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Critiques of Paul, 200 AD to 1945
(in chronological order)

Tertullian, The Prescription against Heretics (200 AD): Forasmuch as Peter was rebuked because, after he had lived with the Gentiles, he proceeded to separate himself from their company out of respect for persons, the fault surely was one of conversation, not of preaching. For it does not appear from this, that any God other than the Creator, or any Christ other than [the son of] Mary, or any hope other than the resurrection, was [by him being] announced.

Macarius Magnes, Apocriticus, III.30-36 (ca. 300): [Paul] says, ‘As many as are under the Law are under a curse’ (Gal 3:10). The man who writes to the Romans, The Law is spiritual’ (7:14), and again, The Law is holy and the commandment holy and just’ (7:12), places under a curse those who obey that which is holy!... In his Epistles … he praises virginity (I-Tim 4:1, I-Cor 7:25), and then turns round and writes, In the latter times some shall depart from the faith,... forbidding to marry’ (I-Tim 4:1-3).... And in the Epistle to the Corinthians he says, ‘But concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord’ (I-Cor 7:25).

Flavius Claudius Julianus (363): Paul ... surpasses all the conjurers and impostors who ever lived. [Quoted by John Henry Newman, Christian Doctrine,]

St John Chrysostom, Homilies on Galatians (391): What is this, Oh Paul! Thou who neither at the beginning nor after three years wouldest confer with the Apostles, do you now confer with them after fourteen years are past, lest you should be running in vain? Better would it have been to have done so at first, than after so many years; and why did you run at all, if not satisfied that thou were not running in vain? Who would be so senseless as to preach for so many years, without being sure that his preaching was true?... As James says, You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of them which have believed; and they are informed of you, that you teach to forsake the Law’ (Acts 21:17 ff.).... Paul himself, who meant to abrogate circumcision, when he was about to send Timothy to teach the Jews, first circumcised him and so sent him.... He not only does not defend the Apostles, but even presses hard upon those holy men.... What could they, each of whom was himself perfectly instructed, have learned from him?... Why did not the Apostles, if they praised your procedure, as the proper consequence abolish circumcision?... The words, I resisted him to the face’ (Gal 2:11) imply a scheme; for had their discussion been real, they would not have rebuked each other in the presence of the disciples, for it would have been a great stumbling-block to them.... Be not surprised at his giving this proceeding the name of hypocrisy; for he is unwilling, as I said before, to disclose the true state of the case, for the correction of the disciples. On account of their vehement attachment to the Law, he calls the present proceeding hypocrisy, and severely rebukes it, in order effectually to eradicate their prejudice. And Peter too, hearing this, joins in the feint, as if he had erred, that they might be corrected by means of the rebuke administered to him.... The whole difficulty was removed by Peter's submitting in silence to the imputation of hypocrisy.... Observe how [Paul] has resolved the matter to a necessary absurdity.

St Augustine of Hippo, Letter 28, to Jerome (394): I have been reading also some writings ascribed to you, on the Epistles of the Apostle Paul. In reading your exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians,... most disastrous consequences must follow upon our believing that anything false is found in the sacred books: that is to say, that the men by whom the Scripture has been given to us and committed to writing, did put down in these books anything false.... For if you once admit into such a high sanctuary of authority one false statement as made in the way of duty, there will not be left a single sentence of those books which, if appearing to any one difficult in practice or hard to believe, may not by the same fatal rule be explained away, as a statement in which intentionally and under a sense of duty, the author declared what was not true.... If indeed Peter seemed to (Paul) to be doing what was right, and if notwithstanding, he, in order to soothe troublesome opponents, both said and wrote that Peter did what was wrong—if we say thus,... nowhere in the sacred books shall the authority of pure truth stand sure. ● Letter 40, to Jerome (397): If it be possible for men to say and believe that, after introducing his narrative with these words, ‘The things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not’, the apostle (Paul) lied when he said of Peter and Barnabas, ‘I saw that they walked not uprightly, according to the truth of the gospel’,... [then] if they did walk uprightly, Paul wrote what was false; and if he wrote what was false here, when did he say what was true? ● The Harmony of the Gospels, III.25.71 (400): The statement which Paul gives ... runs thus: He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once. And thus it is not made clear who these twelve were, just as we are not informed who these five hundred were.... For now the apostle might speak of those whom the Lord designated apostles, not as the twelve, but as the eleven. Some codices, indeed, contain this very reading. I take that, however, to be an emendation introduced by men who were perplexed by the text, supposing it to refer to those twelve apostles who, by the time when Judas disappeared, were really only eleven.

