Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 00:25:06 -0500 (EST)
From: y.kuchinsky@utoronto.ca
To: Crosstalk-L
Subject: Historical Paul?


Steve,

Here's more about the historical Paul. The items below were posted
previously to Crosstalk a while back.

I guess the biggest single common misconception about Paul is that he was
connected with Jerusalem early in his career. I don't accept this, and
fortunately many mainstream scholars also don't accept this, but some
still do. This one odd Lukan story should be abandoned, I think, if any
further progress in understanding the HP is to be made.

Now, it is my opinion that the Historical Paul could not have been _the_
Apostle to the Gentiles in his lifetime. He could not have preached the
Gospel that "he received directly from G*d or from Jesus on the Road to
Damascus". All this is extremely doubtful a priori, but is commonly
accepted without question in mainstream scholarship.

Most new converts joining a fringe movement, such as Christianity was 
in its early years, join an organization that is already well 
established. So, as a rule, they take their place at the organizational
bottom. They are instructed, tested and then promoted if they deserve it.
There's absolutely no reason to suppose that the situation was any
different with Paul. The burden of proof should be on those who would hold
otherwise. Of course they would cite certain passages from the epistles in
their support, but I don't think _any passage_ in the epistles should be
assumed to be genuine without question. This is my guiding methodology.

So my suggestion is that we should begin to see Paul in entirely human
terms, as an early adherent to the post-Easter Jesus movement in Syria
that was already substantially Gentile-oriented even before him, and who
had to assume a subordinate position for many years before finally 
getting to head his own exegetical school.

In my view it is extremely improbable that he was some Mythical and Unique
Apostle to the Gentiles Appointed So by God from Day One. This is how he
was made to look -- over a number of generations -- by his dedicated
followers who were adding up plenty to his original writings while they
were polemicizing againt various other rival Christian factions of their
times -- especially the Jewish-Christians, who actually had _real
disciples of Yeshu_ to base their claims on. So the Pauline school made
themselves an Apostle who wasn't really a "real Apostle", but was instead
"more than an Apostle", and who received his revelations directly from the
Spiritual Jesus through a miracle.

Regards,

Yuri.
                                                         
The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian                  

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