Sunday, 1 May 2016

What Paul says about the earthly pre-resurrection Jesus – a summary list



I have often heard, from non-historians, a claim that St Paul knew nothing about a human Jesus, only a heavenly Jesus. This time around, instead of setting out background information as I’ve done elsewhere, this blog is just a summary list for easy reference (since the claim often comes up). (This blog collects into one place – in shorter form – material from across some of my other blogs.)
So: of the things Paul was taught about the earthly human Jesus, which does he mention in his letters?
In answering that question, I’m relying here only on letters which are generally undisputed as authentic by secular scholars, letters written by Paul around the 50s of the first century within about two decades of when Jesus is said to have died.
Some selected things Paul gives us:
  • Jesus’ birth (out of a woman, he says, with no mention of a human father - Paul does not give names of parents – neither his own nor, unsurprisingly therefore, Jesus’ parents)
  • Jesus’ location (Judea)
  • Jesus’ childhood included having brothers and being in a family of observant Jews
  • era in which Jesus lived (first half of first century - see timeline)
  • Paul also references moral teachings in a way consistent with someone who knew they were Jesus’ teachings
  • he also references Jesus’ apocalyptic views in a similar way
  • he mentions Jesus’ betrayal (although he does not care to name his betrayer, just as he mentions ‘the twelve’ without bothering to name most of them)
  • Paul calls Jesus the 'Son of Adam', which in Hebrew of course is exactly the same as 'Son of Man' (ben-'adam), the name by which Jesus called himself
Some of those things are unpacked more below.
Timeline – life story of Jesus
Following the timeline of Jesus’ life, I pick out the following from those letters by Paul:


Jesus’ genealogy and birth

          Jesus was an Israelite and he was descended from the family of King David, and that is 'according to the flesh' which makes sense only if Paul believed Jesus was of human descent (Romans 1:3).

  • Indeed: "To them [the Jews] belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Messiah" (Romans 9:5)
          Jesus arrived into the world ‘out of a woman’ (Gal 4:4), so was undoubtedly a human with a mother as far as Paul was concerned!
Family and upbringing
          Jesus was born into a family of observant Jews (that is clear because he was born under the Jewish law, which Jews call the Torah) (Galatians 4:4).
          In his biological family, Jesus had a brother named James (Gal 1:19), and he had other brothers (who had wives – 1 Corinthians 9:5).
          Jesus’ life was in the first half of the first century.
o          Paul was writing in the 50s of the first century (the date is calculated from dating information in Paul's letters), and Jesus' brothers were adults with wives and clearly still alive in the 50s: this means Jesus' life can be dated to the first half of the first century.
Jesus’ ministry
          Jesus had a ministry specifically to Israelites: "Christ became a servant of the Jews" (Romans 15:8-9). Again, to be clear, this is a human Jesus ministering to fellow Israelites as a member of their race: "To them [the Jews] belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Messiah" (Romans 9:5)
Jesus’ Passion Week (the last week of his life)
          Jesus spent time in the land of the Judeans, homeland of Israelites, and this is where he died (1 Thessalonians 2:15 - see footnote on this text).
          Jesus was betrayed at night-time, during a gathering which extended from before supper till after supper, at which Jesus handled some of the food and a cup (1 Cor 11:23).

          Jesus' death was associated with Passover, which is a specific time in the Jewish calendar each year when  lamb was killed (1 Cor 5:7).
          Some people of Judea caused Jesus’ death (1 Thess 2:15): “You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches [in Judea] suffered from the Judeans, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.” –
o          That’s a bit of a scrapbook of incidents – the sufferings in Judea of churches and Jesus and Paul and his friends, as well as ancient prophets who Paul drags into the subject!
          Jesus’ death was by crucifixion (1 Cor 2:8), which means the execution was carried out by the Romans (Paul would have known that it was the Romans, not Jews, who practised crucifixion in Judea). 
          His death was no later than the 30s of the first century. (The date is calculated from dating information in Paul's letters.)
          Jesus’ body was buried (1 Cor 15:4).