St Jerome, Letter 112, to Augustine (404): Porphyry ... accuses Paul of presumption because he dared to reprove Peter and rebuke him to his face, and by reasoning convict him of having done wrong; that is to say, of being in the very fault which he himself, who blamed another for transgressing, had committed.... Oh blessed Apostle Paulwho had rebuked Peter for hypocrisy, because he withdrew himself from the Gentiles through fear of the Jews who came from Jameswhy are you, notwithstanding your own doctrine, compelled to circumcise Timothy (Acts 16:3), the son of a Gentile, nay more, a Gentile himself?

Nestorius, The Bazaar of Heracleides, Fragment 272 (450): Paul preaching: Of the Jews is Christ who was in flesh.’ What then? A mere man is Christ, oh blessed Paul?

Anselm of Laon (†1117), Gloss on I-Corinthians 15: ‘He was seen by Cephas’; prior to the other males, to whom, as we read in the Gospel, he appeared. Otherwise this would be contrary to the statement that he appeared first to the women.

Peter Abelard, Sic et Non (1120): Writing in reply to St. Augustine, after he had been brought to task by Augustine concerning the exposition of a certain spot in Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, Jerome said (Epist.112.4), ‘You ask why I have said in my commentary on Paul's letter to the Galatians that Paul could not have rebuked Peter for what he himself had also done. And you asserted that the reproof of the Apostle was not merely feigned, but true guidance, and that I ought not to teach a falsehood. I respond that ... I followed the commentary of Origen.’ ● Letters of Direction (before 1142): We know of course that when writing to the Thessalonians the Apostle [Paul] sharply rebuked certain idle busybodies by saying that ‘A man who will not work shall not eat.’... But was not Mary sitting idle in order to listen to the words of Christ, while Martha was ... grumbling rather enviously about her sister's repose?

Tales from the Old French, Of the Churl who Won Paradise (circa 1200): How is this, Don Paul of the bald pate, are you now so wrathful who formerly was so fell a tyrant? Never will there be another so cruel; Saint Stephen paid dear for it when you had him stoned to death. Well I know the story of your life; thru you many a brave man died, but in the end God gave you a good big blow. Have we not had to pay for the bargain and the buffet? Ha, what a divine and what a saint! Do you think I know you not?

St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I-II, Q.103, Art.4, Reply Obj.2 (1272): According to Jerome, Peter [in Gal 2:6-14] withdrew himself from the Gentiles by pretense, in order to avoid giving scandal to the Jews, of whom he was the Apostle; hence he did not sin at all in acting thus. On the other hand, Paul in like manner made a pretense of blaming him, in order to avoid scandalizing the Gentiles, whose Apostle he was. But Augustine disapproves of this solution.

John Duns Scotus, Summa Theologica, III.55.1, Obj.2 (ed. Jerome of Montefortino, 1728-34; based on Opus oxoniense, 1298-99): The order in which Christ's resurrection is related to have been made known, seems inappropriate. For it is presented as having been revealed firstly to Mary Magdalene, and that through her the Apostles learned that Christ was alive; but the recorded command of the Apostle in I-Tim 2 is well-known, saying: ‘I do not permit a woman to teach.’

Desiderius Erasmus, In Praise of Folly (1509): There are many things in St. Paul that thwart themselves.... I was lately myself at a theological dispute, for I am often there, when one was demanding what authority there was in Holy Writ that commands heretics to be convinced by fire rather than reclaimed by argument; a crabbed old fellow, and one whose supercilious gravity spoke him at least a doctor, answered in a great fume that Saint Paul had decreed it, who said, ‘Reject him that is a heretic, after once or twice admonishing [him].’

Sta Teresa of Avila, Accounts of Conscience, XVI (1571): It seemed to me that, concerning what St. Paul says about the confinement of women—which has been stated to me recently, and even previously I had heard that this would be the will of God—[the Lord] said to me: ‘Tell them not to follow only one part of the Scripture, to look at others, and [see] if they will perchance be able to tie my hands.’

Blaise Pascal, Pensées, 673 (1660): Saint Paul ... speaks of [marriage] to the Corinthians [I-Cor 7] in a way which is a snare.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Reply to Sor Filotea de la Cruz (1691): This should be considered by those who, bound to ‘Let women keep silence in the Church’ [I-Cor 14:34], say that it is blasphemy for women to learn and teach, as if it were not the Apostle himself who said ‘The elder women ... teaching the good’ [Tit 2:3].... I would want those interpreters and expositors of Saint Paul to explain to me how they understand that passage ‘Let the women keep silence in the Church.’... Because Saint Paul's proposition is absolute, and encompasses all women not excepting saints, as also were in their time Martha and Mary,... Mary mother of Jacob, Salome, and many other women that there were in the fervor of the early Church, and [Paul] does not except them [from his prohibition].

