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Critiques of Paul, after 1945

Shaw Desmond, Religion in the Postwar World’ (Oxford University Socratic Club, 1946): Paul taught the opposite of Jesus.

Paul Schubert, Urgent Tasks for New Testament Research’, in H.R. Willoughby (ed.), The Study of the Bible Today and Tomorrow (1947): As regards Paul and his letters there is no notable agreement [among modern theologians] on any major issue.

Robert Frost, A Masque of Mercy (1947): Paul: he's in the Bible too. He is the fellow who theologized Christ almost out of Christianity. Look out for him.

Frank Harris, My Life and Loves (vol.3, 1949): Christianity, mainly because of Paul, has attacked the sexual desire and has tried to condemn it root and branch.

Herbert J. Muller, The Uses of the Past (1952): Saul of Tarsus, who became St. Paul,... knew Jesus only by hearsay, and rarely referred to his human life.... Paul preached a gospel about Jesus that was not taught by the Jesus of the synoptic Gospels.... Setting himself against [the] other disciples,... he was largely responsible for the violent break with Judaism.... He contributed a radical dualism of flesh and spirit unwarranted by the teachings of Jesus.

Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (1953): St. Paul enjoined self-effacement and discretion upon women.... In a religion that holds the flesh accursed, woman becomes the devil's most fearful temptation.

Federico Fellini, La Strada (1954): ‘Where are we?’ ‘In Rome. That’s St. Paul’s.’ ‘Then we’re joining the circus?’

Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ (1955): The door opened. A squat, fat hunchback, still young, but bald, stood on the threshold. His eyes were spitting fire.... ‘Are you Saul?’, Jesus asked, horrified.... ‘I am Paul. I was saved—glory be to God!—and now I've set out to save the world....’ ‘My fine lad,’ Jesus replied, ‘I've already come back from where you're headed.... Did you see this resurrected Jesus of Nazareth?’, Jesus bellowed. ‘Did you see him with your own eyes? What was he like?’ ‘A flash of lightning—a flash of lightning which spoke.’ ‘Liar!... What blasphemies you utter! What effronteries! What lies! Is it with such lies, swindler, that you dare to save the world?’ Now it was Paul's turn to explode. ‘Shut your shameless mouth!’, he shouted.... ‘I don't give a hoot about what's true and what's false, or whether I saw him or didn't see him.’

Charles Seltman, Women in Antiquity (1956): This man of Tarsus, being somewhat hostile both to women and to mating, began to advocate both the repression of females and the intemperate practice of perpetual virginity,... greatly degrading women in the eyes of men.... Nonsensical anti-feminism was due, in the first instance, to Paul of Tarsus.... For Paul sex was indeed a misfortune withdrawing man's interest from heavenly things.... As the Church increased in influence within the Roman Empire, it carried along with it the corpus of Pauline writings, and the implicit subordination of the female. The dislike, even the hatred, of women grew to be pathological.... [Paul's] teaching about women as interpreted by his successors continues even today to shock thoughtful persons.... The Galilean ... was himself displaced by the Church Militant on earth, disobedient to Jesus, seeking new ways to power.... It had overthrown the precepts of Jesus. The theology of Love,... having been recast as Christendom, borrowed from the simpler nature religions Fear as the finest instrument for the attainment of power.

G. Ernest Wright & Reginald H. Fuller, The Book of the Acts of God (1957): The earliest Church glossed over the death of Jesus and concentrated its attention on the resurrection,... [whereas] much prominence is given in the Pauline epistles to the notion that [it was] by his death [that] Christ won the decisive victory over the powers of evil. This mythological notion was not a feature of the earliest preaching.... [Furthermore,] both the theology and the practice of baptism underwent a number of changes. For the primitive Church, baptism had been performed in the name of Jesus, and its benefit defined as the remission of sins and ... the gift of the Holy Spirit,... [but] St Paul can speak of baptism as a symbolical participation in Christ's death and resurrection;... such ideas have been frequently ascribed to the influence of the mystery religions, in whose rites the initiate sacramentally shared the fate of the cult deity.... [Moreover,] the Pauline churches were the first to detach the [eucharistic] rite with the bread and cup from the common meal.... All three synoptic gospels are the products of the non-Pauline ... churches.

William D. Davies, Paul and Jewish Christianity’, in J. Daniélou (ed.), Théologie du Judéo-Chriantianisme (1958): Jewish-Christians [opposing Paul] ... must have been a very strong, widespread element in the earliest days of the Church.... They took for granted that the gospel was continuous with Judaism.... According to some scholars, they must have been so strong that right up to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 they were the dominant element in the Christian movement. ● ‘The Apostolic Age and the Life of Paul’, Peake's Commentary on the Bible (1962): Of the history of the Church at Jerusalem between AD 44 and the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 we know very little.... Attempts at ... minimizing the gulf between Gentile and Jerusalem Christianity break down on the opposition which the Pauline mission so often encountered from Jewish Christians.... Acts has so elevated Paul that others who labored have been dwarfed, and any assessment of the rise of Gentile Christianity must allow for the possible distortion introduced by this concentration of Acts on Paul.... The Epistles and Acts reveal that Paul came to regard himself ... as the [one and only] Apostle to the Gentiles.

