Why Paul never quotes Jesus

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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spin
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

Post by spin »

GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 4:11 am
spin wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 12:52 amPaul's logic works much more clearly without there being resurrection stories (and the other superfluous and misleading stuff) preceding it.

Verse 12 often starts with "Now" which just isn't appropriate. The word δε usually indicates a contrarity/adversity, eg "but" as in "But if Jesus is proclaimed as raised from the dead how can some of you say there is no resurrection..." Paul states that he proclaimed his message in 15:2 and here in 15:12 he is arguing in support of that message.
It sounds to me that you think that Paul is saying in 15.12 that:

"But if Jesus is proclaimed as raised from the dead how can some of you say there is no resurrection [of Jesus]"

Am I reading you correctly there?

Because it reads to me that Paul is saying:

"But if Jesus is proclaimed as raised from the dead how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead [of everyone else]"
This latter represents Paul's thinking.
GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 4:11 am
spin wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 12:52 am15:12-19 is arguing at length in favour of resurrection, which would be redundant if the eye witness accounts in 15:3-7 were original.
I see. I agree that it would be redundant if Paul is talking about the resurrection of Jesus only in 15:12-19. But it is not redundant if the point is the resurrection of everyone generally. Would you agree with that?
15:13 is where the crunch comes that makes Paul's reasoning clear (and it's the reasoning all the way to verse 18).

"If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised"

But you think he's just told them that eye witnesses are clear that Jesus was raised. This verse has no sense if the eye witness accounts were original. Instead it has sense, because he is arguing through faith in the resurrection. 14 "if Christ has not been raised..." 15 "...whom he did not raise..." 16 "...then Christ has not been raised." 17 "If Christ has not been raised..."

If the eye witness accounts are original what the hell is he going on about? Of course Christ was raised. We have all this eye witness testimony, even 500 witnesses at once! They saw that he was raised, so there obviously is resurrection. You don't need to believe me. All you need to do is see that the resurrection applies to you as well.

This isn't what Paul is doing. Paul is trying to convince his readers that if there is no resurrection of the dead, how can Christ be raised? This is an article of his theology, which he develops for the next 30 verses or so. I see the eye witness stuff to be a non-Pauline addition from a source that misunderstands (or doesn't care) what Paul is saying in 15:12-19.

Dear passing reader, have I explained the issue clearly enough of the conflict between the existence of the eye witness accounts to the resurrection and Paul's argument for resurrection based on necessity? Reactions are appreciated.
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

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spin wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 7:56 am Dear passing reader, have I explained the issue clearly enough of the conflict between the existence of the eye witness accounts to the resurrection and Paul's argument for resurrection based on necessity? Reactions are appreciated.
"Clearly enough" is an ever-moving target but "clearly for me", yes. It was earlier proposed that the chapter in 1 Cor should be interpreted thus:
To paraphrase Paul: "To those who believe that Christ was raised by God but don't believe in a general resurrection of the dead in their graves, then how can you believe that Christ was raised? If there is no such thing as a resurrection of the dead, then Christ can't have been raised either. But we (Paul, Cephas, James, others(?)) have testified as to have seen the risen Christ, so we know that Christ was raised. Therefore there is also a general resurrection of the dead."
That proposed paraphrase stood out for me because it is not what we read in 1 Cor 15. If only the author had been so coherent as to say what the paraphrase says! The paraphrase is in fact a harmonization of two quite discrete points made. The original does not harmonize them at all in the way that the paraphrase does. The original passage is indeed confusing to a first time reader because of the failure to relate the two parts. The first time reader is struck by the failure to press home the logic of the eyewitnesses in preference for a rambling philosophical discourse. The first time reader is thus faced with a choice: find a way to harmonize the two parts or seek a simple explanation of the text as it is.

(Perish any suggestion that harmonization is a go-to apologists tool long since abandoned in certain critical fields of study.)
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

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spin wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 7:56 am
GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 4:11 amBecause it reads to me that Paul is saying:

"But if Jesus is proclaimed as raised from the dead how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead [of everyone else]"
This latter represents Paul's thinking.
Right. Okay, we are in agreement there.
spin wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 7:56 am15:13 is where the crunch comes that makes Paul's reasoning clear (and it's the reasoning all the way to verse 18).

"If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised"

But you think he's just told them that eye witnesses are clear that Jesus was raised. This verse has no sense if the eye witness accounts were original. Instead it has sense, because he is arguing through faith in the resurrection. 14 "if Christ has not been raised..." 15 "...whom he did not raise..." 16 "...then Christ has not been raised." 17 "If Christ has not been raised..."
No, his argument starts at 1 Cor 15:12, not 1 Cor 15:13. I'll give that part of the argument in full below. But if we start at 1 Cor 15:12, we have:

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

Paul is making an "IF" argument: "IF X, then Y. X, therefore Y". So:

* Some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead. BUT:
* IF Christ is preached as being raised from the dead, THEN how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead?
* Christ is preached as being raised from the dead. THEREFORE there is a general resurrection of the dead.

