Did anybody refute A. Victor Garaffa article on Paul?

Excaliburton

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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:

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 comparative-religion.com, to serve as a balanced argument.
 
Hi Excaliburton--
Welcome to CR. :)

Seems I do recall someone promising to look into that about a year or so ago. I think what happened is that a few small distractions like chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and major surgery got in the way ;).

All better now, I think. Worthwhile things generally do take some time.

Now, where are those notes I started, I wonder? :)

To tell you the truth, these days I am more focused on unity than I am discord, so it may be a while before I resume that project. But I gotta say that so far, I have rather enjoyed the research.

I am glad you brought this up, though, because it gives me an opportunity to say to anyone who might share my desire to answer this particular challenge: Don't wait for me. I'm about a year behind, and I have some projects that must take precedence.

But it is such a common occurence to find someone ripping Paul apart that I think it might be refreshing to find someone defending him in a thoughtful and scholarly manner. I am not sure that I can be all that scholarly, but I can still think for myself. Now if I can just transfer those little sparks from my brain to my fingertips....:eek:

InPeace,
InLove
 
InLove said:
To tell you the truth, these days I am more focused on unity than I am discord, so it may be a while before I resume that project. But I gotta say that so far, I have rather enjoyed the research.

It is too late for me to edit, but I'd like to make a correction. I think "harmony" would be more appropriate in this case than "unity".:)

InPeace,
InLove
 
Excaliburton said:
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:

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 comparative-religion.com, to serve as a balanced argument.

Welcome to CR Excal. ;)

I fail to see where anyone (Christian), would care to refute Paul's writings as being false, considering he wrote as he perceived things, and was quite candid about issues that were his own opinion, vs. those that were of God. With this in mind I can not conceive of a "balanced arguement", for or against Paul...

He wrote what he wrote. One can take it or leave it. There really is no argument.

Again, welcome to CR.

v/r

Q
 
Since Paul constantly contradicts the teachings of Jesus, I would think most Christians would be opposed to him, and Victor's article makes these contradictions very clear.

And many historians and prominent statesmen like Thomas Jefferson have also condemned Paul as a destroyer of the original Christian Way.

Have you not read Victor's article?
 
Excaliburton said:
Since Paul constantly contradicts the teachings of Jesus, I would think most Christians would be opposed to him, and Victor's article makes these contradictions very clear.

And many historians and prominent statesmen like Thomas Jefferson have also condemned Paul as a destroyer of the original Christian Way.

Have you not read Victor's article?

Paul contradicts nothing Jesus said, that I can see. I certainly never perceived a conflict of interests in my studies. The articles are an opinion, based on the author's perceptions.

As far as Jefferson, well if you read some of his "Jefferson Bible" and subequent letters to the likes of say, William Short, you'd find that Jefferson regarded many of the authors of the life of Jesus to be ignorant and corrupting. To Jefferson, Paul was in good company. the irony I see concerning Jefferson and Paul, is that their personalities were strikingly similar in make up, and intensity concerning things they were particularly passionate about.

v/r

Q
 
Kindest Regards, Excaliburton, and welcome to CR!
Interesting screen name.

Excaliburton said:
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:

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 comparative-religion.com, to serve as a balanced argument.

Sure thing, coming right up!

http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/knowledge-of-good-and-evil-4895-4.html

beginning post 53 through post 67, with emphasis on posts 59, 65, & 67.

Please note that these responses were presented in conversation with Mr. Victor Garaffa himself. Also note that I am still waiting patiently, some 2 and a half months now, for a response from Mr. Garaffa. I trust he is busy, and will respond in his good time.

I would also like to note that, with the exception of Mr. Garaffa, most who present with the purpose of discrediting Paul and tearing down the structure of Christianity have not at any time in this forum presented any discription of what they believe Christianity should look like. In other words, typically people who take Paul to task are great at demolition, and are exceptionally wanting in construction skills. Anybody can cast a stone, it takes a master to build stones one on another into an edifice, be it fortress or cathedral.
 
Juan, some people do come up for "air" once in a blue moon...:rolleyes: :D

Welcome back!

v/r

Q
 
juantoo3 said:
I would also like to note that, with the exception of Mr. Garaffa, most who present with the purpose of discrediting Paul and tearing down the structure of Christianity have not at any time in this forum presented any discription of what they believe Christianity should look like. In other words, typically people who take Paul to task are great at demolition, and are exceptionally wanting in construction skills. Anybody can cast a stone, it takes a master to build stones one on another into an edifice, be it fortress or cathedral.
As far as I know, Christianity means to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ (pbuh). Whether or not that shows up in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, or any other person here, in the world, or in history, is all up for grabs. Alledged 'Christianity' does NOT define Christianity... Jesus Christ (pbuh) does. To learn Christianity. I place in order of importance:

1. Jesus (pbuh)... Gospels... I tend towards the KJV, Greek, or Latin.
2. The twelve apostles.
3. Teaching from prophets which Jesus (pbuh) referred to, and John the baptist.
4. My understanding from comparing life lessons, hopefully from God (swt), relationships with people, and measured science.
5. The teaching from anyone who claims it to be from God (swt), the messenger Muhammad (pbuh)... provided interpretations do not conflict with 1 and 2.
6. People who knew and saw Jesus (pbuh) in the flesh.
7. People who studied Jesus (pbuh) teachings around the time shortly thereafter, and led Christian lives at some point, such as Saul from Tarsus.
8. People who studied Jesus (pbuh) and led Christian lives, including a number of Muslims or people from other religions.
9. The teaching of churches, denominations, and alledged Christians alive today.
10. Anyone from history or today who comments about Christianity or their life's lessons, such as people from other religions and those who post here.

So if placing Saul of Tarsus 7th discredits him... there's the order of relevance for me. The order for Islam would be different, placing the Qur'an and messenger Muhammad first. I think Paul was clearly a smart and guided person, but the Gospels are golden and I think stand on their own.
 
cyberpi said:
As far as I know, Christianity means to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ (pbuh). Whether or not that shows up in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, or any other person here, in the world, or in history, is all up for grabs. Alledged 'Christianity' does NOT define Christianity... Jesus Christ (pbuh) does. To learn Christianity. I place in order of importance:

1. Jesus (pbuh)... Gospels... I tend towards the KJV, Greek, or Latin.
2. The twelve apostles.
3. Teaching from prophets which Jesus (pbuh) referred to, and John the baptist.
4. My understanding from comparing life lessons, hopefully from God (swt), relationships with people, and measured science.
5. The teaching from anyone who claims it to be from God (swt), the messenger Muhammad (pbuh)... provided interpretations do not conflict with 1 and 2.
6. People who knew and saw Jesus (pbuh) in the flesh.
7. People who studied Jesus (pbuh) teachings around the time shortly thereafter, and led Christian lives at some point, such as Saul from Tarsus.
8. People who studied Jesus (pbuh) and led Christian lives, including a number of Muslims or people from other religions.
9. The teaching of churches, denominations, and alledged Christians alive today.
10. Anyone from history or today who comments about Christianity or their life's lessons, such as people from other religions and those who post here.

So if placing Saul of Tarsus 7th discredits him... there's the order of relevance for me. The order for Islam would be different, placing the Qur'an and messenger Muhammad first. I think Paul was clearly a smart and guided person, but the Gospels are golden and I think stand on their own.

Nope. It means to "Trust" Jesus, in one's own salvation. That is all, (yet so hard for many to consider).

v/r

Q
 
Quahom1 said:
Nope. It means to "Trust" Jesus, in one's own salvation. That is all, (yet so hard for many to consider).

v/r

Q
Nope, but your argument is against the teaching of Jesus (pbuh)... not me.
 
cyberpi said:
As far as I know, Christianity means to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ (pbuh). Whether or not that shows up in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, or any other person here, in the world, or in history, is all up for grabs. Alledged 'Christianity' does NOT define Christianity... Jesus Christ (pbuh) does. To learn Christianity. I place in order of importance:

1. Jesus (pbuh)... Gospels... I tend towards the KJV, Greek, or Latin.
2. The twelve apostles.
3. Teaching from prophets which Jesus (pbuh) referred to, and John the baptist.
4. My understanding from comparing life lessons, hopefully from God (swt), relationships with people, and measured science.
5. The teaching from anyone who claims it to be from God (swt), the messenger Muhammad (pbuh)... provided interpretations do not conflict with 1 and 2.
6. People who knew and saw Jesus (pbuh) in the flesh.
7. People who studied Jesus (pbuh) teachings around the time shortly thereafter, and led Christian lives at some point, such as Saul from Tarsus.
8. People who studied Jesus (pbuh) and led Christian lives, including a number of Muslims or people from other religions.
9. The teaching of churches, denominations, and alledged Christians alive today.
10. Anyone from history or today who comments about Christianity or their life's lessons, such as people from other religions and those who post here.

So if placing Saul of Tarsus 7th discredits him... there's the order of relevance for me. The order for Islam would be different, placing the Qur'an and messenger Muhammad first. I think Paul was clearly a smart and guided person, but the Gospels are golden and I think stand on their own.
cyberpi said:
Nope, but your argument is against the teaching of Jesus (pbuh)... not me.

I would have thought that was the purpose of Christianity, to put one's trust in Christ, taking into account the meaning of Christ.

That may be seen as one flavour of Christianity, but obviously you're in tune with a different flavour of Christianity. What I believe in is "Trust-in-Christ Christianity."

