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A Polite Bribe

A Polite Bribe

Before our recent screening of “A Polite Bribe” at Philadelphia’s Landmark Theater, amid the storm of Sandusky scandal, I was confronted again by the real differences between Protestant and Catholic perspectives.

Though “A Polite Bribe” is the story of how Paul founded Christianity and the “bribe” that…

Several times in Paul’s writings He was forced to exaggerate his role as Apostle; no better example exists than his claim to have been “taken to heaven” where he received his famous “Thorn in the Flesh.” “And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations… Read on Huffington Post

Deep into the editing process of my film, “A Polite Bribe,” the story of how Paul became the Founder of Christianity, through his “Collection,” James Tabor sent me his latest Book, “Paul and Jesus.” Tabor is Chair of the UNC Charlotte, Religious Studies department, and well known… Read on Huffington Post
We see money in politics, in marriage and on the news, but it is still surprising that we find the suggestion so scandalous that there was money in early Christianity, something I suggest in my documentary “A Polite Bribe.” Most conservative scholars will view the money transaction through a…
How does a sickly, poorly spoken, religious man become one of the most influential figures in Western history? An outsider without crown or sword who decided how we should make love and war and believe in God? If you asked Paul the Apostle (A.D. 5-62),

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:

As an independent scholar and film maker I have been fascinated with the potential to reframe the story of Paul’s mission to the Gentiles and his relationship with the earliest Jewish Christian communities—especially that of Jerusalem.

To navigate the waters of Pauline New Testament studies has been both an adventure and cautionary tale. There is an abundance of material beginning with unknown NT sources, traditions, methodologies, points of departure, and terms that have come to define them: Catholic, Lutheran, Evangelical, New Paul Perspective, Paul and Empire, Post Colonial Studies, etc.

For those who are speaking or writing about our film A Polite Bribe without having viewed it, and who are looking to dismiss the film by assigning “bad or radical motives” to its creator (me), I suggest you please take a moment and read some of the quotes below. Not every Pauline scholar agrees on the validity of my narrative featuring the collection and the conflict between Paul and James, but generally speaking, a consensus of NT scholars does.

St Augustine of Hippo,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?”

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Make a donation Dr. Witherington unexpectantly lost his daughter, Christy at the age of 32 this year. The Christy Ann Witherington Scholarship at Asbury Theological Seminary will support female students who are taking the M.A. in Biblical or Theological Studies, or the M. Div. or PhD in Biblical Studies. Please consider making a tax-deduxtible donation in support of this cause.

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