You may have noticed that 1 Corinthians is the most informative of Paul's letters about Jesus' death -so, to pick these out from it:

          Jesus death was associated with a time in the Jewish calendar when a lamb was killed - Passover

          Jesus was betrayed at night-time, during a gathering which extended from before supper till after supper, at which Jesus handled some of the food and a cup

          Jesus’ death was by crucifixion

          Jesus died and was buried

Of course, all of those details are also found in the gospels, but that's a subject for other posts. You'll notice elsewhere in this post that it is also in 1 Corinthians that quite a bit of the other material here is found too. 

And there’s more…
In addition, Paul says other things about Jesus that you would expect him to say if he were talking about a human Jesus. (Whether you choose to believe Paul here is describing the pre-resurrection Christ, or the post-resurrection Christ (or both!), we can't say that the sort of comments that should be made about the personality of a real person are totally missing - they're not.) So Paul speaks of:
Jesus’ personality
    • servant – and this was towards circumcised people (that is to say, Jews) (Romans 15:3, 8)
    • Jesus chose a life of poverty, and Paul describes Jesus as meek and gentle (2 Corinthians 8:9; 10:1

Jesus having disciples
  • 'the twelve' (1 Cor 15:5). Paul just assumes that the reader knows what he means by 'the twelve'.

Jesus’ apocalyptic teachings
          In 1 Thessalonians 4:15, Paul starts off declaring stuff "in the word of the Lord". Whatever "in the word of the Lord" means, what Paul says next does actually align with the apocalyptic teaching of the gospels' Jesus. Thus:
    • 1 Thess 4:15-16 = Matthew 24:31 (note the mention of the trumpet)
    • 1 Thess 4:17 = Matthew 25:5-7 (note the mention of meeting Jesus)
    • 1 Thess 5:3-7 = Matthew 24:42-43 (note the mention of the thief in the night) 

Jesus’ moral teachings 
          In 1 Corinthians, repeatedly when Paul says he has a teaching from the Lord, it does actually align with the gospels' Jesus. So:
  • 1 Cor 7:10-11 = Mark 10:9-12 (on marriage and divorce)
  • 1 Cor 9:14 = Luke 10:7 (on labourers for the Lord being paid)
  • There is a general alignment too with a good deal of Jesus' ethical teaching, and it is striking that out of all the alternatives in Paul's world, this finds its way into his letters. So in Romans:
    • Romans 12:14 = Matthew 5:44
    • Romans 12:17 = Matthew 5:38-48
    • Romans 13:7 = Mark 12:17
    • Romans 13:8 = Mark 12:31
    • Romans 14:13 = Mark 9:42
    • Romans 14:14 = Mark 7:15
    • Romans 14:20 = Mark 7:19
One thing you may have noticed is that these are not haphazard scatterings of teachings in Paul’s letters. They come in packages such as 1 Thess 4-5 and Romans 12-14. They are known to Paul as chunks of teaching.

The important thing shown by this is that, whether you think this is a connection between Paul and the words of the pre-resurrection Jesus or post-resurrection Jesus, you can't say that teachings associated with the pre-resurrection Jesus are completely missing, as they are not.


Glen Miller provides more example here

Conclusions
Taking all the above together, to claim as if it were a fact that Paul knew nothing about the earthly Jesus would be sheer ignorance. Paul is an important secondary source on the historical Jesus, and our earliest. He was a contemporary of Jesus who was writing within about two decades of Jesus’ death, which is nothing really. And his sources weren’t bad: he knew Jesus’ brother James, and also Peter and John – people reputed to be eyewitnesses of the historical Jesus. Which is why Paul is an important secondary witness to Jesus. Historians of ancient history deal with secondary sources all the time – they are bread and butter of a historians’ work, along with primary sources.

