Why Paul never quotes Jesus

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

Post by davidmartin »

It's worth mentioning a 'resurrection' was fairly well established in Jewish thought at the time, I don't know if you could call it 'normative' but certainly quite widely accepted or being accepted. I think that position solidified into the oral Torah a century or two later (would anyone more knowledgeable confirm/elucidate?)
"If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised"
I suspect Paul's opponents were saying that Christ and everyone else are translated immediately elsewhere upon death (heaven/paradise?) so there is no need to speak of a resurrection especially not a future one or a physical one. Paul is cleverly framing that argument to be non-sensical but it only works if there is a future physical resurrection in the first place. I suspect Paul here is being forced to affirm a physical resurrection when he might not have originally spoke of it (the 'being caught up in the clouds' stuff) to fit in with a prevailing view that he feels he must also affirm
So am I saying there was no prior belief then that Christ was resurrected physically until Paul?
Well, it is possible to imagine talk of a spiritual non-physical encounter with the risen Christ sure... perhaps Paul made it a requirement for that to have been a physical resurrection. It all gets a bit confusing ... is a bright light and vision 'physical'? Are spiritual things taking place in the material world 'physical'? I just think here Paul is driving a wedge in, making his gospel the only acceptable one as he generally does.

In other words Paul is doing battle with an excess of immanence, but it's very obvious immanence forms a great part of his own gospel so my suggestion is immanence is the prior belief, and this certainly connects into the history of Jewish belief generally which does not have originally a concept of resurrection - thus there is an argument Paul's opponent are holding onto a more traditional belief here in this area. Hence all the ambiguity in the gospel accounts over whether Jesus is physically resurrected or not (mistaken identities, lights, visions, over the top confirmations it is physical, Mark's short ending etc, the famous comma, this day you will be with me in paradise). Paul sometimes is driving a square peg into a round hole, his opponents had the luxury of possessing a round peg
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spin
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

Post by spin »

GakuseiDon, I have always attempted to read Paul for what he actually says, trying not to import ideas from elsewhere that most likely would obfuscate his words, seeing as he is our earliest writer about Jesus and everything else is bound to be later and assume tradition more developed or shaped.

This makes your "newspaper reporter Jesus" constraint nothing to do with my approach to Paul. I don't have expectations about his content other than to note an intention to communicate his messages clearly and persuasively. At the same time attempting to use Acts as a key to clarify Paul is totally against efforts to fathom Paul's own ideas, as Acts was written many decades after Paul's time (as an effort to establish apostolic priority and put Paul in his place—somewhat like 1 Cor 15:3-11—, suggesting perhaps that Acts is a response to early Marcionite activity).

I go just that little further than you when you say eye witness accounts "are all but irrelevant to the argument Paul is making in 1 Cor 15". He argues as though those accounts weren't there, ie they are just plain irrelevant to his argument, not "all but". He doesn't develop on them, make use of them, or show any reason for their presence in his developing thought. Not only do they interrupt the flow of his discussion, but they serve no purpose. You can omit the eye witness reports without changing his thought and would even clarify that thought.

The eye witness accounts are highly ideological: they put those who knew Jesus first (the apostles of the tradition) and they put Paul last; Paul is an abortion, but because of his traditional significance he is brought into the apostolic fold; so that it is no longer Paul, but "we" (including the abortion). 1 Cor 15:3-11 doesn't serve Paul at all, but it does serve later orthodoxy.

Naturally eye witness accounts (though not necessarily his vision) would have had impact with his Corinthian readers, but Paul doesn't utilise, or show any knowledge of, those accounts in 1 Cor 15:12-19. He argues as though they weren't there and he hadn't spent nine sentences writing about them. Their lack of purpose or relevance is what makes it obvious that they were not part of Paul's discourse, ie they were added later without Paul's knowledge.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

Post by neilgodfrey »

GakuseiDon wrote: Sun Feb 06, 2022 10:42 pm 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?
Is it not somewhat bewildering, in that case, that Paul does not remind Corinthian resurrection deniers of the "theological" argument as found in the scriptures for the general resurrection?

By the way, it happens that I have only yesterday completed translating a Dutch article by J.H. Scholten in which he presents a reasonable case that the earliest Gospel of John (i.e. before someone added the second ending and another addition or so) taught the very thing that some of Paul's dissidents are saying: that the resurrection is spiritual and happened at the moment of one having faith in Jesus who is none other than the Resurrection itself.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

Post by GakuseiDon »

neilgodfrey wrote: Mon Feb 07, 2022 3:34 pm
GakuseiDon wrote: Sun Feb 06, 2022 10:42 pmNow 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?
Is it not somewhat bewildering, in that case, that Paul does not remind Corinthian resurrection deniers of the "theological" argument as found in the scriptures for the general resurrection?
What is the theological argument in the scriptures for the general resurrection? I'm guessing that some of the early converted Christians were converted from Sadduccees or those of similar beliefs, so they didn't believe in a general resurrection. It appears that there was an on-going debate amongst the Jews around a resurrection of the dead.
neilgodfrey wrote: Mon Feb 07, 2022 3:34 pmBy the way, it happens that I have only yesterday completed translating a Dutch article by J.H. Scholten in which he presents a reasonable case that the earliest Gospel of John (i.e. before someone added the second ending and another addition or so) taught the very thing that some of Paul's dissidents are saying: that the resurrection is spiritual and happened at the moment of one having faith in Jesus who is none other than the Resurrection itself.
Sounds interesting! I'll look forward to reading this on Vridar if you cover it there.
davidlau17
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

Post by davidlau17 »

Is it entirely clear that Paul is arguing for a "general resurrection" in the Augustine understanding? I've interpreted to 1 Corinthians 15 to have a Chiliastic meaning to it - as in, Paul is specifically referring to the resurrection of dead believers that he thinks will occur during the end times and ushering in of the Messianic Age. And since he thought the Messiah had been raised, presumably he thought this would occur very soon.