John Locke, The Reasonableness of Christianity (1695): It is not in the epistles we are to learn what are the fundamental articles of faith, where they are promiscuously and without distinction mixed with other truths.... We shall find and discern those great and necessary points best in the preaching of our Savior and the apostles ... out of the history of the evangelists.... And what that was, we have seen already, out of the history of the evangelists, and the acts; where they are plainly laid down, so that nobody can mistake them.... If all, or most of the truths declared in the epistles, were to be received and believed as fundamental articles, what then became of those christians who were fallen asleep (as St. Paul witnesses in his first to the Corinthians, many were) before these things in the epistles were revealed to them? Most of the epistles not being written till above twenty years after our Saviour’s ascension, and some after thirty. ... Nobody can add to these fundamental articles of faith.

Matthew Henry, Exposition of the New Testament (included in Biblio.29; vol.V, 1721): Paul took [Timothy] and circumcised him, or ordered it to be done (Acts 16:1-3). This was strange. Had not Paul opposed those with all his might that were for imposing circumcision upon the Gentile converts? Had he not at this time the decrees of the council at Jerusalem with him, which witnessed against it? He had, and yet circumcised Timothy.

Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania Gazette (10 April 1735): A virtuous heretic shall be saved before a wicked Christian.

Thomas Morgan, The Moral Philosopher (1737-40): St. Paul then, it seems, preach'd another and quite different Gospel from what was preach'd by Peter and the other Apostles.

Peter Annet, Critical Examination of the Life of St. Paul (letter to Gilbert West, 1746): We should never finish, were we to relate all the contradictions which are to be found in the writings attributed to St. Paul.... Generally speaking it is St. Paul ... that ought to be regarded as the true founder of Christian theology,... which from its foundation has been incessantly agitated by quarrels [and] divisions.

Emanuel Swedenborg, A Continuation of the Last Judgment (1763) & The True Christian Religion (1771): He seated himself at the table and continued his writing, as if he were not a dead body, and this on the subject of justification by faith alone and so on, for several days, and writing nothing whatever concerning charity. As the angels perceived this, he was asked through messengers why he did not write about charity also. He replied that there was nothing of the Church in charity, and if that were to be received as in any way an essential attribute of the Church, man would also ascribe to himself the merit of justification and consequently of salvation, and so also he would rob faith of its spiritual essence. He said these things arrogantly, but he did not know that he was dead [Jas 2:26] and that the place to which he had been sent was not Heaven.

Charles Churchill, The Conference’, Poems (1763): May I (can worse disgrace on manhood fall?) be ... baptized a Paul; may I (though to his service deeply tied by sacred oaths, and now by will allied), with false, feigned zeal an injured God defend, and use his name for some base private end!

Voltaire, Paul’, Dictionnaire philosophique portatif (Chez Varberg edition, Amsterdam 1765): Paul did not join the nascent society of the Christians, which at that time was half-Jewish.... Is it possible to excuse Paul for having reprimanded Peter?... What would be thought today of a man who intended to live at our expense, he and his woman, judge us, punish us, and confound the guilty with the innocent?

Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, I.15.2 (1776): Judaizing Christians seem to have argued ... from the divine origin of the Mosaic law ... that if the Being, who is the same through all eternity, had designed to abolish those sacred rites which had served to distinguish his chosen people, the repeal of them would have been no less clear and solemn than their first promulgation: that, instead of those frequent declarations, which either suppose or assert the perpetuity of the Mosaic religion, it would have been represented as a provisionary scheme intended to last only to the coming of the Messiah, who should instruct mankind in a more perfect mode of faith and of worship: that the Messiah himself, and his disciples who conversed with him on earth, instead of authorizing by their example the most minute observances of the Mosaic law, would have published to the world the abolition of those useless and obsolete ceremonies.

Juan Josef Hoíl, The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel (compiled by Hoíl in his native Mayan language 1782, 3rd Spanish edition by the UNAM 1973): Only in the crazed times, through the mad priests, did it happen that sadness entered into us, that ‘Christianity’ entered us. Because these same ‘Christians’ were those who brought here the true God; but this was the beginning of our misery, the beginning of the taxes, the beginning of ‘alms’, the cause from which arose hidden discord, the beginning of the battles with firearms, the beginning of the outrages, the beginning of the plundering of everything, the beginning of slavery for debt, the beginning of debts glued to one's back, the beginning of the continuous quarreling, the beginning of suffering,... the Antichrist upon the Earth, tiger of the villages, wildcat of the villages, leech on the poor [American] Indian. But the day will arrive when the tears of their eyes reach unto God, and the justice of God comes down upon the world in a single blow.... Brothers, little brothers, sons of servants come to the world! When the King comes and is recognized, the face of the Son of God will be crowned. And the Bishop, which is called the Holy Inquisition, will come before Saul to beg concord with the Christians, so that oppression will cease and misery will end.

Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1794): That manufacturer of quibbles, St. Paul,... [wrote] a collection of letters under the name of epistles.... Out of the matters contained in those books,... the church has set up a system of religion very contradictory to the character of the person whose name it bears. It has set up a religion of pomp and of revenue, in pretended imitation of a person whose life was humility and poverty.

Red Jacket (Chief of the Iroquois Tribe in New York), ‘Address to a Christian Missionary (1805; audio): Brother: Listen to what we say. There was a time when our forefathers owned this great island. Their seats extended from the rising to the setting of the sun. The Great Spirit had made [all this] for the use of the Indians,... because He loved them.... But an evil day came upon us. Your forefathers crossed the great waters and landed on this island.... They called us brothers. We believed them, and gave them a large seat.... Brother: Our seats were once large, and yours very small. You have now become a great people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread our blankets. You have got our country, but you are not satisfied; you want to force your religion upon us.... You say that you are right, and we are lost. How do you know this to be true? We understand that your religion is written in a book.... Brother: You say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the book?

Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Characteristics of the Present Age (1806): [The] Christian System ... [is] a degenerate form of Christianity, and the authorship of which ... [must be] ascribed to the Apostle Paul.

Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Short’ (1820): Paul was the ... first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.

Jeremy Bentham, Not Paul But Jesus (1823): It rests with every professor of the religion of Jesus to settle with himself, to which of the two religions, that of Jesus or that of Paul, he will adhere.

Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, (1831): ‘So, good brother, you refuse to give me a penny to buy a crust from a baker?’ | ‘Qui non laborat non manducet [II-Thes 3:10].’

Ferdinand Christian Baur, ‘The Christ Party in the Corinthian Church, the Opposition between Petrine and Pauline Christianity in the Ancient Church, and the Apostle Peter in Rome’ (1831): What kind of authority can there be for an ‘Apostle’ who, unlike the other Apostles, had never been prepared for the Apostolic office in Jesus' own school but had only later dared to claim the Apostolic office on the basis of his own authority? ● The Church History of the First Three Centuries (1853): The only question comes to be how the Apostle Paul appears in his Epistles to be so indifferent to the historical facts of the life of Jesus.... He bears himself but little like a disciple who has received the doctrines and the principles which he preaches from the Master whose name he bears.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Lord's Supper’ (1832): It does not appear that the opinion of St. Paul, all things considered, ought to alter our opinion derived from the evangelists.

Søren Kierkegaard, Letter to Peter Wilhelm Lund (1.VI.1835): In Christianity itself there are contradictions so great that they prevent an unobstructed view. ● The Journals (1849): In Christ the religious is completely present-tense; in Paul it is already on the way to becoming doctrine. One can imagine the rest!... This trend has been kept up for God knows how many centuries. (1850) When Jesus Christ lived, he was indeed the prototype. The task of faith is ... to imitate Christ, become a disciple. Then Christ dies. Now, through the Apostle Paul, comes a basic alteration.... He draws attention away from imitation and fixes it decisively upon the death of Christ the Atoner. (1854) What Luther failed to realize is that the true situation is that the Apostle [Paul] has already degenerated by comparison with the Gospel. (1855) It becomes the disciple who decides what Christianity is, not the master, not Christ but Paul,... [who] threw Christianity away completely, turning it upside down, getting it to be just the opposite of what it is in the [original] Christian proclamation. ● For Self-Examination Recommended to the Present Ae, I (1851): ‘God's Word’ is indeed the mirror—but, but—oh, how enormously complicated—strictly speaking, how much belongs to ‘God's Word’? Which books are authentic? ● ‘My Task’, The Moment (1.IX.1855): If in the apostle [Paul]'s proclamation there is even the slightest thing that could pertain to what has become the sophistry corruptive of all true Christianity, then I must raise an outcry lest the sophists summarily cite the apostle. It is of great importance … to correct the enormous confusion Luther caused by inverting the relation and actually criticizing Christ by means of Paul, the Master by means of the follower.... What I have done is to hold Christ's proclamation alongside the apostle's.

George Henry Borrow, The Bible in Spain (1843): It was scarcely possible to make an assertion in their hearing without receiving a flat contradiction, especially when religious subjects were brought on the carpet. ‘It is false,’ they would say; ‘Saint Paul, in such a chapter and in such a verse, says exactly the contrary.’.

