Saul the Apostate – Part II

Did Saul and Jesus teach two fundamentally different religions?
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This is the question I pose to anyone who professes belief in the Christian canonical New Testament. When one closely compares Saul’s epistles and “Christ” — six epistles which are probably not authored by Saul — with the Jewish-Jesus and the Gospel-Jesus, the differences will shock many Christians. If one made a list of everything Saul denotes Jesus did, stated, and experienced from birth to death, they would indeed be shocked by just how little Saul mentions; it’s near nothing. Yet, that isn’t really the controversy. The shock is about what Jewish-Jesus and Gospel-Jesus taught about his God and His coming kingdom and whether that aligned with what Saul taught about his God and His kingdom.

Saul’s “Christ” vs. the Jewish-Jesus

As I expounded in the previous post Saul the Apostate – Intro to Part II, a necessary segue into this post, we must read the Gospels with high-def glasses and critical caution. An astute reader of the New Testament will always be cognizant of the demonstrated problems and failures of the reliability in the canonical Hellenic Gospels. This doesn’t necessarily mean we cannot decipher who the Jewish-Jesus was, the quasi-Sectarian from Galilee, or what he was preaching. As Dr. Bart Ehrman describes in a number of his blog-posts, …there were lots and lots of sources [oral traditions], from the early days of the Christian movement, some of them coming straight out of Aramaic-speaking Palestine… of which many independent [oral traditions] saying similar things about the man Jesus made it into (albeit partially) later Jewish and Hellenic Christian writings. Hence, when one inclusively considers without nepotism all possible sources of a Jewish-Jesus, a general, historical caricature does emerge.

In his Sermon on the Mount (Beatitudes) and later speaking to his students/disciples, generally regarded by scholars as probable words from Jewish-Gospel Jesus, he was reportedly known to teach his followers that they must reach higher Halakha righteousness and purity, as well as greater mutual love for each other deeper than the Pharisees practiced (Matthew 5:20; 18:4-5). Jesus, being an exceptional follower of the Torah, the Mosaic Law, was pulling directly from his sectarian teachings in Deut. 6:4-6 and Lev. 19:18, key components of Essene practice. Another Essene practice followed and taught by Jesus was that of the core principle of non-resistance to evil which was found exemplary in his Synagogues and the Talmud Mishnah:

Those who are insulted but do not insult, hear themselves reviled without answering, act through love and rejoice in suffering, of them the Writ saith, But they who love Him are as the sun (Judges 5:31) when he goeth forth in his might. — Shabbat 88b

Those who practiced this two-fold Mosaic concept better than the Pharisees, Jesus taught, would be saved from judgment when evil (Rome) was overthrown and the Son of Man soon returned within one or two generations, tops. In other words, approximately in 80 CE to perhaps 140 CE. That was what Jesus promised (Matt. 18:11-12, 18:8-9; Luke 13:28-29, 14:15-24) followed by such ‘an abundance of over-sized grapes and fruits for the Essenic-Mosaic righteous worthy of the greatest banquet in Paradise’ (Papias, in Irenæus, “Against Heresies,” Book V. Ch. 3334). This was the Kingdom of God that Jewish-Gospel Jesus taught.

greatest essene commandment(s)

Was this what Saul of Tarsus preached? No.

The core, the marrow of Saul’s teachings in public and his epistles to his various 1st-century new Gentile-Jewish churches and Jewish synagogues was encapsulated in many of his passages, but very concisely in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

Saul’s followers must believe through faith in “Christ’s” death for sins and his resurrection to be saved from impending judgment. Keeping the Jewish law (Halakha), he taught, would not make believers right with God. Only those who believe in “Christ’s” death and resurrection, then baptized, will join God in Paradise (1 Thess. 4; Romans 8). Here was Saul’s four essential elements of salvation:  faith, Christ’s death, his resurrection, and baptism. However, because it was heavy on mystical “faith” galvanized by his TL-epilepsy visions-revelations, as discussed in the previous posts, unsurprisingly and from a neurological-psychiatric standpoint Saul’s Christ was at the expense of common sense and rational reasoning. Dr. Bart Ehrman says regarding this fundamental difference of true readiness for God’s soon to come kingdom…

Should a person follow the Jewish Law or not? Jesus thought the answer was yes — this was the core of his teaching. Paul thought the answer was no — doing so would not allow one to be saved. So that’s a stark difference, right? Quite possibly. But on the other hand, Jesus did not think that the scrupulous following of the law (as preached by the Pharisees) was what God desired; and Paul certainly did not think that people should go about breaking the law (committing adultery, or murder, or false witness, etc). So are they fundamentally different or not?