Lawrence Durrell, Clea (1960): For a brief moment [freedom] looked possible, but St. Paul restored ... the iron handcuffs.

Gershom Scholem, On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism (1960): Paul read the Old Testament ‘against the grain’. The incredible violence with which he did so, shows ... how incompatible his experience was with the meaning of the old books.... The result was the paradox that never ceases to amaze us when we read the Pauline Epistles: on the one hand, the Old Testament is preserved; on the other, its original meaning is completely set aside. ●The Crisis of Tradition in Jewish Messianism’ (1968): The religious strategy of Paul ... [is] downright antinomian.

Hans Joachim Schoeps, Paul: The Theology of the Apostle in the Light of Jewish Religious History (English translation 1961): [Drawing a] stark contrast between the religion of the law and the religion of grace,... Paul had lost all understanding of the character of the Hebraic berith [covenant] as a partnership involving mutual obligations, [and thus] he failed to grasp the inner meaning of the Mosaic law.

Max Dimont, Jews, God, and History (1962): If Paul had lived today, he might have ended up on a psychiatrist's couch. Throughout his life he was overwhelmed with an all-pervasive sense of guilt which pursued him with relentless fury.... The custom had been for non-Jewish converts to become Jews first, then be admitted into the Christian sect. Paul felt that pagans should become Christians directly, without first being converted to Judaism.... Slowly he changed early Christianity into a new Pauline Christology.... Christianity was no longer a Jewish sect, for Paul had abandoned the Mosaic tradition.

Nils A. Dahl, The Particularity of the Pauline Epistles as a Problem in the Ancient Church’, Neotestamentica et Patristica: Eine Freundesgabe, Herrn Professor Dr. Oscar Cullman (1962): The particularity of the Pauline Epistles was felt as a problem, from a time before the Corpus paulinum was published and until it had been incorporated into a complete canon of New Testament Scripture. Later on, the problem was no longer felt,... when they served as sources for reconstruction of a general ‘biblical theology’ or a system of ‘paulinism’.

Erich Fromm, The Dogma of Christ (1963): Paul appealed ... to some of the wealthy and educated class, especially merchants, who by means of their adventures and travels had a decided importance for the diffusion of Christianity.... [This] had been the religion of a community of equal brothers, without hierarchy or bureaucracy, [but] was converted into ‘the Church’, the reflected image of the absolute monarchy of the Roman Empire.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1963): The only trouble was, Church, even the Catholic Church, didn't take up the whole of your life. No matter how much you knelt and prayed, you still had to eat three meals a day and have a job and live in the world.

William H. McNeill, The Rise of the West (1963): A question which immediately arose in the Christian communities outside Palestine was whether or not the Mosaic law remained binding. Paul's answer was that Christ had abrogated the Old Dispensation by opening a new path to salvation. Other followers of Christ held that traditional Jewish custom and law still remained in force.... Neither Peter and James, the leaders in Jerusalem, nor Paul ... could persuade the other party.

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (1963): The real architect of the Christian church was not the disreputable, sun-baked Hebrew who gave it his name but [rather] the mercilessly fanatical and self-righteous St. Paul.

Georg Strecker, On the Problem of Jewish Christianity’, Appendix 1 to Walter Bauer, op.cit. (1964 ed.): Jewish Christianity, according to the witness of the New Testament, stands at the beginning of the development of church history, so that it is not the [pauline] gentile Christian ‘ecclesiastical doctrine’ that represents what is primary, but rather a Jewish Christian theology.

Jorge Luís Borges, The Theologians’ (1964): The Historionics ... invoked I-Corinthians 13:12 (‘For now we see through a glass, obscurely’) in order to demonstrate that everything we see is false. Perhaps contaminated by the Monotonists, they imagined that each person is two persons and that the real one is the other, the one in Heaven.

Gilles Quispel, Gnosticism and the New Testament’, in J. Philip Hyatt (ed.), The Bible in Modern Scholarship (papers read at the 100th meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, 1964): The Christian community of Jerusalem ... did not accept [Paul's] views on the [Mosaic] Law.

