St Paul the Apostle

– Could it all be a fabrication?

St Paul has always been something of an enigma in New Testament studies, not least because of his "advanced" theology from such an apparently early date. Though contemporaneous, supposedly, with the godman Paul never meets a human Jesus and yet he becomes the most important apostle of the new religion. Then again, the man and his seminal epistles, by convention placed in the mid-years of the 1st century, are actually unheard of until late in the 2nd century. Could our hero from Tarsus be a pious fabrication – just like Jesus and the rest of the gang?


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Kenneth Humphreys

 


10.10.11

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No Paul – No Jesus!

5-minute enlightenment
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On Paul's 'Epistles'

"These letters have no allusion to the parents of Jesus, let alone to the virgin birth.

They never refer to a place of birth (for example, by calling him 'of Nazareth').

They give no indication of the time or place of his earthly existence.

They do not refer to his trial before a Roman official, nor to Jerusalem as the place of execution.

They mention neither John the Baptist, nor Judas, nor Peter's denial of his master …

These letters also fail to mention any miracles Jesus is supposed to have worked, a particularly striking omission, since, according to the gospels, he worked so many ...

Another striking feature of Paul's letters is that one could never gather from them that Jesus had been an ethical teacher ... on only one occasion does he appeal to the authority of Jesus to support an ethical teaching which the gospels also represent Jesus as having delivered. "

– G. A. Wells, The Historical Evidence for Jesus, 22-23.

 

 

 

 

 

Rabbi Solly – making Romans kosher?

The invention of "St Paul" – Journey's End.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missions Impossible

Taking a closer look at those famous "missions to the Gentiles".

 

A Jew called Saul? An apostle called Paul? Or just plain invention? From religious policeman to grandee of the church, from beast fighter in Ephesus to beheading in Rome, Paul's story has more holes than a swiss cheese.

Curiously, the trail-blazing Christian missionary and apostle appears nowhere in the secular histories of his age. Ironically, though supposedly in Jerusalem at the right time, he can give no witness to a historical Jesus. But was Paul himself a genuine historical figure? The Pauline journeys, including the supposed transportation of the apostle to Rome, are characterized by incongruities, contradiction, and the absurd.

A closer look at the great missionary that some say "founded Christianity".

 

 

 

Journeys with an Apostle

 

Witness to murder. Christian saint gets off to a cracking start.


Two Different Pauls in Epistles and Acts, plus an Extra, Saul

The popular image of St Paul is selectively crafted from two sources: the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles which bear his name. Yet the two sources actually present two radically different individuals and two wildly divergent stories. Each relies on the other for coherence yet simultaneously requires an arbitrary selection of "fact" from the wealth of patent nonsense.

Can the historicity of the apostle realistically be maintained?

 

 

Paul was here?

Journeys with an Apostle – First Mission

Paul in Cyprus and Galatia – Real or Imagined?

Viewed without the rose-tinted spectacles of Christian faith, the first voyage of Paul is as fanciful as the first voyage of Sinbad. Improbable, unlikely incidents are juxtaposed with the miraculous and the ridiculous. Faith can offer special pleas for every incongruity but logical thinking cannot.

 

 

Dying to meet you?

Galatians – Barbarians, Settlers or Jews?

Galatians, the "most authentic" of the Pauline epistles, raises more questions than it answers. If its pugnacious author was, in reality, an early Christian missionary, then the letter is perhaps the first record of his clash with competitors over a territory he had claimed for himself.

But what territory? Something about Paul's dealings with the Galatians in not quite kosher.

   

philippi

Landfall at Philippi? For Brutus, anyway.

Journeys with an Apostle – Second Mission

Philippi – First Church in Europe or an origins myth?

St Paul's supposed journeys have more symbolism than realism. Taking a closer look at the military colony where the apostle is said to have converted a seller of purple and his gaoler and founded the first church in Europe. Paul's presence in Philippi is decidedly dubious.

"See you at Philippi."

   
Corinth – Rome's imperial command post in Greece. But was it Paul's?

In the New Testament yarn Paul visited Corinth on his second missionary journey, stayed eighteen months and founded the Corinthian church. Two letters ostensibly written to the Christians of Corinth form the core of "authentic" Pauline epistles. But was it friction or fiction in Roman Greece?

   

Visit Athens, burn a few books .. the Lord's work.

