Jump to content

First Paul All Chapters 1 Thru 7


murmsk
 Share

Recommended Posts

I received my book today ..... Is everyone ready?

 

There are 7 chapters so if we read a chapter a week we can get through the book in just under 2 months.

 

Post your comments and questions for chapter 1 here.

 

steve

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Steve,

 

thanks for hosting this group. I really liked the first chapter. Borg is so good about providing historical / cultural context.

 

Something Id forgotten the Damascus vision was not Pauls only experience of the risen Christ. When he refers to himself in 2 Corinthians as the person who was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told its so mysterious, intriguing. Any guesses on what he supposedly heard?

 

I didnt realize Paul was just a few years younger than Jesus.

I didnt recall that his birthplace Tarsus was in the diaspora, Asia Minor, outside the Jewish homeland.

Another surprise for me was that Protestants and Catholics see Paul through different lensesI guess for Catholics, Paul is less influential than Peter, though Im not sure how that manifests -- would like to have seen more about that.

 

It helps that Borg points out the parallel, and contrast, between Caesar and Jesus. Roman rule was legitimized by an imperial theology that proclaimed the emperor was the Son of God, Lord, Savior of the World, who brought peace on earth. So Pauls proclamation of Jesus is Lord was a direct contradiction of that-- a challenge to imperialism and violence as the natural order. The fact that Roman emperors claimed divinity for themselves explains more fully why Jesus popularity was considered a threat to that status.

Edited by rivanna
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a gay man and a former fundamentalist Christian, I have mixed feelings about Paul. I hate that Paul's teachings have been used to promote homophobia, the banning of LGBT rights, sexism, and Paul's teachings have even been used to promote slavery in the past. On the other hand, if you look past the literal reading and understand which teachings of Paul are authentic and which ones are later writings written in Paul's name, Paul's writings still have a lot of powerful inspiration. I like Paul's emphasis on grace and that only the grace of God can save you and salvation can't be earned so we shouldn't worry about trying to be perfect. Unfortunately, many Christians will twist Paul's teachings and turn faith into a work that you have to earn by believing the correct doctrines. I also like Paul's passages in Romans about how you shouldn't judge others and Paul's famous love chapter is still one of my favorite passages in the bible. I also think the authentic Paul was more ahead of his time in regards to feminism and equal treatment of women than what many PCs sometimes give him credit for. Does anyone else feel like the literal Paul is over-emphasized in fundamentalist churches but the historical Paul is under-emphasized in liberal theological circles? I know that when I first deconverted from Christianity I hated Paul and I held him responsible for much of the problems with religion today but this book changed the way I see Paul and I see him in a more positive light now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi everybody. Just finished reading chapter 1. It seems like it will be a very interesting and well-written book (of course I have come to expect that from Borg and Crossan). Ch.1 presents many interesting things to consider. One thing that struck me was the idea that the pseudepigraphic letters represent a (perhaps deliberate) 'taming' of the authentic, radical Paul.

 

Now, it should come as a surprise it no one, that I appreciate Borg/Crossan's emphasis on Paul as mystic - or 'Jewish-Christ-mystic', because in my own life that has served to be the best foundation for my Christian practice. Paul's language is undeniably mystical, emphasizing union, participation, and identity in Christ.

 

I think we're all very familiar with Paul the thinker or theologian, the content of whose theology was 'primarily about a set of ideas that need to be systematized and explained', as Borg/Crossan put it. But perhaps this image does not do justice to Paul, nor to the content of his faith. Admittedly, if it were all about ideas, there would be little practical use for Paul in my life.

 

The Buddha is mentioned in conjunction with Paul's 'enlightenment' on Damascus road, which I can also appreciate. I am drawn to Ephesians, which, if really written by Paul, would only make the analogy stronger. A few months ago I was reading Ephesians, and having not read it for quite a long time, I was immediately surprised by the content of chapter 4, which makes explicit the need to leave behind the false self and put on Christ as the new identity.

 

22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

 

The passage seems to culminate in a verse in 5:14:

"Wake up, O sleeper,

rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you."

