Paul--a fiction character.

The character called Paul has no known history.

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

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Paul--a fiction character.

#1  Postby dejuror » May 02, 2016 7:18 pm

The character called Paul in the so-called "Pauline Corpus" is a figure of fiction.

There is no historical evidence of the character called Paul and no historical evidence of any followers of Paul in the 1st century before the fall of the Jewish Temple c 70 CE and since the time of King Aretas 37-41 CE. Even the NT writings [the Synoptic Gospels, Catholic Epistles, Hebrews and Revelation] show virtually no influence by the writings under the name of Paul.

Non-apologetic writings supposedly written up to the of the 2nd century mentioned nothing of the so-called Paul, the followers of Paul and no knowledge of the Pauline Corpus and do not have any arguments against the Pauline Corpus when arguing against Christianity or stories of Jesus and his disciples.

The so-called Paul/Seneca letters, Writings to place Paul in the time of Nero, have been found to be forgeries.

The Pauline Corpus appears to be the product of a group of persons who attempted to historicise the myth/fiction fables of the character called Jesus and his disciples sometime after c 175 CE or after at least writings attributed to Celsus.
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#2  Postby Leucius Charinus » May 03, 2016 4:44 am

dejuror wrote:The so-called Paul/Seneca letters, Writings to place Paul in the time of Nero, have been found to be forgeries.

The Pauline Corpus appears to be the product of a group of persons who attempted to historicise the myth/fiction fables of the character called Jesus and his disciples sometime after c 175 CE or after at least writings attributed to Celsus.


This is basically what Thomas Brodie has written. He called the group of persons a "literary school". The supposed writings attributed to Celsus are known only through a supposed refutation by the supposed Christian writer of the 3rd century - Origen - as cited by Eusebius in the 4th century.

It should be stressed that the so-called Paul/Seneca letters were not found to be forgeries by the Nicene Church organisation who's members in the 4th century treated Seneca as if he were almost a Christian himself, and who circulated the literary works of Seneca prefaced with the Paul/Seneca letters.

All this implies the Pauline letters were forged - in some form of 'literary school" - somewhere between 175-325 CE, and I would not be entirely disregarding the possibility of a later 4th century timeframe. During a political epoch in which [now known to be] forged letters of "Paul" were in high-profile circulation with the blessings of the Nicene Church organisation, one must reserve the greatest suspicion for the dogmatic pseudo-historical propaganda of this powerful imperially backed organisation.

Historians must not be averse to treating this "Church Organisation" as a single [and edited] "source" - one which is very likely to be utterly corrupt
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#3  Postby dejuror » May 04, 2016 11:20 am

Christian writers of antiquity have documented their own bogus history. They are in effect witnesses of their own fabrication who have left documented evidence of their falsehood.

Christian writers in and out the NT have openly declared their Jesus was the son of god born of a ghost without a human father yet writers under the name of Paul have claimed to have been seen by the ghost/god/man after he was raised from the dead on the third day.

Not only did they claim to have been seen by their fiction character but they also heard from him after he was already dead.

When did the writers under the name of Paul see the Ghost/God/Man?

When could they have seen or heard from such a creature?

It is clear the Pauline Corpus is a product of fiction--a source of propaganda.

Examine an excerpt from 1 Cor. 15


1 Corinthians 15
---For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.


If Jesus did exist and died then he could not have resurrected so the supposed contemporary claims made in the Pauline Corpus would have been known to be false by those who witnessed the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

If Jesus was dead after three days his body would most likely begin to rot.

It is evident that Paul and the Pauline Corpus are non-historical non-contemporary garbage.
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#4  Postby RealityRules » May 05, 2016 12:02 pm

from

Thomas L Brodie (2012) 'Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery', Sheffield Phoenix Press -

... like Hebrew narrative, the epistles are historicized fiction.
    "Historicized fiction.
    "A mass of data had suddenly fallen into place.
"What hit me was that the entire narrative regarding Paul, everything the thirteen epistles say about him or imply —about his life, his work and travels, his character, his sending and receiving of letters, his readers and his relationship to them— all of that was historicized fiction. It was fiction, meaning that the figure of Paul was a work of imagination, but this figure had been historicized —presented in a way that made it look like history, history-like, ‘fiction made to resemble the uncertainties of life in history’ (Robert Alter [The Art of Biblical narrative] 1981:27)."

