Saul the Apostate – Part III

Continuing from Part II

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“Do not give what is holy to dogs,
and do not throw your pearls before swine,
or they will trample them under their feet,
and turn and tear you to pieces.”
— Jesus, Matthew 7:6

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∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Certainly a strong command to his disciples and words of warning to the crowd listening to Jesus on the Mount. To a modern reader a very ambiguous verse/sermon typical of cryptic non-Messianic Jesus, but it aligns with quasi-Sectarian Essene-Jesus. How so?

sermon-on-mountThe first generation Tannaitic traditions in the Jewish Mishnah (20 BCE – 80 CE) can give some context to the language of this sermon. Three key identifiers can be correctly deciphered out of the loose Greek Matthew translation. They are dogs, pearls, and pigs or swine. In the Tannaitic Mishnah dogs represent Gentile idolaters that “when driven by hunger, tears and devours young lambs.Pearls represent the rabbinical interpretations and discourse of the Torah, something precious and costly. Rabbis did not teach secrets of the Torah to Gentiles. And pigs/swine were always implied as the Romans as verified in Cicero’s “Divinatio in Caecilium.” Therefore, with this more unambiguous vocabulary, here is the proper Tannaitic version of Matthew 7:6:

Do not give what is holy to Gentile idolaters, and do not throw your Torah-secrets before the Romans, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Jewish-Essene Jesus further supports this new redone, unambiguous verse in Matthew 10:5-6 and 15:26. At the least, Jewish-Essene Jesus is teaching the crowd and his disciples a passive walk and love in the Torah and to never force the coming Kingdom of God (on Earth) onto Gentiles or Romans if they are not interested. This was not what Saul began teaching and it got Saul into lots of harsh trouble.

In 2 Corinthians 11:24-32 we see that Saul faced quick persecution by Jews after his “vision-revelation” and upon arriving in Damascus. More persecution from 2 Cor. 9 and Acts 16:22. Then he faced opposition from Jewish-Jesus’ immediate disciples, their disciples, and James the Brother of Jesus (Acts 15 and 21; Gal 2; James 2 vs Eph 2?). Not only is the harsh resistance inferred from the canonical NT, it is also confirmed by Eusebius’ Pamphilius, Iraneus’ Against Heresies, Origen’s Against Celcus, and Clement of Rome’s Recognitions that Saul’s early hardships were in both the Jewish and Jesus camps.

Clearly apparent is that Saul wasn’t following established Jewish proselytizing methods in the Didache adopted from the Synagogue’s Two Ways,” nor was he following Jesus’ disciples’ methods. Saul was just doing and teaching whatever he interpreted from his own seizures, very much like modern psych-patients do during and after their episodes. Consequently, Saul was viewed as attacking, if not at minimum undermining, both Judaism and the nascent Jesus-Movement authorities, the “pillars” (Gal. 2:9). Despite there existing today more details about Saul’s many disputes with both Jews in the Synagogues and the surviving pillars and disciples of Jesus’ closest followers, we are also able to decipher a much better idea of how and why Saul became the Spouter of Lies or if not, certainly treated as an Apostate.

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-Jesus function within Judaism in general, and 2) antinomianism which further fueled Jewish hate, and by default undermined Jesus’ principle of mutual love.

A Necessary Reminder First
It must be remembered when reading the epistles traditionally ascribed to Saul, only seven of the 14 are agreed upon by most Christian and non-Christian scholars as genuinely Saul’s letters. Two letters/epistles are evenly disputed and four are considered pseudographic, or written later by supporters of Saul. The true author of Hebrews is now considered unknown by almost all biblical scholars. There are also some known lost epistles mentioned in other epistles. The very oldest surviving codex of epistles by Saul (Papyrus 46) covers only from Romans 5:17 through Hebrews, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, and ends in 1 Thess. 5:28. Papyrus 46 is from c. 200 CE, about 35-60 years after Saul’s earliest letters. From this papyrus biblical scholars know the scribe(s) made minor errors and miscalculations. What does this mean for us here?

Saul’s “genuine” letters (in gold below) and those two evenly disputed cannot be considered beyond a shadow of a doubt, 100% authentic words of Saul. Simple later “traditions” do not make a manuscript error-free. The later the copy, the higher the odds it was later tampered with or erroneously copied. Once again, the chronological order of Saul’s letters:

Chronological Order Canon

Notice that the letter to the Galatians could have been written around 60 CE. This is important to remember. As we continue, what will also become glaringly obvious was just how horribly the 2nd- and 3rd-century CE New Testament compilers/scribes and the Hellenist “Patristic Fathers” (and therefore all their descendant “Fathers”) turned their 4th – 5th-century canonical NT into a mishmash of nonsense; a complete cluster (tr)uck! Frankly, it’s bad and poorly constructed by men who knew too little about Sectarian Judaism/Messianism and its precise Second Temple intent. How did the Hellenistic Fathers get it all wrong?

