More on Jesus’ Teachings in Paul

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 ...

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Paul’s References to Jesus’ Teachings

So far I have been discussing what Paul says about the historical Jesus in his surviving seven letters. For the next couple of posts I’ll indicate what he says about the teaching of Jesus. Once again there are two observations to make. The first is that he obviously knew that Jesus taught some things. The other is that it is a bit surprising that he doesn’t tell us more. I will be dealing with that second issue soon, when I ...

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More on Paul’s Knowledge of Jesus’ Life

In my last post I began to enumerate the things that Paul said about Jesus. *Most* of what he says about Jesus has to do with the significance of his death and resurrection. But what if we wanted to know about the *life* of Jesus – the things that Jesus said, did, and experienced between his birth and his death? Paul doesn’t tell us a ton, as has frequently been noted. But he does tell us some. In ...

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Paul and Jesus

I spent several posts explicating Paul’s understanding of his gospel, that by Christ’s death and resurrection a person is put into a restored relationship with God. He had several ways of explaining how it worked (the “judicial” model; the “participationist” model; and the other models I described). But in all of these ways, it was Jesus’ death and resurrection that mattered. It was not keeping the Jewish law. It was not knowing or following Jesus’ teaching. It was not Jesus’ ...

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The Message of Jesus

To this point in the thread I have been talking about Paul’s “religion” – specifically, what he thought was important in a person’s relationship with God. He expressed his views in a variety of ways – I have talked about his judicial and his participationist understandings of salvation, and have made brief comments on yet other “models” that he used to express his view about the act of salvation that God had achieved through Christ. In all of these models, ...

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Did Disciples Have Visions of Jesus?

I am ready and willing to begin answering questions readers have about my book How Jesus Became God. So feel free to ask away. Here is a good one I received today.

 

QUESTION:

I have enjoyed reading your interesting and thought provoking books, Jesus Interrupted and Forged. At the moment I am reading How Jesus Became God and would like to comment on some of the content of Chapter 5. To that point in the book, it seems ...

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Why I’m Obsessed with Jesus

There is a relatively new online journal, “On Faith,” that is top-of-the line and very interesting. A couple of days ago they published a short article that I wrote, in connection with How Jesus Became God; I called the article “Why I Am Obsessed with Jesus.” It contains some views you will have seen from me before, and some others. Here is the article as I sent it to them. (The full link to the online version in ...

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Was Jesus Inserted Into Paul’s Letters?

QUESTION:

I find the historical evidence for existence of Jesus pretty compelling as far as ancient history of antiquity goes.  Just to play devil’s advocate, how confident can we be that Paul’s letters have not been significantly doctored over a period of decades, inserting references to a historical Jesus when no such references exist in the originals? What are the oldest fragments and whole letters of the Pauline epistles?

 

RESPONSE:

Interesting question.   I think I need to answer it ...

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Abraham and Jesus?

QUESTION:

THIS QUESTION FROM A MEMBER OF THE BLOG QUOTES SOMETHING I SAID IN MY PREVIOUS POST AND THEN ASKS A QUESTION ABOUT IT:

“As I’ve intimated, my own view is that these patriarchal narratives are not historical accounts of people who actually lived and did the things ascribed to them. I see them as highly legendary, narratives told by the people of Israel – after they became the people of Israel (say in the 11th or 10th centuries) — ...

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Jesus and Marriage: An Actual Argument!

So far I have pointed out that it is flat-out wrong to say that every Jewish man in the first century was married and was expected to be married. It is not only demographically impossible (there were not enough women to go around) but we know of Jewish men from the time of Jesus who were not married and were proud of it. Strikingly, they, like him, were apocalyptically minded Jews – such as the Essenes and the apostle Paul. ...

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