Friday, December 25, 2009

"The Paul Paradox" (from Willie Martin Archive)

Lengthy article, but includes much good info:

The Paul Paradox

Those who study the New Testament may well note that popular ‘red‑letter’ editions of the text, with Christ's words thus highlighted, contain virtually no such rubrics thruout the Epistles of Paul. With the sole exception of the eucharistic formula at I‑Corinthians 11:24‑25, he does not quote any sayings of the historical Yeashúa/Jesus, either as found in the written Gospels or from a contemporaneous oral tradition.

Indeed furthermore, he never even once alludes to the panorama of the Savior's biography, from the Nativity up to the Passion, which fills the pages of the first four books of the New Testament. This is, on the face of it, a most puzzling omission. (¹although, astonishingly, at Acts 13:24‑25 he does quote John the Baptist!; Acts 20:35, on the other hand, is actually a citation from Thucidides'/

Peloponnesian War, while Ac 26:14 is in fact a line from Euripides' Bacchae!)

Beyond this remarkable lack of historical concern, however, there is an even more enigmatic aspect of Paul's record in the New Testament. For an objective, philosophical reading of the documents would seem to reveal a number of logical contradictions, both within his biography and also between his theology and that of the Evangelists. It must be emphasized that these anomalies are conceptual rather than empirical in nature.


Here then is the matrix of antinomies, along with a brief statement of the apparent logical contradiction in each case (the original Greek should always be checked, at least via Adolph Knoch's superlative interlinear [Biblio.#17, above], as modern translations often blur these very discrepancies):

· 1. Acts 9:7 Acts 22:9

In the propositional calculus of modern logic, ‘p & not‑q’ is the truth‑functional negation of ‘q & not‑p’. Thus ‘they heard but did not see’ directly contradicts ‘they saw but did not hear’. Yet this famous event on the Damascus road was the sole original justification for Paul's supposed commission in independence of Peter/Kefa and the other Apostles.

· 2. Acts 9:26‑29 Galatians 1:17‑2:1

Did Paul then travel immediately; or seventeen years later! from Damascus to Jerusalem in order to meet with the entire Apostolic circle?

· 3. Mathewt 22:41‑45 Romans 1:3

Paul asserts that Christ is descended from David, which Christ himself in the Gospels explicitly denies (the synoptic genealogies merely providing the OT background to this transcending self‑assertion).

· 4. Luke 2:49, 19:45‑46 Acts 17:24

The Gospels endorse the OT designation of the Temple in Jerusalem as the very House of the LORD. Paul nevertheless proclaims to the Athenians that God inhabits no sanctuary made by human hands.

· 5. Acts 1:15 I‑Corinthians 15:6

How can Christ have appeared to over 500 Brothers at a time (prior to the ascension) when the entire Discipleship numbered only 120?

· 6. Matthew 10:2&40, 16:15‑19 Galatians 2:11‑13

The explicit designation of Simon Peter as the foremost Apostle, with all the delegated authority of the Lord himself, logically precludes any other Disciple or Apostle opposing him ‘to his face’ and (worse yet) calling him a hypocrite.

· 7. Matthew 28:16‑20; Acts 10:1‑11:18, 15:7‑8 & 13‑18 Galatians 2:6‑9

The Gospel doctrine is clearly that, after the resurrection, the remaining eleven Apostles were sent forth to proclaim the good news to the whole world. Paul nevertheless claims to be the one and only Apostle to the gentiles (‘the’ Apostle as he is often called), while Peter and the others according to this view were to be restricted to evangelizing among the Jews.

· 8. Matthew 5:48; Lk 1:6; John 1:14, 6:53‑56 Romans 8:8

The incarnation of the Logos, and also the injunction to be perfect, entail that those who are in the flesh can indeed please God.

· 9. Luke 24:36‑43; John 11:43‑44, 20:27; Acts 1:9‑11; Phippians 25 I‑Corinthians 15:50

The evangelists proclaim an incarnate resurrection and parousia (second coming), whereas Paul on the contrary takes an anti‑corporeal, frankly gnostic position.

· 10. Luke 4:5‑8; John 18:36, 19:18; Acts 4:26 (Psalm 2:2) Romans 13:1‑5

The celestial kingdom is described in the Gospels as of another order from the entire realm of the nations, which are ruled by Satan and whereby Christ was crucified. On the other hand, the secular authorities with all their weaponry (including Mark 15:16 ff.??) are stated by Paul to be God's own army.

· 11. Matthew 22:21 Acts 25:11

Christ cedes taxes to Caesar, Paul cedes his personal security to him (Nero, no less!).