Saul’s Conflicts & Confusion with the Torah and Judaism
While in Lycaonia of Asia Minor (Turkey), following the laws of the Torah, Saul circumcised his new disciple Timothy:

Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. (Acts 16:1-3)

Not only did 1st-century Greeks/Hellenists despise the Jewish custom of circumcision, but based on Saul’s other vehement teachings against the Law/Torah (Colossians 2), was this a blatant contradiction of himself? Now suddenly this Saul-behavior seems to align with Jewish-Essene Jesus’ teaching (Matt. 5 and Luke 16)! Why now are there exceptions to what Jewish-Jesus taught and Saul taught? The Hellenistic canonical NT is completely silent.

Leave it to an 18th-century Rabbi to possibly sort out this one (of many) problematic, contradiction in the NT and with Saul. Rabbi Jacob Emden was considered one of the most acclaimed Rabbis for over three centuries. Many Rabbis considered him a Maimonides reincarnated. Here is Rabbi Emden’s clarification; my inserts [ ] and emphasis:

Christian scholars have assumed from certain passages in the Gospels that [Jesus] wished to give a new Torah to take the place of the Torah of Moses. How could [Jesus] then have said explicitly that he comes only to fulfill it? But it is as I have said earlier — that the writers of the Gospels never meant to say that the Nazarene came to abolish Judaism, but only that he came to establish a religion for the Gentiles from that time onward. Nor was it new, but actually ancient; they being the Seven Commandments of the Sons of Noah, or children of Noah, which were forgotten. The Apostles of the Nazarene then established them anew. However, those born as Jews, or circumcised as converts to Judaism (Ex. 12:49; one law shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the stranger) are obligated to observe all commandments of the Torah without exception. Rabbi Yaakov Emden, “Seder Olam Rabbah Vezuta” Hamburg, 1757

However, does this 18th-century Jewish Rabbinical extrapolation solve the many other problems in Saul’s epistles? After 200, 400, 2000 years why hasn’t this confusion and/or contradiction been fixed? Christians and Christianity has always blamed the Jews for killing Jesus. Why do so many Christians over the many centuries think that to be true? The answer? It began with Saul of Tarsus:

“You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus (1 Thess. 2:14b-15a)

And then antisemitic hostility continued more forcefully with the Patristic Fathers:

“Accordingly, these things have happened to you in fairness and justice, for you [Jews] have slain the Just One…” Justin Martyr, “Dialogue with Trypho” chapter 16

Blaming the Jews for Jesus’ execution was perpetuated all throughout the Crusades, the Medieval Era and into the modern era even to the Holocaust. But it started with Saul. However, it is most clear in the much later written four Gospels (Matthew 26:57-68, 27:25Mark 15:8-15Luke 23:3-23John 8:31-4718:29-40, 19:6-15) representing the fuller Hellenistic retrograde takeover of a failed(?) Jewish Messiah (Gospel-Jesus was never clear about this title) and rewriting the legend into a successful Roman Messiah with some Greek-Gnostic mysticism (Saul) interwoven. Examples of Gnostic and Sectarian mysticism?

Saul completely revamped, reinterpreted the ritual meaning of baptism. Immersing one’s self into baths or rivers was to him no longer a rite of cleansing and regeneration as Jews and Jewish sects such as the Essenes symbolized (Jewish-Jesus as well), for Saul it was a pseudo-death to the world and transformation into a spiritual resurrection with Christ (Romans 6:1-10). For Saul, the Lord’s Supper/Last Supper was a mystical magical union in Christ’s blood and body. This mimics exactly the Mithraic ceremony in the blood and body of Mithra. Justin Martyr even wrote the ritual was identical to early Christianity’s Last Supper ritual. Of course, Martyr was very biased to his own personal beliefs. The point is that the Mithraic ritual was also magical-mystical and hinted of Hellenic Gnosticism and Jewish Mysticism.

