Saul the Apostate – Intro to Part II

“Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable;
but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—
whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know,
God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven.
And I know how such a man—whether in the body
or apart from the body I do not know,
God knows—was caught up into Paradise
and heard inexpressible words,
which a man is not permitted to speak.”

— 2 Corinthians 12:1-4

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To review, in Part I of this series I introduced epilepsy, Simple Focal Seizure and temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) specifically, some accounts of this disease/disorder both in ancient and modern history, and some broader context for Saul’s (Paul the Apostle) drastic 180° turnaround toward Jesus’ The Way sect or disciples/students in and around 1st-century CE Syro-Palestine while on his way to Damascus. The Christian Bible(s) are full of various accounts of epileptic “visions” or revelations in both Old and New Testaments, e.g. 2 Kings 3:11-15 to name one. But the passage most glaring and most telling for Saul’s hopeless, embarrassing ailment of TLE are the above verses in his second letter to the Corinthians. With these verses I wish to further substantiate Saul’s condition as temporal lobe epilepsy, or form(s) of it as the ailment varies case to case, yet still within the taxonomy of epilepsy.

As I briefly mentioned to Infidel753 in my comments of Part I, there were practices by Bronze Age Jewish Mystics (later Kabbalah) using two techniques:  Merkavah (moderate, safe) and Heikhalat (intensive, more dangerous). During Second Temple Judaism, particularly the Pharisaic sects and their sub-sects, Merkavah mysticism was mainstream because of the high-risks of extreme ecstasy or depressive paranoia of Heikhalat followed by being generally labeled a heretic and/or possessed by demons by colleagues and the public. There was a lot less control over Heikhalat types of visions or revelations, naturally too in the cases of “fall down” epileptic seizures. One of the “visions” or non-bodily states Heikhalat mystics would try to achieve and experience by chanting, reciting divine names, and with magical hymns was ‘ascending to a system of heavens or paradise (ecstasy) and antechambers surrounding the divine.’ This is in all likelihood what Saul/Paul refers to in verses 2 and 4 above caught up to the third heaven” and “caught up into Paradise” inside his dramatic and unconventional visions/seizures. It’s perfectly reasonable to say that Saul, having suffered his epilepsy for much of his life, most likely including in Tarsus and Jerusalem during his educational youth, would have felt much more “accepted” in Heikhalat Jewish mysticism and of the school of Bet Shammai, as opposed to Bet Hillel or the moderates and Merkavah mystics.

It deserves noting too that Merkavah mysticism along with Hillelite ideology aligns almost perfectly with Hellenism and Neoplatonism. This gives good reason for later 3rd – 4th-century Hellenistic Patristic authorities supervising the composition of the New Testament canon to retrograde (change) or retrofit Saul’s education to Hillel, Gamaliel, and Pharisaic references in Acts, 2 Timothy and Philippians — more recognizable by Hellenistic Gentiles (perhaps rural, average Jews too) — rather than to his less auspicious, more volatile background, seizures, and short-temper of Shammai-Heikhalat teaching, behaviors and praxis inferred in Galatians and Philippians. With the latter, people in Cilicia, Syro-Palestine, Judah, and Galilee would’ve literally spat upon Saul as a perceived demonic, shameful spectacle; something Saul alludes to often in his letters.

Furthermore, and to conclude the topic of Saul’s epilepsy (TLE), increasing studies and breakthroughs over the last four centuries into the recognition of, causes, education of, and the treatment management of TLE, have led medical neurologists, psychiatrist, and clinical pathologists as well as related researchers to compile a rich neurobiological encyclopedia of epilepsy and the Sacred Disease. Two are of particular importance with regard to Saul and other famous and infamous historical figures:  St. Paul and temporal lobe epilepsy by D. Landsborough, and Epilepsy and Mysticism by Dr. Javier Alvarez-Rodriguez. I recommend at least browsing over these two very informative medical journal articles to see why it is very plausible, if not near certain, that Saul/Paul, the founder of Christianity, was an epileptic pseudo-Jewish mystic with frequent seizures.

