"For the weapons of our warfare are casting
down imaginations ... and bringing into captivity every thought to
the obedience of Christ."
– St Paul, 2 Corinthians 10.4,5.
Paul? Paul who?
The writer of the Revelation of
St John – one of the earliest
books of the New Testament and in origins probably the only one to date
from the 1st century – addresses his end of the world gore-fest
to the very region central to Paul's mission, Roman Asia.
The "seven churches" of the preface were Ephesus
(where "Paul caused a riot" and lived for 3 years), Thyatira (home town
of Lydia, Paul's first convert in Philippi), Laodicea (sent a copy of
Colossians, we are told), Sardis, Philadelphia, Pergamum and Smyrna.
Yet the writer
of the apocalypse betrays no knowledge of the activities of the apostle
Paul or of his letters. Though "John" relishes the martyrdom of the
saints, Paul's "execution in Rome" does not get a mention.
Similarly, the earliest reliable Christian source, Justin
Martyr, in the mid-2nd century, has nothing to say of Paul or his epistles.
"It was unfortunate that Marcion had made himself the champion of Paul. Paul's letters composed more than half of his new Scripture.
This is the explanation of the curious reticence about Paul that characterizes Justin in the two works of his that have come down to us: the Apology and the Dialogue. He uses Paul freely in them, it is true, but never once mentions his name."
Edgar J. Goodspeed, An Introduction to the New Testament, 1937, xxi.
Acts mentions Paul's whereabouts at a string
of Aegean ports ().
Paul himself mentions only 3 of them ()
and only two of the "seven churches of Asia" named in Revelation ().
Paul "writes" to three churches of the Lycos valley
which are unknown to Acts. But although Paul supposedly lived
for years at Ephesus, the great missionary never made the 100 mile
trip to visit them.
All very curious – and clearly indicative of three
Quoted by others?
Codex Alexandrinus. Earliest
1 Clement – a 5th century copy.
The shadowy Clement of Rome, at best, refers to a single epistle of Paul.
Prior to 2nd century heretic Marcion
we enter a void in which Paul's epistles are unquoted and Christian
writers show no knowledge of the apostle.
Christian apologists quote "early
attestations" of St Paul
but they are pressed into using sources which are themselves suspect.
Even more epistles: the Ignatians
epistles vouch for the existence of Paul and his letters. Unfortunately,
the Ignatians are themselves late 2nd century forgeries.
The supposed celebrity
tour of the early 2nd century bishop of Antioch as he journeyed towards
his martyrdom in Rome is almost Pythonesque in its surreal character.
Francaise d'Archéologie, Athens).
Inscription" – a letter set in stone from Emperor
Claudius (41-54) to the citizens of Delphi.
is the bedrock for dating a historical Paul, and indeed the entire
New Testament. Yet
Paul himself, in his epistles, makes no mention of Gallio.
Temple goes up in flame
"So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and
resolved to storm the temple the next day, early in the morning, with
his whole army, and to encamp round about the holy house. But as for
that house, God had, for certain, long ago doomed
it to the fire; and
now that fatal day was come ..."
– Josephus, Wars 6.4.5.
Apollonius of Tyana
By far the longest biography that survives from antiquity
is actually the Life of Apollonius of Tyana.
The work of Flavius Philostratus, a 2nd/3rd century Greek
Sophist, the biography has long fuelled the debate on the origins of
the Jesus story. Apollonius was a 1st century "holy
man" famed for wisdom and healing.
But the life of the wandering Pythagorean parallels much
that is claimed for the apostlePaul,
in particular his legendary travels across the known world. Moreover,
Apollonius wrote numerous letters – some of which still survive – expressing
his ethical guidelines.
Not only did Apollonius spend time in "Paul's" cities
of Antioch, Ephesus and Athens, he also faced charges in Rome
before the emperorDomitian.
"Paul was here"
Remarkable as it may seem, the Greek Orthodox Church
at Veria (ancient Beroea, Macedonia) can vouch that these are the very
steps from which St Paul preached the word. Hmm.