To Paul, it is a convincing argument, since presumably the "some among you" group believe that Christ was raised from the dead. To deny that there is a general resurrection of the dead, they also will have to deny that Christ was raised from the dead, thus making Paul and the others "false witnesses of God" (1 Cor 15:15, see below).
spin wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 7:56 amDear passing reader, have I explained the issue clearly enough of the conflict between the existence of the eye witness accounts to the resurrection and Paul's argument for resurrection based on necessity? Reactions are appreciated.
Yes, I'd also be interested in people's comments. To me, it seems pretty clear-cut.

Paul's argument can be seen outlined here. He is building an argument based on "IF X then Y. X, therefore Y". Take note of his "IF" statements, and then his conclusions based on his "IF" statements.

1 Cor 15:
12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

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GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 6:04 pm
spin wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 7:56 am15:13 is where the crunch comes that makes Paul's reasoning clear (and it's the reasoning all the way to verse 18).

"If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised"

But you think he's just told them that eye witnesses are clear that Jesus was raised. This verse has no sense if the eye witness accounts were original. Instead it has sense, because he is arguing through faith in the resurrection. 14 "if Christ has not been raised..." 15 "...whom he did not raise..." 16 "...then Christ has not been raised." 17 "If Christ has not been raised..."
No, his argument starts at 1 Cor 15:12, not 1 Cor 15:13.
I didn't say anything different. The argument obviously starts at 15:12. The problem comes when Paul says

13. "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised"

But this is blatantly silly, if there were eye witness statements that show Christ had been raised.
GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 6:04 pm I'll give that part of the argument in full below. But if we start at 1 Cor 15:12, we have:

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

Paul is making an "IF" argument: "IF X, then Y. X, therefore Y". So:

* Some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead. BUT:
* IF Christ is preached as being raised from the dead, THEN how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead?
* Christ is preached as being raised from the dead. THEREFORE there is a general resurrection of the dead.

To Paul, it is a convincing argument, since presumably the "some among you" group believe that Christ was raised from the dead. To deny that there is a general resurrection of the dead, they also will have to deny that Christ was raised from the dead, thus making Paul and the others "false witnesses of God" (1 Cor 15:15, see below).
Funnily enough I agree with much of the above and it makes sense... without the eye witnesses. When you introduce the eye witnesses you have to start inventing stuff about "false witness" in the Corinthians' minds to account for Paul's logic. But there is no sign of such thought. He says

17. "If Christ be not raised, your faith is futile"

That's it. There is no blowback on any eye witnesses in Paul's thought. That's all you. Paul doesn't mince. He calls his proselytes out when they get things wrong ("You foolish Galatians"! Or see no holds barred 1 Cor 11:22). He doesn't call into dispute any imagined imputation of false witness. No "Don't be silly, you Corinthians! If you want to accuse us of false witness, there is no hope for you."

Neil's comment seems apt, ie you seem to be harmonising the two disparate lines of thought, one that already has the gospels and notions of eye witnesses and the other that needs to dredge through the theology and argue that if there is no resurrection we are to be pitied.

ETA: On reflection the word μαρτυρεω ("to testify/witness") may be causing some difficulty, because you equate it to "eye witness testimony", but Paul uses the word to indicate imparting theological knowledge. He witnessed to the Corinthians about salvation through/in Jesus. In 15:15 he considers the possibility of he and his companions being ψευδομάρτυρες (false witnesses, or tellers of whoppers) "because we have witnessed that God raised up Christ". This is witnessing in the sense of proselytising. Nobody saw God raise Christ. It's theology that is witnessed — or preached. There is no claim here of having seen anything.
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

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I can't explain the disconnect between us, since we seem to agree on most of the text! Perhaps the disconnect between us is partly because you think I am arguing for proof of "eye witnesses"? I don't think I've used the term nor introduced it, other than the word "saw". It doesn't matter to my argument whether James, Paul and others were direct eye witnesses to the risen Christ, or were witnesses to 'seeing' the risen Christ revealed in Scriptures. (Personally I think the former, but as I said it doesn't matter to my argument). Either way, the Corinthians have to take on faith that Christ was 'seen' raised from the dead.
spin wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 8:46 pm The problem comes when Paul says

13. "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised"

But this is blatantly silly, if there were eye witness statements that show Christ had been raised.
How can it be silly? It's a lay down misère!

I'm assuming that Paul is arguing against a group who believe (1) Christ was raised from the dead, and (2) there is no general resurrection of the dead.

