The Pauline Conspiracy

Thomas

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Brian referenced this text elsewhere, so I thought I'd comment.

... but Paul's Epistles demonstrate the building of the real theology of Christianity.
Nonsense. Each Gospel is a theological testimony. The Book of Hebrews (not by Paul) has a profound theology. What the author's talking about is ethics, not theology.

without the theology of Saul of Tarsus there is no Christian Doctrine.
A brief look at the text-books of doctrine, The "Catechism" say, or Ott's "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma" would suffice to show how inaccurate and ill-informed that statement is.

In this in-depth scholarly thesis by victor, he systematically analyses the letters of Saul - to set up his ultimate prosecution, and the accusation that Saul of Tarsus did not simply usurp the embryonic Jerusalem Church under Jesus's brother James, but that he also corrupted the entire original message of Christianity as it was then into something utterly alien.
Funny how the Apostles and the Church never noticed that, I mean, they all died for what they believed, yet they stood by and let someone make a mockery of it ...

In all honesty I can say that I have searched for rebukes against the criticisms against Saul of Tarsus, all of which Victor has developed, and more - but never have I found anything that even begins to present itself as a coherent defence. Ultimately the acceptance of Saul of Tarsus remains a matter of faith. However, should anyone take it upon themselves to ever write-up a proper defence, addressing all objections in detail, then I would be very happy to post it up here in the general articles section of interfaith.org, to serve as a balanced argument.
I might tackle this on the Theology Board if anyone's interested?

Thomas
 
Hi Thomas,
Conspiracy? Somewhere I have read that Paul was the apostle to the gentiles. We read in acts of the meeting Paul had with the other apostles, what he argued should be required of gentiles to be part of the Christian body. As we read through Paul's letters, it's apparent that he does not think gentiles should be held to the "law".
Today the Christian gentiles blaspheme against the law. Of course if you believe the law has been done away with, then you don't care. This thought has it's beginning with Paul. His teaching let the gentile church do what it wanted regardless of the guidelines put fourth in the Jewish part of our bible.
So today we have first day sabbath, eat what we want etc etc etc. Without Paul's liberal approach of inclusion, the Christian sect that grew from Judaism would much closer resemble it's parent.
Joe
 
Hi Thomas,
Conspiracy? Somewhere I have read that Paul was the apostle to the gentiles. We read in acts of the meeting Paul had with the other apostles, what he argued should be required of gentiles to be part of the Christian body. As we read through Paul's letters, it's apparent that he does not think gentiles should be held to the "law".
Today the Christian gentiles blaspheme against the law. Of course if you believe the law has been done away with, then you don't care. This thought has it's beginning with Paul. His teaching let the gentile church do what it wanted regardless of the guidelines put fourth in the Jewish part of our bible.
So today we have first day sabbath, eat what we want etc etc etc. Without Paul's liberal approach of inclusion, the Christian sect that grew from Judaism would much closer resemble it's parent.
Joe

I doubt that. Not with Jesus' ideas and message to humanity which could never fit into Judaism's exclusiveness. Once you understand the ramifications behind Jesus' wisdom re how every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, how every city or house divided against itself will not stand, then it is impossible for a Christian to be a Jew who has divided himself or herself from the majority of humankind, Gentiles. "Pharisee" means a "Separate One". You cannot serve two masters at the same time is another way of putting it..
 
Without Paul's liberal approach of inclusion, the Christian sect that grew from Judaism would much closer resemble it's parent.
Joe

I'm not sure if it would or not. Supposing that at some point Jesus' teachings and the Gospel message were taken on by Gentiles without Paul, Judaism does not demand following Judaic Law by Gentiles anyway. That is, the Gentiles could just be followers of the Noahide Law and additionally follow Jesus' teachings.
 
I think Victor may still be around somewhere - I'll see if I can track down his email address.

Nonsense. Each Gospel is a theological testimony. The Book of Hebrews (not by Paul) has a profound theology. What the author's talking about is ethics, not theology.

The Gospels are indeed set up as testimony, but not as inquiry - isn't it left to Saul to provide the narrative explaining the events? In that, do we not have the creation of Christian theology? Or are you saying that if only the Gospels formed the New Testament, you would have a complete theology for Christianity?

A brief look at the text-books of doctrine, The "Catechism" say, or Ott's "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma" would suffice to show how inaccurate and ill-informed that statement is.