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

————
The Gospel-Jesus vs. the Jewish-Jesus

Before any viable discussion can be made about Saul/Paul in correlation to Jesus, or as I sometimes refer to him the quasi-Sectarian Jesus/Yeshua, the discussion has to begin under a cloud of complex, convoluted, and sometimes suspicious literary sources from a very tumultuous, violent, and politically militarily volatile period in late-Republic and Principate-Imperial Rome. This goes equally for the Christian — including the Christian clergy and apologists — and the non-Christian or Secularist. This is not to say that plausible even highly certain conclusions cannot be made, but it is to say that an equitable playing field with equitable rules and protocols should and must exist for all parties and positions. Who wants to start a game where opponents or an opponent begins with multiple points, scores, or goals before one even gets onto the field, right?

One of the immediate problems modern New Testament readers face is that the books or the Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation are not in chronological order. To make matters worse, the time-gaps in between the books, events and person(s) they narrate are as long as a decade, half, a full-century, or more than a century in elapsed time. This speaks volumes, or to some degree, as to why the Hellenistic Church Fathers would choose to order them (27 manuscripts/traditions out of some 45-50+ available) instead of a simple linear timeline reflecting a more objectively honest cause-and-effect, start, middle, and end.  An astute and attentive NT reader/researcher would soon learn that one reason the Gospels are in the front/beginning (of many reasons) is because they originate exclusively by oral-sayings passed around in Sectarian homes and Jewish Synagogues with few actual c. 35-65 CE papyri manuscripts similar to Q-source. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the Greek-Patristic (Hellenic) canonical NT order and the best chronological order of it by general consensus…

Canon-Chronologoical Comparison

Here’s the bigger question or concern, it is estimated that Jesus was executed about 30-33 CE. The very first Gospel of Mark was composed c. 70 CE, about 40-years after Jesus’ execution. There are somewhere between 10-40 years between Mark’s Gospel and Luke’s, around 5 for Matthew’s and Luke’s, and 5-15 between John’s and Matthew’s. All of Saul’s Epistles come well before any of the Gospels and Saul doesn’t concern himself in the least with anything about Jesus’ incarnate birth, teachings, supernatural healings, or trial and execution except the “resurrection” of Christ, strictly his Christ in his epileptic visions. Apparently to Saul/Paul nothing matters in c. 36-48 CE about God’s Sacrificial Lamb for the entire world except the meaning of the/his “resurrection.” Why 40-60 years later are Jesus’ Gospels, teachings suddenly critical to record? Most historical-biblical scholars reason that it was because of many questions and challenges over the decades to the validity of a Messianic anointing and the actual nature and purpose of Jesus the Galilean. What was it and what were they exactly that should make this Galilean stand out? There was no unanimous agreement. In fact, very little for at least 300-years. I repeat:  THREE HUNDRED YEARS.

Yet, there is still another monumental concern/question. The oldest copy of the Gospel of Mark, or the earliest narrative of Jesus’ execution and burial has nothing about a later “resurrection” and appearances. The Codex Vaticanus, Mark’s Gospel, stops at 16:8, Jesus’ burial and empty tomb. Was it the correct tomb? Verses 9—20 were later additions to later copies of Mark’s Gospels, some short, some long.