Helmut Koester, The Theological Aspects of Primitive Christian Heresy’, in James Robinson (ed.), The Future of our Religious Past (1964): Paul himself stands in the twilight zone of heresy. ● Introduction to the New Testament (1980): The content of Paul's speeches in Acts cannot be harmonized with the theology of Paul as we know it from his letters.... Neither is it credible that he affirmed repeatedly in his trial that he had always lived as a law- [i.e. Torah-]abiding Jew.... From the beginning of Acts to the martyrdom of Stephen, the central figure in the narrative has been Peter. At this point, however, Paul is introduced for the first time.... Peter is always presented as an apostle, since he belongs to the circle of the Twelve. But in Acts 15 Peter is mentioned for the last time, and Luke has nothing to report about his journey to Rome or his martyrdom. Even more peculiar is the presentation of Paul. He is neither an apostle nor a martyr.... Furthermore, Luke takes great care to demonstrate that the originator of the proclamation to the gentiles was not Paul (or Barnabas), but Peter. ● Ancient Christian Gospels (1990): One immediately encounters a major difficulty. Whatever Jesus had preached did not become the content of the missionary proclamation of Paul.... Sayings of Jesus do not play a role in Paul's understanding of the event of salvation.... The Epistle of James also shares with the Sermon on the Mount the rejection of the Pauline thesis that Christ is the end of the [Mosaic] law. ● with Stephen Patterson, The Gospel of Thomas: Does It Contain Authentic Sayings of Jesus?’, Bible Review (1990): Paul did not care at all what Jesus had said.... Had Paul been completely successful, very little of the sayings of Jesus would have survived.

Lorenzo Turrado, Biblical Commentary by the Professors of Salamanca, VI (1965): The fundamental idea in the exposition of the Apostle [Paul in Rom 13:1-7] ... is that all authority comes from God, and to disobey them is to disobey God.... The doctrine maintained here by the Apostle has very grave consequences.... [He does not] consider the case in which those authorities command things which are unjust.... [Regarding the] incident between Peter and Paul in Antioch [Gal 2:11-14]: Whatever indeed was wrong in the conduct of Peter?... There were authors, already since Clement of Alexandria, who, trying to salvage the prestige of Peter, sustained that the ‘Cephas’ whom St Paul here confronts is not Peter the Apostle, but rather some other Christian, unknown to us today, with the name Cephas.... Neither does the opinion defended by some Holy Fathers, that it has to do with feigned rebukes, have any basis,... since St Paul clearly gives the impression that he is speaking quite seriously to Peter.

Juan Leal, José Ignacio Vicentini et alia, The Holy Scripture, Text and Commentary by Professors of the Society of Jesus (1965²), II.301: Paul’s solution [regarding Rom 13:1-6] is limited.... St Thomas (In omnes S. Pauli epistolas commentaria [Taurini 1924], v.I, p.181) distinguishes three aspects of power: (1) power as such—considered thus, power comes from God; (2) the manner of coming to power—this can be ordered, or disordered and illicit; (3) the use of power—which can be in conformity with, or contrary to, the precepts of divine justice. Paul considers only the third aspect.

Emil G. Kraeling, The Disciples (1966): The peculiar, unharmonized relationship between Paul and the Twelve that existed from the beginning was never fully adjusted.... Modern Biblical research in particular has made it difficult to put the religion of the New Testament (to say nothing of the Bible as a whole) into the straightjacket of Paulinism.

Ronald D. Laing, The Politics of Experience (1967): Two people sit talking. The one (Peter) is making a point to the other (Paul). He puts his point of view in different ways to Paul for some time, but Paul does not understand.... Paul seems hard, impervious and cold.

Bruce Vawter, The Four Gospels (1967): We have no authentic information about the activity of most of the Twelve after the first days of the Church in Jerusalem, but it is likely enough that they remained identified with Jewish Christianity, particularly, perhaps, with the Galilean Christianity about which we know practically nothing.... This Christianity ... all but disappeared.

Paul Tillich, A History of Christian Thought (1968): The [Mosaic] law was not evaluated in the negative way in which we usually do it; for the Jews it was a gift and a joy.... The way of despair ... was the way of people like Paul, Augustine, and Luther.... Paul's conflict with the Jewish Christians did not have to be continued. Instead of that, the positive elements in the faith, which could provide an understandable content for the pagans, had to be brought out.

Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Creative Mythology (1968): The reign in Europe of that order of unreason, unreasoning submission to the dicta of authority:... Saint Paul himself had opened the door to such impudent idiocies.

Günther Bornkamm, Paul (1969): Above all there results the chasm which separates Jesus from Paul and the conclusion that more than the historical Jesus ... it is Paul who really founded Christianity.... Already during his lifetime Paul was considered an illegitimate Apostle and a falsifier of the Christian message.... For a long time, Judeo-Christianity rejected him completely, as a rival to Peter and James, the brother of the Lord.... Paul does not connect immediately with ... [the] words ... of the earthly Jesus. Everything seems to indicate that he didn't even know them.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel: A Personal History (1971): Jesus probably differed little from many other Jews of his generation. The new religion was given an anti-Jewish emphasis by Saul,... [who] gave Christianity a new direction. He sought to uproot Jewish law and commandments, and to eliminate Judaism as a national entity striving to achieve the Messianic vision of the Prophets.

William Steuart McBirnie, The Search for the Twelve Apostles (1973): Why did Jesus choose only twelve chief Apostles? Obviously, to correspond to the twelve tribes of Israel.... Paul stoutly maintained that he also was an Apostle.... Yet there is no evidence that he was ever admitted to that inner circle of the original Twelve.... Those who expect the Acts to be the complete early history of Christianity are doomed to disappointment.... The Bible student is soon, and perhaps unconsciously, caught up in the personal ministry of Paul. Peter, though prominent at first, is later ignored, as the Acts unfolds for the reader the story of Paul and his friends.... There is absolutely no evidence that Paul ever recognized the ‘primacy’ of Peter.