1 Corinthians 15: 24-28
Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.

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neilgodfrey
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

Post by neilgodfrey »

GakuseiDon wrote: Mon Feb 07, 2022 10:14 pm What is the theological argument in the scriptures for the general resurrection? I'm guessing that some of the early converted Christians were converted from Sadduccees or those of similar beliefs, so they didn't believe in a general resurrection. It appears that there was an on-going debate amongst the Jews around a resurrection of the dead.
I thought your point was that the Acts passage was evidence that Paul convinced people that Jesus was Christ on the basis of the scriptures, and that same Acts passage says that that proof involved Christ's resurrection from the dead.
davidmartin
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

Post by davidmartin »

neilgodfrey wrote: Mon Feb 07, 2022 3:34 pm By the way, it happens that I have only yesterday completed translating a Dutch article by J.H. Scholten in which he presents a reasonable case that the earliest Gospel of John (i.e. before someone added the second ending and another addition or so) taught the very thing that some of Paul's dissidents are saying: that the resurrection is spiritual and happened at the moment of one having faith in Jesus who is none other than the Resurrection itself.
Yes this is great to hear. It's what's found in non-canonicals too
Those who say that the Lord died first and (then) rose up are in error, for he rose up first and (then) died. If one does not first attain the resurrection, he will not die
G.Philip

The conclusion would follow that Paul is re-interpreting concepts familiar to his audience along certain specific lines that he believes is true and trying to convince them This invites speculation about what the Christian scene really was like in his day and it seems to support the idea there was already a Christian community in existence before him that did not wholesale believe all the things that Paul did, and that is why he had so much trouble and has to argue so persuasively. If one knew and could separate the things Paul took across unaltered from the things he changed imagine what kind of insight this would give us into the origins of the movement? It would at the least give us several viable reconstructions of this origin which could successfully be argued for and move beyond the dubious Acts narrative of Paul vs the pillars
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

Post by neilgodfrey »

davidmartin wrote: Tue Feb 08, 2022 1:10 am
The conclusion would follow that Paul is re-interpreting concepts familiar to his audience along certain specific lines that he believes is true and trying to convince them This invites speculation about what the Christian scene really was like in his day and it seems to support the idea there was already a Christian community in existence before him that did not wholesale believe all the things that Paul did, and that is why he had so much trouble and has to argue so persuasively. If one knew and could separate the things Paul took across unaltered from the things he changed imagine what kind of insight this would give us into the origins of the movement? It would at the least give us several viable reconstructions of this origin which could successfully be argued for and move beyond the dubious Acts narrative of Paul vs the pillars
If the historian's first task is to try to establish what can be independently known about the origin of the sources, I don't know how we justify reading any of Paul's letters as if they were penned in the mid first century.
davidmartin
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

Post by davidmartin »

neilgodfrey wrote: Tue Feb 08, 2022 2:43 am If the historian's first task is to try to establish what can be independently known about the origin of the sources, I don't know how we justify reading any of Paul's letters as if they were penned in the mid first century.
i'm not saying his letters were penned in the mid first century, but they could have been, why not? If Josephus or Philo can write then then why not Paul? Any good reason why not? I await the irrefutable proof that you offer!

what i am saying is that his letters document the historicity of the movement in the time they were written and his letters are not abstract arbitrary constructs but genuine relics and drawing something concrete from them is possible. I don't understand your objection. I'm only interested in what actually happened
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MrMacSon
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Re: Why Paul never quotes Jesus

Post by MrMacSon »

davidmartin wrote: Tue Feb 08, 2022 4:14 am I'm not saying his letters were penned in the mid first century, but they could have been, why not?
This is fallacious. You're channelling the fallacy of argument from ignorance in which ignorance represents "a lack of contrary evidence".* In other words, it's the implication (or, in some cases, an assertion) that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false [or, on the contrary, a proposition is false because it has not yet been proven true].

* it also represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes the possibility that there may have been an insufficient investigation to prove that the proposition is either true or false.

davidmartin wrote: Tue Feb 08, 2022 4:14 am If Josephus or Philo can write then then why not Paul? Any good reason why not? I await the irrefutable proof that you offer!
This is also similarly fallacious and highly disingenuous to the point of being downright arrogant and sleazy.

There is an ethic, 'he who avers, must prove.' Be ethical or gtfo.


This is more falllacy -
davidmartin wrote: Tue Feb 08, 2022 4:14 am what i am saying is that his letters document the historicity of the movement in the time they were written and his letters are not abstract arbitrary constructs but genuine relics and drawing something concrete from them is possible. I don't understand your objection. I'm only interested in what actually happened
It's circular 'reasoning' [and more]. Do better or gtfo
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