Challenge to Pauline Comspiracy by Excaliburton

Victor

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Would you believe that after 13 years I just stumbled across this tidbit?
Excaliburton started the thread with; A. Victor Garaffa had written the Pauline Conspiracy that is posted among the articles on this web site. And he had challenged anybody to refute his thesis that Paul was a false apostle.

This was the statement with the challenge:
Read a bit more carefully you all would have noticed that I challenged no one, Brian did! Second, what you have of the origional thesis is totally incomplete. Since it first appeared on the internet I have added 90 pages from the Greek manuscripts of Acts and Paul's Letters. There are countless editions, additions, and general information that totally changed the complexion of the Thesis. Thanks guys, as I consider your comments as flattering and a tribute to the work itself, but you don't have the completed text!
Victor G
 

iBrian

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Yep, I thought your arguments were so interesting I expected to see a rebuttal somewhere - but so far I haven't seen one. :)
 

muhammad_isa

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Who would have thought it?
..that Victor was a Catholic. :)

I suppose it means that he was from a Catholic family, and had an interest in theology.
 

RJM

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Who would have thought it?
..that Victor was a Catholic. :)
I suppose it means that he was from a Catholic family, and had an interest in theology.
You seem to think that is significant?
But that this is not:

With regard to 'The Pauline Conspiracy', it's a partisan and pejorative document rather than sound scholarship – it's a lot of opinion posing as 'fact', and is riddled with factual and interpretational errors.

If you want an equivalent, how about this:

+++

The Prophet Mohammed never actually existed in the way the received version of Islamic tradition claims.

Islam is a Gnostic spiritual teaching wrapped in myth. Islam has created a Prophet to be the hero of its mythology, the vehicle by whom spiritual truths, supposedly dictated by an angel, are made accessible to the peasantry.

There are hardly any original Islamic sources from the first century of Islam. Even with those from that period, caution is required. Even with a source from the first century, the question of later manipulation remains. There is no firm ground in the sources until the written text was established.

How can a world religion have erupted in a virtual vacuum? All great religions have their heresies, Where are the early Islamic heretics and gnostics? Later theologians knew some of their works, but the content is lost.

Documentary evidence from the Sufnayid period makes no mention of the messenger of God at all. The papyri do not refer to him. The Arabic inscriptions of the Arab-Sasanian coins only invoke Allah, not his messenger. Pre-Marwanid tombstones fail to mention the messenger.

A scandal of Islamic tradition is the absence of Islamic formulations from coins and monuments dating from the its first two centuries, as well as the presence of material obviously incompatible with Islam.

The oldest inscription with the formulation "Mohammed Messenger of Allah" is to found in the 66th year of Islamic reckoning, and after that used continuously. But there also exist coins found in Palestine on which the word "Muhammed" is on one side and a picture of a man holding a cross on the other. There are dozens of other examples. There is no evidence of conquest as presented in Islamic commentaries, but rather a peaceful transfer of power from the Byzantine empire to its local Arab allies.

Various explanations are put forward for the lack of mention of the Prophet in the early period, and it is no proof for the non-existence of an historical Mohammed. But it is most astonishing, and begs the question of the significance of Mohammed for the original Muslim congregation in the case that he did exist.

The question arises: if Mohammed never existed, or did not exist as he is portrayed, why was so much effort devoted in later years to manufacturing thousands of pages of phony documentation in the Hadith and elsewhere?

Why, indeed, was the Mohammed story invented, by whom, and to what end?

The story of the Hegira, Mohammed's flight from Mecca to Medina allegedly in 622, provides a clue. No prophet is mentioned in the Qur'an as often as Moses, and Muslim tradition always emphasised the similarly between Moses and Mohammed. The central event in the life of Moses is the Exodus of the oppressed Children of Israel out of Egypt, so the central event in the life of Mohammed is the Exodus of his oppressed congregation out of Mecca to Medina. The Hegira appears only to show how the Prophet emulates the life of Moses.

The connection of Mohammed to Jesus in Islamic tradition is through his daughter Fatima, who is identified with Mary. The line Fatima-Mary-Isis is well known to research. With the takeover of Mecca, Mohammed returns to the point of origin. Thus we have a circular structure typical of myth, in which beginning and end are identical. This Gnostic circular structure represents the concept that the soul returns to its origin. It is separated from its origin, and must return to it for the sake of its salvation.