These two strange, troublesome failures anomalies regarding the shuffling of books and the reliability of the Gospel narratives must be kept in mind when reading their “traditional” words and teachings of Jesus the Galilean. These NT and Gospel conundrums make finding what Jesus actually said and taught, and their intentions, difficult at best. Therefore, it is quite judicious that one clearly distinguish a Gospel-Jesus versus a Jewish-Jesus. Dr. Lawrence Schiffman explains the necessity of the distinction with my own inserts [ ] and emphasis for clarification:

Early Christianity seems to have combined the apocalyptic view of the sects with a heavy emphasis on the Davidic [Hellenic] Messiah, apparently the hallmark of the Pharisaic [Jewish] approach. From this combination emerged a concept that the Messianic era was in fact at hand as Jesus was [re]identified as the Davidic [Hellenic] Messiah. When his mission failed to bring about the expected results foretold in the Hebrew prophets, nascent [Hellenic] Christianity revised those prophecies through the medium of exegesis and so was able to preserve the concept of the [Jewish] Messiahship of Jesus despite the disappointment.

That is a good general description capturing the context of the Hellenic Gospel-Jesus. Schiffman goes on:

[Hellenic] Christianity went even further and saw the Messiah as a divine or semi-divine being [Greek apotheosis]. Soon [Hellenic] Christianity abrogated Jewish law and so took the steps which would separate it decidedly from Judaism. When this breach became fully apparent, the [Hellenic] Christians realized the deep gulf separating them from Judaism and began to shift their mission toward the gentiles. The Christian view that Jewish law had been abrogated served to make [Hellenic] gentile Christianity a realistic possibility.

Dr. Schiffman guides us into a deeper contextual understanding of the motives or intentions behind the Patristic shuffling of the canonical Hellenic New Testament despite the fact that Saul/Paul was spreading an implicitly and sometimes explicitly interpolation, or spin if you will, independent of Jewish-Jesus’ life and death. One further note deserves mentioning. It is my personal opinion and conclusion that the primary cause of the earliest divisions, ambiguity, fallacies, and confusion of the Christian Church and its Apostolic Fathers at 7-21 different Ecumenical Councils over some 400-years can be linked directly to Saul the Apostate. For further consideration of this problematic ambiguity first, below are popular manuscripts not included in today’s NT:

Non-Canonical Writings (Incomplete)

From this muddied, murky, dubious situation of 1st and 2nd-century CE Christianity, what the earliest Fathers debated with approximate dates:

Table Canonical Debate

With these table-images it is clearly deduced that the what, who, and why of Jesus the Galilean, after just 30-40 years of his execution, became a symbol of clashing cultures, amalgamated stories and myths, resulting in heated often violent splintering. Saul widens the growing gulf between Judaism and his mystical Hellenism and ultimately with Rome—more anti-Semitism. The sharp contempt was frankly accelerated, not resolved, by Saul of Tarsus, his TL-epilepsy, and personal Shammaite(?) misanthropy.

Saul’s “Christ”

New Testament scholar Dr. Bart Ehrman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in his June 2016 blog-post Was Paul the Founder of Christianity? writes:

But [Jesus’] public ministry was not the core of [later] Christian belief. Instead, the core of Christianity is the belief in his death and resurrection. And this is what Paul preached, not what Jesus preached. So that even if Jesus’ life and teachings are important to Jews or Gentiles, they are not really what Christianity hinges upon.

Because of Saul’s background influenced by and under Jewish Merkavah and/or Heikhalat mysticism, catalyzed by his TL-epilepsy, Saul’s Christ was part Meṭaṭron and part Akteriel of Sophian Gnosticism. Quite intriguingly in Jewish mysticism the natures and purposes of Meṭaṭron (Mithra) and Christ (Saul’s vision) are interchangeable, synonymous as defined here. Note in the Britannica Encyclopedia link the part about “…[Meṭaṭron is] as Enoch after his bodily ascent into heaven. He is commonly described as a celestial scribe recording the sins and merits of men, as a guardian of heavenly secrets, as God’s mediator with men, as the “lesser Yahweh,” as the archetype of man, and as one “whose name is like that of his master.

Now, compare Jewish Merkavah-Heikhalat mysticism above to Saul’s interpolations of Christ in his epistles…

Woven throughout these mystical concepts is Israel’s ancient Zoroastrian divine spirit, Philo of Alexandria’s divine spirit in his work “That the Worst is Wont to Attack the Better” (IX.30), or here Saul’s Holy Spirit.