“the figure of Paul joined the ranks of so many other figures from the older part of the Bible, figures who, despite the historical details surrounding them, were literary, figures of the imagination”

"The idea that Paul is not the author of several of the epistles is no longer a minority opinion; it is now widely accepted among scholars. Once the principle is established that Paul’s name, plus details about his life, do not necessarily establish the history of Paul, then the road is open for further questions about Paul’s history. The situation becomes even more unstable when the criteria (such as content and style) for establishing Pauline authorship are not reliable."

via http://www.mythicistpapers.com/2013/03/ ... odie-pt-2/


edit to add - Brodie is no ordinary Catholic Priest - he is an academic who has written a number of books on Christianty e.g. -

* 'The Birthing of the New Testament: The Intertextual Development of the New Testament Writings'
    (New Testament Monographs) Sheffield Phoenix Press Ltd (2006) ISBN 1905048661
* The Quest for the Origin of John's Gospel: A Source-Oriented Approach Oxford University Press, USA (1993) ISBN 0195075889

* The Gospel According to John: A Literary and Theological Commentary Oxford University Press, USA ( 1997) ISBN 0195118111

* The Crucial Bridge: The Elijah-Elisha Narrative Michael Glazier ( 2000) ISBN 081465942X
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#5  Postby Agrippina » May 05, 2016 3:52 pm

:coffee:
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#6  Postby Shrunk » May 05, 2016 4:00 pm

Here we go again.

:popcorn:
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#7  Postby Animavore » May 05, 2016 4:04 pm

Is anyone involved in the creation of Christianity real at all? :lol:
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#8  Postby Shrunk » May 05, 2016 4:11 pm

Animavore wrote:Is anyone involved in the creation of Christianity real at all? :lol:


Obviously, none of them are. As I said to some theologian on the internet who was defending the historicity of Jesus: If we learned that the creators of Superman had a friend named Clark Kent who worked for a newspaper, would we then say that Superman was "real"?
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#9  Postby Agrippina » May 05, 2016 4:39 pm

I've been reading my research, and the books all over again in the last month. I'm beginning to wonder that myself. What if it was all just made up nonsense, even the letters, just as a way to con people into handing over their wealth.?
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#10  Postby tanya » May 05, 2016 6:23 pm

Thank you, dejuror, good thread. I like it.

You may be interested to read the submission of Sheshbazzar, in the archives of FRDB, (search for shesh and outhouse will bring it up), where he makes this point, back in about 2012-3, primarily, as I recall, based on Justin and Tatian failing to cite "Paul". bchrachive.org
(Where is Sheshbazzar, anyway?)

Agrippina wrote:I've been reading my research, and the books all over again in the last month. I'm beginning to wonder that myself. What if it was all just made up nonsense, even the letters, just as a way to con people into handing over their wealth.?

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/th ... h-in-1500/

Yup, easy to make that point, for the middle ages. But the question is, where's the evidence that this practice at the outset, i.e. circa 200 CE +/- 50 years, led to a significant number of converts? Which religion had been abandoned, to join the nascent Christian movement, having been promised eternal joy, in exchange for a few shekels--or rather, all one's shekels? Did not all the religions in those days, demand payment (tithing), even if not promising eternal bliss? If a pilgrim prayed at one of Herakles' many temples in Syria, following suitable "donation", was he/she promised everlasting life, ascending to Mount Olympus to join their hero and his father, Zeus, upon expelling one's pneuma for the last time?

What argument did "Paul" make, to persuade folks to abandon their own religion, and convert to his brand of Christianity? Why was his message successful? If the Roman empire was truly a stumbling block, i.e. persecuting folks, feeding them to the lions and so on, how could this new religion prosper? Why wouldn't the provincial chiefs simply loot the Christian enclaves? In other words, in my opinion, not only is Paul fabricated, it must have flourished, only, post Constantine, else, there is an awful gap between theory and practice of Roman bestiality towards earliest Christian martyrs. In an era of censorship, with constant warfare in most of Syria and Palestine, leading ultimately, 135 CE, to expulsion of the troublemakers from Jerusalem, how could "Paul" send ANY LETTER, to anyone, let alone a church in Corinth? Just as with absence of text in Justin Martyr, relating to "Paul", so too, there has been, to date, not so much as a pebble, obtained in recent excavations, in Corinth, to demonstrate any kind of habitation or place of worship, for the earliest Greek Christians, prior to the 4th century.

Finally, but, where is the linguistic evidence from "Paul's" letters, that demonstrates that these texts must have been written AFTER gMark, at least. From Justin Martyr, we can accept that Mark, and Matthew, if not by name, were known by 160CE. Surely, there ought to be linguistic data arguing either for, or against, the notion that the epistles, in whole, or in part, date prior to, or subsequent to, issuance of these two gospels (Memoirs of the Apostles).