One way to answer the question: what did a person need to do to be saved? For Jesus, it was repenting and keeping the law as God instructed (with the love commandments). But Paul does not say much about repentance and thought that keeping the law would decidedly not bring salvation. What mattered was [Christ’s] death and resurrection, something that the historical Jesus almost certainly did not talk about. The Bart Ehrman Blog, March 2016, “Do Paul and Jesus Represent Fundamentally Different Religions,” accessed September 16, 2018 

silhouette of essene

Son of Man

Another stark difference between the two men’s teachings was who was the Son of Man, who was the Messiah—that is the Messiah of Second Temple Judaism/Sectarianism. The Jewish-Gospel Jesus was either cryptic about who it was — due to Rome’s well-known policies against rebel kings — or denied it and spoke as if it was not himself. Saul, on the other hand, unequivocally teaches Christ was the Son of Man and Messiah. For me, in light of my two previous posts and these further comparisons, the two men are clearly in fundamental opposition. Saul’s Christ was not what Jesus the Galilean taught.

Saul’s Two-Pronged Hellenic Attack on Jesus’ Judaism

Whether Saul/Paul realized it or not, he fueled and fanned the fiery, growing anti-Semitism between his Hellenic Rome and Judaism. He accomplished this in at least two different ways:  1) his conflicts with the Torah, part of Jesus’ core teaching, and its expanded Essene function within Judaism in general, and 2) antinomianism which further fueled Jewish hate, and by default undermined Jesus’ principle of mutual love. The details and support for these two combined Saul attacks will come in Part III of Saul the Apostate.

From a few different passages in Saul’s epistles we are able to find an intrinsic animosity toward the Torah and mainstream Judaism of which Jesus was not advocating. These I will address in the next post. But the one specific passage that drives the wedge deep between the two opposed religions was found here with my inserts [ ] and emphasis to help clarify:

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to [Torah] decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use) — in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, [to be without any doubt!] the appearance of wisdom in a self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. — Colossians 2:20-23

This is further evidence of a different Kingdom of God than what Jewish-Gospel Jesus was teaching. Jewish-Jesus would not have preached this and Saul’s animosity for fellow Jews does not align with Jesus’ great commandment of two Golden Rules: the unbounded love for God and each other. ‘The Law [the Torah] and the Prophets’ Jesus taught ‘hinge on these two principles.‘ No wonder the Jewish-Jesus disciples/apostles had serious belligerent problems with Saul (e.g. Acts 15:39a and Galatians 2:11-21). The conflict and confusion between the two fundamentally different Kingdoms of God and their principal doctrines of impending judgment-readiness, exacerbated by the failure or mis-identification of Jewish-Jesus as the Messiah was the dual spark to a 400-year and counting, unstoppable schism. What? Yes.

After Saul’s death and all of the disciples’/apostles’ deaths, and more so the deaths of the first generation “Patristic Fathers,” or earliest Church Fathers such as Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, and Marcion of Sinope, what Jewish-Jesus promised had not happened. What followed was the 3rd and 4th generation Hellenist Roman Fathers retro-fitted, revamped, rewritten, and reinterpreted Jewish-Gospel Jesus’ failed kingdom into Saul’s anti-Semitic Christ-kingdom, a spiritual awakening or rebirth not of this Earth, but of TL-epileptic mysticism and visions.

In the next post I will examine four particular passages in Saul’s epistles that were tampered with or reframed by the later Church Fathers to spiritualize Jesus’ death and Saul’s Christ. Also how Saul enamored the Hellenist Gentiles to his new-fangled “die in order to live” spiritualized mysticism perceived during his epileptic seizures.

Until Part III, please feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, or questions below.