Coming up in Part II of Saul the Apostate I will begin to further compare and contrast Saul’s Christ to the obscured Jewish-Jesus and popular Hellenic Gospel-Jesus. Meanwhile, please feel free to again share your thoughts, ideas, or questions below.

————

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48 thoughts on “Saul the Apostate – Intro to Part II

  1. Amazing!!! You must have studied history and religion formally somewhere! Where did you learn all this in such amazing detail??? It’s quite true the books in the NT are quite dubious in origin and validity! I wish someone published all the “deleted scenes”, like from Jesus’ childhood and Mary’s perspective, maybe like The New Testament “Special Features” section like they do on the special edition DVD’s! 😉 The Council of Nicea was such a wet blanket on the richness and diversity of what we group as the “Christian” religion! My favorite sect was the Marcionites who thought there had to be an OT and a NT God, as the angry god of the OT couldn’t have had such a turnaround to the happy loving one in the NT, the the God of the Hebrews was really the “demiurge”! Enough of this bland Sunday school version of Christianity… We want the dirty details 😉 https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 2 people

    • LoR,

      Thank you Ma’am. Yes, I did indeed study those two subjects as 2-of-3 concentrations within my Bachelor’s of Humanities at a liberal arts college/university in Jackson, MS. A bit later — as my pro soccer career was coming to an end — I began my Master’s at a well known seminary there which naturally reinforced my knowledge and understanding of not only Reformed Theology, but also Scripture inside & out, front to back, the Hebrew and Greek languages for exegesis-hermeneutics, and Christian apologetics. However LoR, it wasn’t until I completely removed myself from that religious citadel and its Pleasantvillers within (the 1998 film), so to speak, that I was able to start a 12-year study of the FULL context of 1st century CE Judaism, Hellenism/Rome, and its complete sociopolitical climate rarely EVER taught, let alone spoken about, in modern Christian churches or bible-schools. None of my seminary professors nor the acclaimed R.C. Sproul could give me answers to my explicit questions! Their pat answer was always “That’s not important” and would incessantly point me back to the Calvary Cross and its symbolism… quite similar to the Pleasantvillers, ironically. LOL 😄🙄

      Your Special Features section/idea is excellent. It actually leads to a fairly new field of study/science called Agnotology that I am thoroughly enjoying! Wow, I THOUGHT in secondary school, under-grad, and post-grad I had learned a good foundation of critical-analysis skills and applied modalities!? Geezzz, was I wrong! Agnotology has shown me just how limited, how elementary (pre-school?) my ACTUAL tools and skills really were. Hell, I was carrying around plastic sandbox toys like I was King of the Beach! Hahahaha! 😆 Stupid me. 😕

      Liked by 3 people

        • Ancient Greek? That’s a funny question LoR because since Greek and forms of ancient Hebrew (Tiberian, Mishnaic) and Aramaic (Jesus’ two languages, Aramaic being a mixture of 3-4 Middle Eastern cultures) are verbally extinct now, so I am constantly learning, correcting, learning again, recorrecting, etc. The dialectic context is so complex with slight variations and nuances… the right answer to your question is no. I have only a basic novice-to-intermediate level grasp/recognition with a LOT of scholarly expert help from those who have spent their entire lives studying linguistics.

          You’re right, it is difficult to tackle, to put it kindly. LOL So it really behooves a researcher of this ancient time-period to be flexible, OPEN to near endless meanings. Peoples back then, especially commoners and peasants, were nowhere near as precise or articulate (or could be?) as we are today with English (American or Proper). So much of their language included gestures, inflections, and action rather than 1,000 synonyms or antonyms to choose from! HAH! 😄

          Liked by 2 people

        • I know a few words and I’m trying to learn the alphabet! I like the hidden nuances in the ancient cultures a modern bible reader won’t pick up on, like the word “bara” in Hebrew is translated into “to create” but it means more like bring order to chaos, not creation ex nihilo! Or all the mistranslations that were put in that affects doctrine today! 😁