I think we're working on different definitions of theology - being the inquiry and study of events, with the Gospels merely mostly providing coverage of the events rather than meaning.

Funny how the Apostles and the Church never noticed that, I mean, they all died for what they believed, yet they stood by and let someone make a mockery of it ...

I remember in earlier discussions it was highlighted that there is at least one passage in the NT that has Saul meeting the Jerusalem Church, and being in conflict with it.

I believe there's one version of the account which suggests Saul walked away thinking all was resolved - but this is only one perspective, and it would require the viewpoint of the Jersulam Chruch to confirm this. Yet from memory they seem to become very silent very quickly.

Don't you find it interesting that none of the original disciples play no real further role once Saul claims authority to be their equal, and take over the direction of Christianity?
 
It amazes me that so much in Christianity hangs on Paul. It is quite incredible that so much hangs on so little. Half of what he is supposed to have written is hotly contested as being of his hand and is often both self-contradictory and contradictory to the other narratives. There is without doubt far too little of independent verifiable authority to begin to make this one man (linguistic analysis says at least 3 men) the definitive voice within the Christianity to come. So how and why did that happen?

It is without doubt the early Catholic Church that put Paul at the spearhead of their faith. Firmly placing him (and Peter) dying in Rome giving the political leadership of Rome just cause to claim itself the natural seat of Christianity. The highly debatable archival sources that do exist have been in the unrelenting grasp of the Catholic Church for its entire history and if the best they can offer is this paultry (sic) narrative of self-contradictory ill logic, hammered crudely to fit the rest of doctrine, then we must also ask ourselves why? Why indeed is the whole Bible such a poor quality historical document.

The answer is that it was never designed to be read by the plebbary. The whole Bible was designed first as an administrative tool of its appointed representatives. First of all it stole virtually wholesale the whole of the Judaic system, (which itself was a distillation of 1000s of years worth of scattered tales clealy derived from the regional cultural history), and with the sole aim of justifying the bolted togather tale of the messaiah. One God, One Messaiah, One Emperor, the true holy trinity.

Paul never met Jesus and so was bestowed a vision of him on the road to Damascus. Without this self-proclaimed miracle what do we have? We then see him make a tour of those that had met Jesus and him tell them how they should define that experience. Lol, for me its just so laughable as a narrative that a guy who used to "violently persecute the Church of God" should think he has the right to go and try tell them how to define their relationship to their leader based on some supposed vision. Yet this was important to Rome as the inclusion of the Gentiles was pivotal to expansionism and against the tide of gnostic cultism that very early Cristianity was headed toward. Christianity stemming from an extant monotheism became a political means with the arrival of Constantine the Great who understood it well it being his mothers religion. It was he that saw political wisdom in uniting his empire under one book and dealing with the "devine tax-collectors and regional administrators" under a single umbrella. He legalised Christianity within the Roman Empire, (this is often heiniously misinterpreted as the end of a 'persecution' but was nothing of the kind. It would be more akin to declaring the British Royal Family allowed to return to the Catholic faith if they so chose). After working throughout his life to form the Catholic Church into a single political adminastrative unit his successor made it the Official religion and enshrined the Germanic legacy within the selection of both Emperor and Papacy. Something that remains to this day within Papal selection. That Constantine embraced the early CC as being a political expediency is confirmed by his provincial continuance in supporting the older pagan gods and by even the most cursory overview of the political realities of the day.

What the CC really holds within its archives we will never know. It certainly will not willingly release anything that contradicts the party line. But if the best it has to offer as support for Pauline scripture is that rag-bag testimony of contradiction and impossibility then any meaninful debate is impossible. And when something is impossible to meaningfully debate what value can it really have? And how can it claim any resemblence to truth?
 
archival sources that do exist have been in the unrelenting grasp of the Catholic Church


Does anyone have more intell on these "archival sources" ?? Like, who would have access to them?

... maybe I should give Vatican city a visit... apply some of my ninja skillz

 
Does anyone have more intell on these "archival sources" ?? Like, who would have access to them?

... maybe I should give Vatican city a visit... apply some of my ninja skillz

They have (reportedly) 85 km of library ( and that is lineal km, not square km).
So they do have a whole lot stuffed away.
I think that a lot of what was reportedly burned say in central and south america, they actually skimmed the cream, tucked it away in some musty vault and burned the dross, at least i hope they just didn't burn the lot.
In any case, if you do and turn up something good, please share the wealth C0de.
 