So, when it comes to Paul's argument: "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised", the group has to decide either:

1. "there is resurrection from the dead" OR
2. "Christ has not been raised from the dead".

Since the group believes that Christ has been raised from the dead, they will have to concede that there is also resurrection of the dead. QED from Paul (ignoring for the moment that Paul's logic is lacking)

I think that makes sense? If it doesn't, I'd like to understand why.
spin wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 8:46 pmFunnily enough I agree with much of the above and it makes sense... without the eye witnesses. When you introduce the eye witnesses you have to start inventing stuff about "false witness" in the Corinthians' minds to account for Paul's logic. But there is no sign of such thought. He says

17. "If Christ be not raised, your faith is futile"

That's it. There is no blowback on any eye witnesses in Paul's thought. That's all you.
But isn't referring to "false witnesses" that very blowback??? What else is Paul saying to that group other than "are you calling me a liar?"
spin wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 8:46 pmPaul doesn't mince. He calls his proselytes out when they get things wrong ("You foolish Galatians"! Or see no holds barred 1 Cor 11:22). He doesn't call into dispute any imagined imputation of false witness. No "Don't be silly, you Corinthians! If you want to accuse us of false witness, there is no hope for you."
Paul writes: "15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not."

Isn't that Paul calling out that group of Corinthians who believe there is no resurrection of the dead for making a "false witness" of Paul? What else can it mean? I'm not trying to be difficult. I genuinely don't understand where you think my analysis is lacking.

spin wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 8:46 pmETA: On reflection the word μαρτυρεω ("to testify/witness") may be causing some difficulty, because you equate it to "eye witness testimony", but Paul uses the word to indicate imparting theological knowledge. He witnessed to the Corinthians about salvation through/in Jesus. In 15:15 he considers the possibility of he and his companions being ψευδομάρτυρες (false witnesses, or tellers of whoppers) "because we have witnessed that God raised up Christ". This is witnessing in the sense of proselytising. Nobody saw God raise Christ. It's theology that is witnessed — or preached. There is no claim here of having seen anything.
I just saw this. Whether Paul means "eye witness" or "imparted theological knowledge" is irrelevant to the argument I am making. So that probably does explain our disconnect, if you think I am trying to make an argument around "eye witnesses".
Last edited by GakuseiDon on Sat Feb 05, 2022 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

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I can't see that you've added anything, GakuseiDon. That could just be me, but did you see the addition I made to my previous post?
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

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spin wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 10:06 pm I can't see that you've added anything, GakuseiDon. That could just be me, but did you see the addition I made to my previous post?
I did thanks spin. It confirms where our disconnect is. I think you are arguing that, if Paul was an actual eye-witness of the Risen Jesus (rather than a 'theological' witness), he would have argued other than he did in 1 Cor 15. As I'm not interested at this time in the argument around whether Paul was an actual eye-witness or not, it's a moot point for me. Thanks for your time! :thumbup:
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

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The interpretation of the bread as a symbol for the participation in the community, koinonia, was still dissatisfactory. In spite of teh skeded definitions (bread is the body vs, cup is the covenant in Jesus' blood), the wish for parallelity required the re-interpretation of the bread as the physical flesh of the lord, matching the wine as the physical blood.

It is still false to assume that the body was meant to be broken, only the bread was. After all, no bone shall be broken. Liekwise, the cup was poured, not Jesus' blood: It would be a grammatical mismatch of noun and participle to read it in the naive manner; consequently, there was still no theophagia implied.

This is the state of affairs befor ethe inter-paiul-ation was copied back into the evolution of the gospels from their pre-synoptic sources.
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

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GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 10:44 pm
spin wrote: Sat Feb 05, 2022 10:06 pm I can't see that you've added anything, GakuseiDon. That could just be me, but did you see the addition I made to my previous post?
I did thanks spin. It confirms where our disconnect is. I think you are arguing that, if Paul was an actual eye-witness of the Risen Jesus (rather than a 'theological' witness), he would have argued other than he did in 1 Cor 15. As I'm not interested at this time in the argument around whether Paul was an actual eye-witness or not, it's a moot point for me. Thanks for your time! :thumbup:
Further clarification...

The discussion is not about if Paul himself was an eye witness, but that if Paul actually had eye witness accounts his argument in 1 Cor 15:12-19 would be almost complete irrelevant. It would have been, as I'd basically put it before, "If you don't believe in the resurrection for you, look at what you learn from the eye witness: Jesus was raised, so resurrection is real."

As this is not his basic argument, he has to rely on rhetoric, rather than any eye witness statements. It's as though there were no eye witnesses stories in the account and 15:12 and its reference to what was proclaimed follows straight on from 15:1-2 and its remark about Paul's proclamation.