Ronald Brownrigg, The Twelve Apostles (1974): The letters of Paul present a marked contrast to Luke's writings [in his Gospel and the Acts]. Whereas Luke suggests that the Apostles were a closed corporation of twelve governing the whole Church, Paul disagrees, claiming his own Apostleship to be as valid as any of the twelve.... Certainly Paul knew no authority of the twelve.... The qualification for Apostleship, at the election of Matthias [Ac 1:15-26], had been a divinely guided selection and a constant companionship with Jesus throughout his [active] lifetime.

Elaine H. Pagels, The Gnostic Paul (1975): Two antithetical traditions of Pauline exegesis have emerged from the late first century through the second. Each claims to be authentic, Christian, and Pauline: but one reads Paul anti-gnostically, the other gnostically.... Whoever takes account of the total evidence may learn from the debate to approach Pauline exegesis with renewed openness to the text. ● The Gnostic Gospels (1979): One version of this story [of Paul's conversion] says, ‘The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one’; another says the opposite,... ‘Those who were with me saw the light, but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me.’

Paul Johnson, A History of Christianity (1976): The Christ of Paul was not affirmed by the historical Jesus of the Jerusalem Church.... Writings ... by Christian Jews of the decade of the 50's [AD] present Paul as the Antichrist and the prime heretic.... The Christology of Paul, which later became the substance of the universal Christian faith,... was predicated by an external personage whom many members of the Jerusalem Church absolutely did not recognize as an Apostle.

Irving Howe, World of our Fathers (1976): The view that sexual activity is impure or at least suspect, so often an accompaniment of Christianity, was seldom entertained in the [east-European Jewish] shtetl. Paul's remark that it is better to marry than to burn would have seemed strange, if not downright impious, to the Jews.

John Morris Roberts, History of the World (1976): The reported devotional ideas of Jesus do not go beyond the Jewish observances; service in the Temple, together with private prayer, were all that he indicated. In this very real sense, he lived and died as a Jew.... Fulfillment of the [Mosaic] Law was essential.... The doctrine that Paul taught was new. He rejected the Law (as Jesus had never done),... and this was to shatter the mould of Jewish thought within which the faith had been born.

James M. Robinson, The Nag Hammadi Codices (1977): The New Testament Gospels present the resurrected Christ as having a body that appears to be a human body—he is taken for a gardener, or for a traveler to Emmaus; he eats; his wounds can be touched.... Paul insists again and again that, although he was not a disciple during Jesus' lifetime, he did witness a genuine appearance of the resurrected Christ. But his picture of a resurrection ‘body’ is a bright light, a heavenly ‘body’ like a sun, star or planet, not like an earthly body. So the book of Acts, while recounting in detail Paul's encounter with Jesus as a blinding light, presents it as if it were hardly more than a ‘conversion’. For the author [of Acts] places it well outside of the period of resurrection appearances, which he had limited to forty days.

Edward Schillebeeckx, Christ (1977): There is a difference between the theology of the early Jewish Christian congregations in Jerusalem which are oriented on Jesus of Nazareth, and Pauline theology, which knows only ‘the crucified’.

Mircea Eliade, History of Beliefs and Religious Ideas (1978): Paul would have to be seen as fatally opposed to the Judeo-Christians of Jerusalem,... a conflict of which Paul and the Acts (Gal 2:7-10, Acts 15:29) give contradictory versions.

Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century (1978): Of all mankind's ideas, the equating of sex with sin has left the greatest train of trouble.... In Christian theology, via St. Paul, it conferred permanent guilt on mankind.... Its sexual context was largely formulated by St. Augustine, whose spiritual wrestlings set Christian dogma thereafter in opposition to man's most powerful instinct.

Thomas Maras, The Contradictions in the New Testament (1979): In disagreement with [Matthew and Luke], who wish him to be a direct Son of God, Paul says to us [Rom 1:3-4] that in the flesh Jesus is the descendent of David, and only in power is the Son of God.

Patrick Henry, New Directions in New Testament Study (1979): There remains in the popular mind a strong suspicion ... that Paul corrupted Christianity (or even founded a different religion).... Jesus [was] a teacher in the mainstream of Jewish prophetic piety,... while Paul ... takes the irrevocable step away from Judaism of rejecting the [Mosaic] law.... Paul imported into the Christian community a form of religion characteristic of the ‘mysteries’,... religious movements of initiation into secret rites and esoteric knowledge.

Og Mandino, The Christ Commission (1980): The disciples and other intimate followers of Jesus are all pious Jews.