 

Something like this could easily be found in a Sutra. The Protestant mind, I feel, is prone to look at this as mere metaphor. But if we see something stronger than that here - mystical awakening and union - we can say that mystical awareness has a definite place in Christianity very early on, because the church is the body of Christ, whose 'awakening' or 'rising from the dead' can truly be taken to mean that the Church is the resurrection of Christ.

 

Borg/Crossan also mention that some Christians will tend to dismiss Paul on the grounds that he set aside the religion 'of' Jesus in order to establish a religion 'about' him. There is probably some merit to that. But really, if it's the religion 'of' Jesus that one wants, then one needs to look to Judaism. Totally nothing wrong with that, but it is interesting that that is not where people usually go with that kind of thinking. Whether you claim that Jesus is God or Jesus is simply 'teacher', or whatever, if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, in the sense that Jesus is at the center, then your religion is 'about' Jesus. And Christianity, most certainly, is 'about' Jesus. By introducing the notion of being 'in Christ', one has gone beyond the religion 'of' Jesus and accepted a religious path that is about him, albeit in a more mystical sense of the post-Easter Jesus, the Jesus who is a 'living reality' (a term I was delighted to see Borg use) in the Spirit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

I think we're all very familiar with Paul the thinker or theologian, the content of whose theology was 'primarily about a set of ideas that need to be systematized and explained', as Borg/Crossan put it. But perhaps this image does not do justice to Paul, nor to the content of his faith. Admittedly, if it were all about ideas, there would be little practical use for Paul in my life.

 

The Buddha is mentioned in conjunction with Paul's 'enlightenment' on Damascus road, which I can also appreciate. I am drawn to Ephesians, which, if really written by Paul, would only make the analogy stronger. A few months ago I was reading Ephesians, and having not read it for quite a long time, I was immediately surprised by the content of chapter 4, which makes explicit the need to leave behind the false self and put on Christ as the new identity.

I'm also reminded of what Philippians 3:8-12 says
More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ,* the righteousness from God based on faith. 10I want to know Christ* and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

 

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;* but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

 

 

 

 

Borg/Crossan also mention that some Christians will tend to dismiss Paul on the grounds that he set aside the religion 'of' Jesus in order to establish a religion 'about' him. There is probably some merit to that. But really, if it's the religion 'of' Jesus that one wants, then one needs to look to Judaism. Totally nothing wrong with that, but it is interesting that that is not where people usually go with that kind of thinking. Whether you claim that Jesus is God or Jesus is simply 'teacher', or whatever, if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, in the sense that Jesus is at the center, then your religion is 'about' Jesus. And Christianity, most certainly, is 'about' Jesus. By introducing the notion of being 'in Christ', one has gone beyond the religion 'of' Jesus and accepted a religious path that is about him, albeit in a more mystical sense of the post-Easter Jesus, the Jesus who is a 'living reality' (a term I was delighted to see Borg use) in the Spirit.

I think what they're referring to here is some liberal Christians will see themselves as followers of Jesus rather than followers of Paul. Because of the way Paul has been used by some Christians to justify homophobia and sexism, they see Paul as being a dogmatic distortion of Jesus' teachings and see all the problems with dogmatism in religion as the result of Paul's teachings. I can understand why many liberal Christians feel uncomfortable with Paul because of the bad rap he gets from his association with Christian extremism and I think some of these Christians may still be somewhat influenced by literalism. What I mean is they may have accepted the bible is not the inerrant word of God and will accept some passages in the bible as symbolic, but they might still look at Paul negatively because they're still reading letters like the Pastoral epistles as being literal writings of Paul. Some other Christians who accept Paul may still believe he wrote the Pastoral epistles but that the passages about women being silent were culturally relative and I have to admit that when I left fundamentalism, I found those arguments unpersuasive. But that's why I think books like Borg's and Crossan's are important to raise awareness that not everything attributed to Paul in the NT is written by him and if we understand which of his writings are authentic, we can arrive at a more powerful and inspiring vision of Paul than the literal reading gave us, if I'm making sense here. I also think that if we're going to live our lives as being radically transformed by grace we should also be willing to forgive the biblical authors for their own shortcomings and accept Paul for who he is as a product of his time that still has a lot to teach us. I think so many times we see the biblical authors as the ones giving us grace that we forget the biblical authors were in need of forgiveness from us as well. Edited by Neon Genesis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have just started the chapter as I am a slooooo reader so my ideas at this point are more expectations.