Saul’s new teachings, sacraments and “mysteries” (1 Cor. 10:20-21; Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Thess. 4:5; 1 Thess. 1:9-10; Rom. 8:28-30, 9) which brought so many hardships upon himself from both Jews and new Judaeo-Christians (Essenes too), was teaching one thing:  Christ’s death. It was teaching atonement through his death and failure that put all believers perfectly right for God’s coming Kingdom of Paradise. It wasn’t righteous behavior and it wasn’t even faith in an all-forgiving, all-loving Father/God that achieved salvation. It was only Christ’s mystical judicial death. Experiencing that “death” and rebirth through a mystical and/or neurological state of mind (TL-epilepsy?) was how a Gentile became saved. The problem and confusion for Saul — a Hellenistic “mystic” — was that his path to salvation was NOT the path Jewish-Jesus taught in his real life, according to all extant sources:  Gospels, non-canonical testaments, and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Essenes) combined.

Saul’s Antinomianism and More Jewish Hatred
Aside from the obvious fact few people rarely want or desire to be on the losing end of an event or organization, or repeatedly associated with a defeated and crumbling existence no matter what time-period it occurs, Saul’s letters progressively over time taught (see above image) further and further demarcation, even defamatory alienation, from all things Jewish by c. 55 – 57 CE when he wrote his letter to the Romans. Several biblical scholars like S.G.F. Brandon, F.C. Baur, and Barrie A. Wilson, chronologically follow Saul’s journeys, compared and contrasted to what was reported about him in Acts decades later, and quite clearly notice (as I do) his rising, antagonizing frustration with the losing people, or team if you will. Take 1 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians (with regard to Jews) and compare them to Romans and Ephesians(?) — and if Galatians was actually found to be written c. 60 CE — and Galatians 3, one cannot escape Saul’s antinomianism and anger toward authoritative Jews, Rabbis, and the Torah.

Saul's Epilepsy

Focal-fractal seizures of TLE

Let’s not lose sight, however, of the forest because of those few trees Saul insisted on playing with — with lighter-fluid, gas cans, and matches — dramatically (mystically) coming from his “divine revelations” via TL-epilepsy.  They were given only to him, and yet not first to Jesus’ closest disciples/students, or let alone any of God’s first chosen people of tiny nomadic Israel. Why the trickery? Or rather why the perpetual antinomianism necessary for the endless kinetic cycle of life, death, and evolution to which all things submit? Consider this…

Because Saul somehow deemed himself the procurator-divine-mediator for all Gentile humanity without pre-approval or preliminary discussion with any other authorities (i.e. Jerusalem Council) or proof, why and/or what made his antinomianism become popular and successful in the end? Why has any antinomian or monistic movement any better or worse than any others in the past? Was it because at that time in history (68 – 180 CE) it was the pinnacle, the most glorious days of the Hellenistic Roman Empire? Was it because of some ancient and contemporary tradition that the Latin God(s) favored the bold, victorious, and popular culture/lifestyle as Virgil poetically wrote in his Aeneid? And more apparent, the Latin God(s) did not favor losers or the constantly losing Jews. Pagan Rome held all the winning cards.

In Part IV, I will spell out how Saul — by going to the Hellenistic Roman Gentiles — in light of his challenges, antagonism, and disrespect to long-established Second Temple Judaism/Messianism and Sectarianism, was simply seeking larger psychological approval, acceptance, from his known tiny world. He wanted/needed validation for his ailment, his TL-epilepsy (revelations?), and his unconventional background in Merkavah/Heikhalat mysticism which almost all of his conventional (sane?) Jews rejected. So can one single man with TL-epilepsy dictate what sort of life was right, was best, and would be the most fulfilling presently or in the afterlife… for the entire world and all of humanity for all of time?

Until the next part, please feel free to again share your thoughts, ideas, or questions below.

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32 thoughts on “Saul the Apostate – Part III

  1. I must be honest, I put no stock at all in there being a genuine ”Paul” anymore than I believe there ever was a Peter or a Jesus of Nazareth.
    Yes, someone wrote the supposed ”genuine” epistles, even if they look as if they are cobbled together in places, but some Super duper Christian-Hunter, a former student of Gamaliel turned antisemitic ego driven epileptic Dipshit for Jesus?
    No. Just does not sit right with moi.
    Acts is palpable nonsense. (Which casts serious aspersions on the author of Luke, and, in fact, his gospel shows how much of a Nob he really is. Aside from the fact he copied from the other two Synoptics, of course).

