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Paul’s Christian Enemies: Galatians

In my previous post I indicated that among the lost writings of early Christianity, one batch that I would especially like to see discovered would be those produced by Paul’s enemies among the Christians.   I don’t know how many of his opponents were writing-literate, but possibly some of them were, and their own attacks on him and defenses of their own positions would be fascinating and eye-opening.   Among these, I would especially love to see what his opponents in Galatia had to say for themselves.   My hunch is that they were every bit as aggressive and confident in their views as Paul was in his. I’ve always found the letter to the Galatians to be one of the most forceful, intriguing, and difficult letters of Paul.   I’ve studied it for over forty years, and there are still verses that I don’t understand.  My view is that most scholars don’t understand them either -- even the scholars who think they do!   It is a packed and theologically dense letter in places. But the basic point is [...]

2020-04-03T13:54:04-04:00March 24th, 2015|Paul and His Letters|

Lost Letters of Paul’s Opponents

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 [...]

2020-04-03T13:54:13-04:00March 23rd, 2015|Paul and His Letters|
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