Footnote: 1 Thessalonians 2:15
The authenticity of 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 is challenged by some on surprising grounds – simply because some scholars have a preconceived idea of what Paul can say and they can’t fit this into their view, and what he says seems premature. There are fundamental flaws in that. But what are those sceptical of the passage surprised by? Simply that Paul is condemning towards the Jews he is talking about, whereas he writes elsewhere more optimistically about Jews in general, and it seems premature for Paul in the 50s of the first century to talk about God's wrath having happened, if we presupposed that the only wrath that happened to the Jews in the first century is the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD. That’s the sceptics' argument, the “it doesn’t sound like Paul to us, and it’s premature” argument. Here’s why it falls apart. First look at the passage:
For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.
The first problem sceptics have to admit is that the disputed passage is actually always there, found in every ancient manuscript where it should be found. There are no manuscripts where it goes missing in action. When there are zero manuscript variations to that effect, the objection is immediately relegated to being speculative. It therefore needs stronger evidence on other counts.
The second problem, a clear weakness for a speculative argument, is that sceptics have nothing else written by Paul in the same place at the same time  on the same theme to compare it to. Scholars often tend to fall into the error of conflating several works by Paul written several years apart at different stages of his life into one theological lump, harmonising it, turning it a single body of harmonised systematic theology. That is a heinous error in handling historical material. Paul’s definitive classic optimistic argument about the Jews being saved was written to the Roman Christians perhaps as much as a decade after his letter to the Thessalonian Christians. To prop up such poor historical method, you have to assume that Paul had no development in his thinking and no life experiences to affect his view at any moment over that long period. This is not true to human nature. It’s highly improbable. Every scholar in history or theology develops their views over time, and what one writes ten years apart can be substantially different in its development. In fact it almost certainly will be unless one has become a fossil. Speculation built on poor method is not sound speculation.
The third problem for sceptics of this passage is that it doesn’t quite do what they tend to claim. It does not condemn Jews generally. It condemns the ones in Judea who have hounded Christians such as Paul.
The fourth problem for sceptics is that to assume that this refers to 70AD, they also have to assume that there is no other kind of wrath that Paul could be talking about. That’s a big hurdle to overcome for any speculation. To pursue that, you have to determine what divine wrath look like theologically to Paul. (The author is as vague as you can be here. He refers to nothing concrete, so a scholar will widen the net for clues.) So, for a start, you have to look at what Paul means by ‘wrath’ elsewhere, and again you are making the hazardous leap into assuming that what Paul means by ‘wrath’ at different times of his life doesn’t much change. So speculation has chasms to cross. But if we were to take one example, it doesn’t help the sceptics’ case at all. For a start, the only undisputed Pauline letter (sceptics only go with undisputed ones) that uses the same Greek word for ‘wrath’ is, lo and behold, Romans, written several years later. But what does this evidence base suggest? There are three uses of the word in Romans, Two of these are vague warnings of future doom, so they are little help (Romans 2:8; 12:19). That leaves only Romans 1:18, and read in context it is clear what divine wrath is in Paul’s Jewish-Christian perspective: it looks like alienation from God and moral collapse – scholars have long known that this is how Paul thinks about wrath. God gives people over to their own rebellion against him and gives up on them.  Theologically, that is divine wrath as Paul sees it in Romans. Is there anything like that in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16. There certainly is: it’s that they have become rebels against Jesus, against Paul, against God. Paul is telling the Thessalonians that the Jews who had hounded him out of Judea have fallen over a moral cliff-edge. That for Paul is precisely what divine wrath looks like in present times – it’s your own rebellion, your own moral collapse. Speculation that the passage refers to 70AD is understandable speculation, but it ignores what wrath actually looks like to Paul: “They displease God.” To Paul, to displease God would be the ultimate in self-destruction, as he believed that to please God is life itself.
The fifth and related problem for sceptics is that to understand a passage, you can’t just look at it theologically, you have it look at it narratively. Could Paul really think such judgmental things of these Jews in Judea and not be more optimistic for them, like he is for Jews in general in his reflections several years later? The narrative explanation is simple: “the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.” It is difficult to deny Paul the right to be negative towards such people, and easy to understand why he would think that their condemnation, their alienation from God, is complete. In fact, even in Romans, there is a hint of condemnation for some of the Jews: “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children.”
In conclusion, if you are going to speculate that 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 is not authentic, but is an interpolation, then you have to overcome problems that collectively seem insurmountable.
The final nail in the coffin for this speculation is the undesigned coincidence between those verses and Acts 17:5-8. (See Hidden in Plain View by Lydia McGrew, Ohio: DeWard, 2017. pg 148, 152-154.)