Not only is 15:3-11 irrelevant to Paul's argument and interrupts the flow from 15:2 to 15:12, it is filled with problems. This is where you came in, "How is it problematic?" Well, the problems include

1) who are the twelve before ascension?
2) which scriptures are being referred to, if not the gospels?
3) how could Paul receive (παραλαμβανω, as a pupil from a master) information from anyone but God? and
4) how could Paul seriously describe himself as an abortion (εκτρωμα) when he was chosen by God before birth (Gal 1:15)?

Though each is a problem, for me the disconnect between the eye witness accounts and Paul's argument in 15:12-19 is sufficent in itself to show that the writer of the latter didn't know about the former. We agree on what the Corinthians' problem was that Paul was confronting and his basic approach to resolving it: either accept the implications of Jesus' resurrection or we are wasting our time. The eye witness accounts in no way help.
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

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spin wrote: Sun Feb 06, 2022 12:50 amFurther clarification...

The discussion is not about if Paul himself was an eye witness, but that if Paul actually had eye witness accounts his argument in 1 Cor 15:12-19 would be almost complete irrelevant. It would have been, as I'd basically put it before, "If you don't believe in the resurrection for you, look at what you learn from the eye witness: Jesus was raised, so resurrection is real."
Assuming that Paul had visions of the Risen Jesus similar to those presented in Acts of the Apostles: I just don't see those eye witness accounts making his arguments in 1 Cor 15:12-19 irrelevant. Since this has a connection to the topic of "Why Paul never quotes Jesus", I'll explain why further below. The key question about Paul is right at the end. This is a little long-winded, so apologies for that.

I'll note here the danger of using the orthodox 'newspaper reporter Jesus' position as the opposing position for an argument. As I explained earlier, the 'newspaper reporter Jesus Christ' position is that there were people following Jesus around, and were so impressed by his words and his miracles, that they concluded that Jesus must have been the Christ. Paul, impressed by these things and having a vision of the Risen Christ, becomes a Christian. So (as the argument goes) it would be natural for Paul to quote the words of Jesus Christ and recount the vision as evidence for Jesus to be the Christ.

But that 'newspaper reporter Jesus' doesn't work. Up until at least the end of the Second Century, it is the theological arguments around Jesus that are important, and not the words and miracles of Jesus. This includes Second Century writers who are obviously 'historicist' Christians, as I've pointed out many times. As I've quoted Doherty on this topic from his JNGNM:

As one can see by this survey, if one leaves aside Justin Martyr there is a silence in the 2nd Century apologists on the subject of the historical Jesus which is virtually equal of that found in the 1st century epistle writers. (Page 485)

And that's because it was the theological arguments that were important in the first few centuries. It wasn't Jesus's words and miracles that showed he was Christ, but the finding of him in scriptures. I'm guessing that this is one factor for why Paul and others didn't quote Jesus's words and miracles. They were irrelevant to the theological arguments being made.
spin wrote: Sun Feb 06, 2022 12:50 amAs this is not his basic argument, he has to rely on rhetoric, rather than any eye witness statements. It's as though there were no eye witnesses stories in the account and 15:12 and its reference to what was proclaimed follows straight on from 15:1-2 and its remark about Paul's proclamation.
I think that the eye-witness accounts (assuming something similar to those in Acts of the Apostles) are all but irrelevant to the argument Paul is making in 1 Cor 15. As I've already noted (and I think we are agreed) Paul is making a theological argument.

I think a lot of counter-orthodox people on this board like Spin and Neil (no disrepect to either) are still in the thrall of the orthodox 'newspaper reporter Jesus Christ' position, in that it appears the expectation is that Jesus's words and miracles would have been of primary interest to the orthodox position. But that is coming from a position of 2000 years of Christianity.

Put yourself into the shoes of a Jew in Paul's time. He is told that Jesus said some wise things. But so what? Others have said wise things. That doesn't make him the Christ. He is told that Jesus performed miracles. But so what? Other people have performed miracles. That doesn't make him Christ. He is told by Paul that Paul had a vision of Jesus. But so what? Others have appeared in visions. That doesn't make him Christ. So what convinces my hypothetical Jew that Jesus was Christ? It was the theological arguments. That is what we are told in Acts of the Apostles, and I think that it is non-controversial that this was represented as the primary method of converting the Jews:

Acts
17.1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
2. And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3. Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
4. And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.
...
11. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
12 Therefore many of them believed...
...
24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus...
... 28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.


If you reread 1 Cor 15 in light of the above, you can see that Paul is making an argument based on Jesus being Christ as according to scriptures.

Now put yourself into the shoes of a Corinthian Christian believer who believes (1) that Christ was raised from the dead, and (2) that there is no general resurrection from the dead.

What benefit is there for Paul to tell them that he had had a vision of the Risen Christ? They already believe that Christ had been raised from the dead. Isn't it irrelevant to Paul's theological argument?
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