Herman Melville, Typee (1846): Better will it be for them for ever to remain the happy and innocent heathens and barbarians that they now are, than, like the wretched inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands [Hawaii], to enjoy the mere name of Christians without experiencing any of the vital operations of true religion, whilst, at the same time, they are made the victims of the worst vices and evils of civilized life.... Ill-fated people! I shudder when I think of the change a few years will produce in their paradisaical abode; and probably when the most destructive vices, and the worst attendances on civilization, shall have driven all peace and happiness from the valley, [it will be] proclaim[ed] to the world that the Marquesas Islands have been converted to Christianity!... The Anglo-Saxon hive have extirpated Paganism from the greater part of the North American continent; but with it they have likewise extirpated the greater portion of the Red race.

Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849): Why need Christians be still intolerant and superstitious?... In all my wanderings I never came across the least vestige of authority for these things.... It is necessary not to be Christian to appreciate the beauty and significance of the life of Christ.... It would be a poor story to be prejudiced against the Life of Christ because the book has been edited by Christians. ● Journal (1 Jan 1858): There are many words which are genuine and indigenous and have their root in our natures.... There are also a great many words which are spurious and artificial, and can only be used in a bad sense, since the thing they signify is not fair and substantial—such as the church, the judiciary,... etc. etc. They who use them do not stand on solid ground. It is vain to try to preserve them by attaching other words to them [such] as the true church, etc. It is like towing a sinking ship with a canoe.

Benjamin Jowett, The Epistles of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, Galatians and Romans (1855): Our conception of the Apostolical age is necessarily based on the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of St. Paul. It is in vain to search ecclesiastical writings for further information.... Confining ourselves, then, to the original sources, we cannot but be struck by the fact, that of the first eighteen years after the day of Pentecost, hardly any account is preserved to us.... It seems as if we had already reached the second stage in the history of the Apostolic Church, without any precise knowledge of the first.

Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit (1857): There was the dreary Sunday of his childhood, when he sat with his hands before him, scared out of his senses by a horrible tract which commenced business with the poor child by asking him, why he was going to perdition?,... and which, for the further attraction of his infant mind, had a parenthesis in every other line with some such hiccoughing reference as 2 Ep.Thess. c.iii v.6&7 [‘Keep away from any brother who travels about in idleness’].

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859): The Gospel always refers to a pre-existing morality,... the Old Testament.... St. Paul, a declared enemy to this Judaical mode of interpreting the doctrine ... of his Master, equally assumes a pre-existing morality, namely that of the Greeks and Romans;... even to the extent of giving an apparent sanction to slavery.

John Henry Newman, Apologia pro Vita Sua (1864), Appendix 7: St. Paul circumcised Timothy [Ac 16:1-3], while he cried out ‘Circumcision availeth not.’ [Gal 5:6]

Ernest Renan, Saint Paul (1869): True Christianity, which will last forever, comes from the Gospels, not from the epistles of Paul. The writings of Paul have been a danger and a hidden rock, the causes of the principal defects of Christian theology.

Feodor Dostoyevsky, The Diary of a Writer (1880): If slavery prevailed in the days of the Apostle Paul, this was precisely because the churches which originated then were not yet perfect, as we perceive from the Epistles of the Apostle himself. However, those members of the congregations who, individually, attained perfection no longer owned or could have had slaves, because these became brethren, and a brother, a true brother, cannot have a brother as his slave. ● The Brothers Karamazov (1880): This child born of the son of the devil and of a holy woman:... they baptized him ‘Paul’.

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Dawn (1881): The story of one of the most ambitious and obtrusive of souls, of a head as superstitious as it was crafty, the story of the Apostle Paul—who knows this, except a few scholars? Without this strange story, however, without the confusions and storms of such a head, such a soul, there would be no Christianity.

Leo Tolstoy, My Religion (1884): The separation between the doctrine of life and the explanation of life began with the preaching of Paul who knew not the ethical teachings set forth in the Gospel of Matthew, and who preached a metaphisico-cabalistic theory entirely foreign to Christ; and this separation was perfected in the time of Constantine, when it was found possible to clothe the whole pagan organization of life in a Christian dress, and without changing it to call it Christianity.

Adolf von Harnack, History of Dogma, I (1885): The Pauline Gospel is not identical with the original Gospel.... The empty grave on the third day ... is directly excluded by the way in which Paul has portrayed the resurrection (1 Cor. XV).... Paul knows nothing of an Ascension.... Every tendency which courageously disregards spurious traditions, is compelled to turn to the Pauline Epistles—which, on the one hand, present such a profound type of Christianity, and on the other, darken and narrow the judgment about the preaching of Christ himself.

James George Frazer, The Golden Bough (1890): If Christianity was to conquer the world, it could not do so except by relaxing a little the exceedingly strict principles of its Founder.