12 comments:

  1. Well let’s go through this:

    Your point about evidence of Jesus having a birth:

    Galatians 4:4
    Paul never says Jesus had a mother.

    Paul is talking allegorically and even says he is in Galatians 4:24.

    ———

    Jesus location (Judea)

    Again you are using Galatians 4:4.

    Paul is talking allegorically and even says he is in Galatians 4:24.

    ———

    Jesus’ childhood included having brothers and being in a family of observant Jews

    If you are again referring to Galatians 4:4 in regards to “being in a family of observant Jews” it is allegorical.

    If you are referring to Jesus having brothers you must mean Galatians 1:19 then you are saying Jesus had “brothers” (plural) but the verse only mentions one “brother” (singular). So this statement is misleading.

    “But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother.”

    Your statement is also misleading because Paul is speaking in the fraternal sense, not the maternal sense, as that is what cults even today refer to fellow members. So this is evidence of nothing.

    There is nothing that speaks about Jesus’s childhood, so you are simply telling a flat out lie here.

    ———

    For some reason you said “era of which Jesus lived (first half of the first century)”

    Sooo you are saying that because the background of the story in Paul is the same as the background in the Gospels, that Jesus is real? Really?

    Except that the background of a story written around the same time and place as when the character was claimed to have lived is probably going to be accurate, that’s what fiction writers do.

    Paul never talks about Jesus as a person and only as if he was an angel, just like Philo does with the Logos, who is the same deity as Jesus.

    The writer of 1 Clement talks as though he knows nothing of the Gospels or Jesus as a person.

    The same with The Book of Hebrews. No talk of Jesus as a man, just as if he were an angel, with nothing about the Gospels.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You said “Paul also references moral teachings in a way consistent with someone who knew they were Jesus’ teachings”

    Maybe you mean 1 Corinthians 7:10-11?

    “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. (Paul teaches what Jesus taught people about marriage).

    When Paul speaks of the commands of Jesus, Paul is referring to revelations, communications from the celestial Jesus (e.g. 2 Corinthians 12; Galatians 1; Romans 16:25-26).

    This therefore does not stand as evidence Jesus was ever on earth.

    There doesn’t appear to be any other reference to preaching, so therefore there is nothing, but because it’s just one reference, your claim of Jesus “teachings” was even more misleading because you were only referring to one reference that wasn’t even evidence for anything.

    ———

    You said “he also references Jesus’ apocalyptic views in a similar way”

    I guess you mean 1 Thessalonians 4:15

    “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.”
    ("Paul says that Jesus talked about the apocalypse")

    When Paul speaks of the commands of Jesus, Paul is referring to revelations, communications from the celestial Jesus (e.g. 2 Corinthians 12; Galatians 1; Romans 16:25-26).

    This therefore does not stand as evidence Jesus was ever on earth.

    ———

    You said “he mentions Jesus’ betrayal (although he does not care to name his betrayer, just as he mentions ‘the twelve’ without bothering to name most of them)”

    Ah 1 Corinthians 11:23

    “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:”

    Paul does not say he received this from witnesses who were there. He in fact mentions no one being present at the event at all.

    Instead Paul says he received this "from the Lord,” meaning by revelation, just as Paul says all the teachings of Jesus were (e.g. Romans 16:25-26; Romans 10:14-17; Galatians 1; 2 Corinthians 12)

    This is therefore not evidence this event occurred on earth, or that any human was present at it.

    To the contrary, that it was known by revelation, and no one is mentioned.