 

I have really struggled with Paul over the years. On the one hand his importance can't be denied. On the other hand the inconsistencies are so dramatic and often contradict the teachings of Jesus. He touts grace and then condemns homosexuals, woman and slaves..... WHAT GIVES??? I have explained to my self that there must have been deeper meaning that we don't know.We are after all only hearing one side of the conversation. I then consider the number of times I have told my childern something like "if you hang out with those people.. you will waste your life away" Taken out of context you might think I have a prejudice against "those people" when in reality it is a specific comment about a specific situation. We have no way of knowing the specific situation. Imagine if your life as a parent is summed up by only what you wrote in a hand full of letters as responses to situations that came up in college ?

 

There also is the problem that many of the books were not written by Paul. How does this change things? As I understand it Paul lived as a Jew before the divorce while some of the letters not written by him were written after the divorce. So some were written by a Jew some by a Christian. How does this our view of things??

 

steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Does anyone else feel like the literal Paul is over-emphasized in fundamentalist churches but the historical Paul is under-emphasized in liberal theological circles?"

 

NG Yes I do on the first part. I think groups use what ever is available to justify what they know in their heart to be wrong. I feel like prejudice is a hard wired character flaw of all humans and it takes effort from even the best of people to recognize and combat it. Fundamental churches have done a particularly poor job of this.

 

I also agree that historic viewing of the bible not just Paul needs to be emphasized much more. It is under-emphasized for several reasons.

 

First the historic viewpoint movement is fairly young. Most people have been brought up being taught a much more literal view and only after they struggle with the inconsistencies do they begin to look for something deeper. I understand that it is taught in seminary but most ministers are afraid to stir things too much. It has been slow going.

 

Second I think the more open minded of us tend to shy away from controversy. How many here choose not to attend a church regularly?

 

steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Steve,

 

Taken out of context you might think I have a prejudice against "those people" when in reality it is a specific comment about a specific situation. We have no way of knowing the specific situation.

 

I think the most humbling thing about this, is that in reality all we really have are specific contexts, especially on social matters. The only universals we have are those which are the least specific - like the truism that we must make the 'best' or the 'most virtuous' choice in any given situation, or we must try to life a/the good life. The fact that we can think in such terms says a lot about the power of thought, but not much as to what that means to specific situations.

 

Imagine if your life as a parent is summed up by only what you wrote in a hand full of letters as responses to situations that came up in college ?

 

You illustrate a very good point here - it is one that Borg/Crossan gets across by saying 'When we read Paul, we are reading somebody else's mail'. Clearly, the full content of Paul's thought, much less the full content of what it means to be Christian, can't be exhausted by reading a few letters penned for specific reasons. Not acknowledging the weight of this fact leads to many kinds of generalizations which are just not justified - for here we are two thousand years removed from this time period, in a world Paul could not have imagined, debating whether women should be ordained or whatever, all based on a few passages in a few letters - and that, assuming the letters are authentic.

 

Hi Neon,

 

I think what they're referring to here is some liberal Christians will see themselves as followers of Jesus rather than followers of Paul.

 

I see your point. I can see why some Christians would want to set Paul aside and instead focus on Jesus. With the emphasis that Paul has received over the millennia, and especially in Protestant Christianity, I can see why it could be seen as 'following Paul' rather than 'following Jesus'. I too dislike mistaking Paul for Christianity.

 

But the specific passage I had in mind in ch1 was this:

 

'Beyond these passages, some see Paul not simply as being wrong about specific issues in specific verses, but as the "spoiler" who pervasively distorted the message of Jesus. Several books, some written by scholars, argue that Paul changed the teaching and message of Jesus into a set of abstract doctrines about Jesus, and thus transformed the religion of Jesus into a religion about Jesus. For these, Paul was wrong not just in a few passages, but comprehensively.'

