Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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maryhelena
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by maryhelena »

StephenGoranson wrote: Sat Sep 18, 2021 4:15 am maryhelena wrote, in part (Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:13 am):
"Epistle Paul = an image, a symbol, of the life of the spirit; a personification of intellectual evolution, of life, death and rebirth of the spirit. A philosophical construct of how the human intellectual capacity works."

This may well reflect mh's thoughts, but does not engage history.
A personification of wisdom? Sophia. Solomon. Einstein (1879-1955). Paul?
History ? How about providing historical evidence for the NT figure of Paul. This hit and run approach to comments achieves nothing worthwhile.
StephenGoranson
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by StephenGoranson »

maryhelena, history, imo, is not always susceptible to proof of a mathematical sort. And with new finds accounts may need to be adjusted. Even if I wrote at length on why I consider an historical Paul, one who traveled, wrote, got into difficulties and so on, much more relatively probable than a Rube Goldberg-level complex machine invented symbolic one, you seem unlikely to consider the possibility. Even if, hypothetically, a construction crew accidentally opened a sealed tomb that was archaeologically datable, containing his bones and copies of some of his named writings and dated travel documents, would you reconsider? If such writings were found in Greek and Latin, which you don’t bother with—only English (but not the grammar, especially)—would any of that matter to you? (Would Yeats’ wonderful “Crazy Jane on God” be the same if translated into Greek?) On other topics there may be grounds for open-ended discussion. So why take the time to offer for your personal consideration an historical Paul, which--even here, BC&HF--some agree to, when you apparently fundamentally prefer your imaginary friend?
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DCHindley
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by DCHindley »

StephenGoranson wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 3:19 am maryhelena, history, imo, is not always susceptible to proof of a mathematical sort. And with new finds accounts may need to be adjusted. Even if I wrote at length on why I consider an historical Paul, one who traveled, wrote, got into difficulties and so on, much more relatively probable than a Rube Goldberg-level complex machine invented symbolic one, you seem unlikely to consider the possibility. Even if, hypothetically, a construction crew accidentally opened a sealed tomb that was archaeologically datable, containing his bones and copies of some of his named writings and dated travel documents, would you reconsider? If such writings were found in Greek and Latin, which you don’t bother with—only English (but not the grammar, especially)—would any of that matter to you? (Would Yeats’ wonderful “Crazy Jane on God” be the same if translated into Greek?) On other topics there may be grounds for open-ended discussion. So why take the time to offer for your personal consideration an historical Paul, which--even here, BC&HF--some agree to, when you apparently fundamentally prefer your imaginary friend?
There have been a couple of times I had suggested, just in general, that much of the drive behind mythicism is essentially a strong desire among some to wish away any possibility of a historical Jesus, or Paul, as if the NT accounts have to be 100% true (Jesus is a miracle working son of God as in the Gospels, or Paul a vociferous proponent of that image of Jesus angerly denouncing traditional Jews and their religious beliefs). These wishes can be traced, in most likelihood, to the wisher's own personal conflicts with Christainty as we are taught and society's attempts to enforce those beliefs on the wisher.

The response was usually "awww, you're just being a mindless apologist" despite the fact that I am not a Christian, but an agnostic (at best I'll consider the universe as a kind of living being, without any anthropomorphic attributes). We all do that kind of rationalization to a certain extent, I suppose, me you & everybody, but most of us are amenable to the possibility that the NT documents are the products of a fairly complex series of Hegelian dialectics by early Christians in response to historical circumstances that were thrown at them from without. Yes, "cognitive dissonance" at work to shape beliefs via normal human rationalization processes (as Leon Festinger had proposed).

Well, back to work ... DCH
ABuddhist
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by ABuddhist »

StephenGoranson wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 3:19 am So why take the time to offer for your personal consideration an historical Paul, which--even here, BC&HF--some agree to, when you apparently fundamentally prefer your imaginary friend?
1. In order to present the evidence.

2. In order to demonstrate further your reasoning and (alleged) skill in researching historical issues.

3. In order to refute what you think is an unreasonable model.

By not presenting evidence or reasoning for your assertions, you leave yourself vulnerable to accusations that you lack evidence or reasoning for your assertions.

All of that having been said, I have never read a sustained argument for why Paul should be regarded as fictional, and I do not believe such claims. But the best argument that I have read in favour of Paul's existence was written by Dr. Richard Carrier.
DCHindley wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 4:13 am There have been a couple of times I had suggested, just in general, that much of the drive behind mythicism is essentially a strong desire among some to wish away any possibility of a historical Jesus, or Paul, as if the NT accounts have to be 100% true (Jesus is a miracle working son of God as in the Gospels, or Paul a vociferous proponent of that image of Jesus angerly denouncing traditional Jews and their religious beliefs). These wishes can be traced, in most likelihood, to the wisher's own personal conflicts with Christainty as we are taught and society's attempts to enforce those beliefs on the wisher.
For what it is worth, I, a non-mythicist, think that Christianity would be strengthened as a faith if Jesus were revealed to have been a heavenly saviour figure who never was upon the Earth - because the Jesus in the Gospels is presented as such a cruel figure during his earthly ministry. Jesus the heavenly saviour figure would be similar to Amitabha Buddha the heavenly saviour figure - who, no Buddhists assert, was ever upon this world but who, some Buddhists believe, offers salvation to all people with faith in him.
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by StephenGoranson »

Thanks, David. If I may say so, imo, there is considerable truth in what you wrote.