A Greek Odyssey? – Second and Third Missions

Acts records the apostle's presence at major cities like Athens, Thessalonika and Ephesus and minor towns like Derbe and Mitylene, yet Paul's epistles confirm very little of this grand tour. Whilst a missionary journey, in the manner of a wandering sage or peripatetic philosopher, is intrinsically plausible, the Pauline journeys, characterized by incongruities, contradiction, and the absurd, are not.

   

Magic hankies for Jesus?

Journeys with an Apostle – Third Mission

Paul at Ephesus – Derring-do or hocus pocus?

The reports of Paul's "evangelisation" of vast areas of the eastern Roman Empire are a triumph of brevity. This is especially true of Paul's third missionary journey, spent mainly in Ephesus. But did a Jewish evangelist called Paul really turn this sophisticated city upside down?

   

"There he is, GET HIM!"

Paul in Jerusalem - An Unbelievable Yarn

Paul escapes murderous Jews in Jerusalem – three times?
Plus the curious 'Stephen and Paul' speech.

   

Hardman shaken by Paul?

Paul in Caesarea? Trial and Error

Paul before Felix and Festus? Only in the Christian dreamscape are its fabricated heroes always the centre of attention.

 

 

Lost at sea?

Last Journey with an Apostle

The Road to Rome?  – Theology meets Josephus!

The Church "tradition" of Paul's voyage to Rome, followed by a martyr's death, cannot survive rational scrutiny. The fable may well owe its origin to the works of Josephus, the cornucopia of the Christian fraudsters.

   

Venom in Malta?

All at Sea The Curious Yarn of Paul's "Shipwreck"

At least three countries lay claim to the site of Paul's shipwreck, all backed up by local "traditions," venerable artefacts and the insistence of local clergy and entrepreneurs. But the tale of maritime adventure is a pious fantasy and all three claims are bogus.

   

Dear diary ...

Epistles – Bold, Catholic and Fake

Pauline and other apostolic letters certainly exist but the epistles, far from being genuine letters, originated in the acrimonious doctrinal battles of the 2nd century – a time when "pseudepigraphy" and forged apostolic writings were weapons in the war of "Christianities".

   

"As I was saying ..."

Epistles – The bogus "authentic" Pauline letters!

"Pseudepigraphy" is the very heart of the New Testament. The Pauline corpus is not an exception – it is a compendium of fraud.  Many scholars attempt "chronologies" of the life of Paul, yet Acts of the Apostles is a naive fantasy and the Pauline letters of themselves provide few clues in time or place.

   

"Now someone take notes ..."

Paul – A Diluted Gnosticism at the heart of Orthodoxy

Did Paul really invent Christianity? Purportedly, Paul, tireless founder of churches and evangelist extraordinaire, is also the first – and most influential – theologian of the Church. Whoever wrote in the name of Paul combined elements from Judaism, Gnosticism, and the Mystery religions to produce the winning formula.

   

"None of that ..."

Paul – The first theologian? Priestly Imperatives

The historicity of the super-apostle, vexed by troubles on all sides, warily asserting (re-asserting?) authority over "his" churches by stern letters, is not compelling. The "authentic voice" within the epistles is that of an authoritarian churchman. His call to "follow traditions" and "obey written rules" is clearly anachronistic and moves the epistles into a later age than purported for a 1st century apostle.

   

To boldly go ...

Ripping Yarn – Paul and the "Acts of the Apostles"

Christianity was NOT propagated by the "bold evangelism" of a handful of fearless apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit and energized by their personal experiences of a resurrected godman. In fact, no evidence links Paul to the major Christian churches – the story in the Acts of the Apostles is a pious invention.

   

Tweedle dum and Twindle dee

Witness creation programme – "Ignatius and Polycarp"

Phantom saints were created by 2nd century Catholic Orthodoxy, seeding its own beliefs into an earlier era as "evidence" for Paul and as a rebuttal to Gnosticism. A phantom saint heads the list of "witnesses to witnesses".

   

Too good to be true

The Improbable Paul – The making of a Super Apostle

Paul's letters are not what they appear to be – and more to the point, not when they appear to be. NOT ONE of the early Christian churches in the major cities of the Roman world owed anything to a pioneering apostle called Paul. Almost everything we think we know about Paul comes not from his own writings but from Acts of the Apostles, the great work of Catholic harmonization. As the Catholics successfully assimilated their Marcionite and Gnostic opponents, the legendary Paul was reworked in Acts. What we have in Paul is not a super-apostle but a superlative fraud.

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2006, 2009 by Kenneth Humphreys.
Copying is freely permitted, provided credit is given to the author and no material herein is sold for profit.