I’m back now to my thread on the lost writings of the early Christians that I would love to have discovered. Onr bunch that would be absolutely fantastic to have would be the letters of Paul’s *opponents.*
I get asked all the time if I think that Paul is the true founder of Christianity and whether we should call it Paulinanity instead of Christianity (and related questions). My answer is decidedly NO. For two main reasons.
The first is the most obvious: Paul did not himself invent Christianity. He inherited it.
It is difficult to establish a firm chronology of Paul’s life. There are scholars who have devoted many years just to this topic. It’s messy and complicated. My colleague from Duke, Douglas Campbell, has just written an-over-400-page book dealing just with the chronology of Paul’s *letters*, Framing Paul: An Epistolary Biography. It is about how to situate the surviving letters of Paul (Douglas accepts ten of the thirteen as authentic – all but 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) chronologically in relation to one another. I haven’t read it yet, but Douglas is a very smart fellow and I imagine it will be a standard work for a very long time (though I doubt that he will convince the majority of scholars that Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians are authentic. But maybe he will!)
In any event, however one arranges Paul’s letters, it is possible…
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