Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Search for the Historical Paul by John Dominic Crossan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txdUXCY0clU

The Search for the Historical Paul - John Dominic Crossan


John Dominic Crossan, the eminent historical Jesus scholar, and Jonathan L. Reed, an expert in biblical archaeology, reveal through archaeology and textual scholarship that Paul, like Jesus, focused on championing the Kingdom of God----a realm of justice and equality----against the dominant, worldly powers of the Roman empire.

 Many theories exist about who Paul was, what he believed, and what role he played in the origins of Christianity. Using archaeological and textual evidence, and taking advantage of recent major discoveries in Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Syria, Crossan and Reed show that Paul was a fallible but dedicated successor to Jesus, carrying on Jesus's mission of inaugurating the Kingdom of God on earth in opposition to the reign of Rome. Against the concrete backdrop of first--century Grego--Roman and Jewish life, In Search of Paul reveals the work of Paul as never before, showing how and why the liberating messages and practices of equality, caring for the poor, and a just society under God's rules, not Rome's, were so appealing. 

Why 10 scrolls when Christianity's New Testament attributes 13 letters to the apostle Paul: letters to communities such as the Romans, Corinthians (twice), Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians (twice) and to individuals such as Timothy (twice), Titus and Philemon. 

There is, however, a massive consensus in modern scholarship that those three letters to Timothy and Titus were written in Paul's name but long after his death. It would seen, then, that around 1265 a Byzantine artist at Sopo─çani already accepted that viewpoint -- hence, only 10 scrolls for 10 letters.

There is also a strong (but not massive) consensus among much of modern scholarship that a further three of those 10 letters were not written by Paul. In other words, we have seven letters certainly from the historical Paul (Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon), three others probably not from him (Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians) and a final three certainly not from him (1-2 Timothy, Titus). 

Those are all, of course, historical conclusions and not dogmatic presumptions. Paul of the authentic seven letters (Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon) is slowly but steadily morphed into the conservative Paul of the probably inauthentic threesome (Ephesians Colossians, 2 Thessalonians) and finally into the reactionary Paul of those certainly inauthentic ones (1-2 Timothy, Titus). 

In other words, the radical Paul is being deradicalized, sanitized and Romanized. His radical views on, for example, slavery and patriarchy, are being retrofitted into Roman cultural expectations and Roman social presuppositions. 

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