Are Matthew and Paul at Odds on the Most Important Issue?

I have been talking about contradictions and their value for knowing about history — about what actually happened in the past.  There are lots of other kinds of ways that passages of the New Testament are at odds with one another.  Sometimes, and more important for many people, they can have very different theological views, sometimes on absolutely key and important issues.  That is a matter I addressed many years ago on the blog, in this post:

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One of ...

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Does the Book of Acts Portray the *Teachings* of Paul Accurately?

This is my second post on the portrayal of Paul in the book of Acts.  In the one previous I tried to show, briefly, how the account of Paul’s activities in Luke’s narrative do not gel well with what he says in his own letters.  Here I address the question that was originally raised: his teachings.  Do the things Paul says in Acts coincide with what he himself indicates?   I won’t give a detailed discuss, but just look at one ...

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Does the Book of Acts Accurately Portray the Life and Teachings of Paul?

A fundamental question has recently come to me, which involves one of the central issues in the study of the life and teachings of Paul.  As most members of the blog may know, there are thirteen books in the NT that claim to be written by Paul, six of which are widely thought not actually to be by him.  But that means, on the positive side, that we almost certainly have seven letters actually written by Paul, so that if ...

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Does Paul Condemn Slavery? The Case of Philemon and Onesimus.

I received an interesting question this week about Paul’s letter to Philemon.  And hey, how often do you get a question about Philemon?!?   This is the shortest of Paul’s letter (it’s a one-pager) where he is writing to his convert Philemon, a rich slave owner, asking him to receive back into his good graces his run-away slave Onesimus.

So what was *that* all about?  Here is the question and my response.

 

QUESTION:

A question on an atheist discussion group, “Why did Paul send ...

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Why Women Came to be Silenced

Given what I’ve said before about women in the ancient world, in early Christianity, and in the churches of Paul, I can now explain why women who had originally played a significant role in the early Christian movement came to be silenced, especially in the churches of Paul (as seen, for example, in the Pastoral epistles).  Here is how I discuss the matter in my college-level textbook on the New Testament.

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Our theoretical discussion of the ideology of gender ...

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The Surprising Understanding of Gender in the Ancient World

Back in January I made three posts on the role of women in the churches of Paul (see the posts of January 16, 17, and 18).  These raised various questions from readers about how and why women went from having a fairly *prominent* role in Paul’s own churches to having thoroughly *diminished* roles in the churches that arose after his day, as embodied for example in the Pastoral epistles of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus (books that claim to ...

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Jesus and Paul: Similarities and Differences

In my previous post I raised the question of whether Jesus and Paul represent fundamentally the same religion or not.  Here I continue the discussion by pointing out what seem to me to be the main similarities and differences between them, as I spelled it out in a post several years ago:

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I have been talking about the relationship of Jesus’ proclamation of the coming Kingdom of God to Paul’s preaching about the importance of the death and resurrection ...

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Are Paul and Jesus on the Same Page?

In response to my previous post on the importance of Paul, I have had several people ask me about the relationship between the teachings of Jesus and Paul: are they actually representing the same religion?  I dealt with that question some years ago on the blog.  Here is the first of two posts on the issue.

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I have spent several posts explicating Paul’s understanding of his gospel, that by Christ’s death and resurrection a person is put into a ...

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Is Paul Given Too Much Credit?

Is the apostle Paul given more credit than he deserves by modern scholars?   Here is what has (recently) raised the question for me.

As many readers of the blog know, the corpus of early Christian writings known as the “Apostolic Fathers” is a collection of ten (or eleven) proto-orthodox authors who were, for the most part, producing their writings just after the New Testament period.  For anyone interested I have a two-volume edition  / translation of these important texts, The Apostolic ...

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Was Paul a Misogynist?

Now I can consider whether Paul himself actually wrote 1 Cor 14:34-35 — a passage that tells women they are not allowed to speak in church — or if it was, instead, inserted into his letter by someone else later.  It’s an important issue: if Paul did write the passage, and if he also wrote 1 Timothy (widely thought to be written by someone else *claiming* to be Paul) then by modern standards, at least, he would not be considered ...

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