Or are you saying that if only the Gospels formed the New Testament, you would have a complete theology for Christianity?
Yes. There's nothing theologically in Paul that is other than the Gospels. But mainly I'm disputing the fact that the epistles are 'real theology' and by implication the rest of the NT isn't.

I think we're working on different definitions of theology - being the inquiry and study of events, with the Gospels merely mostly providing coverage of the events rather than meaning.
I would dispute that reading of the Gospels. My definition of theology is 'faith seeking understanding'.

I remember in earlier discussions it was highlighted that there is at least one passage in the NT that has Saul meeting the Jerusalem Church, and being in conflict with it.
Not according to the sources. Peter and Paul had to explain themselves for baptising gentiles, there was a strong contingent who saw the Way as for Jews only.

Don't you find it interesting that none of the original disciples play no real further role once Saul claims authority to be their equal, and take over the direction of Christianity?
I think that's over-stating the case. Appollos founded the Church at Ephesus, Paul went there to preach, John settled there later. The Johannine materials were written at Ephesus.

It has always been more important to Christendom that Peter went to Rome than Paul.

The Book of Acts, written by Luke, shows how the Church began, and its spread into the world. Peter was the main player in the first part, Paul the main player in the second. Scripture is not really about personalities.

Thomas
 
@ SG

The most primary of sources in this case would be something (anything) written by Jesus (PBUH) himself... That's the only "holy grail" as far as I am concerned. I just can't accept the idea that no such document exists. It has to exist... somewhere...


@ Shawn

85 clicks eh?? ... (phew) wow...

The most interesting material that was burned was probably all the documents that were destroyed after the second Council of Neceae around 300AD... There was a big debate on what made it in the bible and what got thrown out... and I wanna know what got thrown out.
 
It amazes me that so much in Christianity hangs on Paul.
It hangs on Christ, actually. The above is your assumption, not Christian belief, nor Christian scholarship.

It is quite incredible that so much hangs on so little.
Well, it depends of what you can make of it, I suppose ... people say the same about Shakespeare, poetry ...

Why indeed is the whole Bible such a poor quality historical document.
Because that's not what it is?

Simply put, the Bible was not written for people like you. It was written for people of faith.

Thomas
 
Does anyone have more intell on these "archival sources" ?? Like, who would have access to them?
Scholars. There were materials published just last year with a fair degree of publicity.

The Vatican is not unique ... every museum keeps its most precious materials for those whom they trust ... what would be the point of risking loss and damage, for the titilation of individuals?

If you want to let your conspiracy theory imagination run wild, maybe I'll write about the certain books kept in the British Museum, available onto to those with a certain clearance, and viewable only in the presence of an armed guard, who will shoot you if you begin to recite aloud the words contained in the scripts ...

Of course, most museums keep their collections of pornography under lock and key and silence ... but they are easier to get access to.

Thomas
 
If you want to let your conspiracy theory imagination run wild, maybe I'll write about the certain books kept in the British Museum, available onto to those with a certain clearance, and viewable only in the presence of an armed guard, who will shoot you if you begin to recite aloud the words contained in the scripts ...

:eek::eek:

no wai !!
 
It hangs on Christ, actually. The above is your assumption, not Christian belief, nor Christian scholarship.
That is an opinion.

Well, it depends of what you can make of it, I suppose ... people say the same about Shakespeare, poetry ...
You relate Shakespeare and 2000 years of Catholic led tyranny as being remotely similar!!?? Sorry I don't live on that planet.

Because that's not what it is?
So why does the Church say it is?

Simply put, the Bible was not written for people like you. It was written for people of faith.
And faith is belief in......

[/quote]
Scholars. There were materials published just last year with a fair degree of publicity.

The Vatican is not unique ... every museum keeps its most precious materials for those whom they trust ... what would be the point of risking loss and damage, for the titilation of individuals?

If you want to let your conspiracy theory imagination run wild, maybe I'll write about the certain books kept in the British Museum, available onto to those with a certain clearance, and viewable only in the presence of an armed guard, who will shoot you if you begin to recite aloud the words contained in the scripts ...

Of course, most museums keep their collections of pornography under lock and key and silence ... but they are easier to get access to.

Thomas
............ Confusing real life with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
 
Scholars. There were materials published just last year with a fair degree of publicity.