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37 thoughts on “Saul the Apostate – Part II

  1. Sounds like Saul projected his own agenda…. Very interesting read! 🙂
    You should also write more about the divine vs. human nature of Jesus in a future series! Some sects believed him to be fully human on Earth, but divine after, or almost wholly divine as a “spirit”, not an actual human since he did come back to life. Didn’t the Arians believe he was fully human? (Which was what peeved the Nicean Council)…. And some had the dilemma of the 3 in 1 view of god being 3 beings in one, as the son, Jesus, cannot be an equal to his father, yet one part of God cannot be subordinate to another part! As far as I care, I think his birth and such screams “demi-god!”, like the pagan ones who were sons of both a heavenly father and mortal mother. The whole thing about Jesus is that he was portrayed similarly as all the other traditional motifs for pagan ones, such as his miraculous birth, his heroic deeds, and the fact his childhood is not mentioned, except for a rare instance… Honestly, I can believe all these crazy ideas happened about him, but what I still can’t believe is how everyone thinks he was a WHITE EUROPEAN!!! 😉
    https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/

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    • Yes LoR, Saul was certainly very caught-up in the fervor and drama of Second Temple Messianism and the Sectarianism it was causing. In fact, given his epileptic ailment, I see him egocentrically WANTING to be smack in the middle of it all. He certainly had no prior issues with hunting down and executing Jesus-followers.

      You should also write more about the divine vs. human nature of Jesus…

      Indeed. I actually have, but it was before you and I connected. 😉 The post examined Jesus’ Incarnation, which of course is the Greco-Roman (Hellenic) centuries-old tradition of Apotheosis, but with their own distorted twist of Jewish Messianism, in order to hijack the Hebrew Tanakh (Old Testament) prophecies. Here’s that post: The Incarnation of G-Man. I have alluded to this ancient tradition, enigma, and myth in other posts and pages as well. However, it would be quite a list of posts and much reading so I’ll skip referencing all of them here. I’m sure you’d thank me LoR from saving you that torture. 😄

      You are referencing all the post-33 CE convoluted and conflicting testimonies or oral traditions about the nature and purpose of (Trinitarianism being one) a Jewish-Jesus, or Aramaic-Yeshua, or Hellenic-Jesus with Rome’s fixation or obsession with centralizing power and authority — which was as I mentioned, a long, long, centuries-old protocol of establishing Pax Romana. Establishing ultimate, centralized power and authority in every and all aspects of Roman life (provincial life too) not only included the conquering and complete subjugation of their defeated, but taking whatever Rome pleased that suited and enhanced the Empire and Emperor. In this case, after 200 – 400 years, it was hijacking Jewish Messianism and making it their own Imperial religion with very distinct Hellenic themes. Actual truth and facts didn’t matter. And Voilà! Christianity/Christology was born then enforced, brutally if necessary.

      WHITE EUROPEAN!!! Hahahaha! Yep, there you have the true origins — i.e. Greco-Roman Pax Romana — found all throughout European culture and wherever it spread the next two millenia. 😉

      Thank you so much LoR for your continued feedback and thoughts. You add nicely to our discussion here.

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        • Couldn’t agree more LoR. And with that — your celebration of our diversity — I commend you in allowing, welcoming my viewpoints/comments on your blog. 😉

          All the worst deficiencies of humanity and human nature are nurtured when we promote or allow elitism, discrimination, bigotry, inequality, intolerance, so on and so on.

          Exclusion makes us suffer. Inclusion makes us thrive.—- E. O. Wilson

          And not to get too quotey or stoic here, 😉 but your comment reminds me of an old Native American Indian wisdom-story that applies to the virtues or deficiencies of human nature and its malleable condition…

          One day an old Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson. He said, “There are two wolves fighting inside all of us – the wolf of fear and hate, and the wolf of love and peace.“

          The grandson listened, then looked up at his grandfather and asked, “Which one will win?”

          The grandfather replied, “The one we feed.”

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  2. Clement of Rome, called the First Pope (after Peter) by many, never mentioned the resurrection at all. If it is indeed central to Christianity, it is strange that the top prelate never mentioned it. Paul mentioned it ad nauseum.

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    • Clement of Rome is often not associated with being the first pope after Peter, but rather the third.

      It goes Peter, Linus, Anacletus, and then Clement. Furthermore, there were two epistles in tradition attributed to Clement but recent scholarship attributes only the First Epistle to the Corinthians, which is a document strictly about a leadership dispute, which may or may not have any reason to mention “central” theology as it is strictly speaking on Apostolic succession. There are also a few more documents that had traditional ties but the consensus of scholars say the First Epistle is the only authentic document from Clement.