"When the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the
word of God was proclaimed of Paul at Beroea also, they came thither
likewise, stirring up and troubling the multitudes."
– Acts 17.13.
The Six "Authentic" Pauline epistles?
With 15 letters demonstrably
fake and with the practice
of pseudepigraphy clearly at the heart of the entire corpus
of the New Testament, caution is advised before accepting
the remainder of the epistles as genuine.
But it is possible
that half a dozen authentic letters keep company with a collection
of fakes. But are they authentic?
The "Asian" letter
"You foolish Galatians!
Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was
clearly portrayed as crucified." – Galatians
Galatians 1.11-2.14 provides the best
biography we have of Paul, and in six hundred
of "his own words". The passage
positively shouts arrogance and conceit, as Paul parades his finer
points: chosen by God from his mother's womb; a personal revelation
from JC; able to not merely harass but "waste" the
church; excelling in Judaism beyond his peers; obdurate in the
face of criticism; closed to new knowledge; a superior, "mighty" infusion
of commitment; defiance before Peter, the chief apostle. What we
have here is a religious
As to Paul's movements, we learn of Arabia, Damascus,
a brief trip to Jerusalem, Syria and Cilicia. In Judaea he was "unknown
by face" but they "glorified God" in him. The locations
scarcely add up to great missionary activity. The epistle does
not directly confirm Paul was ever in Galatia but that is implied
by certain verses and his peeved response to recent events:
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that
called you into the grace of Christ unto another
gospel!" – 1.6
Clearly, Paul is not particularly good as an evangelist
– in a trice, the new converts have been won over by the
Judaizers! He does not return to "repair" his work (the
obvious course of action) but, we are asked to believe, instead
sends a tract of advanced theology. The esoteric content of Galatians (the "Abrahamic
by the holy spirit", et al) most assuredly would NOT have
been sent to novice Galatian tribesmen. It is also of note that
Paul does not honour his agreement with the "pillars" in Jerusalem
(James, Cephas and John) that he should "go to the heathen but
they to the circumcised" (Galatians 2.9). The
modus operandi of the "apostle to the gentiles" almost
everywhere was to seek out the JEWS and become a disruptive voice
in the local synagogue!
The "Greek" letters
"It is good for a
man not to touch a woman." – 1 Corinthians
The first Epistle to the Corinthians purportedly
was written while Paul was "tarrying
at Ephesus until Pentecost" (16.8).
The reference probably implies the writer was at Ephesus but
it is not unequivocal. At 4.11 Paul also claims to be "hungry
... naked ... and have no certain dwelling place."
he ever in Corinth? Verses
2.1-4 say as much. The writer confesses he "came .. not with
enticing words or wisdom" but only the "testimony of God".
Galatia, the new converts are misbehaving and Paul is
full of holy indignation at their
independent spirit and temerity in forming different sects.
The writer vents his fury at a whole number of targets – so
much so that the "letter" may
be a composite of several missives. Among matters eliciting his
ire are Greek wisdom (aka "vanity") and the perceptions
of the "natural man" (2.14); those who say "there
isno resurrection of
the dead" – 15.12; carnality and incest ("put
away that wicked person" (5.13); "The
body is not for fornication" – 6.13); women (the notorious "it
is a shame for women to speak in the church" – 14.35);
attendance of the Lord's supper in order
to eat! – 11.20,22);
actions brought in the secular courts ("The saints shall
judge the world" – 6.2); and excessive use of "tongues".
The conceited Paul, of course, is better with tongues than anybody
"I thank my God, I speak with
tongues more than ye all ... If therefore the
whole church be come together into one place, and all speak
with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned,
or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?" – 14.18,23.
The enraged apostle even threatens the errant
Corinthians with the rod (4.21), though obviously not seriously
because he wants to eventually turn up in Corinth to retrieve
a "collection for the saints ... in Jerusalem " – (16.1,3).
Who are these needy saints? Does this reference
imply that the Jewish temple still functioned and that the epistle
is pre-70 AD, as some claim? Paul himself provides the
"Ye are God's building ... As a wise
masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation ... For other foundation
can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now
if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious
stones, wood, hay, stubble ... it shall be revealed
and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is
... Don't you know that you
yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit
lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy
him; for God's temple is sacred, and you
are that temple." – 3.9,17.