Juan Luis Segundo, The Person of Today confronting Jesus of Nazareth (1982): Within less than thirty years of the events narrated by the Synoptics concerning the life and proclamation, death and resurrection of Jesus, Paul permits himself to compose a long and complex exposition of what this means, retaining, apparently, only the two final specific events, the death and the resurrection. Jesus' words are not cited (with the exception of those pronounced over the bread and wine at the Last Supper), his teachings are not remembered. The key terms have disappeared which he employed to designate himself, his mission and his immediate audience: the Son of Man, the Kingdom of God, the poor.

Abba Eban, Civilization and the Jews (WNET Heritage video #3, 1984): Those who followed the teachings of Jesus were known among other Jews as Nazarenes. In the beginning, the Nazarene sect was completely Jewish.... Although this had been a Jewish sect, Paul welcomed new followers without having them convert to Judaism.

Jürgen Moltmann, Political Theology [&] Ethical Theology (1984): The theology of Paul and that of the Reformation interpreted the death of Jesus theologically as a victim of the law [of Israel]; and they made it very clear that the resurrection and exaltation of Christ signified the abolition of [that] law with all its demands.... [But] Jesus did not die by stoning, but rather by Roman execution.

Yigael Yadin, The Temple Scroll—the Longest Dead Sea Scroll’, Biblical Archaeology Review (Sept/Oct 1984): We must distinguish between the various layers, or strata, to use an archaeological term, of early Christianity. The theology, the doctrines and the practices of Jesus, John the Baptist and Paul ... are not the same.

Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln, The Messianic Legacy (1986): In what ... does ‘Christianity’ reside? In what Jesus taught? Or in what Paul taught? Except by sleight of logic and distortion of historical fact, the two positions cannot be harmonized.

James Michener, Legacy (1987): Women ... will no longer kowtow to the fulminations of St. Paul.

Bruce Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament (1987): According to [some] scholars the presence of contradictions between New Testament books ... makes it necessary to establish a critical canon.... For example, the eschatology of Luke-Acts cannot, it is said, be harmonized with Paul's eschatology.... Again, the outlook on the Old Testament law in the Epistle to the Romans certainly appears to be different from the outlook in Matt.v.18.... Furthermore, the Epistle of James attacks the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith alone. For these and similar reasons, it is argued,... there [is] no unity within the canon.

Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, Paul’, Insight on the Scriptures (1988): Whose name then appears among those on the ‘twelve foundation stones’ of the New Jerusalem of John's vision—Matthias' or Paul's? (Rev/Ap 21:2,14) ... God's original choice, namely Matthias.

Paula Fredriksen, From Jesus to Christ (1988): Scholars, their confusion facilitated by Paul's own apparent inconsistency,... do not agree even on what Paul said, much less why he said it.

Jostein Gaarder, Sophie's World (1991): Was Christ a Christian? That also can certainly be debated.

Gerald Messadié, Saul the Incendiary (Paris 1991): Saul does not really know the teaching of Jesus. In the Epistles there are no traces of the parables, nor of the expressions and attitudes of Jesus.... The transformation, the essential metanoia of the believer by ethical meditation, has almost no place in his writings.... Saul quickly arrogates to himself, and it seems incredible, the privilege of the truth. He, who only glimpsed Jesus, with unparalleled arrogance claims to be the only one who possesses the truth of the teaching of the Messiah—against those who, for their part, knew Jesus personally, against the first disciples. What insolence: he considers Peter a ‘hypocrite’!... I asked myself if Saul wouldn’t have participated also in the plot of the Sanhedrin against Jesus.... Before him, there are no Christians, only Jewish disciples of the Jewish Jesus. After him, Christianity and Judaism will be irreconcilable.... The Epistles make absolutely no mention of the life of Jesus.... It is the ethical teaching of Saul himself which dominates, as if to replace that of Jesus in Jesus' own name.... [He] does not mention a single miracle of Jesus.... From a strictly Scriptural point of view, the teaching of Saul diverges, in many fundamental points, from that transmitted by the direct witnesses of Jesus.

Jon Sobrino, Jesus Christ Liberator (1991): Paul's ... Christology is centered on the resurrected Lord, and he does not make a detailed theological appraisal of the life of Jesus.

Stephen Mitchell, The Gospel according to Jesus (1991): Paul of Tarsus ... [was] the most misleading of the earliest Christian writers,... [and] a particularly difficult character: arrogant, self-righteous, filled with murderous hatred of his opponents, terrified of God, oppressed by what he felt as the burden of the [Mosaic] Law, overwhelmed by his sense of sin.... He didn't understand Jesus at all. He wasn't even interested in Jesus; just in his own idea of the Christ.

Paulo Suess, Acculturation’, in Ignacio Ellacuría & Jon Sobrino (eds.), Mysterium Liberationis (1991): The allegorical exegesis of Philo (13 BC-45/50 AD), Jewish philosopher and theologian, is present in the writings of Paul,... [who] was in many respects a figure atypical of the primitive Church,... due to the transition from an agrarian context—very much present in the parables—to an urban world ... of the great cities.

Shlomo Riskin, The Jerusalem Post International Edition (28 March 1992): Saul of Tarsus ... broke from Jewish Law, and the religion thereby created was soon encrusted with pagan elements.