    So who was this Paul? Who really knows?
    The Jews have no record of him. And he doesn’t feature in the historical record anywhere (outside of the bible of course)
    From what I’ve read my best guess would be Marcion, and yes, I am aware the dates don’t tie-in with the supposed composition of the gospels.
    But there’s the rub isn’t it?
    There is no hard and fast evidence when they were composed. The best guess of (post) 70 ad for ”Mark” is based on the destruction of the temple after the far from friendly visit from Titus and the 10th legion.
    When trying to establish some sort of factual historicity to these tales one is forced to jump through so many hoops that even a circus lion would flash the middle finger.
    But if one wipes the slate clean and asks:
    ”I wonder if it is simply all made up?” everything seems to fit together easier. Not perfect, granted, but a lot more of the tale begins to makes sense.

    But you’re the Prof, Prof!
    🙂

    Ark.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, we’ve discussed this before Ark and you are right and not alone in the stance that the main characters of the New Testament are most likely Hellenic caricatures of later revised Jewish rabbis/teachers and students/disciples — e.g. students of the Hillel or Shammai schools in Jerusalem — which explains quite nicely why the NT became a convoluted contradictory narration with too many sources of two clashing cultures. The book of Acts is absolutely one of the least reliable sources of the NT. And I wouldn’t be the least bit shocked if 80% or 95% of the NT was proven to be Greco-Roman mythology; I’m completely fine with that. 😉

      As I’ve mentioned to you before, in order to have a pseudo-productive conversation with Fundy-Evangy Christians or apologists, one must be able to talk THEIR language inside THEIR cognitive constructs/theology in order to have any chance of assisting them with the mess that is their New Testament — e.g. just the chronological order of the components of the NT and the gaps (several LARGE gaps!) in time-spans reveals a different narration of events and the context surrounding them! That’s paramount for any hope of cleaning the thick gloss off their reading glasses.

      You’re spot on about WHO was Saul/Paul. The only source is indeed the NT and that cannot be considered a fair and independent lens in the least! But again, as we’ve talked about, I’m doing this series to demonstrate exactly what you’re pointing out: Saul is an apostate. When we closely examine (as is possible) the Jewish-Essene Jesus character within his proper correct Jewish Sectarian Second Temple Messianism context inside the Hellenic Roman Empire, it’s a much different picture all together; for example, the Tannaitic teachings he most certainly utilized, but are LOST over 400-years in Hellenistic Patristic revisions, mistranslations, and naive editing.

      Hahaha! The rest of your comment is good. 😉 Btw, I am including Marcion (finally, right? 😛 ) in Part IV as you requested earlier Sir. Those 400-years of bickering about the nature and purpose of Saul’s/Paul’s Christ and Christology within Jesus’ inescapable Jewish Sectarianism (i.e. Essene, Ebionite(?) traits) and Second Temple Messianism was a metaphorical marriage that was DOOMED from the start! It’s a disaster, isn’t it? A complete cluster-truck, huh? 😄

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t wait for part IV!!! Sounds really fascinating to intertwine the fields of history and psychology, to untangle Saul’s motives! I would think, in a world that did not understand such conditions, other than spiritual obsession, Saul would have felt very isolated once he realized no one around him experienced what he did. Maybe his teachings reflected a need to protect the ego, in that it’s not a curse, but a blessing! “I am like another prophet or something….” I wish I knew more Ancient Greek so I knew what was actually said instead of the faulty translations…. On a tangent: One thing I can’t stand is when Christians vilify the Romans, but without the might of Rome, Christianity would probably still be some footnote in a history book, as some obscure Near Eastern mysticism!!! 😉
    https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a great analysis LoR. Had Saul tried to continue preaching from his own seizures of “divine revelations” — which btw, still go on to this day by people around the world — to the Jews, he’d likely been brushed aside and the Roman Empire would’ve backed Mithraism. Then Saul, Jesus, his Movement, etc, would’ve faded quietly into little known or unknown history. The majority of modern Faith-followers simply have no clue the massive impact and influence the Roman Empire was and has been on Western civilization. And it has nothing to do with their Hellenistic gods or Saul’s “Christ.”

      Thank you for your thoughts LoR!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed!!! When Rome adopted Christianity, so did the West 🙂 Christians are very ungrateful for that and vilify Romans as anti-Christ persecutors, whereas actual persecutions were rare, and the “martyrs” literally had to scream to the word, “I’M CHRISTIAN, PERSECUTE ME…” so they could get sympathy! And this was written down by biased Christian authors long after the alleged events!
        https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/

        Liked by 2 people

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

  4. Not much to add here, just too busy holding my kayak steady in the middle of the whirlpool. I’ll say this, that years ago when I broke ranks with evangelical Christianity, it wasn’t just because of their truly bad choices in politics, but because I had come to strongly suspect that Paul of Tarsus was, in my own words, a false prophet and false apostle, and this conclusion based strictly on the reading of the New Testament, no “bad influence” from those “twisted, nasty, satanic atheists” out there. So it’s been with sharp interest, no yawning, that I read the above. I sez to meself, I sez, begorrah, but I was right. Thanks a million for that Prof.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh goodness Sha’Tara. What a very nice comment and compliment! Thank you. ❤