Paul, as ever, energetically
defends his status as a proper apostle – obviously, it
had been called into question! – and at some length
justifies "reaping carnal things" in
exchange for the "spiritual things" he has preached.
"Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth
not of the fruit thereof? ... Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth
of the ox that treadeth out the corn." – 1 Corinthians 9.7.9.
Not surprising, then, that Paul tells us charity is
greater than hope or faith!
The writer introduces several characters
unknown to Acts – Chloe (the whistle-blower from Corinth),
to the saints"), Gaius, Fortunatus (could this be a
freedman of Herod Agrippa lifted from Josephus's Antiquities,
Achaicus – and two others, Crispus and Sosthenes, both "chief
ruler of the synagogue" in Acts, though Paul says nothing
The polemical response to so many "issues" is
a tour de force but cuts the epistle free
of any certain historicity. Could anyone really expect to heal
several major fractional splits with such a rambling, composite
letter? If Paul was so soon to visit the Corinthians would not
commonsense dictate holding his counsel until he could judge the
situation first hand? Is the epistle really addressed
to the Corinthians or to "all
that in every place call on the name of Jesus
Christ"? (1.2). Is it Paul's arrogance that leads him
to write to the "whole world" – a
Paul who cannot even maintain authority over his "own" churches –
or is the hand of a later editor revealed? Could any apostle re-establish
waning authority by sending a missive by a sidekick (Timotheus)
who he fears will be "despised" because the more
experienced man (Apollos) simply refuses to go? (16.11,12).
Something is not quite kosher with 1 Corinthians.
Or simply two
fables that don't agree!
In 1 Corinthians 11,16 the
apostle claims to have baptised "none but Crispus
and Gaius" and Stephanas (and his household). Paul
"For Christ sent me not to baptise,
but to preach the gospel." (1.17).
Acts however tells a different story.
18.8 reports that Crispus, all his house, and "many
of the Corinthians" were baptised. Nor should
we overlook the baptisms at Philippi: Lydia
of Thyatira and her household (Acts 16.14,15) and the awestruck
jailer and his family (16.33)
Acts 19.1,5 adds that
in Ephesus Paul baptised about a dozen followers
of John the Baptist "in
the name of the Lord Jesus."
"I have made a fool of myself, but you
drove me to it! I ought to have been commended by you, for
I am not in the least inferior to the "super-apostles," even
though I am nothing."– 2 Corinthians 12.11.
Tradition places 2 Corinthians in Philippi,
though nothing in the epistle confirms this. Implicitly, the writer
has left "troubles in Asia" behind him (1.8) but perhaps is not
yet in Macedonia (1.15,16). In any event, he is "sparing" the Corinthians
by delaying his visit. He is not a happy man:
"We are troubled on
every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in
despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." – 2 Corinthians 4.8,9.
And just what is troubling
our super apostle? Many of the familiar bad guys: unbelievers
(6.14); the self-important (and Paul should
know!) (10.12); ministers
of Satan (11.14,15); and most alarmingly:
"He that cometh preacheth
another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive
another spirit, which ye have not received, or another
which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him." – 11.4.
Paul's response to an alternative theology (or
is it a competitive charlatan?) is the familiar parade of
his own credentials, our "second best
biography" – just 330
words proclaiming his Hebrew ancestry (NOT his
Roman citizenship!); his labours "more abundant,
prison more frequent"; his vision of a "third heaven";
and a miscellany of "stripes, rods, shipwrecks, hunger, nakedness" – in
only one instance citing time, place or detail! (11.22-12.12).
The one "detailed
– the basket escape from Damascus – sits oddly at the
end of a chapter and is wholly unconvincing.