· 12. Deuteronomy 23:15‑16; Matthew 23:10‑12; John 8:31‑36 Colossians 4:1; I‑Timothy 6:1‑2; Philemons 10‑19

The re‑conceptualization in the Gospels promises to emancipate the believers from oppressive relationships, while Paul literally endorses slavery within the Discipleship.

· 13. Matthew 12:46‑50, 23:8‑9; Luke 14:25‑26; John 1:12‑13, 3:1‑8, 11:52 Colossians 3:18‑21; I‑Timothy 5:8

Christ teaches that family ties are to be renounced in favor of; that is, replaced by, the Father/Motherhood of God together with the Brother/Sisterhood of their incarnate Sons and Daughters, whereas Paul adamantly defends the traditional family structure.

· 14. Matthew 19:10‑12; Luke 14:20‑26, 18:28‑30, 20:34‑36; Philippians 64! I‑Corinthans 7:2‑16 & 9:5(?!); Ephesians 5:22‑24; I‑Timothy 3:1‑4:3

The Gospels stipulate that those worthy of salvation must transcend matrimony (note that Luke 18:28‑30 occurs after Luke 4:38‑39); after all, according to Genesis 3:16, monandry was Eve's punishment for disobedience! Paul notwithstanding permits a continuation of marriage among the Disciples.

· 15. Numbers 6:5; Leviticus 19:27; Matthew 2:23 (Judges 13:5); Tr 21 I‑Corinthians 11:14

The Hebrew tradition was that long hair on male or female is a sign of holiness and special devotion to God. Indeed the word at Mt 2:23 is NAZWRAIOS (the LXX or Septuagint term for Nazirite), not NAZARHNOS (i.e. someone from Nazareth). Were not John the Baptist and Christ both thus consecrated from birth?

· 16. Matthew 6:24‑34, 10:8; Mark 10:13‑31; Luke 14:28‑33; Acts 4:32‑36 Acts 18:1‑3; I‑Corinthians 11:34; II‑Thessalonians 3:6‑12

Christ decrees a cessation of working for mammon, donating all private possessions to the poor, and following thereafter a lifestyle both communal and itinerant; childlike and without anxiety day‑to‑day like the birds and the flowers, with all shared possessions being distributed equitably among those who have need, thus lifting the curse of toil from mankind (Gensis 3:17‑19). Paul's advice, on the contrary, is to ‘eat at home’ and avoid idlers, who must either work or go hungry.

· 17. Mark 7:14‑23; Luke 7:34 Romans 14:21; I‑Corinthians 8:13

Either we ought, or we ought not, to maintain some particular diet for religious reasons. Yet Paul agrees with neither the OT's dietary rules (kashrut) nor the Savior's remarkable midrash (commentary) thereupon.

`· 18. Matthew 12:19 (Isaiah 42:2); Luke 10:7 Acts 17:16‑34, 20:20

Paul preActshes house‑to‑house, as well as in the streets and squares— contrary to Christ's paradigm.

· 19. Matthew 6:5‑6 I‑Timothy 2:8

Paul demands the very same outspoken prayer which Christ condemns as exhibitionist; the Savior states that one should only pray in solitude and in secret, never openly.

· 20. Matthew 18:1‑4; Mark 9:33‑35; Luke 14:7‑11 II‑Corinthians 11:5‑12:13

Paul's recounting of his travels is insubordinately boastful and rivalrous; rather than humble, respectful and obedient, toward those who preceded him in the Discipleship.

· 21. Matthew 5:43‑48, 7:1‑5, 9:10‑13, 18:21‑35; John 8:2‑11 I‑Corinthians 5; Galatians 5:12; Tit 3:10‑11

The Gospel attitude toward wrongdoers is merciful, yet Paul's is frankly inquisitional. Is ‘turning someone over to Satan for the extermination of the flesh’ intended to mean delivering him to the secular authorities for execution (as in John 19:17‑18)? Are we to love our enemies or condemn and castigate them?

· 22. Matthew 23:8‑12 Acts 20:28; I‑Corinthians 4:15; I‑Timothy 3:1‑13

Paul introduces the terms ‘father’ and ‘deacon’ and ‘bishop’ to designate religious leaders— the very sort of title (along with ‘pastor,’ ‘minister,’ etc.) which Christ had explicitly prohibited. Indeed, the passage in Matthew would seem to preclude any kind of hierarchy in the Discipleship other than simple seniority (thus PRESBUTEROS, ‘elder’, in Acts 21:18, Jasher 5:14, I‑Peter 5:1, II‑John 1) by which criterion Paul was obliged to submit to the original Apostles, quite contrary to II‑Corinthans 11:5 & Galatians 2:6.