Frederick Engels, On the History of Early Christianity (1894): Attempts have been’ made to conceive ... all the messages [of John's Rev/Ap] as directed against Paul, the false Apostle.... The so-called Epistles of Paul ... are not only extremely doubtful but also totally contradictory.

William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (Gifford Lectures, 1901): This is the religious melancholy and ‘conviction of sin’ that have played so large a part in the history of Protestant Christianity.... As Saint Paul says: self-loathing, self-despair, an unintelligible and intolerable burden ... [—a] typical [case] of discordant personality, with melancholy in the form of self-condemnation and sense of sin.

William Wrede, Paul (1904): The obvious contradictions in the three accounts [of Paul's conversion in Ac 9/22/26] are enough to arouse distrust of all that goes beyond this kernel.... The moral majesty of Jesus, his purity and piety, his ministry among his people, his manner as a prophet, the whole concrete ethical-religious content of his earthly life, signifies for Paul's Christology—nothing whatever.... If we do not wish to deprive both figures of all historical distinctness, the name ‘disciple of Jesus’ has little applicability to Paul.... Jesus or Paul: this alternative characterizes, at least in part, the religious and theological warfare of the present day.

Albert Schweitzer, The Quest for the Historical Jesus (1906): Paul ... did not desire to know Christ after the flesh.... Those who want to find a way from the preaching of Jesus to early Christianity are conscious of the peculiar difficulties raised.... Paul shows us with what complete indifference the earthly life of Jesus was regarded by primary Christianity. ● Paul and His Interpreters (1912): The system of the Apostle of the Gentiles stands over against the teaching of Jesus as something of an entirely different character, and does not create the impression of having arisen out of it.... It is impossible for a Hellenized Paulinism to subsist alongside of a primitive Christianity which shared the Jewish eschatological expectations.... To the problem of Paulinism belong ... questions which have not yet found a solution:... the relation of the Apostle to the historical Jesus ... and towards the [Mosaic] Law.... He does not appeal to the Master even where it might seem inevitable to do so.... It is as though he held that between the present world-period and that in which Jesus lived and taught there exists no link of connection.... What Jesus thought about the matter is ... indifferent to him.... Critics [have] demanded of theology proof that the canonical Paul and his Epistles belonged to early Christianity; and the demand was justified. ● Out of My Life and Thought (1931): The rapid diffusion of Paul's ideas can be attributed to his belief that the death of Christ signified the end of the [Mosaic] Law. In the course of one or two generations this concept became the common property of the Christian faith, although it stood in contradiction to the tradition teaching represented by the Apostles at Jerusalem. ● The Mysticism of St. Paul (1931): What is the significance for our faith and for our religious life, of the fact that the Gospel of Paul is different from the Gospel of Jesus?... The attitude which Paul himself takes up towards the Gospel of Jesus is that he does not repeat it in the words of Jesus, and does not appeal to its authority.... The fateful thing is that the Greek, the Catholic and the Protestant theologies all contain the Gospel of Paul in a form which does not continue the Gospel of Jesus, but displaces it.

Abdul-Bahá (son of Bahá’u’lláh), Some Answered Questions (1908): Paul permitted even the eating of strangled animals, those sacrificed to idols, and blood, and only maintained the prohibition of fornication. So in chapter 4, verse 14 of his Epistle to the Romans.... Also Titus, chapter 1, verse 15.... Now [according to Paul] this change, these alterations and this abrogation are due to the impossibility of comparing the time of Christ with that of Moses. The conditions and requirements in the latter period were entirely changed and altered. The former laws were, therefore, abrogated.

Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth (1909): Paul ... advised against sexual intercourse altogether. A great change from the divine view. ● Notebooks (date?): If Christ were here now, there is one thing he would not be—a Christian.

José Ortega y Gasset, A Polemic’ (1910): Between remembering Jesus as did St Peter, to thinking about Jesus as did St Paul, stands nothing less than theology. St Paul was the first theologian; that is to say, the first man who, of the real Jesus—concrete, individualized, resident of a certain village, with a genuine accent and customs—, made a possible, rational Jesus—thus adapted so that all men and not only the Jews could enter into the new faith. In philosophical terms, St Paul objectifies Jesus.

Gerald Friedlander, The Jewish Sources of the Sermon on the Mount (1911): Paul has surely nothing to do with the Sermon on the Mount.... The Sermon says: ‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves’ (Matt.vii.15). This is generally understood as a warning against untrustworthy leaders in religion.... Does the verse express the experience of the primitive Church? Might it not be a warning against Paul and his followers?