The troubled apostle is moved to send a team
of trusted lieutenants to sort out the errant Corinthians. Paul
credits Silvanus and Timothy with sharing the earlier evangelical
work (1.19), though in fact Silvanus (aka Silas) went unmentioned
in 1 Corinthians. But now, a more valued new man has entered the
"my partner and fellow worker" (8.23), who is referred to in eight
different verses and appears to arrive
"For, when we were come into Macedonia, our
flesh had no rest ... Nevertheless God ... comforted us by the
coming of Titus; And not by his coming only, but by the consolation
wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your
earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me."
In Corinth, Titus had caused "fear and trembling" (7.15).
Despite the brethren's factionalism, Titus had
gift ... for ministering to the saints" (8.4) – NO
mention of the poor of Jerusalem!
is sent back to Corinth by Paul (12.18) although we are also told
Titus goes "on his own accord" (8.17).
Either way, his mission is to make the Corinthians an
offer they can't refuse:
"Show to them, and before
the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting
on your behalf. I boast ... that Achaia was ready a year ago. Lest
haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared,
we .. should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.
Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that
they would go before ... and make up beforehand
your bounty ... that
the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of
But this I say, 'He which soweth sparingly shall
reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap
For the administration of this service not only supplieth
the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many
thanksgivings unto God.
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."
– 2 Corinthians,
What we have here is perhaps the original "Seed
scam, that evangelical masterpiece of 20th century America!
Curiously, Titus has with him
two "heavyweights" – an unnamed "brother
whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches" and
an unnamed "brother whom we have
oftentimes proved diligent" (8.18.22). Who
are these enigmatic characters, one wonders?
The Macedonian Letters
Was Paul not a first generation apostle of the Lord,
teaching an original revelation of the Jesus gospel? How likely is
it then, that in one of his earliest letters, he would refer to
the "traditions" – a word redolent of Roman
Catholicism and a much later period? But such we read in 2
stand fast, and hold the traditions which
ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle." – 2
The two Macedonian letters are clearly linked, though
the musty odour of "inauthenticity" has long hung over
the second letter. For one thing, 1 and 2 Thessalonians share some
curiously similar wording. Indeed only verses 2.1-12 of 2 Thessalonians – a
clarification of the timing of the coming of the Lord – can
be said to be original. Those verses seek to "correct" a
misunderstanding (one presumes from 1 Thessalonians) that judgement
day was imminent. Evidently Paul's original doomsday scenario caused
some of the brothers to give up work, whilst leaving others disillusioned
because loved ones had "fallen asleep" and to all intents
seemed to be permanently dead.
The "second edition" Thessalonians – shorter,
formal, and void of any personal or concrete references – makes
clear that the Lord's coming will be after "the
working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders" (2.9).
1 Thessalonians has its
own element of unreality. Paul greets the Thessalonians as exemplars
for practically the whole world:
"You became followers of us ... so that you
were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia
and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not
only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in
every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad;
so that we need not to speak any thing." – 1.6,8
Yet this ridiculous flattery (how does Paul know
that Thessalonian faith has become a byword in every place?)
sits awkwardly alongside a major prop of the epistle, doubts about
the faith of the Thessalonians. Paul, we learn, has waited in
Athens (3.1) for word from Timothy, a helper he has sent to the
city in his own stead "to
know the faith" of
the Thessalonians. Paul, unable to go himself "because of Satan" (2.18)
is reassured that all is well and then devotes much of his epistle
to defending his own reputation! Clearly Paul has been
under attack and finds it necessary to deny "deceit, uncleanness,
guile, flattery, and covetousness" (2.3,10) – as
if we could imaging an evangelist capable
of such things!
There is a suspicious appeal "to love those over
you and who admonish you" at verses
5.12,13. The remainder of the letter waxes lyrical on the imminent day
of the Lord and
return of the dead ("we which are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in
the air" -
4.17), an end-time enthusiasm which prompts the corrective
of 2 Thessalonians.
Whatever else we are dealing with here, it is not
history. All the elements of the two letters suggest 2nd century
creative theology at work.
How likely is it that,
in the mid-years of the 1st century, the faith of Christians in
Rome was a marvel across the world? And yet such is the preposterous
claim in the Epistle to the Romans.
