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AM, 2016 11:May

Historical Paul: Have They Missed The Real Story?

Albert Schweitzer, winner of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize, called “one of the greatest Christians of his time,” philosopher, physician, musician, clergyman, missionary, and theologian in his The Quest for the Historical Jesus and his Mysticism of Paul:

” What is the significance for our faith and for our religious life, 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. . ”Harold Bloom literary critic writes in his Genius:

“Paul, who was the earliest New testament author, had virtiually no interest in the historical Jesus, probably because those who had known Jesus were almost all opponents of Paul.”HG Wells in his Outline of History:

“He uses phrase curiously like Mithraistic phrases. What will be clear to reads his various Epistles, side by side, with the Gospels, is that his mind was saturated by an idea which does not appear at all prominently in the reported sayings and teachings of Jesus, the idea of a sacrificial person who is offered up to God as an atonement for sin.”The great theologian Soren Kierkegaard, in The Journals:

“What Martin Luther, in his reformation, failed to realize is that even before Catholicism, Christianity had become degenerate at the hands of Paul. Paul made Christianity the religion of Paul, not of Christ. Paul threw the Christianity of Christ away, completely turning it upside down, making it just the opposite of the original proclamation of Christ”Will Durant, in his Caesar and Christ:

“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. . . . Paul replaced conduct with creed as the test of virtue. It was a tragic change.” Robert Frost, winner of the Pulitzer prize for poetry in 1924,1931,1937 and 1943, in his “A Masque of Mercy”:

“Paul he’s in the Bible too. He is the fellow who theologized Christ almost out of Christianity. Look out for him.” James Baldwin, the most noted black American author of this century, in his book The Fire Next Time:

“The real architect of the Christian church was not the disreputable, sunbaked Hebrew (Jesus Christ) who gave it its name but rather the mercilessly fanatical and self-righteous Paul.” Martin Buber, the most respected Jewish philosopher of this century, in Two Types of Faith:

“The Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount is completely opposed to Paul.” The famous mystic, poet and author, Kahlil Gibran, in Jesus the Son of Man:

“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.” Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence in his “Letter to William Short”:

“Paul was the first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.” Renowned English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, in his Not Paul But Jesus:

“It rests with every professor of the religion of Jesus to settle within himself to which of the two religions, that of Jesus or that of Paul, he will adhere.” The great Mahatma Gandhi, the prophet of nonviolence who won freedom from England for India in an essay titled “Discussion on Fellowship”:

“I draw a great distinction between the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus and the Letters of Paul. Paul’s Letters are a graft on Christ’s teachings, Paul’s own gloss apart from Christ’s own experience.” Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist, in his essay “A Psychological Approach to Dogma”:

“Saul’s [Paul’s name before his conversion] fanatical resistance to Christianity. . . . was never entirely overcome. It is frankly disappointing to see how Paul hardly ever allows the real Jesus of Nazareth to get a word in.” George Bernard Shaw, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925; in his Androcles and the Lion:

“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 how the Christianity of Jesus. . . . was suppressed by the police and the Church, while Paulinism overran the whole western civilized world, which was at that time the Roman Empire, and was adopted by it as its official faith. ” John Stuart Mill,On Liberty (1859):

“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". 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." Feodor Dostoyevsky,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.”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 (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.” 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):

“‘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.'” 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.”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.” 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.” 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.” 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.” 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.” 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.”

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