Is St Paul an historical person.

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Jax

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
6,208
Seattle
#31
Phillipians 4:10-20

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

14Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
2 Corinthians 9:1-15

There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. 2For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. 3But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.

6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”a
10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
Philemon

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker— 2also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home:

3Grace and peace to youa from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, 5because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. 6I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. 7Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.

8Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus,b who became my son while I was in chains. 11Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.

12I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.

17So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.

22And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.

23Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.

25The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
If someone were going to make up letters about a fictional character why would you write these and others like them?

Paul's letters are full of begging, protesting that he is not a liar, wanting to know why he can't charge people for being an apostle, convincing people that he pulls his own weight, and thanking people for their donations to his well being because he is badly off.

Not exactly the image one would create for the supposed spokesperson of your religion.
 
May 2011
2,674
Rural Australia
#32
If someone were going to make up letters about a fictional character why would you write these and others like them?

Paul's letters are full of begging, protesting that he is not a liar, wanting to know why he can't charge people for being an apostle, convincing people that he pulls his own weight, and thanking people for their donations to his well being because he is badly off.

Not exactly the image one would create for the supposed spokesperson of your religion.

Is that an argument using the Criterion of embarrassment?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criterion_of_embarrassment

A still further limitation is the fact that of all the criteria to evaluate authenticity, the criteria of embarrassment may be the most easily forged. A person who knows that having extra witnesses will bolster their credibility still has a lot of hard and uncertain work to do before they will have those witnesses on their side. A person who knows that including embarrassing details will make them more believable need do no more work than invent some embarrassing details.
 
Dec 2011
1,875
#33
I hope you guys are not using textual criticism (TC) by itself to prove the historicity of an individual.

OTOH, if your goal is to find the original wording of a document then TC may be useful to some small degree. TC is still a rather blunt instrument though, especially when there is no credible provenance in play. The best one can hope to achieve with TC is probability language. I think R. Carrier says Paul is PROBABLY more real than not (50% real then) due to, in part, the six similar "letters" (albeit with dating issues in play).

In addition to TC, Carrier also utilizes the classes/categories of myth that put a historical Jesus, or any mythic cult leader without solid evidence into doubt. In this event Paul does not fit those categories (savior, healer, raised from the dead, similarities with mystery cults and etc.) So, he (Carrier) reasons that someone who wrote the letters was more likely than not to have existed. At best, still ambiguous though. Was it the same person who had visions? We can't prove it.
 
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Dec 2011
1,875
#34
There seems to be less evidence for St Paul then there is for Jesus Christ, He isn't mentioned by any Ancient Roman historian, just as Josephus, Pliny, Suetonius or Tacitus.
In terms of historical evidence I agree with R. Carrier that there is probably more for Paul the Apostle than there is for Jesus. (see my previous post)

Here is the link to one of RC's posts on Paul TA: It is good for some source material and will probably clear up some things I said in my previous post.
The Historicity of Paul the Apostle - Richard Carrier
 
Jul 2017
842
Crete
#36
The first Book Paul makes an appearance is the Book of Acts , which was written by Luke. So that would conclude, Luke created Paul.

Then begs the question, Who is 'Luke' ( Lucius ), a well educated Greek , lived in Boeotia, with a biography quite similar to another famous 'Luke' at the same time, known as Plutarch. Was Luke modelled after Plutarch.

Luke, being Greek and educated, would have gone to a philosophy school , most likely, Middle Platonism , since he as a Roman name, 'Lucius' , he would have needed a sponsor for his Roman citizenship (as well as Paul), Plutarch was sponsored by 'Lucius Mestrius Florus', Did he also sponsor 'St Luke' , Did they ever interact or went to the same school. Why would Romans sponsor Christians?

Are the Books, Luke-Acts , 'Parallel Lives' , for they are parallels between Jesus & Paul,
what if 'Paul' are the missing years of Jesus?.

Luke also as parallels with Josephus and they are also parallels between Josephus and Jesus, also, both Luke and Josephus address the books as 'most excellent Theophilus/Epaphroditus.

Josephus dedicated his works to 'Epaphroditus' , If he was writing in Rome at the time, it was most likely, 'Marcus Mettius Epaphroditus' , who was collecting books at that time.


