make sense the movement has to already be massively split by this point into competing and opposing factions

As regards the earlier movement Paul can still have been an apostate from their perspective, but from that of the pillars he looks a bit like one of them so he must deny it. Thus Paul would be more accurate and a better window to what came before than reconstructing what the pillars might have been saying

As to what the earlier movement might have looked like. I think we have that in the odes of solomon
The relationship between Thomas and these Odes I can't get a handle on at all that would be pretty interesting

That's basically the origins i occasionally mention on here from how it looks to me
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Giuseppe
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Re: Was Paul innocent or a liar?

Post by Giuseppe »

EVIDENCE THAT PAUL WAS A LIAR:

According to Paul's account in Galatians, he was not made an apostle by authorization from people in Jerusalem. Paul never was an apostle in the sense that others were, at all. He only says he was. On what basis does Paul say he was an apostle when the Jerusalem apostles say he never was? Paul says he was made an apostle not by authorization from Jerusalem but instead he was made so "by Christ". I think that the historical nucleus of this is found in the Gerasene Demonic episode, localized by the Gospel of Barnabas in Capernaum, not coincidentially the same place where Marcion had his divine Christ's descent witnessed by his Only Apostle: Paul.
Someway, Paul knew Jesus in a war context where he was defeated (with the "Legion") by Jesus, so later he used this experience to sell it as a special conversion and designation of him as apostle by Christ himself.

This was Paul's story. In a sense he had to come up with this story once it became known from the actual Jerusalem apostles that Paul never was authorized, never had letters, from Jerusalem. So Paul claimed he had been made an apostle of Jesus by Jesus himself, citing that traumatic encounter.

A lot makes sense in Galatians read as responses to ancient scandals coming to light regarding Paul. Paul is quite good in his rhetoric in spinning things in his defense. Why, if Paul was an "apostle", did he never go to Jerusalem with the other apostles before him? Paul turns that criticism into a badge of honor: because he was sent by Christ, not by any mere man. So there is the origin of the scandal that he was an imposter-apostle that the actual apostles had never heard of at the time he was saying he had been an apostle.
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Irish1975
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Re: Was Paul innocent or a liar?

Post by Irish1975 »

I don’t see the question of Paul’s innocence or mendacity as meaningful unless we can determine what Paul said. That is, excavate the historical Paul, or at least weed out all the interpolations with high confidence. Which seems unattainable given our sources (i.e. late canonical manuscripts, plus the testimony of untrustworthy church fathers.)

A safer conclusion would be that, whatever the degree of Paul’s dishonesty, it was exceeded by the dishonesty of the men who edited the New Testament.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Was Paul innocent or a liar?

Post by Giuseppe »

Given this holy caveat :
Irish1975 wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 10:03 am A safer conclusion would be that, whatever the degree of Paul’s dishonesty, it was exceeded by the dishonesty of the men who edited the New Testament.
...I think that, if we introduce Josephus in the discussion, the probabilities increase that the historical Paul was a liar.

I am awaiting this obscure book:

Image

...where the case was made the first time, about the Josephus' Saul (a Herodian gangster) having recycled himself as Paul the Apostle, in order to cast the Sicarii's ideology/Fourth Philosophy in a new pro-Roman form.
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