- File Size: 472 KB
- Print Length: 269 pages
- Publication Date: January 14, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B006XXX04G
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
The Fabricated Paul. Early Christianity In The Twilight. Kindle Edition
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Sure thing, Hermann Detering is not widely read, I never knew of him, but with “Fabricated Paul” he proved himself worthy of our attention. He does so rather convincingly, by undermining the presumed historicity of the great Apostle Paul. The flaws that Detering points out--by themselves, each one taken independently--are not convincing. However, when viewed as a pattern, the Pauline Letters can better be understood as documents written with a political agenda. This agenda, furthermore, fits neatly not the FIRST but rather in the second century. When this is understood, everything begins to make sense.
Nothing new here, scholars have questioned the authenticity of these letters beginning in the 19th century:
“According to the generally held view today, only seven of these definitely derive from Paul:
the letter to the Romans
the first letter to the Corinthians
the second letter to the Corinthians
the letter to the Galatians
the letter to the Philippians
the first letter to the Thessalonians
the letter to Philemon”
(Detering, Hermann; Kindle Locations 307-315.)
Now I have doubts that Paul wrote any of the letters so ascribed to his pen; and consider that I'm only a little further than half way through this book. There’s a lot more to come. The points Hermann makes so far are so stark that they imply, or at least suggests, that the Pauline letters were authored by the Marcionite sect, perhaps even by Marcion himself. Clearly, if nothing else, Detering establishes that the author of these epistles was not of the Jewish tradition, he simply could not have been, and here he presents enough specifics to support this assertion. “Paul the author” was an imposter, who for reasons other than piety forged these letters for his own greedy end.
Of course this--if it were to be proven, beyond the proverbial "shadow of doubt", then in that case--would change everything. After all, Christianity, as a religion, is based in no small way upon Pauline Epistles--believing that he was a man who knew of and preached about Jesus shortly after Jesus untimely death. Relax, Christianity will not devolve just because a rather obscure exegetes such as Hermann Detering cast his disparaging theories that Paul was fabricated. However, Hermann Detering is not the only bible scholar expounding this radical view.
“What if there were no Pauline communities, no Paulinists, until the late first and early second centuries? The earliest Pauline Christians we know of were Marcionites and Gnostics.” (!)
So says none other than Robert Price--“The Amazing Colossal Apostle: The Search for the Historical Paul” (Kindle Locations 158-159). Incidentally, I bought both Kindle books at the same time and haven’t had the time, as yet, to read Robert Price’s contribution, although I will. The point is, there are far more than just two scholars who smell the same scent; you just know they are on to something.
The question arose in my mind was: "Was Paul a real historical man or was he a mythical figure?" The answer that I came to, it doesn't really matter. If everything attributed to Paul was fabricated--as it now appears to be the case--then we really have no idea who the real Paul was, what he preached, what he said, and where he went. We actually know nothing about this man regardless, outside of the New Testament. But then, the same thing could rightfully be said about the man from Galilee. We know absolutely nothing about Jesus, either--except for what is written in the New Testament. These two colossal figures left no footprints, outside of books that were, in most cases, written many decades (70 to 150 years) after their deaths.
With this information--the high level criticism of the authenticity of the Pauline doctrine--coupled with what we already learned about the duplicity of the early church fathers (propensity of redacting earlier text) the church has no basis left to claim authority. I mean, at what point can one rightfully claim that any book in the New Testament is factual--when every book contained there within has serious structural flaws. That is, just who authored what?
We simply do not know who the historical authors were of any of the books of the entire Bible--the New or the Old Testament. We do not know, for sure, who wrote what. If the earliest Gospel was authored late in the 1st Century (now arguably the earliest book of the NT) then nothing left of Christianity that dates back to within 60 years of the Crucifixion. Keep in mind that his was in ancient times, a time when superstition ran supreme, long before mass communication, when a story grows with every retelling. So, what’s left now? Where is the bedrock of the church if Paul was fabricated? Sorry, it’s beginning to look like he was.
Detering takes all this one step further, arguing that the epistles were written in support of anti-Catholic ("heretical") second-century Christian ideas and were later revised, and then co-opted, by the Church. I should add here that Detering is not an atheist and that the substantial conclusion of his book argues for a spiritual Christianity, one that's been liberated from such modern, entirely worldly endeavors as arguing that a foundational myth must at all costs be proven absolutely historical.
Detering's thesis is of particular interest (and complexity) in light of "mythicist" studies, such as Earl Doherty's _Jesus: Neither God Nor Man_. Doherty asserts that no historical Jesus ever existed (either!) and that the stories of earthly Jesus might have came about, in particular, because of a basic misunderstanding of Paul's concept of Christ. I found Doherty convincing--but now, I'll need to rethink a few things; in Detering's view, the gospels came first and must have inspired whomever wrote under the name of Paul; and in Doherty's view, Paul came first and his writings inspired (due to misunderstanding) the stories of Jesus. So, putting together Doherty with Detering, one ends up with a puddle of mud--yet it's a puddle that does have a ring of truth. That is, even though their respective surmises are incompatible, Doherty's scholarship still argues convincingly in favor of there-was-no-Jesus; and Detering's scholarship argues convincingly in favor of there-was-no-Paul. The point then, again, is that we need to consider and contemplate the spirit, as opposed to invoking the "personality."