    The mention of “the Twelve” is too vague and makes no sense as ‘evidence’ when the fictional Gospel story of Luke had Judas kill himself.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You then said “Paul calls Jesus the 'Son of Adam', which in Hebrew of course is exactly the same as 'Son of Man' (ben-'adam), the name by which Jesus called himself”

    You must have meant 1 Corinthians 15:45-46

    “So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being" the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual”

    But the problem with that is that he’s referring to the original Adam of the Earth and the coming of the second Adam (Jesus) in Heaven only.

    As it explains in 1 Corinthians 15:47-48

    “The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven”

    So it is talking about the fictional Adam on Earth and tne fictional Jesus in the 7 heavens.

    This is not evidence for anything but that what the Jews believed was all pretty silly.

    ———————————

    You then went on with a time line....


    You start off with “Jesus’ genealogy and birth”

    and then...

    “Jesus was an Israelite and he was descended from the family of King David, and that is 'according to the flesh' which makes sense only if Paul believed Jesus was of human descent (Romans 1:3)”

    Paul could mean this physically, in the same sense as he often says the Jews are the seed of Abraham, as a way of saying they are his descendants.

    But unlike Jesus, Paul never says the Jews are “made” of the seed of Abraham.

    And Paul also says baptized Christians are the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:29), so he can also mean it allegorically, rather than physically (as indeed he goes on to explain in Galatians 4).

    ——-

    You then used Romans 9:5

    “Indeed: "To them [the Jews] belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Messiah"

    Right, but again this is belief that is based on scriptures (revelations) and nothing else.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You then said:

    “Jesus arrived into the world ‘out of a woman’ (Gal 4:4), so was undoubtedly a human with a mother as far as Paul was concerned!”

    (One more time) Galatians 4:4
    Paul never says Jesus had a mother

    Paul is talking allegorically and even says he is in Galatians 4:24 (again also)

    ———————————

    You then said:

    “Family and upbringing”

    “Jesus was born into a family of observant Jews (that is clear because he was born under the Jewish law, which Jews call the Torah) (Galatians 4:4).”

    Galatians 4:4
    Paul never says Jesus had a mother

    Paul is talking allegorically and even says he is in Galatians 4:24

    ———-

    You said:

    “In his biological family, Jesus had a brother named James (Gal 1:19), and he had other brothers (who had wives – 1 Corinthians 9:5).

    Well if you are going to repeat yourself again then so will I.

    In Galatians 1:19 Paul is speaking in the fraternal sense, not the maternal sense, as that is what cults even today refer to fellow members. So this is evidence of nothing.

    And 1 Corinthians 9:5

    “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?”

    Cephas was a pillar, he was distinct, but he too was a brother, but in the fraternal cultish term and the apostles were brothers.

    ‘Brethren’ in this case meant brothers in the fraternal cultish sense, not maternal.

    ———-

    You said “Jesus’ life was in the first half of the first century.”

    No, there is no evidence for that.

    There simply isn’t and this assertion about Jesus having a life in the first century has nothing to back it up. Especially with the overwhelming evidence that the Gospels are fiction.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You said “Paul was writing in the 50s of the first century (the date is calculated from dating information in Paul's letters), and Jesus' brothers were adults with wives and clearly still alive in the 50s: this means Jesus' life can be dated to the first half of the first century.”

    This is a totally misleading and fallacious statement that has no validity and nothing to back it up.

    Yes Paul was writing in the 50s is true, but that is no different than saying that the Harry Potter movies came out in the 2000s and JK Rowling wrote about Harry Potter in the 80s so it must be true.

    ———

    You said “Jesus’ ministry”

    “Jesus had a ministry specifically to Israelites: "Christ became a servant of the Jews" (Romans 15:8-9). Again, to be clear, this is a human Jesus ministering to fellow Israelites as a member of their race: "To them [the Jews] belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Messiah" (Romans 9:5)”

    Okay so let’s see what Romans 15:8-9 says;

    “For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:
    “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles;
    I will sing the praises of your name.” “

    So to sum this up, Paul is claiming that God has Jesus working for him to act as his representative, but in heaven, not Earth. There is no mention of Earth, or being a physical man.

