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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GakuseiDon
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by GakuseiDon »

I love this clip (1 min 50 secs) with Benny Hinn, whom someone at the start of the clip calls "that new age guy". I think of Benny Hinn as a modern day Paul, with the heckler in the clip as a person from James' Jewish Christian faction.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV88GrTjrkg
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maryhelena
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by maryhelena »

robert j wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:54 pm Part 1 --- Paul Was No Saint

Mostly only children believe in Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, and the tooth-fairy --- but millions of adults today believe in a great Saint Paul.

Among those that would stop well-short of sainthood, many would still picture some version of an evangelist and true believer.

I think Paul’s letters reveal a first-century Jewish missionary who promised interested Gentiles an easy short-cut to full participation with the chosen people of the great and ancient God of Israel. And I think Paul wrote those letters to his congregations of potential patrons --- after he had visited with them and gained their interest in his spiritual system.
All you have are assumptions re a historical Paul. Assumptions based on a literal reading of the Pauline epistles. Stories - as in Santa Claus, the Easter bunny and the tooth-fairy - as also Jesus on a cross and Paul in a basket - provide powerful images. But images, as we all well know in this day and age, are just that - images. Images, symbols, to convey whatever the marketing managers want to convey to their customers. Anything from youth and beauty to nationalism and politics. It's the reality behind the image that is important not how well constructed the image is.

Those who were involved in the NT writings provided us with the images - it's up to us to discern the 'message' behind the image. Do the beauty products deliver; does a particular political theory deliver - hence - what were the NT writers attempting to deliver with the images of Jesus and Paul they developed ? Images for the sake of images as in an artistic creativity - or images as more commonly used in marketing. Of course, an artistic image can cost millions and probably ends up in a museum and viewed on special occasions. The Jesus and Paul images are images for mass marketing. Everyday images, available to all. However, if the Jesus and Paul images are to have relevance for the modern world - we need to understand the marketing plan. Why were these images created, for what purpose? What relevance do these images have for living in the here and now? These are the sort of questions that need to be asked.

Paul as a criminal, Paul as a liar - all that does is taking the Paul image at face value - a bit of a shady character after money and prominence. Not too different than many a con-man or cult leader. Christianity sets itself up as being on the high moral ground - if there is anything to this - to Pauline philosophy - then the reality behind the Paul image is not a reality of criminality or lies. It's not a case of a 'bad' person becoming a 'good' person - its rather a case of philosophical development. Philosophical development captured, as it were, in the literary image of the NT Paul figure. Ideas, after all, can liberate and they can enslave. Ideas can build up or they can tear down. Sometimes one pays the price for an idea - as did the heretics - and many today who are caught up in cancel culture.

The NT figure of Paul is a 'spiritual' image - but a 'spiritual' image unlike the gospel Jesus image. The Paul image reflects not physicality, not historical political realities. It reflects the human spirit - in other words, our intellectual capacity. While the Paul image is bound up with universalism as opposed to the nationalism of the Jesus image - the Paul image reflects not just the specifics of Pauline philosophy but philosophy itself. The life, death and rebirth of the spirit, of our intellectual evolution. The NT Paul image is an image of how our intellect works - an image of how ideas can remake us.

Paul as a historical figure - as a criminal and a liar ? How sad - to diminish the image of Paul the NT writers provided us with, to an image of weakness of the human flesh. Weakness only has power in intellectual development - when an old idea goes willingly to its grave. Paul as an image of the human mind, the human spirit, the human intellect - therein lies the power of Pauline philosophy.

Paul as an image of our intellectual evolution - intellectual evolution with all it's many starts, its tragedies and it's triumphs - is an idea whose time has come.... :D What the West, the Christian world, needs today is not a rehash of literal readings of the NT- it's time to set the NT free from such kindergarten stories........
davidmartin
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by davidmartin »

MH i keep get the feeling you are onto something but find it hard to get to the nub of what you are on about
It's like the difference between a holy man and a sinner. Paul never comes over as a holy man does he? He comes over as a sinner
In the Pauline philosophy we can never be holy men or women and i think i've always objected to that. There is no sense of self worth or goodness
i may be a simple man but to me it was always pretty clear what the gospel Jesus was saying but when i got to Paul nothing made sense any more any attraction i had to the gospel Jesus is vaporised but that's ok. I can ignore who i want when i want and choose my own path
gryan
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by gryan »

robert j wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:59 pm
Next, the author of Romans frames the questions in verses 3:5 and 3:7 in a parallel manner. A general case to a specific case ---


Romans 3:5


Romans 3:7

But if But if
our unrighteousnessin my lie
shows God's righteousness,the truth of God abounded to His glory,
what shall we say?why am I also still judged as a sinner?

Maybe I missed something. Did you say what it was that, in your interpretation, Paul was claiming to be lying about? In this passage quoted above, was Paul, in your view, admitting that his personal faith claims were lies? And was he, in your view, being honest only in the places where he claimed to be asking for money or trying to form assemblies (of mutually supportive dupes and fellow liars)?
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maryhelena
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by maryhelena »

davidmartin wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 5:06 am MH i keep get the feeling you are onto something but find it hard to get to the nub of what you are on about
Gospel Jesus = an image, a symbol, that reflects physical, historical, realities. Flesh and blood. Identity.
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.