 

To me it seems that Paul is not responsible for Christianity being Christian - that is, 'about' Jesus. I think Christianity is intrinsically about Jesus, not just his teachings or message but about Jesus himself.

 

I also think the authentic Paul was more ahead of his time in regards to feminism and equal treatment of women than what many PCs sometimes give him credit for. Does anyone else feel like the literal Paul is over-emphasized in fundamentalist churches but the historical Paul is under-emphasized in liberal theological circles?

 

I don't have broad enough experience with liberal circles to answer definitively, but it seems probable that many do not give the historical Paul so much emphasis. Perhaps because people are often turned off by him. Perhaps that's a trend that's changing with voices like Borg and Crossan.

 

 

Hi Karen,

 

Something I’d forgotten – the Damascus vision was not Paul’s only experience of the risen Christ. When he refers to himself in 2 Corinthians as the person who was “caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told” it’s so mysterious, intriguing. Any guesses on what he supposedly heard?

 

Borg and Crossan seem to take this as not being something that could be communicated by words 'in principle'. If you take it this way, as a visionary experience or whatever, then perhaps there is no way to describe what Paul experienced except by first hand experience. It seems likely to me that this is what he meant because, as the book points out, it is difficult to think that Paul would have kept any 'secret information' to himself, that is, knowledge that could be communicated via propositions/language.

 

What exactly his experiences of who/what he identified as the risen Christ were like, are perhaps is beyond the veil of words and belongs to him. I don't think it is something exclusive to him, however, as visions are not so very uncommon. I've never had one, but some people do. Fundamentally I believe we all have access to the same risen Christ - the same Spirit, that Paul encountered on the road to Damascus. Paul does describe that vision as consisting of light, voice - the awareness of someone divine. You are right, it is striking to think that Paul had more experiences like this.

 

 

 

Peace to all,

Mike

Edited by Mike
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

I have really struggled with Paul over the years. On the one hand his importance can't be denied. On the other hand the inconsistencies are so dramatic and often contradict the teachings of Jesus. He touts grace and then condemns homosexuals, woman and slaves..... WHAT GIVES???

On the subject of homosexuality, I've heard alternative interpretations that the passages where Paul condemns homosexuality in our modern English bibles are mistranslated. Like one argument is that the passage in Romans is really condemning temple prostitution in pagan rituals rather than committed same-sex relationships. And the Greek word Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 6:9 which usually gets translated as homosexual is a word Paul made up and isn't really used anywhere else in the Greek language, so no one really knows what it actually means. I'm not an expert on the Greek language or Greek culture, but you might be interested in this site which explores some of these alternative interpretations: http://truthsetsfree.net/bible.htm Edited by Neon Genesis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve,

I’m a little confused by your referring to Paul’s “divorce” - ? Paul did not convert from one religion to another -- Christianity was not separate from Judaism. “Paul’s was a conversion within a tradition: from being a Pharisaic Jew to being a Christian Jew.” As I understand it, the real split was away from the Roman imperialist value system.

 

Mike,

I agree, the emphasis on Paul as mystic is essential. People tend to think of him as generating alot of systematic theology, but his personal experience of Jesus was primary. And thanks for your thoughts on that vision passage, makes sense to me.

 

Neon,

I think Paul’s alleged negativity toward homosexuality was only against the pederasty and other abusive practices that were common in the Graeco-Roman world of that time. I feel certain he would have had no problem with the loving egalitarian relationships between gays that exist now.

Edited by rivanna
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I’m a little confused by your referring to Paul’s “divorce”"

 

I am referring to when Christianity became a "religion" rather than a Jewish sect. Most think this happened in the last third of the first century after the synoptics were written but before John.

 

steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve,

 

thanks for clarifying that...I was vaguely recalling the Council of Nicea in 325 when Christianity was officially declared a distinct religion, but (had to look this up) apparently it was 85 CE when Christians were first banned from synagogues and were considered a separate sect. So like you say, the later letters not written by Paul may have been by Christians not Jews in that sense.

 

Maybe another explanation for the different advice in the early and later letters, was the realization that the world was not coming to an end there was less sense of urgency and more of a need to accommodate themselves to the social customs of the time. Sort of backsliding away from the radical changes that Jesus exemplifiedencouraging the group to cooperate with authorities, etc.