    So Paul is saying that if you praise Jesus then you are praising God and that Jesus would be the one to make all the good things happen that were promised to the Jews, but from Heaven, not Earth.

    So this is again not evidence of anything, but that Paul believed a bunch of crazy things.

    Now as for the Romans 9:5 verse you used.

    Paul is just quoting scripture as he always did and all the things he is saying (like exactly what’s in Romans 9:5) is already written in scriptures such as the Book of Daniel.

    If anything this is evidence for mythicism.

    ——-

    You then said:

    “Jesus’ Passion Week (the last week of his life)”

    “Jesus spent time in the land of the Judeans, homeland of Israelites, and this is where he died (1 Thessalonians 2:15 - see footnote on this text).”

    This is a known forgery. So it isn’t evidence for anything.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You said “Jesus was betrayed at night-time, during a gathering which extended from before supper till after supper, at which Jesus handled some of the food and a cup (1 Cor 11:23). “

    Let’s look at the verse then and see:

    “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,”

    Paul does not say he received this from witnesses who were there. He in fact mentions no one being present at the event at all.

    Instead Paul says he received this "from the Lord,” meaning by revelation, just as Paul says all the teachings of Jesus were (e.g. Romans 16:25-26; Romans 10:14-17; Galatians 1; 2 Corinthians 12)

    This is therefore not evidence this event occurred on earth, or that any human was present at it.

    ———

    You said “Jesus' death was associated with Passover, which is a specific time in the Jewish calendar each year when lamb was killed (1 Cor 5:7).”

    So let’s again look at the verse:

    “Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”

    Again, completely allegorical. Also based on scripture.

    Just like the Yom Kippur, but Jesus was supposed to be the master sacrifice, but he was sacrificed in Heaven, not Earth.

    So not evidence.

    ———

    You said “Some people of Judea caused Jesus’ death (1 Thess 2:15): “You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches [in Judea] suffered from the Judeans, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.” –“

    Again, forgery. Inserted by anti-semetic Christians. This is the consensus view.

    —————————-

    You then went on to say:

    “That’s a bit of a scrapbook of incidents – the sufferings in Judea of churches and Jesus and Paul and his friends, as well as ancient prophets who Paul drags into the subject!”

    and then you used this example:

    “Jesus’ death was by crucifixion (1 Cor 2:8), which means the execution was carried out by the Romans (Paul would have known that it was the Romans, not Jews, who practised crucifixion in Judea).”

    So let’s look at the verse as per usual:

    “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

    The phrase "princes of this world" (or "rulers of this world”) is not used by Paul anywhere else to refer to earthly powers (Roman or otherwise).

    Rather, the phrase “rulers of this world” is used repeatedly in the later Ascension of Isaiah to mean Satan and his sky demons, not Romans or any earthly powers, and the similarities between that text and this are significant.

    Paul himself calls Satan “the god of this world,” a very similar phrase (2 Corinthians 4:4).

    Paul never says the Romans or Jews killed Jesus.

    So this is not evidence for a historical Jesus either.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You said “His death was no later than the 30s of the first century. (The date is calculated from dating information in Paul's letters.)”

    Paul never mentions a physical Jesus on Earth, only in Heaven. So the claim of the date timeframe you are giving is irrelevant and misleading.

    ———

    You said “Jesus’ body was buried (1 Cor 15:4)”

    The verse says:

    “and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,”

    Again, “according to the scriptures” (so revelation of scripture that Paul read)

    This is evidence for mythicism, not for a historical Jesus.

    ———

    You said “You may have noticed that 1 Corinthians is the most informative of Paul's letters about Jesus' death -so, to pick these out from it:”

    You then said:

    “Jesus death was associated with a time in the Jewish calendar when a lamb was killed - Passover”

    This is evidence of nothing of a historical Jesus, but instead supports mythicism because it demonstrates how Paul used allegory to write his letters and talk about Jesus (when he isn’t using revelations).

