How much less widespread would Christianity become if it wasn't for Saul/Paul of Tarsus?

antocya

Ad Honorem
May 2012
5,767
Iraq
#2
I think it would not have spread much at all because Gentiles would have been reluctant to adopt Jewish law.

Maybe some of the Gnostic sects would have spread and Christianity would be pretty different.
 
Jul 2019
361
New Jersey
#3
Without Paul Christianity would've stayed as a relatively minor Jewish heresy. Pagans weren't about to ditch all their traditions to get circumcised and eat kosher. It just wouldn't have happened. Paul universalized Christianity's message (as I recall, much to his Christian peers' displeasure). I've heard many an Orthodox Jew express the sentiment that Paul was the best thing that could've happened to the Jews, as it was he who began the process of Christianity moving away from its Jewish roots. As a Jewish heresy it was a threat to Judaism, but once it became an essentially gentile religion thatthreat was removed.
 
Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,221
SoCal
#4
I think it would not have spread much at all because Gentiles would have been reluctant to adopt Jewish law.

Maybe some of the Gnostic sects would have spread and Christianity would be pretty different.
Without Paul Christianity would've stayed as a relatively minor Jewish heresy. Pagans weren't about to ditch all their traditions to get circumcised and eat kosher. It just wouldn't have happened. Paul universalized Christianity's message (as I recall, much to his Christian peers' displeasure). I've heard many an Orthodox Jew express the sentiment that Paul was the best thing that could've happened to the Jews, as it was he who began the process of Christianity moving away from its Jewish roots. As a Jewish heresy it was a threat to Judaism, but once it became an essentially gentile religion thatthreat was removed.
Very interesting! BTW, how'd Paul become aware of Jesus's alleged resurrection? Did the early proto-Christians tell him about this?
 
Jan 2015
884
England
#6
I think it would not have spread much at all because Gentiles would have been reluctant to adopt Jewish law.
Without Paul Christianity would've stayed as a relatively minor Jewish heresy. Pagans weren't about to ditch all their traditions to get circumcised and eat kosher. It just wouldn't have happened.
The centralised governing body in Jerusalem, composed of the apostles and elders there, discussed the matter of circumcision (and by extension the Law in general) and deemed it unnecessary to follow those things (Acts 15:28, 29). The letter was then sent to all the congregations (Acts 16:4).

Incidentally, it appears that James the brother of Jesus was the one who presided over this discussion among the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, and he is actually the one who said: "my decision is not to trouble those from the nations who are turning to God, but to write them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood." - Acts 15:19

While it is true that there are many examples of the early Christians following the Law, and even the apostles instructing Paul to do so in some respects, this was merely for the purpose of not needlessly offending the Jews to whom they were trying to preach to. Paul himself circumcised Timothy literally just after the governing body had decreed it unnecessary, and the Book of Acts says that this was done 'because of the Jews in those places'. After all, the Law was not evil. It was not wrong to follow it. So they would follow it to the degree that it made it easier for them to preach to Jews. But it was simply no longer necessary for salvation, and that was the decision of the apostles and elders in Jerusalem (including James), not just Paul's decision.