Edited by rivanna
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe another explanation for the different advice in the early and later letters, was the realization that the world was not coming to an end – there was less sense of urgency and more of a need to accommodate themselves to the social customs of the time. Sort of backsliding away from the radical changes that Jesus exemplified—encouraging the group to cooperate with authorities, etc.

 

Karen,

 

You make a great point here; it hadn't occurred to me. I'm curious to see if Borg/Crossan will address it. It would be difficult to overstate the importance for Christianity of the apparently failed expectations of the end of the world by the late first century and onward. Many biblical literalists are to this day in denial of it (and some more eminent scholars, like N.T. Wright, from what I read [that is, his section on eschatology in The Meaning of Jesus with Wright and Borg], is also in denial about it). But as early as 2nd Peter was penned - which was anywhere from 100-150 - apparently the reality that the end of the world hadn't happened was beginning to sink in for many people, becoming a source of embarrassment no doubt for those (and their disciples) who had been proclaiming it during the 50s-80s.

 

2 Peter 3:3First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." ... 8But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Edited by Mike
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have heard the argument, maybe from Borg, that the later letters might have been written by a mentee or two and were an attempt to take the edge off Pauls teachings and make them more "politically correct" for the time. I believe most of the back tracking of the lessons that stray from Jesus's message occurred in the later letters.

 

I hope they get into this in later chapters

 

steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know one really great book about MISusing Paul's words to try and justify sexism. The book is called What Paul Really Said About Women." By John Temple Bristow. This guy does a great job of breaking down Greek and Hebrew words and shows you step by step how these words were CHANGED from their orginal meanings to try and make it lok like the Bible justifies sexism..when he shows you infact the orginal message was just the opposite.post-179-127095775767_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Karen,

 

You make a great point here; it hadn't occurred to me. I'm curious to see if Borg/Crossan will address it. It would be difficult to overstate the importance for Christianity of the apparently failed expectations of the end of the world by the late first century and onward. Many biblical literalists are to this day in denial of it (and some more eminent scholars, like N.T. Wright, from what I read [that is, his section on eschatology in The Meaning of Jesus with Wright and Borg], is also in denial about it). But as early as 2nd Peter was penned - which was anywhere from 100-150 - apparently the reality that the end of the world hadn't happened was beginning to sink in for many people, becoming a source of embarrassment no doubt for those (and their disciples) who had been proclaiming it during the 50s-80s.

 

 

I've heard an explanination by progressive scholars that the end times referenced in the gospels is a spiritual transformation that was already beginning to occur but I've never really heard it explained in detail what this spiritual transformation entails.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've heard an explanination by progressive scholars that the end times referenced in the gospels is a spiritual transformation that was already beginning to occur but I've never really heard it explained in detail what this spiritual transformation entails.

 

Being someone who at one point had a vested interested in somehow resolving this problem, I've heard many explanations for it. Every literalist/fundamentalist/conservative interpretation I encountered struck me as explaining away rather than genuine explanation. As far as metaphorical or liberal interpretations, I think there can definitely be meaningful ways to look at it. There are mystical ways of understandings the term 'apocalypse' - the disclosing or revelation of reality in a point of crisis. In progressive theology, the Kingdom of God is a term that has been receiving much attention because of its rich connotations. In this context we can speak of the inauguration of the Kingdom of God in the life and teachings of Jesus and the ministry of the early church. But perhaps not in the same sense as the early Christians. I see these as creative reinterpretations which, though inspiring, do not represent a critical reading of the New Testament.

Edited by Mike
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest billmc

This sounds like a book I need to read. Paul, for me, both pulls me in and pushes me away. He pulls me in because his life was so dramatically changed by Christ, whether via his Damascus Road experience or his other visions. Here is someone who felt like he was really doing God's work in having early Christian Jews tried for blasphemy, and yet, according to the scriptural testimony, the one who once persecuted the church turned to expanding it. The other reason he pulls me in is because he, more than any other NT author is the closest to the historical Jesus, probably having his conversion experience about 3 years after Christ died. This would, it seems to me, put him in a unique position to actually interview the disciples about Jesus of Nazareth, how he lived, what he taught, etc. But he really doesn't confer with the apostles about Jesus. He doesn't seem too interested in how the disciples experience Jesus. Or, if he is, he just doesn't mention it much in his writings.