          Liked by 2 people

        • Exactly. On the subject of translation and transliteration, most average Christians today (perhaps even zealous ones) do not know just how VERY common the name of Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus) was in 1st century Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. Again, this is a result of the large “gulf” (naivety) between Hellenic culture and Hebrew-Aramaic culture back then, and even today — and though the discovery of the Talpiot tomb in south Jerusalem (1980) is ongoing and still being studied and critiqued, the contents found undisturbed inside the 1st century CE tomb make it particularly unique. Maybe even cataclysmic for Christendom.

          To the point of language in culture in a time-period… the tomb’s shocking contents or ossuaries, and the names inscribed on each ossuary make it so extraordinary like no other “tomb” of Jesus ever known or traditionalized. The heated controversy over this tomb has always been centered on whether the “James” ossuary (1 of 6) missing from was later forged/faked or not of the time-period. Here are the mathematical statistical odds/probabilities as calculated by Dr. Andrey Feuerverger of the University of Toronto, as to whether the tomb could be the Jesus family tomb or not:

          To your point LoR, aside from the tomb’s owners/family, we see and learn just how subjective, how pluralistic, how subtle, how easy for errors and differences existed in Hebrew, Greco-Roman, Arab-Persian cultures — and all the variances within those three ethnicities — all blended together in a small region, makes simplicity (Monism) a figment or delusion of the imagination! I damn well guarantee you that under the Principate-Imperial Roman form of subjugation and governing Proconsuls and Praetorian led Legions didn’t give a shit about foreign “complications.” The glory of Rome knew one method of ruling, and one method only: Pax Romana or die! Simple. Brute. Simple works for simple illiterate masses. 😉 In some ways, that’s a prevalent Western Civ trait, not unlike what has been developing in America. 😲😄

          Liked by 2 people

        • Yes, I’ve been following this find and implications for years as well, but I see by this article it has progressed much further. Outstanding! I was afraid years ago that bureaucratic and religious push-back was going to make progress hard, if not near impossible. This latest news (2015) is even more fascinating. Great share Jim! Thank you. 😁

          Liked by 2 people

        • Something that puzzled me in that article … they said it bore the inscription, “Jesus, Son of Joseph.” Huh? His real name was Yeshua! Perhaps they used the more familiar names for the average reader, but to be “genuine,” I would think they would have used the correct name(s) and then explained themselves. And then the comment, “After all, Joseph, Mary and Jesus were all common names at the time” … ??

          For me, this takes away from any credibility associated with the discovery.

          Liked by 2 people

        • I think the English-writing reporter Ariel Cohen (as well as any other reports in English) was simply using the familiar English (Greek) name “Jesus.” However, on the actual ossuaries, including the Jesus and James ossuaries, were in fact inscribed in Aramaic reading “Yeshua bar Yosef” and “Ya’akov bar-Yosef akhui diYeshua” respectively. So I believe what we have in the article is just simply the translations from Aramaic to English. 🙂

          [later addendum] — Forgot to address your last question/concern Nan. Regarding the common popular names of Joseph, Mary, Jesus… what makes the Talpiot tomb and six ossuaries so extraordinary and cataclysmic for Christendom is the statistical probability of ALL those names — especially James the Brother — being present inside the same family tomb dated to 1st century CE Jerusalem in a location consistent for Jewish burials. If anything, this/these finds cannot be ignored or dismissed regarding the “resurrection” (myth) of Christ — everything the “faith” hinges on.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, I assumed that. But don’t you think it would have been more “authentic” to those who are serious students of stuff like this if they had used the appropriate names and then “English-fied” them for the average reader? I know. I know. I’m being picky. 😐

          Liked by 2 people

        • Yes, agree there. In my Oct. 2012 blog-post about it I did use the Aramaic names as well as their English translations. When catching documentaries on the tomb, Dr. Shimon Gibson, Simcha Jacobovici, and Dr. James Tabor all speak/use the Aramaic names and it gets translated into English.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. I always find it ironic how so-called professing Christians ( and we can name several right here in Blogsville) are wont to claim they are seeking truth and /or the bible and Jesus’ teachings reveal this truth yet, the very source they claim where this truth(sic) resides has likely been subject to more abuse in one literary form or another than almost every other literary work, fiction or otherwise.