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  3. Pingback: Saul the Apostate – Intro to Part II | The Professor's Convatorium

  4. I think it fair to critique a bit of anachronism in your article here in regards to what Paul taught. For example, you mention:

    “Saul’s followers must believe through faith in “Christ’s” death for sins and his resurrection to be saved from impending judgment.”

    Of course, what resides in this statement is 16th-century theology of Sola Fide. Paul taught from Romans 11:15 that God’s people are chosen—saved from impeding judgment—by grace. Paul goes on in verse six “if it is by grace, it is no longhorn the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”

    So, how can we know this to be the understanding of what St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, which is actually used by the Reformation in Romans 3 to articulate Sola Fide? Augustine makes the argument using Romans 11:5-6 in On the Predestination of Saints to articulate that Paul is teaching that salvation is by grace alone because as indicated by Christ in Jn. 6:29 as faith being a work that to reduce salvation to faith is rewarding those for faith rather than accepting a free gift from God. Of course, at this point, one can simple develop the thesis that Augustine was commandeering Paul’s teaching for his own; however, at the same time, as you’ve articulated that Paul is influenced by Hellenism it would make sense also why Augustine would be closer to the actual teaching of Paul in this regard.

    It’s also interesting that you barely mention Galatians in your articulation of St. Paul’s teaching as from my schooling, which of course this could have changed, was the earliest known writing in the New Testament and most likely to be authentically Paul’s. It’s also the one that is most reflective of the central theme of “grace” within the Pauline writings. As, NT Wright writes in Paul, “Galatians is all about the ultimate “inheritance” that God had promised. And, as we shall see presently, Paul insisted that the “heirs” of this “inheritance” could not be defined by the Torah, but only by the Messiah himself, the ultimate “heir.”” (p. 152) In many ways, this idea of inheritance and adopted sons runs deep with the Judaism of the Old Testament. Now, in various different parts of the Gospels, Christ makes references to His own passion and resurrection, as you’ve questioned the authenticity except for some references in Mark. I don’t think it worth while to dig deeper there; but, I think in respect to the theme of “grace” the adoptions of sons and the tribes of Israel, this appears to be a bit overlooked.

    Historically speaking, as we’ve discussed the literary analysis of the Gospels for dating, I think we disagree on authenticity. However, I would at least hope that the particular theme of “grace” or special selection by God is one both present in Judaism and Paul’s teaching.

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    • Hi again Philip. Glad you’ve returned. Wasn’t sure if you were going to due perhaps to other (understandable) committments or obligations you had since you didn’t make any comments on the previous post “Saul the Apostate – Intro to Part II,” my last minute insert before I wanted to officially begin on this post. Did you have a chance to read Intro to Part II?

      Regarding the quote you pulled from my post, I can sort of see(?) why it might seem at first an anachronism, which for the sake of better clarity for us means “an act of attributing a custom, event, or object to a period to which it does not belong” as one definition puts it.

      But what I was conveying there — in that section “Saul’s “Christ” vs. the Jewish-Jesus” — was comparing and contrasting what Saul was preaching years AFTER Jesus’ execution followed by the oral traditions (maybe too manuscripts like Q-source) circling throughout the Synagogues of “The Way” Jesus Movement BEFORE Saul’s arrival, his conversion in c. 31-36 CE, and then WELL BEFORE his first and earliest letter/epistle of Galatians (c. 48-60 CE). In other words, I was comparing what the supposed Messiah(?) Jesus was originally teaching — with a wider understanding of Second Temple Sectarian Judaism/Messianism and related Essene principles — versus Saul’s later different, reinterpreted via epileptic “visions-revelations,” and opposed teachings in which definitely resides Jewish Mysticism (specifically Merkavah/Heikhalat he likely learned from Philo of Alexandria and other mystics in Jerusalem from his Hillel/Shammai schooling).

      Now I CAN see how Saul’s (TL-epileptic) “visions-revelations” could be an anachronistic incorrect reinterpretation of Jesus’ death and Jewish-Jesus teachings and his Torah-based Essene-based Golden Rules/Commandments, but that section in my post here is definitely NOT from 16th-century theology of Sola Fide. Sorry for the misunderstanding misidentification. I hope I cleared it up here and in the previous post Intro to Part II.