Evolution of our physical bodies has, as it were, given way to evolution of our intellect; the focus of evolution has shifted - it has become a 'spiritual' evolution. That is not to say that the specifics of Pauline philosophy are some sort of gold standard - that would be to chain philosophy to the first century c.e. The gold standard is the mechanism itself, the mechanism of intellectual evolution, a mechanism of life, death and rebirth of the spirit. Ideas come and they go. Ideas build on the past while jettisoning the debris of failed or outdated ideas. Some ideas go willingly; other ideas hang on to their glory days before they get 'crucified'. The Jerusalem above mirrors the Jerusalem below - with one exception. There is an intellectual value in crucifying an idea. There is no moral value in human flesh and blood crucifixion. Context matters.
StephenGoranson
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by StephenGoranson »

Simon Gathercole wrote an article about Paul’s writings that, imo, is good: “The Historical and Human Existence of Jesus in Paul’s Letters,“ Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 16 (2018) 183-212.

Here is the abstract:
The present article seeks to show that the case for the mythical Jesus is seriously undermined by the evidence of the undisputed Pauline epistles. By way of a thought experiment, these letters are taken in isolation from other early Christian literature, and are discussed in dialogue with mythicist scholarship. Attention to the language of the birth, ancestry and coming of Jesus demonstrates the historicity and human bodily existence of Jesus. There is also information about his ministry, disciples, teaching and character in the epistles which has been neglected. Paul’s letters, even taken alone, also show the Herodian timeframe of Jesus’ ministry. The evidence discussed challenges not only mythicist hypotheses, but also the minimalist strand of more mainstream Jesus-Paul research.

And the beginning:
“Mythicism”, the view that there never was a Jesus of history, has in recent years attracted increasing interest from scholars. This interest is a positive development, not only because of the increasing attempts by mythicists to engage with scholarship, but even more importantly because of growing Jesus-scepticism among the general public. One area which is an important and contested area of this debate is the Pauline epistles, which are now being taken more and more by mythicists to attest to a non-historical Jesus. The history of Paul’s place in the mythicism debate has not yet been written, although Schweitzer’s treatments in both the second edition of the Quest as well as in Paul and his Recent Interpreters touch upon it. [….]
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maryhelena
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by maryhelena »

A book I highly recommend - especially chapters 15 and 16.

Chapter 15: Paul's Biography - Increasingly Difficult.
Chapter 16: Paul: The Penny Finally Drops.

Image

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/190 ... bl_vppi_i4
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by neilgodfrey »

StephenGoranson wrote: Fri Sep 17, 2021 5:44 am Simon Gathercole wrote an article about Paul’s writings that, imo, is good: “The Historical and Human Existence of Jesus in Paul’s Letters,“ Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 16 (2018) 183-212.
Tim Widowfield wrote a response: "Gathercole Dabbles with Counterfactual History"

Here is the beginning
Let me state at the outset here that I fully understand the actual merits of Simon Gathercole’s recent article in the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus do not matter. Its mere existence suffices for the task at hand. In other words, it is not necessary for mainstream scholarship to demonstrate that Paul’s writings prove the existence of the historical Jesus; it is only necessary to assert it.
and near the conclusion:
Gathercole and most other modern NT scholars cannot separate Paul’s Christ from the gospels’ Jesus, even when they consciously try to do so. Notice as well that one of the section headings in his article refers to Jesus’ “arrest.” What arrest? Paul says he was handed over. Without the canonical gospels, would we have assumed a betrayal and an arrest?

Gathercole writes about Jesus’ “earthly life and ministry.” Without the gospels, where would we come up with the term “ministry” to refer to Jesus’ life and works? What ministry? . . . .
yakovzutolmai
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by yakovzutolmai »

This has made me consider a new hypothesis about Paul.

There is a Basilides who has some prophetic and religious role in elevating Vespasian into a divine role. Based on Suetonius, one can easily find a famous astrologer who once was governor of Egypt: Tiberius Claudius Balbilus. Son of the famous Thrysallus. He married a princess of Commagene for unclear reasons, but the father was notably close to Herod Agrippa and Caligula. Balbilus was also court astrologer for Nero, known to Seneca, and generally well regarded in this capacity and well liked throughout his life.

Vespasian makes Balbilus effectively master of Ephesus.

I have a previous hypothesis that Vespasian is the Flavius Scaevinus of the Piso conspiracy, and that he was forced to flee Rome and hide in the East until Nero saw fit to use him to suppress the Jewish Revolt. Tiberius Alexander of Philo's family, commanding the legions in Egypt, provided Vespasian his first major military support as claimant emperor.

I would propose that Vespasian's failure with the Piso conspiracy led to a panicked exile possibly to Corinth or the area. Here, Balbilus meets him to reassure and support him. We don't know if Thrysallus or Balbilus were Jewish, but in context they certainly could have been. They had, at least preeminence in Egypt.

In Corinth, a plot is hatched whereby Vespasian will be declared the Jewish messiah. It is a two-birds-with-one-stone gambit, as it will also involve the subversion of the violent Christian cult. Balibilus - Basilides - writes the authentic epistles and there begins a ministry of subversion. This coincides with the emergence of the "emperor from the East" and "false Nero" prophecies which seem to have had a Greek epicenter. This also is the beginning of the Flavian church led by Clement.

Later, while Balbilus is in Ephesus the cult has served its political purpose, so he writes the deutero-paulines. In these he more eagerly embraces his own hermetic interests.

Balbilus's grandaughter, perhaps, sponsors the school of Gnostics Balbilus left behind and these become the Basilidians.

So Paul #1 is an agent of propaganda and subversion with an agenda, Paul #2 is the truer face of the author. In this sense, Marcion's Gnostic Paul is consistent with the latter Paul and the latter agenda of Balbilus's life in Ephesus. Orthodox Paul is an idiosyncratic totem of Roman interests.

EDIT: That is, Paul is a character of Balbilus's invention. First for "work" purposes. Then, later in life Balbilus revisits the popular character in order to give attention to more personal interests. This kind of pattern can be seen with many authors of fiction.
StephenGoranson
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Re: Paul --- A Criminal and a Liar

Post by StephenGoranson »

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?
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