There is no doubt that Paul had visions of Jesus. And as we all agree the gospels (and Acts for that matter) were written AFTER Paul and certainly influenced BY Paul. In one way or another they reflect his way of thinking (to a certain degree).
Wouldn’t it be possible that the story of visions started with Paul only and was incorporated into the gospels because… well, how could it be that Jesus appeared to Paul and not to his disciples?
I find it suspicious that there are such deep discrepancies in the different accounts of Jesus post-resurrection appearances….
In other words: Couldn’t Paul be the sole starting point of this vision thing?
This question gets to the heart of a very big issue: what was Paul’s role in the development of early Christianity. Is he responsible for starting it? Was he the first to claim that Jesus had appeared after his death, as the risen Lord of life? Is Paul the real founder of Christianity? Should we call it Paulianity?
Maybe I’ll devote a post or two to that question, as it is completely fundamental to understanding the beginnings of the Christian religion. In this post I’ll deal with the question this reader has asked directly; my answer will, of course, be related to the larger issue.
So my basic view is that Paul could not have been the sole source for the idea that Jesus was raised from the dead. I have a very big reason for thinking that he was not, and a subsidiary reason for it. There are probably lots of other reasons, but these two stand out in my mind.
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