Is it not curious, the degree to which the epistles are largely devoid of time specific identifiers? If one sought to write some documents attesting to the resurrection of Jesus, and then claim that these documents had already existed prior to authorship of Memoirs of the Apostles, would it not be convenient to omit clues from the text that would reveal the actual date of composition?

Conversely, if genuine, wouldn't an author have sought out, every important figure from that era, to include a comment in the text affirming the agreement of the legendary person with the mission statement found in the epistle? Is that not how Justin wrote, and Philo, and Lucian? Why is it that we do not challenge the dates assigned to their compositions?
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#11  Postby RealityRules » May 05, 2016 9:41 pm

tanya wrote:
In an era of censorship, with constant warfare in most of Syria and Palestine, leading ultimately, 135 CE, to expulsion of the troublemakers from Jerusalem, how could "Paul" send ANY LETTER, to anyone, let alone a church in Corinth? Just as with absence of text in Justin Martyr, relating to "Paul", so too, there has been, to date, not so much as a pebble, obtained in recent excavations, in Corinth, to demonstrate any kind of habitation or place of worship, for the earliest Greek Christians, prior to the 4th century.

The Pauline letters are written to communities in Greece and in what was Asia Minor/Anatolia (now mid-western Turkey)
    ie. a significant distance from Jerusalem & Judea.
The first recognition of them was by Marcion or the Marcionites in the mid 2nd century: also from what is now Turkey, though in the north - what was known as Bythnia & Pontus.
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#12  Postby Agrippina » May 06, 2016 8:55 am

Denying the existence of Jesus has now become a reason for even atheists to attack the claimant. Until the emergence of the internet, it was enough for the non-academic, theology-ignorant, unbeliever to state that God doesn't exist, and that Jesus was just a character in a myth, to justify one's non-attendance at religious services.

The development of internet discussions has led to a whole industry of books, and websites, on the subject of atheism, and classifications of varying degrees of disbelief, so much so that it's become almost a course of academia within itself. We have gnostic atheists, new atheists, agnostics, and a whole list of names for people who simply want to live their lives without the support of some or other belief system.

Now that "Jesus mythicism" has become something to avoid if one wants to be taken seriously, disbelief is dissecting new elements of Judeo-Christian theology to debunk, and endless pages of internet forums are being devoted to attempts to tear down the support structure of religion based on the Bible.

Not only that, atheists are now being told that it's wrong to even claim that "God doesn't exist". To be considered worthy of an audience, there is a line of definite disbelief that must not be crossed. So to be taken seriously, you have to speak from the point of view that God probably doesn't exist, and Jesus possibly was a real person, but maybe he wasn't. Now it seems the same judgment is going to be made about the existence of the person whose name is given to most of the epistles: he was a fictional character/he might have been a real person/he could be a combination of several people, and so on.

What has to be taken into account if you're going to do that, and I speak from my own experience of "it's a load to rubbish" to seven years and a thousand pages of a manuscript, on the subject, is that the belief system, in one form or another has been around for 3000 years.

Then there's the influence that the belief system has had on civilisation over those thousand years.

In the first millennium of its existence, it entitled its supporters to wage war on non-participants in the belief. It formed the basis of a culture that still exists, and worships according to the tenets of that belief, today.

In the second, it caused a second group of people to create a new religion, based on the god of the old, but making him into a milder, more generous, more kindly god. This god didn't tell his followers to murder the children of the people they conquered, but to keep the unmarried girls as mates. He also didn't smite the enemies, the people who didn't follow his religion. He left his followers to figure that out for themselves.

In the third millennium the religions based on the original Yahweh worship fought wars against non-believers, sometimes tortured what they called "heretics" who questioned their belief, and in the west, caused their belief-system to become the basis of government, and laws in the new places they found to live.

In this new millennium, another religion based on this foundation is creating havoc in its own area, and threatening the stability of the other religion's societies.

So I have to ask the question: does it matter whether the god of the old religion is/was real? Does it matter that the basis of Christianity may, or may not, have been a real person, and, does it matter if the writer of the anthology on which Christianity is based was a single person, or even if his name was Saul/Paul?

No. It doesn't matter. Even if we can definitely prove that Paul wasn't real, our debate is not going to end Christianity. The only thing that will end all religion is to relegate religion to the privacy of the home, and that will only happen if we entrench a love of secular learning in our children. This is not something I will live to see.

Now turning to what I have discovered in my reading and analysing of the New Testament.

My research has told me that the Gospels were (again that word) probably sourced from a document which is called "Q" and which was the source document for the Gospel of Mark, from which Matthew and Luke were copied. I've also learnt that there are other gospels, which were discarded because they were not deemed to be inspired, for various reasons, which are not important here.