Islam began as a Gnostic teaching. The myth of Mohammed could be the product of such a Gnosis, wanting to present its theology as a new and original myth with a new protagonist, but actually is the old protagonist (Moses/Jesus) reimagined. For the Gnostic it was always clear, the issue is not historicity, but theology. Moses, Jesus and Mohammed are different versions of a mythical hero or son of god, who would depict an old spiritual teaching in mythical form.

In Islamic Gnosis, Mohammed appears along with family members; Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Hussein are cosmic forces, the Gnostic Abu Mansur al Igli claimed that God first created Jesus, and then Ali. Here apparently we still have the Cosmic Christ. If a Christian Gnosis was there as the origin of Islam, then the Cosmic Christ underwent a name change to Mohammed in the Arab world, and this Cosmic Mohammed was presented as a new edition of the Myth of Moses/Jesus as an Arab prophet.

The teachings of Islamic mysticism are not specifically Islamic. They are a new minting of the perennial philosophy, which is found everywhere in the world in various traditions. The Qur'an is then a vehicle of transmission of the perennial philosophy.

With that in mind, it's worth noting that Arabic script transcribed 28 consonants, of which only 6 can be readily distinguished, the remaining 22 having formal similarities which means that what specific consonant is intended can only be determined by context. It was only with the introduction of diacritics centuries later, that an authorized vocalization of the text, how it was to be read, was established.

Prior to this, there is evidence that the unpointed text could be read in different ways, with different meanings. A precise reading the text was not fixed in the days of the Prophet.

There is a tradition in Islam that two men, disputing a verse in the text, asked a third to mediate, but he disagreed with both of them, coming up with a third reading. To resolve the question, the three went to Muhammad. He asked all three to read out the verse in turn, each as they understood it, then pronounced all three correct! Perplexed, they asked for an explanation, and the Prophet told them: "Pray to God for protection from the accursed Satan" which is, unfortunately, no answer at all, but rather suggests that God is not quite able to make Himself clearly and unequivocally understood – let alone the idea that God dictates through an angel – It does serve, however, as a means of silencing question.

+++

I don't hold with it at all, but it is the work of a Muslim and Professor of Islamic Theology.

You saying he is a Muslim does not make it so.
 

muhammad_isa

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You seem to think that is significant?

Well, I find it interesting that Catholic Christians here strongly condemn his views as anti-Catholic.
It is a bit of a contradiction, isn't it, that he is a Catholic?
I would have thought that he doubts the Catholic creed, and became a non-trinitarian.
 

RJM

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It is a bit of a contradiction, isn't it, that he is a Catholic?
Does that make his writing any better, or his unsupported conjecture any more scholarly, or his selective use of material any less disingenuous? Does it make updating his work in light of new knowledge less necessary? Also you ignored the rest of my post, again.

I don't hold with it at all, but it is the work of a Muslim and Professor of Islamic Theology.
You saying he is a Muslim does not make it so.
 
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muhammad_isa

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Does that make his writing any better, or his unsupported conjecture any more scholarly?
I'm not commenting on that .. I was commenting on the contradiction between his published views and "being a Catholic".

.. you ignored the rest of my post, again.
Yes, I ignored it purposely .. it is from another thread.
I am quite willing to discuss it there.
 

RJM

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I'm not commenting on that .. I was commenting on the contradiction between his published views and "being a Catholic".
But so what? He can believe what he likes and call himself whatever he likes? It's completely up to him. No one is disputing his work as an opinion piece; everybody's entitled to his own opinion.

The difficulty arises when an opinion piece masquerades and is published as fact. and that is back to the same old roundabout and the same all whirlpool, and sorry brother I've got better things to do.
 

muhammad_isa

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But so what? He can believe what he likes and call himself whatever he likes?

Did he call himself a Catholic?
I'm not sure that he did. He had a Catholic burial, but that is not really the same thing as believing in Catholicism.
He certainly identified himself as a Christian.

I just found it interesting, that's all :)
 
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RJM

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Did he call himself a Catholic?
I'm not sure that he did. He had a Catholic burial, but that is not really the same thing as believing in Catholicism.
He certainly identified himself as a Christian.

I just found it interesting, that's all :)
I apologise if I misunderstood, Muhammad
 
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