Miguel de Unamuno, The Tragic Sense of Life (1913): Paul had not personally known Jesus, and hence he discovered him as Christ.... The important thing for him was that Christ became man and died and was resurrected, and not what he did in his life—not his ethical work as a teacher. ● The Agony of Christianity (1931): During Christ's lifetime, Paul would never have followed him.

George Bernard Shaw, Androcles and the Lion, Introduction (1915): There is not one word of Pauline Christianity in the characteristic utterances of Jesus.... There has really never been a more monstrous imposition perpetrated than the imposition of Paul's soul upon the Soul of Jesus.... It is now easy to understand why the Christianity of Jesus failed completely to establish itself politically and socially, and was easily suppressed by the police and the Church, whilst Paulinism overran the whole western civilized world, which was at that time the Roman Empire, and was adopted by it as its official faith. Everybody’s Political What's What? (1944): A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

Henry Louis Mencken, The Jazz Webster’, A Book of Burlesques (1916): Archbishop—A Christian ecclesiastic of a rank superior to that attained by Christ.

Martin Buber, The Holy Way’ (1918): The man who, in transmitting Judaism to the peoples, brought about its breakup,... this violator of the spirit,... [was] Saul, the man from Tarsus.... He transmitted Jesus' teaching ... to the nations, handing them the sweet poison of faith, a faith that was to disdain works, exempt the faithful from realization, and establish dualism in the [Christian] world. It is the Pauline era whose death agonies we today [in World War I] are watching with transfixed eyes. ● Two Types of Faith (1948): Not merely the Old Testament belief and the living faith of post-Biblical Judaism are opposed to Paul, but also the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount.... One must see Jesus apart from his historical connection with Christianity.... It is Peter, [not Paul,] who represents the unforgettable recollection of the conversations of Jesus with the Disciples in Galilee.

Thomas Edward Lawrence, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1919): Christianity was a hybrid, except in its first root not essentially Semitic.

Carl Gustav Jung, The Psychological Foundations of Belief in Spirits’ (1919): Saul's ... fanatical resistance to Christianity,... as we know from the Epistles, was never entirely overcome. ● ‘A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity’ (1940): It is frankly disappointing to see how Paul hardly ever allows the real Jesus of Nazareth to get a word in.

Herbert George Wells, The Outline of History (1920): St. Paul and his successors added to or completed or imposed upon or substituted another doctrine for—as you may prefer to think—the plain and profoundly revolutionary teachings of Jesus, by expounding ... a salvation which could be obtained very largely by belief and formalities, without any serious disturbance of the believer's ordinary habits and occupations.

James Joyce, Ulysses (1922): Peter and Paul. More interesting if you understood what it was all about.... Robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Isaac Babel, Sir Apolek’, The Red Cavalry Stories (1923): Saint Paul, a timorous cripple with the shaggy black beard of a village apostate.

Joseph Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth, III.3 (1926): In all Paul’s writings we find no reliable historical facts about the life and work of Jesus.... He was not one of Jesus’ disciples nor, apparently, had he ever seen him while he was on earth; in the latter event he must have been subservient to James, the brother of Jesus, to Peter and the other Apostles. ● From Jesus to Paul, VI (1943): Saul was the real founder of Christianity as a new religion.... The disciples and brethren of Jesus who were intimate with the crucified Messiah during his lifetime and had received instruction, parables, and promises from his own lips, would reproach Paul in effect thus: You are not a true apostle, and in vain do you on your own authority set aside the ceremonial laws; for you did not attend the Messiah, you were not intimate with him, and you cannot know his teaching firsthand.... [Regarding] the vision on the road to Damascus,... we have here an attack of ‘falling sickness’ or epilepsy.... We find in him also the characteristics of a thorough melancholiac.... There is almost no abusive name which Paul does not give to his opponents. They are ‘false brethren’, ‘false apostles’, ‘hypocrites’ and ‘dissemblers’.... The whole ‘apostleship’ of Paul is based on the ‘heavenly vision’ which he saw on the road to Damascus.... Paul was far from being a saint.

Rudolf Bultmann, Jesus and the Word (1926): The Church ... could not possibly have taken for granted the loyal adherence to the [Mosaic] Law and defended it against Paul, if Jesus had combated the authority of the Law. Jesus did not attack the Law, but assumed its authority and interpreted it... It was some time after his death when Paul and other Hellenistic missionaries preached to the Gentiles a gospel apart from the Law.... Jesus desires no ... sexual asceticism. The ideal of celibacy indeed entered Christianity early; we find it already in the churches of Paul. But it is entirely foreign to Jesus. ● ‘The Significance of the Historical Jesus for the Theology of Paul’ (1929): It is most obvious that [Paul] does not appeal to the words of the Lord in support of his strictly theological, anthropological and soteriological views.... When the essentially Pauline conceptions are considered, it is clear that there Paul is not dependent on Jesus. Jesus' teaching is—to all intents and purposes—irrelevant for Paul.