That they were copied is obvious from the text, and how pieces of the story appear to be almost direct copies of each other. Also, we know that the Gospels were not written during Jesus' purported lifetime, which brings me to a third factor, and that is that it's easy to make that statement because the story of Jesus predicting his execution, given that he was probably not real, possibly based on a real person who preached, is evidence that it was written after the fact. This may sound like a tenuous claim, but for it to have been prophecy, he would have to have been real, would have to at least have been a messenger, if not God himself, and he would have had to have known everything that happened to him. This will lead me on a tangent I don't want to pursue so I'll stop all of that here.

Which brings me to Acts and the Epistles. The reason I say that I don't believe Paul was a real converted Jew who gave up his religion to follow Jesus' message is because his writing does not reflect that of someone who had spent a decade or two of his life living according to Moses' laws. Christians, being lazy about learning the mitzvhot (the 613 laws identified by Maimonides), only acknowledge 11 laws of the canon: those contained in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, and summarised in Matthew 19:18-19, and the one about homosexuality in Leviticus 18.

My opinion is that the purveyors of Christianity in the first century came across people who were considerably less educated than they were, certainly about the law, so they chose the "packaged set" which they gave to them, which is why Matthew mentions the most important ones. The writer of Matthew may have been familiar with Judaism, but the rejecting of the laws convinces me that they were not Jews but people who found in the new religion, the same thing that modern Christians do. I'm not going into that here, it's too much of a diversion.

Returning to "Paul" and his claim of being a deconverted Jew, if he had been a persecutor of Christians, then he was one of a very few people. The claims of persecution are false. The first persecutions were by Nero who claimed they burnt Rome. After that, there were incidents of people being punished for not worshipping emperors, but mostly they were Jews not Christians. So that makes Paul a liar.

If he was a devout Jew, he would know this, and he would also not have given up his religion without some very serious soul-searching, which would have happened over years. These people believed that the exile in Egypt was real, and they were still living on the history of Babylon, the rebuilding of the temple, the invasion of Greek culture, and its continuing influence, and the Romans. They were not about to abandon their religion for a story that wasn't recorded in their law books, or those of the Romans.

If he had been a devout Jew who was there at the time of Jesus (he claims he met him (1 Corinthians 15), then the story of Jesus would have to be true, and we know that it's not, because of various reasons for that. So either Paul is lying about meeting Jesus, or Paul is a lie.

Then there's Corinthians (and the pieces that appear not to have been written by Paul) and the authorship of the rest of the epistles.

Then there's Clement of Rome, claimed to be the first pope after Peter.

Here again is historical confusion. The title of pontifex maximus was a political appointment of high priest of Roman religion.

The Pontifex Maximus (Latin, literally: "greatest pontiff" or "greatest bridge-builder") was the high priest of the College of Pontiffs (Collegium Pontificum) in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post. A distinctly religious office under the early Roman Republic, it gradually became politicized until, beginning with Augustus, it was subsumed into the Imperial office. Its last use with reference to the emperors is in inscriptions of Gratian (reigned 375–383) who, however, then decided to omit the words "pontifex maximus" from his title.

The word "pontifex" later became a term used for Christian bishops, including the Bishop of Rome, and the title of "Pontifex Maximus" was applied within the Roman Catholic Church to the Pope as its chief bishop. It is not included in the Pope's official titles, but appears on buildings, monuments and coins of popes of Renaissance and modern times.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontifex_Maximus

From this, it's fairly obvious that while the church claims that Peter was the first "pope", they might make this claim, but at that time, the "pope" was a Roman priest, or a title carried by the emperor, and even if they think of Clement as their pope, he was nothing but someone making rules about Christianity, to other Christians, and the title was not an officially recognised one within the political society. This is of course if "Peter" was real, just like if Jesus was real.

tanya asked where these converts to Christianity came from.

In the initial stages, the religion was derived from Judaism. Of course I can' even begin to claim that I know who the first person was who thought it was a good idea to make up a religion from an urban legend about some crucified criminal who was previously a seditionist, and executed by the Romans for telling people to worship "God" in a way different from the Jewish one, or the way the Romans did. Nobody knows, which is why the story of Jesus persists.