      But ST, I have to be honest… my logic and forensic investigating here about the NT's two main characters/caricatures — in light of chronological order & orderly history! — in light of what I absolutely know about the Roman Empire and their sociopolitical tactics, not to mention their unprecedented military might, comes down to this…

      If your biggest two characters of the entire foundation of your ideology/religion was first a Jewish-Sectarian (Essene) misunderstood or ambiguously misidentified as the "Messiah" steeped DEEP inside Second Temple Judaism/Sectarianism (Yeshua/Jesus), and your second main character is a rejected Hellenistic Mystic by his own people, THEN too by Jesus' own immediate students/disciples… umm, I don't know… shouldn't one get a much better understanding — as long as it might take! — of WHAT exactly was going on in Second Temple Judaism/Messianism (167 BCE – 70 CE) all within the rich context we DO KNOW about the Roman Empire during those exact centuries, even Syro-Palestina!? You do the homework! You do the legwork no matter how difficult, how long it takes! I don't see how any of this is rocket-science! And I'm simply sharing many biblical and historical scholars’ findings, theories, and most plausible conclusions! All of this is completely aside from and any of my own personal experiences of 11+ years in the Fundy-Evangy life, ministry, missions, and seminary!

      Anyway, thank you so much ST for your feedback. Please feel free to continue. 🙂

      Like

      • Thanks, Prof! But…but…didn’t you get the impression while you were sloshing around in the washing machine that none of those being washed by the blood of the lamb were the least bit interested in the history that led to where they found themselves? Another reason I left: no mental stimulation, just masturbation.

        Liked by 2 people

        • It is indeed proven in many medical university studies around the world that humans have a basic instinct for frequent “relief” and “happy ecstatic hope” via their dopamine triggers and releases. That chemical-neurological addiction definitely supersedes ANY amount of facts, reality, or confirmed history. As they often say in the business of criminal law…

          It isn’t what you know to be true, it is what you can prove in court to the jurors.

          F. Lee Bailey and Johnny Cochran proved that perfectly with their client O.J. Simpson. 😦

          Liked by 2 people

  5. the Roman Empire would’ve backed Mithraism — a Persian god derived from the Persian and Indic god Mithra and other Zoroastrian deities. (Have you written anywhere about the Zoroastrian religion?)

    As you know, PT, and as I pointed out in my book, Paul believed he had been instructed to reach out to the Gentiles, who (obviously) had no use for the Jewish Torah or Yeshua, the Jewish preacher. So what did he do? He abolished the Torah and began promoting the “Mystery Religions,” which were so prominent among the Gentiles, and replaced their “dying-rising” saviors (which included Mithra) with his new-found “Christ.” (Guess who “the Gentiles” worship today?)

    Of course, as you’ve pointed out in your series thus far, it’s considerably more complicated than this. But essentially, as I’ve said many times before, today’s “Christianity” is simply a synonym for “Paulinity.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 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! 🤩😜

    Like

    • Went over and browsed, decided not to comment. Too religiously erudite for me! I’m not about to enter into deep religious studies just to prove or disprove some little points of doctrine. I’m also very leery of people who push the love concept from a religious perspective! Three things I don’t do: faith, hope and love. All three have proven to be quicksand which swallow up the unaware so they don’t know they’ve been had and all they have left is try to suck others down with them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ST, thank you for jumping over there. 😉 I sometimes get heckled for not having any theists or Christians comment here — when in reality there has been over the last 3-4 years — but as is the case (with exceptions) many people simply do not want to cross partisan lines. Their reasons are many, probably the most popular reason I hear/read is just how uncivil and childish your “opponent(s)” become. And that’s valid, but for the sake of constructive discourse on HISTORICAL topics (many proven accurate or factual), the gold-nuggets gets lost in the quagmire of human sensitivities. LOL 🙄🤭 That’s very unfortunate to me.

        Again, thanks for hopping over there. 🙂

        Like

        • Oh, you’re welcome! Usually by reading comments on a blog, and the blog owner’s responses, I can determine whether there would be any point stepping into the discussion and unless that is clearly a possibility, time is a precious commodity I can’t afford to waste, especially travelling over grounds I passed through years ago. Most often I am just a ghost passing through different blogs…

          Liked by 1 person

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

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