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 discuss why Paul doesn’t give us more information about the historical Jesus (there are several options). The following discussion is taken from my book Did Jesus Exist, which was meant to deal more with the first issue: the fact that Paul quotes Jesus on occasion shows at the least that Paul knew Jesus existed (as do the other data that he mentions about Jesus’ life).
The Teachings of Jesus in Paul
In addition to these data about Jesus’ life and death, Paul mentions on several occasions the teachings he delivered. We have seen two of the sayings of Jesus already from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (11:22-24). Paul indicates that these words were spoken during Jesus’ Last Supper. These sayings are closely parallel to the words of Jesus recorded years later in Luke’s account of the supper (Luke 22:19-20).
There are two other sayings of Jesus in the book of 1 Corinthians that also find parallels in the Gospel tradition. The first occurs in Paul’s instructions about
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