The epistles are not written in the order in which they were disseminated, Acts was possibly even made up long after Galatians was written, and possibly not even to the people of Galatia,

The first Christians, as described in the first chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, were all Jews either by birth or conversion, for which the biblical term "proselyte" is used, and referred to by historians as Jewish Christians. The early Gospel message was spread orally, probably in Aramaic, but almost immediately also in Greek. The New Testament's Acts of the Apostles and Epistle to the Galatians record that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included Saint Peter, James, the brother of Jesus, and John the Apostle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Christianity

My opinion is something like this: We know from history, and Jewish history, that after the Jews settled down when they returned from exile in Babylon, in the 500s BCE, they rebuilt their temple and went about establishing a religion based on what they had previously written down, the poetry and prophecies they had collected, and they made up a table of laws, identified by Maimonides, 613 identifiable ones. All of this was assembled and regulated over the next 200 years into a coherent system of religious practice and law, in Judah. The northern tribes of the people who identified as Yahweh worshippers had become scattered, and assimilated into the cultures of the other peoples living in Canaan, whereas the ones living in Judah, and belonging to the two southern tribes, Benjamin and Judah, had their capital at Jerusalem, which it had been since David and Solomon first gathered the people under a single "national" identity. (I see The Bible Unearthed is available as a pdf. It's worth reading for a history of Canaan).

Then enter the Macedonians under Alexander and his heirs, who introduced Greek ways to the Near East.

With 200 years of a history of struggle, enslavement (twice), and rebirth, the people of Judah were convinced that they were going to get another king as powerful as David who killed a "Philistine" giant with a slingshot, so they resisted, some of them more than others.

Three main factions emerged (there were others, but these were the greatest): Those who adopted Greek ways and became more worldly-wise (Pharisees), those who remained deeply devout and stuck in what they saw as two thousand years of God rejecting them for "whoring" with their neighbours (Sadducees), and the Essenes who saw themselves as Nazarites like Samson. Needless to say from all of these there were people who spoke out against the others, and who sought to bring their "party" to the forefront.

This is the world into which the Romans entered, and annexed Judah, renaming it Judea.

The Jewish people saw each occupation, and still see any attempt at changing their religion, as an insult to God, and they believe that it was because of the "others" that God allowed the Romans to send them into exile in 70CE. Of course we know that they've been persecuted since the first century because of their belief in their religion, and not because they abandoned it, but that's another discussion.

The first people who carried the Jesus story (and I have no idea how they created it, as I've said above), were Jews. They lived in Judea, they made up their own ideology in Judea, and when they were sent into exile by the Romans, they took this religion with them, to Galatia, Corinth, Thessalonika, Ephesus, Rome, and so on. Yes, I agree they probably weren't the huge numbers that the Bible claims, the numbers in the Bible never are, but they did grow enough over the next two hundred years for Constantine the Great to make it the official religion (and even here I'm not completely convinced, but that's also another discussion).
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#13  Postby tanya » May 06, 2016 10:53 am

dejuror wrote:The Pauline Corpus appears to be the product of a group of persons who attempted to historicise the myth/fiction fables of the character called Jesus and his disciples sometime after c 175 CE or after at least writings attributed to Celsus.
I thought it may be helpful to review one or two of your former posts which explain this point, in some detail:

post 35421 authored by spin, commenting on points made by dejuror, elaborating the phrase above in bold.
http://www.rationalskepticism.org/post1 ... l#p1915330
dejuror wrote:You still cannot show that Paul is the earliest writer of the Jesus religion--there is no data to support what you have imagined.

spin wrote:While Pauline texts internally make the claim, your naive literal approach to the texts have provided nothing to discount that claim.

dejuror wrote:Apologetic writings attributed to 2nd century writers show that they were not aware of Paul and the Pauline Corpus but was aware of the Apocalypse of John which is compatible with the claim in the Muratorian Canon that the Pauline letters to the Churches were composed after Revelation.

spin wrote:You are making an obvious false claim: "Apologetic writings attributed to 2nd century writers show that they were not aware of Paul and the Pauline Corpus". That is just nonsense. The best claim that you can make is that they show no awareness. You are not a mindreader. You cannot claim that they were not aware and silence on a subject is in no way a sign that they were not aware.

dejuror wrote:Origen in "Against Celsus" also admitted that Celsus wrote nothing about Paul in his "True Discourse" composed sometime in the late 2nd century.

spin: Argument from silence with no reason to expect him to write about Paul.
dejuror wrote:In Minucius Felix "Octavius" again the story of Jesus is known but there is nothing at all from the Pauline Corpus.

spin: Same comment as above.
dejuror wrote:Aristides in his Apology did not acknowledge Paul as the one who evangelized the Roman Empire--just the 12 disciples.

spin: Uh-huh. See above.
dejuror wrote:Arnobius in "Against the Heathen" did not acknowledge Paul but credits the disciples of Jesus as the one who evangelized the Roman Empire.

spin: Ditto.
dejuror wrote:None of the the authors of the Gospels used the Pauline post-resurrection "details" of the visits by Jesus to enhance their stories.
spin wrote:And you have no reason to suspect that they should have talked about Paul. When you are emptyhanded you are so in a big way. You've got a fat nothing. No argument. No evidence. Just an unsupported conclusion.