Holger Kersten & Elmar Gruber, The Jesus Conspiracy (1992): Paul makes the whole purpose of Jesus' activity rest exclusively in this dying on the Cross. Here he has little interest in the words and teachings of Jesus, but he makes everything depend on his own teaching: the salvation from sins by the vicarious sacrificial death of Jesus. Does it not seem most strange that Jesus himself did not give the slightest hint that he intended to save the entire faithful section of humanity by his death?... Although there are several most delightful passages in the texts of Paul, Christianity has his narrow-minded fanaticism to thank for numerous detrimental developments, which are diametrically opposed to the spirit of Jesus: the intolerance towards those of different views, the marked hostility to the body and the consequently low view of woman, and especially the fatally flawed attitude towards Nature.... He turns Jesus' teaching of Salvation upside down, and opposes his reforming ideas; instead of the original joyous tidings, the Pauline message of threats was developed.

Dennis J. Trisker & Vera V. Martínez T., They Also Believe (1992): While many persons believe that Christianity was founded by Jesus Christ,... it is due to Paul that there exists the organization called Christian.... In the New Testament, we can see how Paul ... was in disagreement with the church in Jerusalem and even held in suspicion by them.... He did not emphasize the Jewish aspect of the teaching, and this brought about the first separation within the church. Across the years this separation widened, making the church more pagan and less Jewish.... Paul was no Apostle.

Xavier Zubiri, The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions (1993): There is absolutely no doubt that much of St. Paul's terminology derives from the Mystery Religions.

Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (1993): Whether seen from a social or a theological point of view,... Christianity in the early centuries was a remarkably diversified phenomenon.... Matthew and Paul are both in the canon.... Many of Paul's opponents were clearly Jewish Christians ... [who] accepted the binding authority of the Old Testament (and therefore the continuing validity of the [Mosaic] Law) but rejected the authority of the apostate Apostle, Paul. ● The New Testament (video course, The Teaching Company, 2000): What did the historical Jesus teach in comparison with what the historical Paul taught?... Jesus taught that to escape judgment a person must keep the central teachings of the Jewish Law as he, Jesus himself, interpreted them. Paul, interestingly enough, never mentions Jesus' interpretation of the [Mosaic] Law, and Paul was quite insistent that keeping the Law would never bring Salvation. The only way to be saved, for Paul, was to trust Jesus' death and resurrection.... Paul transformed the religion of Jesus into a religion about Jesus.

Elsa Tamez, Women's Rereading of the Bible’, in Ursula King (ed.), Feminist Theology from the Third World (1993): [There are] contradictions in some of St Paul's writings, which eventually were used to promote the submission of women.... St Paul called for women to keep silent in church.... When a woman becomes dangerously active or threatening to those in powerful positions, aid is found in the classic Pauline texts to demand women's submission to men. It is in moments like these that some women do not know how to respond.

Raymond E. Brown, The Birth of the Messiah (Supplement 1993): [Regarding] Paul's statement that Jesus ‘was descended from David according to the flesh’ (Rom 1:3),... one may ask whether the evangelists who wrote of the virgin conception would have chosen such phrasing. ● The Death of the Messiah (1994): Paul ... does not quote Jesus or cite his individual deeds. ● An Introduction to the New Testament (1997): One might reflect on what we would know about Jesus if we had just the letters of Paul. We would have a magnificent theology about what God has done in Christ, but Jesus would be left almost without a face.... ‘I have not come to abolish the [Mosaic] Law’ (Matt 5:17); ‘You are not under the Law’ (Rom 6:14).... Luke is particularly insistent on the reality of Jesus' [post-resurrection] appearance, for Jesus eats food and affirms that he has flesh and bones. In his references to a risen body, Paul speaks of one that is spiritual and not flesh and blood (I-Cor 15:44,50).... Paul had begun a process whereby Christianity would become almost entirely a Gentile religion.... Far from being grafted on the tree of Israel, the Gentile Christians will become the tree.... Was it proper for a Christian apostle to indulge in gutter crudity by wishing that in the circumcision advocated by the [Jewish-Christian] preachers the knife might slip and lop off the male organ (Gal 5:12)? What entitled Paul to deprecate as ‘so-called pillars of the church’ members of the Twelve who had walked with Jesus and the one [James] honored as ‘the brother of the Lord’ (Gal 2:9)?

John Dominic Crossan, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (1994): As far as Luke who wrote the Acts of the Apostles is concerned, Paul was not one of the Twelve Apostles and could never have been one since he had not been with Jesus from the beginning. For Luke, there are only Twelve Apostles and, even with Judas [Iscariot] gone, it is not Paul [but rather Matthias] who replaces him. ● ‘Peter and Paul and the Christian Revolution’, PBS documentary (April 2003): What is at stake in this is, if we're going to have a Gentile Christian community and a Jewish Christian community, are we going to have two Churches or one? If we're going to have one, how is it to be integrated together? That's what is at stake in this: how is the Church, with these two wings, these two divisions as it were, how is it to remain one Church? Is it going to remain one Church?