Franz Kafka, The Castle (1926): Barnabas is certainly not an official, not even one in the lowest category.... One shouldn't suddenly send an inexperienced youngster like Barnabas ... into the Castle, and then expect a truthful account of everything from him, interpret each single word of his as if it were a revelation, and base one's own life's happiness on the interpretation. Nothing could be more mistaken.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu (1927): The mystical Christ, the universal Christ of St. Paul, has neither meaning nor value in our eyes except as an expansion of the Christ who was born of Mary and who died on the cross. The former essentially draws his fundamental quality of undeniability and concreteness from the latter. However far we may be drawn into the divine spaces opened up to us by Christian mysticism, we never depart from the Jesus of the gospels.

José Carlos Mariátegui, Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality (1928): The missionaries did not impose the Gospel; they imposed the cult, the liturgy.... The Roman Church can consider itself the legitimate heir of the Roman Empire.... This compromise in its origin extends from Catholicism to all Christendom.

Mahatma Gandhi, Discussion on Fellowship’, Young India (1928): I draw a great distinction between the Sermon on the Mount and the Letters of Paul. They are a graft on Christ's teaching, his own gloss apart from Christ's own experience.

Kahil Gibran, Jesus the Son of Man (1928): This Paul is indeed a strange man. His soul is not the soul of a free man. He speaks not of Jesus nor does he repeat His Words. He would strike with his own hammer upon the anvil in the Name of One whom he does not know.

Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, II (1928): Paul had for the Jesus-communities of Jerusalem a scarcely veiled contempt.... ‘Jesus is the Redeemer and Paul is his Prophet’—this is the whole content of his message.

John Langdon-Davies, A Short History of Women (1928): It was through [St. Paul] that the offensive attitude towards women was finally expressed in the Catholic Church.

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (1929): That Saint Paul.... He's the one who makes all the trouble.... He was a rounder and a chaser and then when he was no longer hot he said it was no good. When he was finished he made the rules for us who are still hot.

Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism (Second Series, 1933): Te-shan (780-865 [AD]) ... was very learned in the teaching of the sutra and was extensively read in the commentaries.... He heard of this Zen teaching in the south [of China], according to which a man could be a Buddha by immediately taking hold of his inmost nature. This he thought could not be the Buddha's own teaching, but [rather] the Evil-One's.... Te-shan's idea was to destroy Zen if possible.... [His] psychology reminds us of that of St. Paul.

Walter Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity (1934): As far as Paul is concerned, in the Apocalypse [Rev/Ap 21:14] only the names of the twelve apostles are found on the foundations of the New Jerusalem—there is no room for Paul.... For Justin [Martyr, in the mid-second century], everything is based on the gospel tradition.... The name of Paul is nowhere mentioned by Justin;... not only is his name lacking, but also any congruence with his epistles.... If one may be allowed to speak rather pointedly, the apostle Paul was the only arch-heretic known to the apostolic age.... We must look to the circle of the twelve apostles to find the guardians of the most primitive information about the life and preaching of the Lord.... This treasure lies hidden in the synoptic gospels.

Herbert A.L. Fisher, A History of Europe (1935): Paul of Tarsus ... drew a clear line of division between [the] two sects.... Christian and Jew sprang apart.

Henry Miller, Black Spring (1936): That maniac St. Paul.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value (notes from 1937, published 1980): The spring which flows gently and limpidly in the Gospels seems to have froth on it in Paul's Epistles.... To me it's as though I saw human passion here, something like pride or anger, which is not in tune with the humility of the Gospels.... I want to ask—and may this be no blasphemy—‘What might Christ have said to Paul?’... In the Gospels—as it seems to me—everything is less pretentious, humbler, simpler. There you find huts; in Paul a church. There all men are equal and God himself is a man; in Paul there is already something like a hierarchy.

Kenneth Patchen, The Journal of Albion Moonlight (1941): We were proceeding leisurely down the main street in St. Paul when suddenly, without warning of any kind, an immense octopus wrapped his arms around our car.

Bertrand Russell, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish’ (1943): Tobacco ... is not prohibited in the Scriptures, though, as Samuel Butler pointed out, St. Paul would no doubt have denounced it if he had known of it.

Will Durant, Caesar and Christ (1944): Paul created a theology of which none but the vaguest warrants can be found in the words of Christ.... Through these interpretations Paul could neglect the actual life and sayings of Jesus, which he had not directly known.... He had replaced conduct with creed as the test of virtue. It was a tragic change.

Critiques of Paul and Pauline Chrisiantiy, after 1945