"To all that be in
Rome ... I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that
your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." – Romans
Even in the fantasy land conjectured
by Acts, this makes no sense. Paul we are told
had the franchise to evangelise the Gentiles, so just who has upstaged
him in Rome? (Implicitly, it is Peter, of course
– the counterfeit hero of 2nd century Roman Catholicism – but that's
another story). But
just how many Christians
could there possibly been in the imperial capital, circa 60 AD?
In Romans Paul provides little
"biographical" detail, but enough to identify an intolerant
bigot, tormented by his "uncontrollable flesh".
"For I know that in
me, that is, in my flesh,
dwelleth no good thing ... I see another law in my members, warring
against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to
the law ofsin which is in my members. O wretched
man that I am!" – Romans 7.18,24.
No surprises, then, that a major theme of Romans is "submission to authority". Uptight and Christian.
In chapter 11, we again have Paul proclaiming his
Israelite ancestry, this time claiming descent from the tribe
of Benjamin. But it is chapter 15, verses 19 to 32 which provide
the "hard facts" of places and events: a mission as far as Illyricum,
an intended journey to Spain, mention of "them that do not believe
him" in Judaea, and collections raised in Macedonia and Achaia
which the apostle intends to deliver to the "poor saints of Jerusalem".
Proof that the Jerusalem community still exists and
the epistle is pre-70 AD?
Not so. The earliest copies of Romans ended
at verse 14.23. The "biographic" infill of chapter 15 is a 2nd
"There is evidence that
in the 2nd century Romans was extant in three forms of varying
length. The shortest ended at 14.23 in the middle of an argument
which continues in the in the longer texts to 15.13 ... In
many MSS the closing doxology (16.25-7) is placed after 14.23
and this placing can be traced back to a very early date." – T. W. Manson, 'Romans'
(Peake's Commentary on the Bible, p940).
Most of Romans 16 (with its long list of
greeted individuals) probably circulated as a genuine letter –
from someone (and to Corinth!). Interestingly,
an address delivered by Josephus to the
besieged rebels in Jerusalem in the year 70 AD finds an echo in
"Paul's" sermon in Romans.*
Witnesses to Paul?
"The letters, to which the apostle is
indebted for the largest part of his fame, seem to have been
forgotten for almost an entire century, until we encounter
them in the middle of the second century in the hands of the
heretic Marcion, who was excommunicated by the Catholic church
in 144 CE."
– H. Detering (The Falsified Paul,
The most famous of the epistles masquerade as something
they are not. They are NOT 1st century letters from a hard working
apostle to his acolytes in a swath of churches across Asia Minor,
Greece and Rome. But they are something very important in the early
history of the church.
It is clear that the
words of the epistles were framed by a personality who was pompous,
cantankerous and "authoritative". The writer emerges
as someone who is anxious to maintain his hold over an organization
that he has had a hand in building. His position, it seems, is
beset by rivals. His influence is threatened by numerous competitors
and the ethos of a more ancient culture that does not readily succumb
to his New Order. His response is to combine anger with self-pity,
didactic instruction with unctuous flattery.
Yet is this ecclesiastic bully "Paul"
or another who speaks in his name? It cannot be
the biblical Paul. His "biography",
whether drawn from Acts or the epistles, is
a fabric of fraud and fantasy. The attributed journeys, whether
and Lycaonia, to Greece,
or to Rome, are palpably false.
Nor does the "authenticity" of Paul himself gain support from
A potential "early witness" to the
apostle, the Revelation
of St John,
is silent. The apocalypse is Jewish agitprop given an early Christian
gloss, which addresses itself precisely to Paul's stomping ground – Roman
Asia. The Revelation does
mention apostles – false apostles and liars,
that is – but of Paul it says nothing. The
apocalypse even mentions a "faithful martyr" but this
is not Paul but "Antipas" (2.13) – a
saint otherwise unknown outside of Orthodox fiction. Though the Revelation has
precious few words that pertain to the known universe, it does
twice mention an obscure sect, the Nicolaitanes (probably
Gnostics), who it seems, were hated by the divine "Alpha and
Omega". But Paul, the founder of churches and apostle who
bestrides the whole New Testament, does not merit a mention.