Christ did say, according to the Four Gospels, that "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." That's another way of saying, "Trust Me. Believe in Me." The Gospels were first in your order of relevance . . .

Unfortunately, Christ isn't here to define Christianity. Or is he? Does he now live in the hearts of his people? He once said that those of the world could not see him, that those who belonged to him were the only ones who could see and understand him.

For me personally then, nothing but Christ defines Christianity, not even the Bible. That's a strong statement I guess. But don't get the wrong idea. I am not saying I have no use of the Bible. It's just that Christ is more important than the Bible, not the other way round. The writings in the Bible simply serve to remind us of what Christ meant. Once we understand what Christ meant we theoretically have no further use of it, except to explore what others have said about him in the past.

In that sense, the Bible helps to maintain contact with Christ. I have to read the Bible because I am a mortal, not a transcendent being. I have a single-minded thinking capacity. My life is driven by experiences. The experiences in the Bible don't perish with use. Each read of the Bible can be a new, fresh experience.:D

I don't officially have an order of relevance, or at least a formal definition of one. I rely more on intuitive, lateral and divergent thinking.

But who and what, then is Christ? Jesus is supposed to define Christianity, but he's not physically present here. We can't understand Christianity if we can't see Christ.

The Gospels, Epistles, the Bible, apostles, Paul, Mohammed don't speak for Christ unless they are serving his agenda, and anything that doesn't serve Christ's agenda is not Christianity. Whoever is not for him is against him.

For me then, I judge the Bible, Paul, the apostles and Mohammed as equals. There's no order of relevance for me. Each of them must prove their case. They must demonstrate that they serve Christ's agenda. Otherwise what they taught would not be Christianity. Not even the Gospels, the first in your list, can stand unless they serve that agenda. In that sense, nothing stands on its own. It's Christ that holds it all together.

They must prove that they speak on behalf of the Logos.

But once again, that's one flavour of Christianity. Some people pursue written texts more passionately than Christ. I guess it's hard to really capture an experience of Christ when we don't really have an idea of what he's like. So instead of pursuing Christ, we pursue written texts instead. Christ is often too abstract to grab hold of, but then again, I don't think it was God's intention for us to ever get hold of Christ. Because Christ is an image of God, he is impossible to capture because God cannot be captured.
 
cyberpi said:
Nope, but your argument is against the teaching of Jesus (pbuh)... not me.

Actually belief and trust in Jesus was very important part of his teachings.


John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
 
Kindest Regards, cyberpi!
cyberpi said:
As far as I know, Christianity means to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ (pbuh). Whether or not that shows up in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, or any other person here, in the world, or in history, is all up for grabs. Alledged 'Christianity' does NOT define Christianity... Jesus Christ (pbuh) does. To learn Christianity. I place in order of importance:

1. Jesus (pbuh)... Gospels... I tend towards the KJV, Greek, or Latin.
2. The twelve apostles.
3. Teaching from prophets which Jesus (pbuh) referred to, and John the baptist.
4. My understanding from comparing life lessons, hopefully from God (swt), relationships with people, and measured science.
5. The teaching from anyone who claims it to be from God (swt), the messenger Muhammad (pbuh)... provided interpretations do not conflict with 1 and 2.
6. People who knew and saw Jesus (pbuh) in the flesh.
7. People who studied Jesus (pbuh) teachings around the time shortly thereafter, and led Christian lives at some point, such as Saul from Tarsus.
8. People who studied Jesus (pbuh) and led Christian lives, including a number of Muslims or people from other religions.
9. The teaching of churches, denominations, and alledged Christians alive today.
10. Anyone from history or today who comments about Christianity or their life's lessons, such as people from other religions and those who post here.

Thank you for your post. I think I see what you are trying to say, but if I read correctly it misses the point of this thread.

Alledged 'Christianity' does NOT define Christianity... Jesus Christ (pbuh) does.
Well, I can agree, but there is a huge catch to consider. Jesus did not write anything for us. The only words in the Bible that Jesus wrote were written in the sand and erased while the men threatened to stone the woman taken in adultery. The "words of Jesus" that we have, all of them, were written by 4 others (not counting the spurious gospels of Thomas and Judas). Of those 4, two were direct compatriots of Paul. If Paul is dismissed along with his comrades, then these two Gospels must be removed. Which casts doubt on the remaining two Gospels. None of the Gospels was written during Jesus' lifetime, and the earliest (Mark) was written something like 20 or so years after He died. The others were written even later. If Luke and Mark must be removed, then what makes Matthew so special? It is one of the synoptics, in agreement for the most part with the other two. And what of John's Gospel? It is so far out there in disagreement with the other three, how can it be telling truth?