Marcus Mettius Epaphroditus of Chaeronea
He was extremely fond of books, and is said to have collected a library of 30,000 valuable books. He died of dropsy at the age of seventy-five.
It is also interesting, that Marcus Metius Epaphroditus, was born in 'Chaeronea' and died age 75 , Plutarch was also
born in 'Chaeronea' , who died at the age of 74. Chaeronea is only a small village, for certain they crossed paths.


So here is my framework.

- Josephus Dedicates work to Marcus Mettius Epaphroditus ( Born in Chaeronea)
- Lucius Plutarch ( Born in Chaeronea , Boeotia ).
- Lucius Evangelist ( Lived and died in Boeotia) ( Born in Antioch )
- Ignatius Theophorus ( Born in Antioch) ( Student of Polycarp )
- Polycarp ( Πολύκαρπος) succeeded by Plutarch ( Πλούταρχος )
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutarch_of_Byzantium


What is history , what isn't ?
 
Last edited:
Dec 2011
1,875
#37
The first Book Paul makes an appearance is the Book of Acts , which was written by Luke. So that would conclude, Luke created Paul.
The dating on both the BoA and the consensus view of the "authentic" Pauline epistles alone argue against your proposition.

There are other possibilities as well. A forgery attempting to link the Apostle to the Jerusalem group. A spiced up read on the travels of the Apostle for entertainment.

Many scholars are very cautious to use the BoA for any type of historical suppositions. James Tabor (sp?) comes to mind.

Do any mainstream scholars support your speculations on this?
 
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Jul 2017
842
Crete
#38
That is rationally unsupportable as a plausible proposition.

The dating of the BoA and the consensus view of the "authentic" Pauline epistles alone won't allow it.
The number one source of extra-biblical information is Josephus , i also heard that the works of Josephus was part of the 'New Testament' , Then are the works of Josephus as "Authentic' as the Pauline epistles .

Putting 'Paul' aside, to question the historicity of 'Josephus' ( as a Person, not works attributed to him), they seem to be a contradiction between Tacitus and Suetonius. Suetonius mentions Josephus ( Oracle in Judea) and Tacitus names him 'Basilides' (Oracle in Judea) and another (Oracle in Alexandria) , Tacitus doesn't mention Josephus.

Basilides
- Basilides was an early Gnostic religious teacher in Alexandria, Egypt who taught from 117 to 138 AD


The oldest manuscripts of the works of Josephus in their original language of Greek date to the tenth and eleventh centuries. Portions of the works are also quoted in earlier manuscripts by other authors, particularly Eusebius
 
Dec 2011
1,875
#39
The number one source of extra-biblical information is Josephus , i also heard that the works of Josephus was part of the 'New Testament' , Then are the works of Josephus as "Authentic' as the Pauline epistles .

Putting 'Paul' aside, to question the historicity of 'Josephus' ( as a Person, not works attributed to him), they seem to be a contradiction between Tacitus and Suetonius. Suetonius mentions Josephus ( Oracle in Judea) and Tacitus names him 'Basilides' (Oracle in Judea) and another (Oracle in Alexandria) , Tacitus doesn't mention Josephus.

Basilides
- Basilides was an early Gnostic religious teacher in Alexandria, Egypt who taught from 117 to 138 AD
Specifically, how does Josephus support your comments about someone named "Luke" inventing someone named "Paul"?
 
Jul 2017
842
Crete
#40
The dating on both the BoA and the consensus view of the "authentic" Pauline epistles alone argue against your proposition.

There are other possibilities as well. A forgery attempting to link the Apostle to the Jerusalem group. A spiced up read on the travels of the Apostle for entertainment.

Many scholars are very cautious to use the BoA for any type of historical suppositions. James Tabor (sp?) comes to mind.

Do any mainstream scholars support your speculations on this?
There seem to be a different between a 'Roman scholar' and a 'Religious scholar', for example, Bart D. Ehram, He is a professor of Religious Studies, not a 'Roman history professor'. It's like Roman history doesn't exist for them.


CROSS ( According to Roman History)

CROSS (According to Biblical History)



Which is the correct history?
 
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