    ———

    You said “Jesus was betrayed at night-time, during a gathering which extended from before supper till after supper, at which Jesus handled some of the food and a cup”

    Ok well this is silly that I’m repeating myself again, but whatever.

    Paul does not say he received this from witnesses who were there. He in fact mentions no one being present at the event at all.
    Instead Paul says he received this "from the Lord,” meaning by revelation, just as Paul says all the teachings of Jesus were (e.g. Romans 16:25-26; Romans 10:14-17; Galatians 1; 2 Corinthians 12)
    This is therefore not evidence this event occurred on Earth, or that any human was present at it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You said “Jesus’ death was by crucifixion”

    I guess you mean 1 Corinthians 2:2

    “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

    When Paul mentions the crucifixion of Jesus, he never places that event on Earth. In fact, he doesn’t appear to even know about it having happened at the hands of Romans or Jews at all, but the demonic forces of evil.

    So not evidence again.

    ———

    You said “Jesus died and was buried”

    So you are talking about 1 Corinthians 3-4

    These verses say:

    “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
    And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

    Paul says that Jesus rose again on the 3rd day “according to the scriptures”, which is just basing and stating his belief off of the writings of the prophets and nothing that is actually real.

    1 Corinthians 15:5 for example proves it:
    “He was seen by apostles in visions, or dreams (big deal)”

    Paul says throughout his letters that apostles have revelations of Jesus (dreams, visions and messages from scriptures) [2 Corinthians 9:1-2, 1 Corinthians 11:23, 15:3, 2 Corinthians 12:1, Galatians 1:11-12, 9:1, 15-16]

    ————————-

    You then said “Jesus’ personality”

    “servant – and this was towards circumcised people (that is to say, Jews) (Romans 15:3, 8)”

    Ok Romans 15:3:

    “For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”

    Ok you need to look at the line “where it is written”. This just means Paul learned of this from scripture (again) which is where Paul says he got his messages from Jesus from, except if he got them from visions or dreams.

    So this is again not evidence.

    And this verse Romans 15:8

    “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,”

    Right. Well let’s explain then how this is not evidence for anything either. I will do this by asking some questions.

    Where were the promises made to the Jews that Paul is talking about?

    Where did Paul find out about Christ becoming a servant?

    Answer for both: From scripture

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  9. You then said “Jesus chose a life of poverty, and Paul describes Jesus as meek and gentle (2 Corinthians 8:9; 10:1”

    So let’s look at 2 Corinthians 8:9:

    “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah. Although he was rich, for your sakes he became poor, so that you, through his poverty, might become rich.”

    Again, based on scripture. As in Daniel, where Michael is called the Messiah prince. He was a prince in Heaven who died in Heaven and became lesser than he was in Heaven. Paul is getting all this from scripture.

    ———

    You said “the twelve' (1 Cor 15:5). Paul just assumes that the reader knows what he means by 'the twelve'.”

    Paul never specifies so we should not assume we know who or what the “twelve” is.

    Again, the Gospels are evidence themselves that there probably was no Jesus, because of all the evidence of their being fictional and written as symbolic allegory and nothing else, but they had only 11 after Judas died.

    So “ the twelve” is not evidence for anything either.

    —————————

    You then said “Jesus’ apocalyptic teachings”

    “In 1 Thessalonians 4:15, Paul starts off declaring stuff "in the word of the Lord". Whatever "in the word of the Lord" means, what Paul says next does actually align with the apocalyptic teaching of the gospels' Jesus. Thus:”

    “1 Thess 4:15-16 = Matthew 24:31 (note the mention of the trumpet)”

    Ok let’s look at the verses:

    “According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”

    So this is again all just things that we find in scriptures like the book of Daniel, so this is just repeating things that Paul read in scripture. If you read Daniel 9:24-27, 12:1, 10-13 we see that all Paul is doing is just repeating what he read there.

    The trumpet part is just allegory, but Paul does call Jesus an “archangel” which is the same thing that Philo called the Logos among other things (archangel, firstborn, son-of-God) which does support mythicism.

