Several people have asked me to comment on whether Paul shows any evidence of knowing about the tradition that Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. As a first step, it’s necessary to point out that Paul says very little indeed – surprisingly little – about the historical Jesus — that is, about what Jesus said, did, and experienced between the time of his birth and his death. (Paul obviously says a *lot* about Jesus’ death and resurrection, just not much about his life.) The following are about the only things he tells us:

  • Jesus was born of a woman (Gal 4:4)
  • He was born a Jew (Gal 4:4)
  • He had brothers (1 Cor. 9:5); one of whom was James (Gal 1-2)
  • He ministered to Jews (Rom 15:8)
  • He had twelve disciples (1 Cor. 15:6)
  • He held a last supper the last night of his life (1 Cor. 11:22-24)
  • Paul indicates what Jesus said at that meal.
  • Paul indicates two other teachings of Jesus: that Christian ministers should be paid for their work and that Christians should not get divorced (1 Cor. 7 and 9)
  • Jesus was crucified

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