I have been talking about Paul’s knowledge of the historical Jesus, and yesterday began a discussion of what Paul clearly knew about Jesus’ teachings. That’s where I will pick up here. Again, I have taken the discussion from my book Did Jesus Exist?, so the orientation of what I have to say is toward showing that Paul provides solid (and for my mind, virtually incontrovertible) evidence that Jesus was not simply “made up” but was an actual historical figure – an issue that, for most people in the universe of intelligent humans, is not much of an issue, but which is disputed by that tiny yet oh-so-vocal group of “mythicists” about which I have said some things before. In any event, there are a few more interesting aspects of the question of Paul’s use of Jesus’ teachings, as follows:
There are no other obvious places where Paul quotes Jesus, although scholars have often found traces of Jesus’ teachings in Paul. The big question is why Paul does not quote Jesus more often. That is a thorny issue, which will require more sustained reflection at the end of this chapter. For now I need simply to stress the most important point. Paul obviously thought Jesus existed. He quotes his teachings on occasion.
There are several other instances in which Paul indicates that he is echoing a “word” or “commandment of the Lord.” This happens in
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