      It’s also interesting that you barely mention Galatians in your articulation of St. Paul’s teaching…

      I will be getting into Galatians more in Part III. I just have some readers/followers who prefer 1,100 – 1,200 words or less in blog-posts. Otherwise, my posts on these subjects would be 10, 20, or 30,000 that would make their eyes red and pop-out from exhaustion. 😵😄

      I would at least hope that the particular theme of “grace” or special selection by God is one both present in Judaism and Paul’s teaching.

      Oh, as a Freethinking Humanist and one that I’d LIKE to think is somewhat broadly learned and experienced in and around the world (and in this subject here) 😉 … that “grace” you allude to is actually a Universal, INCLUSIVE virtue and practice in MANY cultures and some creeds. Though it has many forms and faces, none of which have supreme authority or rank. ❤

      Thank you kindly Philip for your feedback.

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      • The intro was the intro, again, some of the dating I disagree with so I was waiting for the meat.

        So, Yeah, call grace whatever you want which is why I qualified what I meant, as something that may exist in other cultures, but aren’t always necessarily equivalent.

        The one thing that I’d also point out is that what Jesus says and what Paul preaches doesn’t appear to follow or rather is non sequitur. I suppose maybe you can flesh it out a bit more but it appears that in your examples Christ is given teaching within the New Covenant, whereas Paul’s primary concern is who is part of the New Covenant via Jeremiah 31:31.

        Naturally, it gets more detailed and complicated but I’m sure you can understand on this more general level.

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        • The intro was the intro, again, some of the dating I disagree with so I was waiting for the meat.

          Hahaha! Should I take that as a dismissal? A dismissal of the non-meaty content within Intro to Part II? 😄 😉

          Disagreement on dates/dating? Yes, there’s PLENTY of disagreement, controversy, oversimplification, hair-splitting, oversight, interpolation and extrapolation, etc, etc, over most everything (98%?) in the Canonical New Testament. It’s rampant, even under the “umbrella” of Christian or Christ-ish churches. And in my studied opinion for two good reasons: Saul and 2nd-century CE Hellenic Paulianism. This is why I’m writing this blog-series. 😉

          So, Yeah, call grace whatever you want which is why I qualified what I meant, as something that may exist in other cultures, but aren’t always necessarily equivalent.

          Well, I simply define grace the way any other 7.6+ billion others on Earth can define it from their culture and experiences and I would say it DOES exist (not “may exist”) in other cultures, experiences, and creeds. Equivalency can be a very subjective case-by-case measurement. One has to breakdown, define exactly what the measuring standard should be within proper, appropriate contextual parameters.

          And that’s my point in this blog-series. Jewish-Jesus’ (Essenic) Kingdom of God (New Covenant, or refreshed, refined Covenant) is unequivalent to Saul’s later Mystic/Gnostic Kingdom of God (then 2nd-century Hellenic Paulianism) and NOT an abrogation (antinomianism – Part III) of the Law/Torah and Mishnah but a better prepared, better practice/Kingdom (on Earth) by God’s people of Israel, as I hope I’ve (briefly?) conveyed and clarified in these last two posts. Furthermore, Judaism has, even Second Temple Judaism had always had their proselytizing or “Judaizing” of the pagan world. But due to Saul’s risky Heikhalat mysticism his proselytizing a new radical antinomian “Christ” was labelled Apostacy by many Jews from the get go (2 Cor. 11:32) and certainly belligerent, appalling (at minimum) to Jesus’ immediate disciples/students and James the Brother early in his post-conversion! Unfortunately for prosperity and/or equitable truth, soon came the Jewish-Roman War when many non-Hellenic, more clarifying Jewish sources (e.g. DSS of Qumran) probably were lost… or hidden for now. 🙂

          Thanks again Philip.

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

  6. Well from your post I would have to assume as an avid outsider that even jesus didn’t understand the vast implications of his mission as Paul did. To fully grasp the importance would require faith, and faith—only given by the comforter, or the Holy Ghost “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭15:26‬ ‭KJV‬‬
    “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭16:7‬ ‭KJV‬‬

    So, only after the evidence is gone can faith be manipulated into the power needed to control masses through the power of suggestion is where Paul and others have outdone the jesus himself.