    That most readers of the bible were/are largely unaware of its history, and especially the chronology of the ”books”, and that those who do know have never been seriously inclined to educate or enlighten speaks volumes about the motivation of those who often held sway over the life or death of the followers of this vile religion.

    Excellent posts such as this will add to the catalyst that inevitably sounds the death knell for Christianity.
    As Princess Leia very astutely noted:,
    ”The more you (Christianity) tighten your grip the more so.called believers will slip through your fingers.”

    Liked by 7 people

    • Ark, you (and Princess Leia) could not be more spot on. Indoctrination is a cerebral helmet that thickens and thickens, and squeezes and squeezes, cutting off ‘power’ from the neck-n-below… until at some inevitable point none of one’s 12-15 sensory-receptors and cognitive interpreters function in any sort of progressive, evolving, adapting, and questioning manner. :/

      Liked by 3 people

      • Once this avenue of history has been thoroughly examined I suspect that scholars will have to face the inevitable – it is all made up; nothing more that Historical Fiction from beginning to end.
        Even one as unschooled in this area – me – could quite easily draw up a list of factual events contained in the bible, and I strongly suspect it would be a very short list!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Agreed Ark. But then that’s just two grown, critically-thinking men (us, one who is very, very old) who simply don’t take stories at face-value (as Gospel? 😉 ) just because everyone else is doing it and it makes us feel good, feel warm and fuzzy. There’s a LOT of truth to the legal parable — if I can borrow another bible term for 500 points please! 🤩 — It’s not what YOU know as true that matters, it’s what you can convince and persuade/prove in court to a jury. Attorneys Jimmy Cochran and F. Lee Bailey showed the world just how true that is with their client/defendant O.J. Simpson. Drama, theatrics, excitement, awe, EVERYTHING that makes humans very insensible and irrational seems to be one of our weaknesses throughout all of human history. That damn Placebo-effect inside a crowd/group (like at Anfield stadium) thinking feeling ‘our team can do no wrong, EVER!!!’ :/ Those crazy fans! 😉

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Interesting details, much of which I never knew. Found your various tables very informative, especially the Canonical Debate table. Had a rough idea this was more or less what happened but I’ve never before seen it outlined so clearly. Thanks for an interesting series.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Terrific post. I knew from listening to Bart Ehrman that Paul’s epistles were written before the gospels, but I didn’t know the basic time sequence. Your table is a great reference.

    Like Ark above, I’m amazed at the devout Christian who quite frankly knows hardly anything, historically or culturally, about their professed religion. If we gave a simple True/False NT test to the true believers who attend the Lutheran Church here in Decatur, I think we’d be stunned at the fail rate. There is no simple answer, but one plausible reason is the Christian flock do not read the book they tout as the True Word. And to make it easier for them NOT to read the Bible, or God forbid, any book that isn’t “faith-based” is that their minister, as so directed by the good lord, will tell them what they “need” to know.

    Knowledge has always been the great Satan for good Christian folk who declare the Bible to be the inerrant word of God. After all what was forbidden our mythic parents? Fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    Hmmm, maybe it wasn’t knowledge of evil that bothered God so much, as it was the knowledge of Good!

