Comments on: The Historicity of Paul the Apostle Announcing appearances, publications, and analysis of questions historical, philosophical, and political by author, philosopher, and historian Richard Carrier. Sun, 11 Mar 2018 22:43:47 +0000 hourly 1 By: Richard Carrier Tue, 16 Jun 2015 21:08:18 +0000 Mark most likely 70s (it is too urgently trying to explain why the Jewish War didn’t cause the end of the world), Matthew most likely 80s to 110s (I am certain Luke is using Matthew, and Luke dates 90s to 120s). Although later is possible (because Later for Luke is possible, depending on when one dates Papias).

By: Mr Horse Fri, 12 Jun 2015 03:39:19 +0000 Richard,
I think the way which Paul seems to be writing to and preaching to established churches is important to understanding the history of Christianity, as well as the way that the Pauline letters were used by the next generation of subsequent Fathers and then then-proponents of that early version of Christianity (the notion of the Trinity, first mentioned by Theophilus of Antioch in the mid 2nd C, had not been entertained).

Your comments above that Mark is pro-Paul, and that ‘Matthew is an anti-Pauline text’ are interesting: written “to attack and denounce Paul and his views, by putting those denunciations retroactively into the mouth of Jesus”

Where and when do you think Mark and Matthew were written?

By: Richard Carrier Fri, 12 Jun 2015 02:27:23 +0000 Just one giant possibiliter fallacy that goes off the rails at the very first premise.

It’s also a typical failure to understand how to apply the Rank-Raglan criteria (“mysterious death” does not mean we lack sources about how someone died; tombs invented centuries later can’t apply to when a person was invented; Paul never is a king; he never is the son of god; he never loses favor with his own subjects; Paul does not come into a kingdom “after” battling a great foe; there are no discussions of his parents; no references to his being attacked as a baby; no references to his conception at all, supernatural or otherwise; etc.).

This is 99% pure crank.

By: Giuseppe Thu, 11 Jun 2015 08:08:22 +0000 Hi Richard,
I attempt to put in discussion your claim:
He is a Rank-Raglan hero.

Paul does not belong to any such class.

You should know that a Catholic historicist scholar, Adamczewski, has written a commentary on Gospel of Mark where he says that ‘Mark’ has pratically invented his gospel Jesus ex novo ”reading” his ‘life’ and ‘actions’ in life and predication of Paul (even if a HJ existed, as Adamczewski, catholic priest, believes by definition).

1) Assume for a moment that this catholic priest is right (in any case, he is neither the first nor the last to argue on sound pauline influence on Mark).

2) but you give the proof, in OHJ, that Jesus is a Rank-Raglan hero.

3) therefore, if the life of Jesus is ‘read’ in Paul (in virtue of point 1), then Paul is a Rank-Raglan hero, too.

Contra Carrier arguing for Paul not being a Rank-Raglan hero!

I see that Paul may collect 14 points in Raglan scale (that has in all 22 points).

4. The circumstances of his conception are unusual, and (Gal 1:15, 1 Cor 15:8)
5. He is also reputed to be the son of a god. (Acts 14:12, 1 Cor 1:12)
6. At birth an attempt is made, usually by his father or his maternal grand father to kill him, but

The reason: Gal 1:13-14, Gal 1:16-17
What attempted to ”kill” spiritually – on ‘birth’ – Paul is his Jewish education and the risk that, immediately after his conversion, he could go to Jerusalem where he could find harmful influence by apostles before him who were somehow corrupt (because they have corrupted the true gospel).
In Mark this is reflected by Jesus leaving Nazareth (allusion to ultra-Jewish past of Paul) in order to scrupolously receive the baptism from John, where he is separated via Spirit from John.

7. he is spirited away, and

The reason: Gal 1:16-17, Gal 1:18, Gal 2:1

The Spirit departs Paul as much as possible from those who can defile him spiritually, and therefore led him among Pagans, far distant from Jerusalem.
Note that in Mark this is reflected by the fact that the Spirit moved Jesus into the desert and then, instead of going in Judaea, Jesus comes in Galilee of the Gentiles (Capernaum being Damascus).

8. Reared by foster -parents in a far country.

the reason: Gal 1:16-17, Gal 1:18, Gal 2:1

to the extent that Paul is in the gentile world far away from Jerusalem, he is ‘safe’ spiritually from any deadly contamination with the the Judaizers of Jerusalem.
The alienation/separation from his original country can also be seen, in marcionite terms, as adoption by a Alien God (I am who says this).

As above, this is reflected in Jesus preaching in Galilee of Gentiles and not in Judaea.