There is another supposed "earlywitness" to
the existence of Paul, Clement of Rome, whose own letter
to the Corinthians mentions a single "epistle of
Paul" (1 Clement 47.1). 1 Clement also provides the
novel information that Paul had been "driven into exile ...(and)
reached the farthest bounds of the West" (5.5,6) – adventures
unconfirmed either by Acts or Paul himself! Yet "Clement" himself
is something of a phantom, despite claims that he was an early "pope".
His epistle is usually dated to 95 AD but the earliest extant copy
(in the Codex Alexandrinus) dates from the 5th
century and the earliest reference to 1 Clement is
made in the 4th century history of Eusebius, a notorious fabricator
(Hist. Eccl. 3,16,38; 4,22).
Rather more pertinent than the ethereal Clement is
the testimony of Justin Martyr, who, in the mid-2nd century, discussed
the apostolic mission to the Gentiles at length. Yet Justin not
once mentioned Paul or his epistles, not even when arguing
the point so crucial to Paul's heart, that "circumcision was
unnecessary"! Nor is there any reference to Paul in the fragments
that we have of the work of Hegesippus (?110-180), a contemporary
of Justin and himself a Jew.
The earliest extant canon list containing all of
Paul's accredited letters dates from the late
2nd century. Its
author is unknown and the list takes its name from its 18th century
Italian discoverer Muratori. Interestingly, the Muratorian Canon
includes the comment,
is in circulation an epistle to the Laodiceans, and another to
the Alexandrians, forged under the name of
Paul ... ".
Here we have an early
witness not to the famed apostle but rather to the industry
Why on earth would the true writer (or
writers) want to falsely attribute authorship? And if "pseudepigraphical" like
the rest of the epistles, who was the phantom-like figure "Paul"?
And why was his name reverentially attached to a body
of theological writings so crucial to the canon and to making sense
of the mythical life and death of Jesus Christ?
Without the "field correspondence", the
Jesus saga might be an entertaining tale but it would have floated
free of the priesthood, a class of deceivers and deluded fools
who necessarily made special claim to the legacy of the dying/resurrected
godman. Their self-chosen mission was to officiate the awesome
power of the Lord in this world and to stand as gatekeepers on
the next, dispensing promises of life eternal or curses of everlasting
In the fierce competition of 2nd century Christ-cults,
historicizing of the godman precipitated a scramble for Christ
bestowed succession. If Jesus of Nazareth had lived,
to whom indeed had his mantle of earthly authority fallen? The
Jewish-Christians, or Ebionites, of Jerusalem made claim to kinship:
they were nothing less than the descendents of the Lord (and
had not Jesus indeed had brothers and sisters?).
The Catholics in Rome staked their claim on Peter,
designated "rock" upon which the saviour would build
But another Gentile church contended with the Catholics:
the Marcionites, a sect of Jesus enthusiasts far less accommodating
of "Jewish ways" than their rivals. Marcion's authority,
as he himself claimed, rested on an apostle even greater than Rome's
St. Peter, on an apostle who had received his remit directly from
the risen Christ. Miraculously, it was Marcion himself who had
first "found" the
epistles of Paul, letters that it seems had remained curiously
forgotten for a century. Marcion,
the heretic, assembled a canon even earlier than the Muratori,
with ten epistles attributed to Paul and a simple Jesus tale that
had a kinship to Luke's gospel. It was the first "New Testament".
The Catholics responded and in the second half of the 2nd century,
"epistles" – some under the name of Paul, others under the names
"Ignatius", "Peter" etc. – proliferated.
We know, of course, that the Catholics prevailed
over their opponents. In the formulation of a single, universal,
Catholic dogma, Paul, the erstwhile hero of the heretics, was written
into the yarn called Acts
of the Apostles, shorn of much of his self-proclaimed superiority
and now with the Holy Spirit guiding his hand. When
an approved canon was finally determined, the Pauline letters,
assembled for lack of any known chronology by length, were tucked
in behind Acts, implying an historical sequence utterly unsupported
by any reality.