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    • A very observant, insightful comment Jim. Thank you!

      If one steps back, and back further still, and observes, examines or tries best to examine fully… all the variables and dynamics involved in writing the entire history of the Roman Empire and the Roman Empire’s small part in that time-period (27 BCE – 1453 CE) in the fuller(?) history of humans on the entire planet, we see one distinct pattern — out of many of course. That pattern is the fact that Homo sapiens, via types of organizations/institutions and modalities are in perpetual creation and recreation by those Homo sapiens. Reinvention after reinvention over many generations. Judaism was a reinvention of earlier amalgamations of Egyptian, Zoroastrian, and Babylonian religious themes, i.e. coping mechanisms. And so on and so on.

      Humanity has an endless ability and capacity to find coping mechanisms to life and survival relative to their specific culture and region, don’t they? 😉

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      • Yep, and a reason to have a reason. Great post btw, it’s been an interesting thought process. Sometimes it takes me a day or two to process. While I might miss out on some conversation, I think the roots of the Christian problem can be explained away in the manipulation of human psychology. These “goat herders” were more astute to human nature than we give them credit for, and the likes of the Greek philosophers and beyond had honed their skills to a science, and along comes Paul. Or something like that

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        • …and along comes Paul. Or something like that

          Well, so very very true. As we’ve seen time and time again throughout ancient, Classical, Medieval, Renaissance, to Modern human history, the eccentric, charismatic, bigger-than-life figures can both lead for a greater good equally as well as they can deceive, manipulate, destroy, and massacre. Contrast Mohandas Gandhi to Jim Jones, or Martin Luther King, Jr. to David Koresh as just two examples.

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        • My goodness! I could make a seemingly never-ending list of these type neurological-psychological cases of moderate to extreme disorders that DO NOT help humanity, the Greater Good, but instead do the opposite. And they are NOT exclusive to any one group, institution, religion, or nation. It is a HUMAN condition. It is a genetic, biological, and environmental condition that must be better and better understood, and CERTAINLY not feared!!!

          Thanks for that link/article Jim!

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        • 🤣 OH MY GODS, GODDESSES, STARS and GALAXIES!!!

          Actually I have done that — or versions of it — at Balls, dungeons, and private “Play” parties. They’ve always been a major HUGE success! 😈😁

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

  8. Hi PT! I was away on a trip when you first published this so was unable to really take a hard and comprehensive look at what you presented (still haven’t read Part III). Of course I agree with much of what you’ve written (surprise! surprise!). I particularly found the following a great summary statement of Paul’s intent and, or course, what the church believes today:

    Saul’s followers must believe through faith in “Christ’s” death for sins and his resurrection to be saved from impending judgment.

    It’s really too bad the early church fathers were so influenced by Paul. Imagine how different things would be if Yeshua’s teachings were the “law of the land” instead of the intolerant and hard-nosed attitudes that exist among believers today.

    Now I’m off to read Part III.

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    • They were QUIET influenced by Saul/Paul! After all, being Hellenistic in his philosophies with touches of Philo of Alexandria, it really isn’t a surprise that the Hellenic Fathers would prefer him over the obscure little understood sectarian Yeshua.

      …Yeshua’s teachings were the “law of the land” instead of…

      That’s a very intriguing thought Nan. But I suspect that Hellenistic culture as a whole would much prefer antinomianism for the simple fact that every century, every millennium people want their freedom to live life fully! Not with so many repressive laws. Hahaha! Ironically, that’s what “God’s chosen people” really wanted too… in the end. 😄 😉

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  9. Reblogged this on All Along the Watchtower and commented:
    I decided to reblog this on All Along the Watchtower knowing that Nicholas here is quite interested in 2nd Temple Judaism. The author doesn’t appear to be getting a whole lot of critique on his work, as it appears many of his readers are of the non-theist variety.

    However, I stated in a previous comment the mission of Paul and the mission of Christ are completely different for obvious reasons. To quote Christ’s teaching on the greatest commandment and oversimplify Paul’s entire message in (1 Cor. 15) is a non sequitur in my opinion because of the goal in the strictness of their narratives. What is the overall theme in Christ’s message in the greatest commandment? It’s love. “Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.” And you ask does Paul teach this? No. So, even though Paul’s overall message is how do those new followers become a part of a new covenant as stated in your example, we’re to assume that Paul doesn’t teach to love? What about just before that particular passage you quoted in 1 Cor in regards to being apart of the new covenant?