9. We are told nothing of his childhood, but (Acts 13:9, Acts 22:3, etc.)

10. On reaching manhood he returns or goes to his future Kingdom.

the reason: Gal 1:18-24, Gal 2:1-10
When Paul is spiritually ‘read’, he goes to Jerusalem. I remember that in Marcionite Galatians verses 18-24 are not attested while verse 2:1 lacks ”again”. In any case, when Paul goes to Jerusalem, He is keen to stress his independence(as a King of his own right) and his do not have rivals to own gospel.
This is reflected in Mark by the diatribes, in Judaea and Jerusalem, between a paulinized Jesus and scribes/pharisees (representatives of Pillars) + Jesus’family. They will betray him, just like Paul will be betrayed by Peter.

11. After a victory over the king and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast (2 Corinthians 11:24-26, 1 Cor 15:32, Acts 28:3-6)

13. And becomes king. (2 Cor 12:2-4)
15. Prescribes laws, but (Acts 15:2, Romans 3:31, etc.)
16. Later he loses favor with the gods and/or his subjects, and (Acts 21:27, 2 Timothy 4:16, etc.)
17. Is driven from the throne and city, after which (Acts 22:18, Philippians 1:13, Philippians 4:22, Colossians 4:3, etc.)
18. He meets with a mysterious death, (Acts 28:30-31, 1 Clement 5:5, Philippians 1:23, 2 Timothy 4:7, etc.)
22. He has one or more holy sepulchres. (Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside-the-Walls, etc.)

I am right, then the priors against Paul’s historicity are 3 versus 2.

But do you think that the consequent pro historicity is sufficient to overcome any priors in the case of Paul?

Very thanks for any reply,


By: Richard Carrier Thu, 11 Jun 2015 06:57:12 +0000 I don’t understand the question. Damascus isn’t far. It’s adjacent to Galilee. And on the main land trade route north from Judea. Missionaries could have been working that region within months of their inspiration (e.g. within a year of “first revelation” as described in 1 Cor. 15).

Study how religions spread (e.g. Mormonism). It doesn’t work as slowly as you think. Unless you are measuring by growth in adherents rather than growth in communities (not the same thing).

And remember the Gospels are theological bullshit. So they cannot be used to date the origin of Christianity. (As we know from the Babylonian Christians writing gospels placing Jesus a hundred years earlier: OHJ, ch. 8.1.)

By: Richard Carrier Thu, 11 Jun 2015 06:51:09 +0000 (A) No. And we have no idea. See “Docetism” in the index of OHJ.
(B) Does Kelly say anything relevant to OHJ that isn’t already established in OHJ?

By: Richard Carrier Thu, 11 Jun 2015 06:47:21 +0000 Price’s The Amazing Colossal Apostle is the best summary case against a historical Paul you’ll find, next to Detering’s book.

By: Richard Carrier Thu, 11 Jun 2015 06:44:51 +0000 The historicity of Paul’s letters is crucial to understanding the origins of Christianity. And the historicity of those letters hangs on the historicity of Paul (minimally conceived).

So the issue is more about people who want to move those letters into the second century and claim their entire content is a fiction.

The historicity of Paul is thus actually more important than the historicity of Jesus. This is the difference between history as an actual objective field of factual inquiry, and religion, which has no actual connection to reality. Religiously, Paul’s revelatory Jesus was totally real and as authoritative as Yoda. So the existence of Jesus of Nazareth is actually irrelevant to the truth of Christianity as a religion. It may well in fact be true that Jesus was really crucified by Satan in outer space as Paul imagined, and it may well be true that this somehow fixed the universe. That is a completely separate question from what the historical truth is of how Christianity began. Because whether Jesus was really crucified by Satan in outer space, or whether he was only believed to be because it conveniently solved certain theological problems historically created at the time (OHJ, chapters 4 and 5), the historical conclusion is the same: there was no Galilean preacher named Jesus who got the religion started. It was all started by revelations. The Jesus of Galilee was invented later.

By: Richard Carrier Thu, 11 Jun 2015 05:00:29 +0000 Doesn’t change the fact that this is a stack of possibiliter reasoning. No different (indeed arguably more elaborate and thus less probable by definition) than Detering’s tamer arguments based on that school’s claims.

You don’t get knowledge from speculation. You definitely don’t get knowledge from a hundred speculations.

By: Richard Carrier Thu, 11 Jun 2015 04:58:22 +0000 And if Jesus was a space alien, then…

Oh, why bother.

Why are people so in love with speculative conditional reasoning?

(1 Timothy everyone agrees is a forgery, so I don’t know what you are attempting to argue with it.)