I thought it interesting that in his newest tome, Bart Ehrman used exactly that argument to explain that the gospels, by name, had not existed until late 2nd century, because Justin Martyr named the texts "Memoirs of the Apostles", without reference to MMLJ. Yet, Bart insists, like spin, above, that Paul wrote before Mark. But, where is the evidence of that? Spin claims that dejuror is "emptyhanded". I don't see anyone explaining why Paul wrote before Mark. Where's the evidence? Maybe Bart is correct, and spin is correct, i.e. evidence from silence is "a big fat nothing". ok. I would be willing to accept that. But, where's their evidence supporting the traditional view that Paul wrote first?

In that same thread, above, I offered evidence of my own, juxtaposing Paul's version of the last supper, with Mark's, to explain why I agree with dejuror.
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#14  Postby dejuror » May 06, 2016 4:45 pm

Christians' writings are evidence of their own bogus history of the character called Paul.

Examine versions of the NT.

In versions of the Greek New Testament there are as much as 13 letters attributed to a writer called Paul.

It would appear at first glance that Paul was a contemporary of King Aretas who preached and documented his Gospel long before the Fall of the Jewish Temple c 70 CE.

However once the NT is thoroughly examined it will be realised that the supposed Pauline letters were unknown and had no influence on other writings in the same NT.

In fact, it is easily shown that it was the version of the Jesus story in the so-called gMark or its source that had influence on the NT writings.

There is virtually no mention of a single verse from the Pauline Corpus in all the Gospels and non-Pauline writings.

It is the Synoptics Gospels [gMark, gMatthew and gLuke] which show that the authors were influenced by either by gMark or its sources.

The authors of the Synoptics in versions of the Greek NT show no influence by Paul or the Pauline Gospel.

In effect, the Pauline Jesus is unknown by the Synoptic writers.

Even the author of Acts who mentioned Saul/Paul over a hundred time knew nothing and wrote nothing about letters from the supposed writer.

There are no witnesses--no corroboration--no influence of the supposed Pauline letters within the NT itself.

Amazingly, 2 Peter mentions that Paul wrote to some unidentified persons but Christian writings of antiquity have already admitted 2 Peter is a forgery. See Church History attributed to Eusebius.

2 Peter 3:15
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you


Church History 3. 3.1
.... we have learned that his extant second Epistle does not belong to the canon.


The character called Paul is associated with fiction, forgery and false attribution in the very NT.
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#15  Postby jamest » May 07, 2016 12:27 am

There needs to be a semblance of balance or opposition here, so I'm going to play devil's advocate and look for evidence and arguments that Paul existed. I've just read the following, which I thought made much sense:

Writers from the late first and second century said a lot about Paul. Paul died somewhere around AD 65. We can assume people who had met him were still alive as late as AD 130, after which many of the early church writers had mentioned Paul extensively. It was the unanimous testimony of all that he founded the churches in Ephesus, Corinthians and elsewhere. In order to create a “myth” about Paul in the early church would have required a conspiracy of absolutely massive proportions. Why would the church have made up the existence of Paul? No thinking person could accept this.
http://evidenceforchristianity.org/is-t ... al-person/

... IF (is it true?) many of the early church writers had mentioned Paul within living memory of his supposed death, then 'the conspirators' wouldn't have gotten away with it being a myth since almost everyone would have told the writers to stop talking bollocks about religion or risk losing their bollocks [after their heads]. They didn't mess about in those days if you talked nonsense about religion, especially if your views opposed the status quo. I mean, we're talking high stakes here - the authors had A LOT to lose!!!! Please don't underestimate this fact one jot. It's not like the 21st century where you can say/write almost any lie you'd care to mention (in The West, at least) and not have to worry at all about your round bits. I think that we in The West utterly overlook this fact, even though it takes little imagination to place oneself in the Middle-east and contemplate the repercussions of saying 'shit' in that region. But I'd bet my bottom-dollar that every single one of you would shit your pants if you ever tried to do such a thing. Yet, here we are, entertaining the notion that small group(s) of people just decided to make up Christianity and various characters involved at the time (even characters that weren't pivotal to the religion, such as Paul) for no other reason than, err, they had nothing better to do with their time. Yeah, right. It's time to take a dose of common sense. I hear that it seasons popcorn quite well. :nono:

Another writer contributes a fair comment here:

What kind of evidence would we expect to find? Ancient writers don't write history and biography the way modern western historians do it. Ancient biographers tried to demonstrate the virtues and heroic nature of their subjects rather than to portray them "warts and all". We should not be surprised that a biographical account of the life of Paul might look more like a novel than a history book.
http://www.davnet.org/kevin/articles/paul.html

... It is absolutely true that we expect too much these days wrt 'evidence' to the point that practically nothing would satisfy the skeptical here, but it seems especially unreasonable to me that you should impose these expectations upon 1st century Judea. The same writer makes a similar point:


Ancient writers don't write history and biography the way modern western historians do it. Ancient biographers tried to demonstrate the virtues and heroic nature of their subjects rather than to portray them "warts and all". We should not be surprised that a biographical account of the life of Paul might look more like a novel than a history book.

... The point is well worth mulling, since the main point of religious/biblical scripture was to report 'spiritual/mystical' truths, even to metaphorical/allegorical levels, not mere facts about the life of the authors or characters thereof.

Further, though [few] historians were around in those particalur days, one has to mull over the fact that they were Roman and not [at that time] particularly interested in Xianity/Jesus. Why should they be, at that time, given the extent of the empire and the numerous cultures encapsulated by it? Wouldn't their main focus be upon the empire itself? How Rome had done this, that and the other? That's how it generally works.

... Though there has been an inclination for modern journalists/reporters/historians/ponderers to question their own nation's actions, this has not been rife since after WW2, and was only rarely the case prior to this - English civil War... French revolution... suchlike. However, take note [in very dark ink] that such events happened because those who questioned the status quo and put their necks on the block actually believed in what they were saying/doing.

For some reason, most of you here seem to think that a small minority of people completely made-up Xianity in a very religious and hostile environment, knowing full-well that their round bits would be fucked. It just doesn't make sense, does it?

I'll leave it at that for now.
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#16  Postby RealityRules » May 07, 2016 2:31 am

jamest wrote:
... most of you here seem to think that a small minority of people completely made-up Xianity in a very religious and hostile environment ..

That a religion could or would be made up in a very religious environment surprises you?

I presume your reference to hostile is a reference to Judea yet, while Christian origins is set in Judea in the early 1st century, there is plenty of evidence that the narratives developed outside that region and later: just look at the first quote you give -

It was the unanimous testimony of all that he [Paul] founded the churches in Ephesus, Corinthians and elsewhere.
http://evidenceforchristianity.org/is-t ... al-person/

Ephesus, Corinth, and the other communities that Paul interacted with, were well away from Judea.

And we know at least one of these 'churches' was built as a pagan temple in the 2nd century -


As for -
We can assume people who had met him were still alive as late as AD 130, after which many of the early church writers had mentioned Paul extensively

- there is no evidence anyone mentioned Paul before he is mentioned in the later (post-130 ad) Marcionite texts (reconstructed from later Marcionite adversaries).
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#17  Postby RealityRules » May 07, 2016 2:38 am

The chronology and dating of the events in Paul's life are largely based on passages in Act -

see - https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/paul/timeline.cfm


Yet, the Westar Acts Seminar concluded -

    3.The author of Acts used the letters of Paul as sources.
    4. Except for the letters of Paul, no other historically reliable source can be identified for Acts.

    7. Acts constructs its story on the model of epic and related literature.
    8. The author of Acts created names for characters as storytelling devices.
    9. Acts constructs its story to fit ideological goals.

    "..the Acts Seminar has not found a core historical story of Christian beginnings in Acts. This is not to say that Acts is totally unhistorical, but to observe that it is less helpful in the historical reconstruction of Christian beginnings than previously assumed. Its story has long dominated Christian imagination and shaped critical scholarship, but we must now rethink how we reconstruct Christian origins in the absence of the Acts default.

    "..Acts has emerged as a primary resource for early second-century Christianity, a program of research that is increasingly attracting the attention of a new generation of Acts scholars."

    https://www.westarinstitute.org/project ... -apostles/
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#18  Postby dejuror » May 07, 2016 5:39 am

Playing devil's advocate is rather useless in this discussion since no actual evidence of an historical Paul would be or can be presented by those who argue for his historicity.

The stories about Jesus in the NT are not only fiction but implausible [did not and could not have happened] yet writers under the name of Paul claimed they heard and saw Jesus after he was raised from the dead.

It is clear that such claims are fiction whether or not Jesus did exist.

In effect, the claims in the Pauline Corpus about Jesus would not have helped to develop Christianity since people in the Roman Empire would have known that Jesus was killed or crucified as a criminal/blasphemer.

The Pauline Corpus only make sense if they are non-contemporary.