 

And there is where Paul sort of pushes me away. His writings are closer to the time of Jesus of Nazareth than the gospels, but Paul has little to say about Jesus' teachings of what scholars call "the historical Jesus". Paul's Jesus is "the Christ of faith", a mythical figure that imparts knowledge to Paul, not from the teachings of Jesus, but from personal revelation. Mystical revelations are, of course, nothing new. But as Paul, or his "false writer", demonstrates, Paul's writings don't always line up with what Jesus taught. In fact, isn't there a place where Paul essentially says that "we no longer know Christ according to the flesh"? This seems to me to relegate Jesus' earthly life and ministry to the "history books" while focusing almost exclusively on the salvivic power of Jesus' death, resurrection, and the necessity of believing in those two events as "the gospel." So Paul is an enigma to me.

 

I'll try to get the book this week. I would sure like to understand him better and I greatly admire Borg and Crossan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But he really doesn't confer with the apostles about Jesus. He doesn't seem too interested in how the disciples experience Jesus. Or, if he is, he just doesn't mention it much in his writings.

 

 

Paul references a conflict he had with James and Peter in Galatians chapter two, so I don't think it's so much Paul is disinterested in the apostles of Jesus but there was apparently a schism between Paul's church and James' church
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; 12for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. 13And the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?’
Edited by Neon Genesis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the three terms Borg/Crossan introduce in this chapter – Paul as radical, conservative and reactionary--describe how dramatically his image was marred by those writing in his name, and by later changes to the letters.

 

In Romans there’s the emphasis on freedom from the law--- the experience of the spirit was sufficient guide for living the Christian life. Then in the later pastoral epistles like Timothy, the congregations were instructed to obey traditional social hierarchy –e.g., women were to be subservient, silent at church, dress modestly, not wear braided hair, etc.

 

About the expectation of apocalypse -- to me, it seems that the imminent catastrophe that Jesus apparently foretold was the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD– the end of an era, if not the world. You’d think there’d be some reference in the NT to the war and destruction of the second temple, yet there isn’t any – or if so, only veiled allusions. But the effect on Christians who fled into exile must have been devastating, and letters written during that time would reflect drastically changed conditions.

 

Mike, going back to your post saying “it is difficult to think that Paul would have kept any secret information to himself, that is, knowledge that could be communicated via propositions / language.” If you look at 2 Corinthians 12, just after Paul refers to “hearing things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat” he says therefore he was given a thorn in the flesh--specifically so he wouldn’t seem boastful about the “exceptional character of the revelations.” It is frustrating to think that the letters might have communicated so much more, yet also seems to be directly aligned with God’s plan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I assume from the chapter title that Borg and Crossan with show us a way of reading and interpreting the letters attributed to Paul that will open up meanings not generally seen by most Christians.

 

steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In chapter 2 the distinction between the letters Paul actually wrote and those that were influenced by society is pointed out clearly. While this makes Paul (the man) easier to stomach. The problems with many of the passages and attitudes of the later letters continue to be troubling. It points out how quickly the early church bowed to political and social pressures. It was less than 100 years before Jesus true message was lost or at least glossed over. Sad. Shows that the fundamentalists of today are following a long line of misinterpreters to support and justify domination of subcultures.

 

steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest billmc

While this makes Paul (the man) easier to stomach. The problems with many of the passages and attitudes of the later letters continue to be troubling. It points out how quickly the early church bowed to political and social pressures.

 

That's a good point, Steve. Whether Paul really wrote these other letters or not, the church still considered them to be canon and built some of their doctrines around them. Of course, there are a number of good things found in these books. I don't think we need to take a Jeffersonian approach and cut out all the parts we don't like. :) Do you think that as PCs we have the option (or possibly the responsibility) to be discerning about what we might consider to be a "canon within the canon"?

 

PS - My book is on it's way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service