In short, the claims for a 1st century superstar
of missionary tours and Christological discourse, are fraudulent
– or are, as they say, "inauthentic". Paul, like his divine guide
and mentor Jesus, never existed.
Where did they get their
In the closing stages
of the Jewish war with Rome, most of Jerusalem had already
fallen to the legions of Titus. Josephus, now part of
the Roman commander's entourage, approached the last
redoubt of the rebels and appealed for their surrender.
His plea, as he records in his history of
the war, finds a curious echo in the "Epistle
to the Romans".
Josephus – Wars
hard-hearted wretches as you are! ... Jeremiah cried
out aloud ... but you abuse me,
and throw darts at me, who only exhort you to save yourselves,
as being provoked when you are put in mind of your sins."
Condemnation of sin:
"You have not avoided so much as those sins that
are usually done in secret; I mean thefts, and treacherous
plots against men, and adulteries. You are quarrelling
about rapines and murders, and invent strange
ways of wickedness."
Futile to resist
Rome and opposes God:
"Roman power is invincible
... you fight not only against the Romans, but against
God himself ... And, after
all this, do you expect Him whom you have so impiously
abused to be your supporter? "
Rome is God's instrument:
"God, when he had gone round the
nations with this dominion, is now
settled in Italy ...
And it is plain madness to expect that God should
appear as well disposed towards the wicked as towards
the righteous, since he knows when it is proper to
punish men for their sins immediately;
Tributes to Rome
"Romans demand no more than that accustomed tribute which
our fathers paid to their fathers."
Readiness for self-sacrifice:
"Nay, take my own blood as a reward, if it may but
procure your preservation; for I
am ready to die, in case
you will but return to a sound mind after my death."
Resumé of Jewish history:
"He betook himself to the histories belonging to
their own nation, and cried out aloud ... In old times
there was one Necao, king of Egypt, who was also called
Pharaoh; he came with a prodigious army of soldiers, and
seized queen Sarah, the mother of our nation. What did
Abraham our progenitor then do?
Appeal for change
"Will not you turn again, and look back, and consider
whence it is that you fight with such violence, and how
great a Supporter you have profanely abused?
"Paul" – Romans
they have killed thy prophets, and digged
down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they
seek my life." – 11.3
"Let us walk honestly, as in the
day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness,
not in strife and envying. – 13.13
"The powers that
be are ordained of
God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth
the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall
receive to themselves damnation." – 13.2
"For rulers are not a terror to
good works, but to the evil ... For he is the
minister of God to thee for good.
But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for
he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister
of God, a revenger to execute
wrath upon him that doeth evil." – 13.3,4
"Render therefore to all their dues: tribute
to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom;
fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour." – 13.7
"I have great heaviness and continual
sorrow in my heart. For I could wish
that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according
to the flesh." – 9.2,3
"Who are Israelites;
to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the
covenants, and the giving of the law ... they are the seed
of Abraham ...and Sarah shall have a son ... For the scripture
saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this
same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew
my power in thee ... – 9.4,17
" I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies
a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which
is your reasonable service." – 12.1
Sources: Hermann Detering, The Falsified
Paul, Early Christianity in the Twilight (Journal of Higher Criticism,
A. N. Wilson, Paul, The Mind of the Apostle (Sinclair-Stevenson, 1997)
John Ziesler, Pauline Christianity (Oxford, 1990)
Edward Stourton, In the Footsteps of Saint Paul (Hodder & Stoughton,
J. Murphy-O'Connor, Paul, A Critical Life (Clarendon, 1996)
J. Murphy-O'Connor, Paul, His Story (Oxford, 2005)
Daniel T. Unterbrink, Judas the Galilean (iUniverse, 2004)
Daniel T. Unterbrink, New Testament Lies (iUniverse, 2006)
Jay Raskin, The Evolution of Christs and Christianities (Xlibris, 2006)
organisation, authority and membership preceded
rather than followed the justifying doctrine. As
the organisation and its needs changed so has the ‘Testament
of God’ adapted accordingly. Dogma – The
Word in all its Savage Glory