    Liked by 5 people

    • their minister, as so directed by the good lord, will tell them what they “need” to know

      This has been my contention for many years … and is the primary reason I wrote my book. The “flock,” in most cases, know little beyond John 3:16.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Agreed. Like walking into the Large Hadron Collider in France/Switzerland expecting and demanding to operate it when your field of expertise is in culinary arts. “HEY! Leave me alone you physicists! These knobs, buttons, and gauges look similar to the ones in my kitchen, so we’re good!” 😉

        What was actually the setting and background for John 3:16? Better yet, what about John 14:6 too? That one is extremely severe! 😮

        Liked by 1 person

    • Knowledge has always been the great Satan for good Christian folk who declare the Bible to be the inerrant word of God.

      Hear hear Sir! “Censorship” is the real cancer to brilliance, teachable moments, and refinements for humanity. Censorship is really no one’s jurisdiction, except only in rare, extreme circumstances; i.e. Oppenheimer and his team on the Manhattan Project and the massive moral/virtuous dilemma they faced with their “creation” to name just one example.

      Thanks so much Paul for your feedback! Please feel free to share more. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m thrilled you added all the stories; the canonical and apocryphal books. It’s only then that you see the complete mess. In the Gospel of Peter Jesus is sentenced by Herod Antipas, not Pontius Pilate, and in the Gospel of Truth the hero is nailed to a living tree, not a Roman cross, which then spews forth fruit like an exploding piñata. None can agree on the character Jesus, and they have him doing different things at different times. The infancy gospels, with a murderous Jesus, are my favourites, though.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Apologies for my late reply John. Meant to get to your comment Friday, then things got super busy for me and I forgot. Grrrrr, getting old with dementia-like symptoms SUCKS! 😄😬

      It WAS a complete mess wasn’t it? Today, most just don’t realize (naive ignorance?) just how massively impactful Hellenistic Rome wrote Western sociopolitical and religious history at the expense of the history and culture of their conquered and subjugated, i.e. Judaism, particularly Sectarian Persian-Arabian Judaism of which Jesus/Yeshua was clearly descended. Everything you’ve mentioned should’ve NEVER been censored out by the Hellenic Patristic Fatherhood (for the sake of faith later) from the Early Church, later Roman Catholic Church. The fact that they did do it speaks a lot about the veracity(?) of the final product some 100-300 years later, i.e. the Patristic canonical NT.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: Saul the Apostate — Part I | The Professor's Convatorium

  7. Pingback: Saul the Apostate – Part II | The Professor's Convatorium

  8. Pingback: Six Reasons Why I’m Not a Christian – Atheist's Guide to Christianity

  9. Pingback: Saul the Apostate – Part III | The Professor's Convatorium

  10. Btw, for everyone here that’s interested… Philip Augustine of All Along the Watchtower blog and a past commenter here, reblogged my Part II there. Yet, only Part II. 🤔

    I am very familiar with the typical polarized, confirmation-bias tendencies of most bloggers — we typically (if not entirely) want to only stay within our friendly circles. I know many of you here are NOT that way. However, always staying ‘home in your own backyard’ does have some/many negative impacts for one’s life… DIVERSITY of life and the chance to broaden one’s perspectives and understanding.

    Therefore, at least consider hopping over there and sharing your own thoughts, whatever they may be and if you are brave enough, IF you are not banned from there. Hahaha. But also, don’t forget to come back here too! 🤩😜

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Saul the Apostate – Part IV | The Professor's Convatorium

        • Sure, some of the books and authors/scholars are up on the menu bar under My Library, then the two Bibliography pages. They’re listed in there. Two I just recently finished were Breaking the Dead Sea Scrolls Monopoly (Eisenman) and Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity (Tabor). If one really wants to get a better contextual understanding of the bookend centuries and the one of Jesus’ lifetime, you cannot do it without studying the Roman Empire (the Late-Republic and Principate-Imperial Eras), the Dead Sea Scrolls and Jewish Sectarianism of the Second Temple Period, and other extra-biblical (i.e. independent of the 4th-century Biblical canon) sources like Gnostic gospels. Hope that helps Jonathan and points you in the right starting direction. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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