The Vatican is not unique ... every museum keeps its most precious materials for those whom they trust ... what would be the point of risking loss and damage, for the titilation of individuals?
Namaste Thomas,

What exactly has the Vatican published of note last year? One looks at Nag Hamadi and Dead Sea info and the years before it was released.

In today's day and age we know that the likes of google, yahoo etc. have offered and are gnawing at the bit to put all the libraries on the net, we know that this could be done with more safety to the orginal documents than ever before and any one researcher would do more damage than an archiver (digital archives would only take one turn of each page before the book is back on the shelf, a researcher would end up going back and forth...) ie there is no reason other than self serving ones to not let the info go onto the web. It can't be money, is there any outfit with more money than than the CC?
 
I'm not sure if it would or not. Supposing that at some point Jesus' teachings and the Gospel message were taken on by Gentiles without Paul, Judaism does not demand following Judaic Law by Gentiles anyway. That is, the Gentiles could just be followers of the Noahide Law and additionally follow Jesus' teachings.
Looking through the lens of New Testament scholarship, I think you've got something here.
 
Come on, Thomas - I was really hoping to have a more intelligent discussion with you, but if you're going to play games you're doing is allowing Victor's assertions to stand.

So far you have not provided any counter-argument, but instead appear to be posturing and playing around with semantics for fun.

That's a shame, as you seem to have originally started this thread suggesting an intent for exploration, which could have been interesting.
 
Come on, Thomas - I was really hoping to have a more intelligent discussion with you, but if you're going to play games you're doing is allowing Victor's assertions to stand.

So far you have not provided any counter-argument, but instead appear to be posturing and playing around with semantics for fun.

That's a shame, as you seem to have originally started this thread suggesting an intent for exploration, which could have been interesting.



Don't worry, Brian; Thomas isn't the only one who thinks that you and Victor are nuts ;):p Just kidding, of course.

I said:
In this in-depth scholarly thesis by victor, he systematically analyses the letters of Saul - to set up his ultimate prosecution, and the accusation that Saul of Tarsus did not simply usurp the embryonic Jerusalem Church under Jesus's brother James, but that he also corrupted the entire original message of Christianity as it was then into something utterly alien.


Let me keep it simple: Paul did not write his letters with the intention of getting them into the Bible, like it was some sort of Reader's Digest contest or something. Paul went on missionary trips to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in the process many people believed, and those people got together into congregations and formed churches. Paul's letters (with the exception of Romans, I guess) are all written to those individual churches with their individual needs, or else to individual Christians with individual needs (like Titus and Timothy). The problem is that these letters have been interpreted as being universal in time and space (much like the gospels), rather than pertaining to their actual audience. In some ways they are (like when Paul says that there is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ), and in some ways they are not (like when Paul says that women, who at that time generally would not have received an education, should not speak in church).

Here's the thing: If you were an ambitious person who was looking for a way to twist the Bible to make it sound like it says things that it actually does not, where would you start? The gospels? Old Testament prophecy? Or would you start with the epistles-- and by extension, since he wrote most of them, with Paul?

If the character of Paul and the entirety of his writings are taken into account, it becomes clear that nothing he says runs against Jesus' teachings or the word of God. In another thread we're arguing over the meaning of "obey authorities." Jesus himself obeyed authorities he didn't put stock into when he paid the temple tax, didn't he? Do you really think that Paul means "above all else, obey authorities, even if it means you need to quit loving your neighbour and start hurting him instead?" OF COURSE NOT! But you can't argue that to the conspiracy theorists because they've already got their minds made up on the matter.

It's like anything else with the Bible: Interpret a few lines in isolation and you've got a controvercy; interpret them with the big picture in view and you've got harmony.
 
Come on, Thomas - I was really hoping to have a more intelligent discussion with you, but if you're going to play games you're doing is allowing Victor's assertions to stand.

So far you have not provided any counter-argument, but instead appear to be posturing and playing around with semantics for fun.

That's a shame, as you seem to have originally started this thread suggesting an intent for exploration, which could have been interesting.

I'm not sure how this thead slipped under my radar, but did anybody consider using the tag search feature to bring up the previous discussions on the Pauline Conspiracy? In particular, I would like to point to this one especially, in which I discussed Mr. Garaffa's thesis, at length, with Mr. Garaffa:

http://www.interfaith.org/forum/refutation-of-pauline-controversy-5750.html
 
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