In the Pauline Corpus it is claimed that Jesus was the Lord from heaven, the son of God, and God Creator yet he was killed by the Jews.

Such claims would hopeless absurd nonsense and known fiction if they were contemporary.


1 Corinthians 15:47


The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.


Galatians 4:4


But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law


1 Corinthians 15:45


And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.


Colossians 1:16


For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him



1 Thess. 2.14-15
....ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us..


How utterly ridiculous it would have been for the supposed Paul to have asked people in the Roman Empire to worship a dead criminal as a God in the time of King Aretas when the very people knew Jesus was dead.
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#19  Postby Agrippina » May 07, 2016 7:27 am

dejuror wrote:Christians' writings are evidence of their own bogus history of the character called Paul.

Examine versions of the NT.

In versions of the Greek New Testament there are as much as 13 letters attributed to a writer called Paul.

It would appear at first glance that Paul was a contemporary of King Aretas who preached and documented his Gospel long before the Fall of the Jewish Temple c 70 CE.

Do you have something I can read about this, please?

However once the NT is thoroughly examined it will be realised that the supposed Pauline letters were unknown and had no influence on other writings in the same NT.

In fact, it is easily shown that it was the version of the Jesus story in the so-called gMark or its source that had influence on the NT writings.

There is virtually no mention of a single verse from the Pauline Corpus in all the Gospels and non-Pauline writings.

It is the Synoptics Gospels [gMark, gMatthew and gLuke] which show that the authors were influenced by either by gMark or its sources.

The authors of the Synoptics in versions of the Greek NT show no influence by Paul or the Pauline Gospel.

In effect, the Pauline Jesus is unknown by the Synoptic writers.

Even the author of Acts who mentioned Saul/Paul over a hundred time knew nothing and wrote nothing about letters from the supposed writer.

Again, can you show me some analysis of this?

There are no witnesses--no corroboration--no influence of the supposed Pauline letters within the NT itself.

Amazingly, 2 Peter mentions that Paul wrote to some unidentified persons but Christian writings of antiquity have already admitted 2 Peter is a forgery. See Church History attributed to Eusebius.

Again, something I can read about this please.

2 Peter 3:15
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you


Church History 3. 3.1
.... we have learned that his extant second Epistle does not belong to the canon.


The character called Paul is associated with fiction, forgery and false attribution in the very NT.

de juror, you really should back up your assertions with something people can research further. I'm not being mean, it's just that people read these posts, then want to have something they can refer to, i.e. where you get your information. :thumbup:
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Re: Paul--a fiction character.

#20  Postby Agrippina » May 07, 2016 8:14 am

One could argue that the history of the Nabateans and their supposed influence on Judea was written by Josephus whose writings are also questioned as being a little spurious.

Aretas IV Philopatris was the King of Nabataeans at the time of Jesus' life (9-c40 CE). Therefore he was present during the events that led to the creation of Christianity, and his historians would have written something about his involvement in the affairs of Judea.

So let's see what there is.

Nabataea was known to the ancient world of the Old Testament as the land of Moab and Edom. Moab being the people descended from one of Lot's daughters (the other being Ammon) and Edom, a descendant of Esau, Jacob's twin brother. Therefore, closely related to the Jewish people. Remember Beor of the talking donkey, he was a king of Edom.

The history of Nabataea, with its capital Petra, is well-recorded by ancient historians such as Strabo, but for some reason it stops after the rise of the Empire, and Josephus is all we have to go on.

The Nabataeans, also Nabateans (/ˌnæbəˈtiːənz/; Arabic: الأنباط‎ al-ʾAnbāṭ , compare to Ancient Greek: Ναβαταίος, Latin: Nabatæus), were an Arab[1] people who inhabited northern Arabia and the Southern Levant, and whose settlements, most prominently the assumed capital city of Raqmu, now called Petra,[1] in AD 37 – c. 100, gave the name of Nabatene to the borderland between Arabia and Syria, from the Euphrates to the Red Sea. Their loosely controlled trading network, which centered on strings of oases that they controlled, where agriculture was intensively practiced in limited areas, and on the routes that linked them, had no securely defined boundaries in the surrounding desert. Trajan conquered the Nabataean kingdom, annexing it to the Roman Empire, where their individual culture, easily identified by their characteristic finely potted painted ceramics, became dispersed in the general Greco-Roman culture and was eventually lost. They were later converted to Christianity. Jane Taylor, a writer, describes them as "one of the most gifted peoples of the ancient world".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nabataeans

I'm skeptical of historians who support the Jesus story, especially if they claim some sort of "epiphany" about him.

Read about Nabataea, here.
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