Ian Wilson, Jesus: The Evidence (1996): [The] interest [in Paul's letters] lies in their apparent ignorance of any details of Jesus' earthly life.... [Paul] reflected the attitudes of contemporary society towards women rather than what we may now believe to have been Jesus' own ideas.... We seem to be faced with a straight, first-century clash of theologies: Paul's on the one hand, based on his other-worldly [Damascus Road] experience; and James' [in his epistle], based on his fraternal knowledge of the human Jesus. And, despite the authority which should be due to the latter, it would seem to be Paul's that has been allowed to come down to us.... Particularly significant is [James'] gentle but firm stance on the importance of Jesus' teaching on communal living.

Alan F. Segal (for Eugene Schwartz), ‘Electronic Echoes: Using Computer Concordances for Bible Study’, Biblical Archaeology Review (Nov/Dec 1997): We can easily quantify allusions by measuring whether a passage in one Biblical work merely repeats a few words of another or whether it directly quotes several words running.... The results of our research seemed to confirm ... very few clear parallels between Paul and the Gospels.... [They] almost always express [even] the same ideas in completely different words.... I am unconvinced by the myriad rather weak parallels between the Gospels and Paul. Rather,... the [computer] word study seems to show that the two are definitely unrelated.

Stephen J. Patterson, Understanding the Gospel of Thomas Today’, in Stephen J. Patterson, James M. Robinson & Hans-Gebhard Bethge, The Fifth Gospel (1998): The so-called Apostles' Creed that emerged only in the second century [is] completely lacking in sayings of Jesus and focused only on his birth and death.

L. Michael White, ‘Paul's Mission and Letters, From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians, PBS Frontline Documentary, April 6-7, 1998: We ha[ve] the story of Paul's life in a complete narrative fashion given to us in the Book of Acts, which details his activities from the time that he was in Jerusalem to the time that he goes to Damascus. There [he] has a conversion experience and afterwards comes back to Jerusalem. He then moves on to Antioch.... Alongside of our account of Paul's life that we get from the Book of Acts, we also have an account that Paul himself gives us, and it's very important to notice that in some ways these two accounts contradict one another.... For example in Galatians, when Paul tells us about his early career, he explicitly says he has little or nothing to do with Jerusalem early on.

John Kaltner, Ishmael Instructs Isaac—An Introduction to the Qur’an for Bible Readers (1999): Jesus acknowledges the authority of the Law of Moses while ... Paul argues that Jesus' death and resurrection has rendered the Law totally obsolete for the Christian.

Anthony Saldarini, Jewish Reform Movements: Qumran and the Gospel of Matthew’ (Biblical Archaeology Society video lecture, 1999): Jesus wasn't a Christian.... Jesus was a Jew.... To be a follower of Jesus, you don't have to leave Judaism and become a Christian. To be a follower of Jesus, you have to live Jewish life the way that Jesus taught people to live Jewish life.... Paul says that there's the Gospel and there's the [Mosaic] Law; that's Paul's polemic, that's somewhere else.

Edgar Lawrence Doctorow, City of God (2000): I will say here of Jesus, that Jew, and the system in his name, what a monstrous trick history has played on him.... Christianity was originally a Jewish sect. Everybody knows that.... Paul—you know, Paul. Fellow had that stroke on the road to Damascus?.... Then what? In this case, a new religion.

Daniel Boyarin, The Gospel of the Memra’, Harvard Theological Review (2001): For [the Gospel of] John,... Jesus comes to fulfill the mission of Moses, not to displace it. The Torah simply needed a better exegete, the Logos Ensarkos, a fitting teacher for flesh and blood. Rather than supersession in the explicitly temporal sense within which Paul inscribes it, John's typology of Torah and Logos Incarnate is more easily read within the context of ... a prevailing assumption of Western thought, that oral teaching is more authentic and transparent than written texts.

Mark D. Given, The True Rhetoric of Romans’ (paper, Society of Biblical Literature annual meetings, 2001): Concerning the sophistic obscurity of Paul's argumentative strategies in Romans,... it is sometimes so hard to tell just what Paul really intends to say about such controversial subjects as the [Mosaic] Law, Judaism, and the Jewish people that one might ... suggest that the ambiguities are intended to keep the audience guessing what Paul really thinks.

Harold Bloom, Genius, II.3 (2002): Paul is totally unconcerned with the merely historical Jesus, but only with Jesus as the Christ. Paul seems to assume that he himself is the Jesus to the Gentiles, as it were, and so a figure who possesses absolute authority.... You can read and reread all the authentic epistles of Paul, and never know that Jesus ... spoke for the poor, the ill, the outcast.

John R. Donahue, Guidelines for Reading and Interpretation’, The New Interpreter's Study Bible (2003): The spectrum of liberation concerns ... [arises from] the dilemma proposed by biblical injunctions so opposed to these [modern] ideals (e.g., slaves obey your masters [Eph 6:5, Col 3:22, Tit 2:9]; women be submissive to your husbands [Eph 5:22, Tit 2:4-5]).