ABuddhist, I was trying to explain myself to mh, but as you wrote, in part, “…Amitabha Buddha the heavenly saviour figure - who, no Buddhists assert, was ever upon this world..” may I note that very many Buddhists mention several incarnations?
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maryhelena
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by maryhelena »

StephenGoranson wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 3:19 am maryhelena, history, imo, is not always susceptible to proof of a mathematical sort. And with new finds accounts may need to be adjusted. Even if I wrote at length on why I consider an historical Paul, one who traveled, wrote, got into difficulties and so on, much more relatively probable than a Rube Goldberg-level complex machine invented symbolic one, you seem unlikely to consider the possibility.
So - no evidence for a historical Paul forthcoming.

Even if, hypothetically, a construction crew accidentally opened a sealed tomb that was archaeologically datable, containing his bones and copies of some of his named writings and dated travel documents, would you reconsider?
:banghead:

If such writings were found in Greek and Latin, which you don’t bother with—only English (but not the grammar, especially)—would any of that matter to you?
Here we go again - grammar........

Are You a Language Bully?

Those who use their advanced knowledge to embarrass or humiliate others are the absolute worst. Yet, for whatever reason, language bullies don’t seem to get this, or they don’t care. Either way, they are out there at this very moment, lurking, lying in wait, ready to pounce.

https://slate.com/human-interest/2013/0 ... t-out.html


(Would Yeats’ wonderful “Crazy Jane on God” be the same if translated into Greek?)
:confusedsmiley:

On other topics there may be grounds for open-ended discussion. So why take the time to offer for your personal consideration an historical Paul, which--even here, BC&HF--some agree to, when you apparently fundamentally prefer your imaginary friend?
Methinks, Stephen, that it's your position that holds on to Paul as an imaginary friend - just as Jesus is an imaginary friend, just as Santa Clause is an imaginary friend. I left the fairy tales behind many moons ago.....
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by neilgodfrey »

DCHindley wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 4:13 am There have been a couple of times I had suggested, just in general, that much of the drive behind mythicism is essentially a strong desire among some to wish away any possibility of a historical Jesus, or Paul, as if the NT accounts have to be 100% true (Jesus is a miracle working son of God as in the Gospels, or Paul a vociferous proponent of that image of Jesus angerly denouncing traditional Jews and their religious beliefs).
Such psychological profiling invites a mirror response: how to explain the psychological propensity to psychologically profile a certain point of view relating to a historical explanation of a major influence in our culture. Why do we think that a certain intellectual point of view or quest is a symptom of reactionary psychological needs or desires?

Sometimes we walk away from one another wondering why we never came even close to a meeting of minds and much later we discover that one or both of us were filtering everything being said by the other through some psychological profiling..... so everything being said was deemed to be confirmation of a particular psychological issue.
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by StephenGoranson »

There was, mh, one argument in there—that it is much easier to accept a human Paul that what complex conspiracy it would have taken to have faked him convincingly to so many ancient (and later) people.

It is not very important, I freely admit, that “Santa Clause” is usually spelled Santa Claus. No biggie. But for someone who relies on English only, so some readers might (rightly or wrongly) expect care with it, I do have a more relevant question:

The Biblical languages, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, seem to you not important for your interpretation of the Bible.
Yet, how would you know that?
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by neilgodfrey »

ABuddhist wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 4:20 am
StephenGoranson wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 3:19 am So why take the time to offer for your personal consideration an historical Paul, which--even here, BC&HF--some agree to, when you apparently fundamentally prefer your imaginary friend?
1. In order to present the evidence.

2. In order to demonstrate further your reasoning and (alleged) skill in researching historical issues.

3. In order to refute what you think is an unreasonable model.

By not presenting evidence or reasoning for your assertions, you leave yourself vulnerable to accusations that you lack evidence or reasoning for your assertions.
I would like to encourage Stephen to do the same for the same reasons. Simply targeting mh for the flaws in her approach does come across as a lazy (and, yes, most definitely bullying!) ride on the part of one who is too insecure to offer posts that invite serious engagement.
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maryhelena
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by maryhelena »

StephenGoranson wrote: Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:05 am There was, mh, one argument in there—that it is much easier to accept a human Paul that what complex conspiracy it would have taken to have faked him convincingly to so many ancient (and later) people.

It is not very important, I freely admit, that “Santa Clause” is usually spelled Santa Claus. No biggie. But for someone who relies on English only, so some readers might (rightly or wrongly) expect care with it, I do have a more relevant question:
So - you past the language bully test - full marks! oh - and five stars for your grammar book......

The Biblical languages, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, seem to you not important for your interpretation of the Bible.
Yet, how would you know that?
Without experts in Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic able to translate into English I would not have a NT to read. Once the translators translation is done - by one or many experts and their preferred translation - then the NT story is mine to evaluate as to it's historicity, it's allegory or mythology or theology. How do I know what I know ? In the end, Stephen, one seeks answers that satisfy ones own enquiring mind. Answers that make sense for oneself - that others differ - so be it. 'Truth' they say is like beauty - in the eye - or in the mind - of the beholder. Facts - of course - are a different matter......
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