On the one hand I agree with you, in general terms. (There are some details that are unimportant just now.)

On the other hand, the point of this thread is about the validity of the teachings of Paul. The trouble is, it *is* a domino effect, a slippery slope that cannot be avoided. Remove Paul, and the entire New Testament falls. Do we pick and choose which texts stand or fall?

Further, without the teachings of Paul, if one sticks directly to the words attributed to Jesus, His acts and ways of life; then one must be an observant Jew in order to be a Christian. That means all of the 613 Levitical laws *must* be observed. Jesus observed them, diligently. The Jewish Holy Days must be observed, all of them, properly. Jesus observed them, all, properly. No milk with meat, no pork or shellfish ever, no cotton worn with wool, removal of the foreskin on all male babies at 8 days of age, sacrifice for the first born, etc., etc., etc....

Hence, why I have said, and repeat here now for emphasis, if one desires to remove Paul, then just become a Jew and be done with it. I say this as just a bit of friendly advice meant to save a whole lot of aggravation and heartache. Assuming one could hypothetically remove Paul from the equation, then one must be a Jew who believes Messiah has already come. Too Jewish to be Christian, too Christian to be Jewish. It really is a no man's land where you gotta do everything yourself, 'cause you get little sympathy from both establishments.

I tend towards the KJV, Greek, or Latin.
Quick thing before I go...why Latin?

I mean no disrespect, what about Hebrew? Or Aramaic? Or Chaldee?

How about the Interlinear, or the Peshitta?
 
Hi juantoo3 and all--

I don't want to detract from cyberpi's questions, juan, so be sure and scroll back. I am only jumping in real quick-like to say thanks for the heads up link to the other thread. I guess I missed the conversation when I was away. I've been playing catch up ever since. :rolleyes:

I just gotta say that I am inspired by the way you two gentlemen (as well as others there) are treating the issue and each other up to this point. I find myself looking forward to Victor's next response, too. Who'da thunk it? It makes for a most edifying study experience. Thanks!:)

(I would have posted this on the other thread, but the discussion there has evolved a bit in subject matter, so I decided to say something here instead.)

InPeace,
InLove
 
Dor said:
Actually belief and trust in Jesus was very important part of his teachings.

John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
I was not supplying a list of souls that I place Faith in. If I were, per the teaching of Jesus: God (swt) should always be first:
1: God (swt)
2: the Faithful: Jesus (pbuh), any prophet or messenger, my commitments with people, any stranger that asks me for help.
3: Give to charity... approach anyone, especially enemies and people in need and ask them, "Is there anything I can do?"

So that is my list for Faith. The original list was my order for obtaining information to sort out the teaching that came from Jesus (pbuh). It may have been Gods (swt) word, but Jesus (pbuh) defined Christianity. But every soul that touches a piece of information can alter it.

The problem I see here, everywhere for that matter, is a large misunderstanding of the difference between Faith (believe, trust, works), and information, (communication, knowledge, truth). The word 'believe' you've quoted from comes from a word that is closer to 'Faith'. History has reduced Faith to a 'belief' or an emotion like 'trust'. But a belief is considered believing a piece of information, whereas Faith means to place your power in the will of another. 'Trust' requires communication for there is nothing to trust if you see nothing, but 'Faith' further requires doing per the will of a soul. So that is the confusion in my opinion.

So what is a Christian? From the book of John you quoted from:
John 8:31-32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, IF you continue in my word, THEN are you my disciples indeed. And you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.

So I see a clear IF / THEN statement between the same "believe / trust" and "disciple", and it is following the entire teaching from Jesus that defines it. A Christian is a disciple... following the teaching replaces the word 'should' in the verse that you quoted from.
 
Kindest Regards, InLove!
It sure is great to have you back around!
InLove said:
Hi juantoo3 and all--

I don't want to detract from cyberpi's questions, juan, so be sure and scroll back. I am only jumping in real quick-like to say thanks for the heads up link to the other thread. I guess I missed the conversation when I was away. I've been playing catch up ever since.
InLove, be assured you were in the back of my thoughts as I wrote my responses to Victor. I have had that gauntlet laid before me on three different occasions by various people. When it was laid before me by Victor himself, I just *had to* rise to the occasion. I kept it low key, discrete and polite. I feel our conversation was a model for a proper interfaith dialogue where the two parties have opposing views.

(I would have posted this on the other thread, but the discussion there has evolved a bit in subject matter, so I decided to say something here instead.)
Noticed that, did you? None of the follow up responses even touched the subject raised between Victor and I, almost like a live wire or third rail.

I am so happy you are back here with us, InLove. Please jump in with your two cents anytime. You are more than welcome to do so.
 
Does anybody think maybe I should collect the conversation with Victor and myself into it's own thread to make it easier to find?
 
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