· 23. Gen 17:10; Luke 2:21 Acts 16:3(?!); Galathians 5:2; Phlpenas 3:2; Titus 1:10‑11

Saying that it is necessary ‘to gag (EPISTOMIZEIN) circumcisionist dogs’ is conceptually inappropriate in an Apostolic context. In any event, even if Christ referred to that custom parabolically; as in Th 53, he certainly did not forbid its physical practice.

· 24. Luke 11:27‑28; John 4:1‑30, 11:20‑35, 20:11‑18; Th 21 I‑Corinthians 14:34‑35; I‑Timothy 2:11‑15

Various women speak up boldly to the Savior. Later, Mariam Magdalene as first witness (!) of the resurrection is sent by Christ to ‘angel’ (AGGELLW: p66* )* A B) his rising to the Apostles themselves. This is not a teaching of mere female submissiveness or keeping quiet in the Convocation!

· 25. Luke 7:36‑8:3, 10:38‑42, 23:55‑24:11; John 12:1‑3; Th 61b, 114; Phillipians 59 I‑Corinthians 7:1‑2; Ephesians 5:22‑24

The Gospels represent women as an intimate part of Christ's entourage; thus rescinding the punishment of husband‑domination in Genesis 3:16. Paul emphatically opposes any liberated role for females.

· 26. Matthew 3:11‑17, 28:19‑20; Philippians 73, 96, 115(!) Romans 6:3‑4; Colossians 2:12

The Gospels endorse John's Baptism in water as signifying repentance and cleansing vis‑à‑vis the Torah, and which furthermore is explicitly to be undertaken ‘in the Name’. Paul, however, sees Baptism as a metaphorical or participatory dying!

· 27. Luke 23:43; John 5:24, 8:51; Th 1, 18, 19, 111; Ph 43 I‑Thessalonias 4:16‑17

Christ teaches that his Disciples will not experience death, regardless of martyrdom, whereas Paul writes of ‘the dead in Christ.’

· 28. Matthew 5:17‑19, 19:16‑19; Luke 16:29‑31; Acts 21:17‑24(!!); 4QMT:C.26b‑31 Romans 7:6; Galatians 3:10, 5:18

If the entire Torah; the decalogue in particular, but also the remaining mitzvot(moral rules) such as Leviticus 19:18 et passim, is in effect until the sky and earth pass away, then the Mosaic Law is not an obsolete curse from which believers are absolved. This was the very topic at issue when, after Paul had completed his three missionary journeys, ‘all of the Elders’ (!) in Jerusalem required him to take the Nazirite vow, to prove his continuing adherence to the Law of Moses. (‘The works of the Torah...will be reckoned to you as righteousness’; from the Dead Sea Scrolls)

· 29. Matthew 7:21, 11:2‑6!, 19:16‑19, 25:31‑46; John 13:34!, 14:21, 15:10; Jasher 2:14‑26 Romans 3:28, 10:9; I‑Corintians 15:35‑44

Christ says that one's calling him ‘Lord’ is not enough, but rather that the Disciple's total obedience is demanded; both the OT and the Gospels require obedience to a plenitude of divine commandments, with resultant fruitful deeds. Indeed, it was precisely by his works; and not merely by his faith, that Christ proved his own authority to John the Baptist! Paul on the other hand states that a simple confession of faith, along with a belief in Christ's (merely spiritual, not corporeal) resurrection, suffices, a thoroughly antinomian doctrine. (This subject must be carefully distinguished from that of forgiveness; both among humans and between God and humankind, as a pre‑eminently innovative tenet in the Gospels. For of course absolution logically presupposes a transgression of the rules, not their abrogation; compare e.g. Ezekiel 18 with Matthew 6:14‑15.)

· 30. Genesis 49; Judges 2:16 ff.; Matthew 19:28; Acts 1:13‑26; Revelation/Ap 2:2, 21:14 I‑Corinthians 9:1‑2; II‑Corinthians 11:5‑13

Finally, we must observe the fact that the permanent tally of the Apostles was established by the Savior at exactly twelve (for obvious reasons of historical symbolism; note the symmetry at Revelation/Ap 21:12‑14), and moreover that Paul was never numbered in that circle (see also the Epistle of Barnabas 8:3).

1 comment:

  1. hmm i agree! also do a word search using a strong's concordance and an old king james version. paul constantly mis quotes scripture. there are lots of examples but here's one: galatians 3:11 paul wrongly quotes from the old testament- The just shall live by faith. there are two references to faith in the old testament. where he got this one from is Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.(paul). Follow Jesus and his commandments only: forgive and you will be forgiven, judge not and you will not be judged etc... read matthew 5,6 and 7 .