File comment: Front Cover
9781560852162_p0_v2_s260x420.jpg [ 25.54 KiB | Viewed 6281 times ]
The Amazing Colossal Apostle: The Search for the Historical Paul
by Dr. Robert M. Price
In 2012, Dr. Robert M. Price released another book that shows the problems within the epistles and pastoral letters, the probable origins of these letters, and the scanty evidence that a person named “Paul from Tarsus” had written these proselytizing letters that made Christianity successful. It should be noted that the criticisms for Pauline authorship of the epistles is not new. In fact, Church Father Origen of Alexandria is quite sure that the epistle to the Hebrews is not written by Paul. Hermann Detering published an article in the Journal of Higher Criticism that shows the different Radical Criticisms on the Pauline epistles. Detering said that the canonical epistles are products from the second century and the Paul character is just a sanitized version of Simon Magus. http://www.depts.drew.edu/jhc/
Saul’s conversion to Paul in going to Damascus is a historical novel that only sprang out in the second century. Dr. Price wrote, “There is no historical value to it, but it is rich in edifying propaganda, its author having extensively rewritten sources that seem to include Homer, Virgil, Euripides, Josephus, and the Septuagint, creating a revisionist version of the early Christianity in the golden age of its origin.” Dr. Price also said that within second century, the Catholic Church suppressed the Pauline epistles because it appeals to the heretics. With regards to the canonical Acts, Dr. Price said that the authorship of Acts of the Apostles is pseudoepigraphical. Next, the Pauline archetype is rampant in the ancient pagan literature. He didn’t explicitly said that the pagan characters influenced Paul but only shows the parallels. For example, Siddhartha Gautama’s conversion to Buddha is so similar to Paul’s conversion. He even suggested that Moses from the OT has influences on Paul, just like when Moses was commanded by God in the scene of the burning bush and told to free his people, Paul is also blinded by light and talked to Jesus and was commanded to evangelize. Since Paul’s conversion is not history, the potential primary source of this event is taken potentially from 2 Maccabees 3:24-26 and Euripides’s Bacchae.
Next, he examined the real authorship of the Pauline letters. It is interesting to know that Church Father Origen of Alexandria admitted that the epistle to Hebrews is not written by Paul. He demonstrated the NT schools of criticism in 19th century like the Tubingen School and the Dutch Radical Critics. The reasons given as to why it is not Paul who wrote the epistles are the following:The Question of their form
1. They are treatises, not letters, whether to an individual or group.
2. They cannot have been written to the ancient churches whose names they bear since they have left no trace on the history of those churches.
3. The imaginary nature of the letters is evident because of the Catholicizing phrases.
4. They have been redacted.Their contents
1. Confusion over the nature of the churches
2. No coherent picture of Paul’s opponents
3. The complexity and depth of the theology and ethics betoken a time long after the days of Paul.
4. Virulent advocacy, opposition, and reinterpretation.
5. Paul is oblivious of the contents of the Synoptic gospels.
6. No historical retrospective in the tone of the epistles.
7. Romans 9-11 speaks about the rejection of Israel which is impossible before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
8. No contemporary records of persecutions done by Paul or in his early days.
Dr. Price mentioned that it is possibly Marcion the source of the epistles with Gnostic flavors attached to it like the Kenosis Hymn in Philippians 2:6-11. He even said that Marcion is the first collector of the epistles for the reason that he rejects the OT to make Christianity distinct from Judaism. In fact, Justin Martyr never mentions Paul but had written against Marcion. The other Church fathers are actually neglecting the epistles until Irenaeus of Lyons and Tertullian of Carthage.
Then Dr. Price spilled so much ink in the chapters “The Apocalypses and Acts of Paul” & “The Original Gnostic Apostles”. Those chapters are very long to demonstrate the influences of Gnosticism in the canonical epistles as well as the non – canonical epistles like the Acts of Paul, Acts of Peter, Revelation by Paul, etc that shows it diverges from the canonical ones. He explained also the parallels of Apollonius of Tyre with Paul, although it is a short one.
The last part is a biblical commentary which I really commend Dr. Price because from Romans to the Pastoral Letters, he did it chapter by chapter. He demonstrated the problems, contradictions, improbabilities, and anachronisms within the epistles.
1. How can Peter baptize three thousand people in a single day? (Acts 2:41)
2. Luke’s use of Josephus’s Antiquities of the Jews with reagards of the Simon Magus character.
3. The Nag Hammadi Revelation of Paul, Paul is depicted as the soter/savior and Jesus was never mentioned even once. This parallels Colossians 1:24, where Paul is also an atoning savior, ergo Jesus is one of the prototypes of Paul.
4. Marcion’s gospel is what scholars call “proto-Luke” or “ur-Lukas”.
5. How can Papias of Hierapolis write about Marcion being John’s secretary while inserting his own heresies if nothing about Papias is known?
6. The Catholic Church as we have it is not the earliest type of Christianity, but a mixture of elements from Christianities its bishops despised and condemned.
7. Paul said he came to evangelize and not to baptize (1 Cor 1:17) but contradicts Jesus's command (Matt 28:19) as well as Galatians 3:27
8. 1 Cor 2:8 has the obvious flavor of Gnosticism.
9. 1 Cor 4:16 is the definition of narcissism.
10. The talk about Lord’s Supper can be traced in mystery cults of Osiris and Dionysus.
11. 1 Cor 7:4 - That ain’t right.
12. The references to celibacy is an anachronism.
13. 1 Cor 15:6 is an abrupt interpolation.
14. 1 Tim 5:11-12 contradicts 1 Cor 7:28
15. 1 Cor 1:22-23 contradicts 2 Cor 12:11-12, why Paul so apologetic for not doing miracles but later does miracles.
16. Why does Paul have to declare that he is writing a lot (Gal 6:11)? This verse breaks the parallelism and conciseness of the chapter. In reality, not only we don't have any originals of the gospels, we also don't have original copies of the epistles.
17. Paul is saying vegans/vegetarians are evil, and celibate people are also evil. (1 Tim 4:3)
And so on…Dr. Price used the Bible itself to show that the figure Paul of Tarsus didn’t existed. I’m a little bummed that he didn’t dwell so much on pagan parallels but nonetheless, his book is a must read about the problems within the epistles, very much like WWJ that focuses on gospel problems. It should be noted that despite of the Marcionite influence to the epistles, Dr. Price is not claiming that all of the letters ascribed to Paul came from Marcion.http://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Colossal-Apostle-Search-Historical-ebook/dp/B00IB3YSMO/