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  10. You then said “1 Thess 4:17 = Matthew 25:5-7 (note the mention of meeting Jesus)”

    Ok and the verse:

    “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

    So just more repeating of scripture. So no evidence of anything. Then there is also the reminder that the Gospels are fictional.

    ——-

    You said “1 Thess 5:3-7 = Matthew 24:42-43 (note the mention of the thief in the night)”

    So let’s again look at the verses:

    “3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
    4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.”

    So Paul is AGAIN just repeating things he read in scriptures and putting his own take on it. So this is again not evidence of anything.

    ———————

    You then said “Jesus’ moral teachings”

    “In 1 Corinthians, repeatedly when Paul says he has a teaching from the Lord, it does actually align with the gospels' Jesus. So:”

    “1 Cor 7:10-11 = Mark 10:9-12 (on marriage and divorce)”

    The verses:

    “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.”

    When Paul speaks of the commands of Jesus, Paul is referring to revelations, communications from the celestial Jesus (e.g. 2 Corinthians 12; Galatians 1; Romans 16:25-26).

    This therefore does not stand as evidence Jesus was ever on Earth.

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  11. You said “1 Cor 9:14 = Luke 10:7 (on labourers for the Lord being paid)”

    The verse says:

    “In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.”

    When Paul speaks of the commands of Jesus, Paul is referring to revelations, communications from the celestial Jesus (e.g. 2 Corinthians 12; Galatians 1; Romans 16:25-26).

    This therefore does not stand as evidence Jesus was ever on Earth.

    ———————

    You said “There is a general alignment too with a good deal of Jesus' ethical teaching, and it is striking that out of all the alternatives in Paul's world, this finds its way into his letters. So in Romans:”

    “Romans 12:14 = Matthew 5:44”

    “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

    Words of revelation. The Gospels are fiction (so not evidence of anything).

    ———

    Romans 12:17 = Matthew 5:38-48

    “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.”

    Words of revelation. The Gospels are fiction (so not evidence of anything).

    ———

    “Romans 13:7 = Mark 12:17”

    “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

    Words of revelation. The Gospels are fiction (so not evidence of anything).

    ———-

    Romans 13:8 = Mark 12:31

    “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

    Words of revelation. The Gospels are fiction (so not evidence of anything).

    ———-

    “Romans 14:13 = Mark 9:42”

    “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”

    Words of revelation. The Gospels are fiction (so not evidence of anything).

    ———

    “Romans 14:14 = Mark 7:15”

    “I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.”

    Words of revelation. The Gospels are fiction (so not evidence of anything).

    ———-

    “Romans 14:20 = Mark 7:19”

    “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.”

    Words of revelation. The Gospels are fiction (so not evidence of anything).

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  12. And finally, yes Thessalonions 2:14-17 is an interpolation

    Paul never blames the Jews for the death of Jesus elsewhere.

    Paul never talks about God's wrath as having come, but as coming only at the future judgment (see: Romans 2:5, 3:5-6, 4:15).

    Paul teaches the Jews will be saved, not destroyed (see: Romans 11:25-28).

    Paul was dead by the time the "wrath had come upon them to the uttermost" (the destruction of the Jewish nation and temple in 70 A.D.).

    Paul blaming the Jews for the death of Jesus is simply unprecedented.

    Paul also never talks about the Jews as if he wasn't one of them (see: Galatians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 9:20; Romans 9:1-5, 11:1; Philippians 3:4-5).

    And Paul acknowledged Jews as members of his own church, so he wouldn't damn them as a group like this, and never does (see: 1 Corinthians 1:24, 12:13; 2 Corinthians 11:12; Romans 9:24, 10:12; on how this interpolation is undeniably--and uncharacteristically for Paul--Antisemitic)

    Since the Gospels have overwhelming evidence of being fictional, there also is the fact that there really is nothing to confirm of being the same as Paul’s letters that can be used as evidence.

    ——————————————-

    So this entire article that you have written Colin has been nothing but a waste of words and has been very misleading and deceptive, once you examine the fact that everything is just based on revelation, fiction, indoctrination and theological belief).

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