Tom Powers, The Call of God: Women Doing Theology in Peru (2003): Women are confronted with such biblical passages as 1 Cor. 14:34 ... and 1 Tim. 2:11-14.... However, women's voices will never be muted again.

Thomas R. Melville, Through a Glass Darkly: The U.S. Holocaust in Central America (2005): During [Diego] Casariego’s reign [as Cardinal of Guatemala City], government forces had killed thirteen priests and one nun ... [and also] murdered thousands of catechists and leaders and tens of thousands of laity. All this was done without a word of protest from the cardinal, in exchange for the pomp and circumstance supplied to the prelate by one illegitimate administration after another.... High-ranking military officers, large land-owners, and wealthy business leaders continued to use the prelate’s name to buttress their concepts of a Christian social order: ‘Slaves, be subject to your masters’ [Eph 6:5, Col 3:22].

Ioannis Zizioulas (Orthodox Archbishop of Pergamum, President of the Combined International Commission for Theological Dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox), L’Osservatore Romano (7 July 2006): St. Peter and St. Paul could have differing points of view about certain questions,… as is evident in the Biblical account of their lives.

John Barton, Strategies for Reading Scripture’, The Harper Collins Study Bible (2006): [There is an] apparent discord between Paul and James over the question of works. On the face of it, Paul denies that human beings are made righteous by good works, whereas James affirms that good works are essential—indeed, that faith apart from good works is empty and false.... A critical reading of Paul and James might result in the conclusion that they really are incompatible, which would have considerable consequences for claims about the inspiration and authority of scripture.

J.M. Roberts, The New Penguin History of the World, II.7 (5th ed., 2007): Two of Jesus's disciples, Peter and Jesus's brother James, were the leaders of the tiny group which awaited the immanent return of the Messiah.... They stood emphatically within the Jewish fold.... The doctrine that Paul taught was new. He rejected the Law (as Jesus had never done), and strove to reconcile the essentially Jewish ideas at the heart of Jesus's teaching with the conceptual world of the Greek language.... This was to shatter the mold of Jewish thought within which the faith had been born. There was no lasting place for such within Jewry, and Christianity was now forced out of the Temple.

Hershel Shanks, The Dead Sea Scrolls: What They Really Say (Biblical Archaeology Society e-book, 2007): Paul ... knows nothing of the virgin birth. In Paul, Jesus becomes the son of God at his resurrection. Read Paul’s letter to the Romans, where Jesus was ‘declared to be the son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by his resurrection from the dead’ (Romans 1:3-4).

Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), Jesus of Nazareth (2007): ‘Till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota not a dot will pass from the Law until all is accomplished’ (Mt 5:17-18) only appears to contradict the teaching of Saint Paul [in Rom 7:6].... Jesus has no intention of abrogating the Ten Commandments.... The commission given to Peter is actually fundamentally different from the commission given to Paul.

Kathy Ehrensperger, Embodied Theology: Vulnerability and Limitation in Paul’s Perception of Leadership, paper for the Society of Biblical Literature Meetings (2008): Paul in the challenge to his role as an apostle which permeates much of 2 Corinthians seems to defend himself at a very personal level, thereby giving the impression of reacting out of a sense of personal offense.... Although the issue at stake in 2 Cor is the acceptance of Paul as an apostle, the issue is not so much personal as theological.

David C. Sim, Matthew, Paul and the origin and nature of the gentile mission: The great commission in Matthew 28:16-20 as an anti-Pauline tradition, Hervormde Teologiese Studies (2008): The Great Commission at the conclusion of Matthew’s Gospel is one of its key texts. In this tradition the risen Christ overturns the previous restriction of the mission to Israel alone and demands that the disciples evangelize all the nations. The gospel they were to proclaim included observance of the Torah by Jew and Gentile alike. Matthew’s account of the origin and nature of the Gentile mission differs from Paul’s view as it is found in the epistle to the Galatians. Paul maintains that he had been commissioned by the resurrected Lord to evangelize the Gentiles and that the gospel he was to preach did not involve obedience to the Torah.

Benedicto Huanca,Paul: from Persecutor to Follower of Christ’, Yachay (Journal of Theological Studies, Catholic University of Cochabamba, Bolivia; 2008): Jesus encouraged his disciples to leave everything [Lk 14:25-33]; Paul encouraged them to maintain the social role within which they had been called (I-Cor 7:17-18). Jesus promised the tribute-collectors and prostitutes that they would enter the Kingdom of God before the pious (Mt 21:32); Paul on the contrary excluded prostitutes from the Kingdom of God (I-Cor 6:9). Jesus ordered his disciples to live in manifest poverty and to renounce earning a living and having possessions (Mt 10:9/6:25 ff.); Paul shows himself proud of living by his own work and recommends his communities to do likewise (I-Thes 2:9/4:11). Paul orients his ethical instructions toward the needs of local communities; the ethos of Jesus, on the contrary, is itinerant radicalism…. Paul shows himself little interested in the historical Jesus.

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