    “If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:3)

    Naturally, we’ll compare it to the small part from Jesus in Mark: “The second is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself, there is no greater commandment than these.”

    To say that these two do not reflect each to when one says having no love that one is nothing and that loving your neighbor is one of two greatest commandments is an extreme stretch.

    The author writes:
    “Those who practiced this two-fold Mosaic concept better than the Pharisees, Jesus taught, would be saved from judgment when evil (Rome) was overthrown and the Son of Man soon returned within one or two generations, tops. In other words, approximately in 80 CE to perhaps 140 CE. That was what Jesus promised (Matt. 18:11-12, 18:8-9; Luke 13:28-29, 14:15-24) ”

    If I were making this argument I would have used Mt. 24:32 and Lk 21:32 because nothing here that you’ve quoted indicates Jesus promising anything about generations in those particular passages; however, in the two that I quoted it at least speaks to some degree of what generations shall witness. However, using many of these parables and then making a leap that that’s what Jesus claimed is absurd to the degree that there simply isn’t any context to make the claim in those passages, even if I was inclined to want to believe you, I’d find this as evidence highly suspect.

    Taking a look at your graph on the other post with the dating of the sources, I’m going to bow out of the conversation, out of politeness, I don’t think the author and I could move any further within the context of his assertions within the sphere of historicity. However, as he is usually a polite ole’ chap I wanted to give one final comment. The only thing I’d be curious about is the process of selecting sources The author quoted Ehrman; however, much like Ehrman’s work, others who’ve challenged his position like NT Wright, Larry Hurtado, James Dunn, and Richard Bauckham–who is arguably the leading English speaking scholar on early Christian history is missing. Of course, I could rehash their arguments in the comments here, but it is too time-consuming and I wouldn’t change his mind. Nonetheless, I find it suspect when I encounter a thesis with these rebuttals missing; why not present the best arguments against your position? Another example that I’ve presented is that NT Wright argues that Paul’s zeal, in fact, is founded in a heavily Jewish upbringing and Wright is probably the most approachable and easily refutable comparative to the other scholars and his work is simply missing…?

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  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! 🤩😜

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    • It’s a blog that has a variety of different writers from different aspects of Christianity. So, depending on who reads it and chooses to respond, you may get an Orthodox view, a Catholic, Reform, Evangelical, an Anglican—that’s who hosts the blog—etc. I figure there would be different perspectives that may be of interest, or not to you. I thought Nicholas would be the most likely to help further the discussion, but as Scoop also commented a link that does indicate a rebuttal to many of the points. Also, as it’s just a comment post, feel free to link in the comments your other posts as well; however, I figured that those who are familiar with web pages would find them.

      If you want take Nicholas’ comment or Scoop’s and move it here in a post or comment and let me know or respond at AATW. Nobody, unless it being years ago, should be blocked.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, as I alluded to in my above comment about our own friendly circles and confirmation bias, I understand why many do not care to cross partisan lines. You and I cannot help that. :/ I do spell out my Rules of Conduct on my Netiquette page above. I do enforce those ROC and have had to ban 2-3 bloggers. We both understand that, I believe. 😉

        The other part to this which I know you understand (we’ve discussed this before) are our busy schedules. Sometimes, a lot of the time I barely have sufficient time and energy for my own blogs, let alone the 30-40 other blogs I follow. Perhaps I could have the time/energy if all my blog-posts were 500-900 words and fluffy, shallow, trivial, trendy topics that the internet is already hyper-saturated with. But that’s just not me. I’d rather post 1-3 times per month with weighty important topics that sometimes require 2,000 – 4,000 words or a series/multiple parts. However, adding another third blog (AATW) is just beyond my time/energy resources. Hence, I hope that Nicholas, Scoop, or anyone else over there will simply bring their thoughts over here; copy paste here? That seems very easy to do to me. Besides, and honestly/realistically speaking, people need to do their own homework, legwork, and checking of topics, facts, counter-facts, counter-topics, etc. Otherwise, all of this, no matter whose blog it is, will just get ridiculously inundated with superfluous opinions and info.

        Thanks again Philip.

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

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