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Famous Thinkers Critical of Paul/Paulinism

 

1. KierkegaardCritical Remarks on Paul & Paulinism (html)(added May 27, 2010). Famous Dutchman who found fault with Pauline doctrine in church, advocating instead that Jesus's doctrine is paramount. See also my article - Kierkegaard: Influence on Bonhoeffer to Reject Pauline Salvation Doctrine (PDF)

2. Reverend Vincent Holmes-Gore -- book entitled Christ or Paul (C.W. Daniel: 1946) -- a serious Christian writer, Holmes-Gore bemoans the influence Paul has taken away from Christ's message. See my synopsis at Christ or Paul

3. TolstoyMy Religion (1884) -- discussed in our webpage "Tolstoy Criticizes Paulinism."

4. David W. Bercot (Texas attorney/Christian), Common Sense: A New Approach to Understanding Scripture(1992) at 21-22 - Amazon link - excerpted here on our site. (Added May 10, 2010)

5. RenanSt. Paul (1869) at 326-330 - (HTML) or (PDF).  Renan largely defends Paul. Despite this, Renan is a JWO-enthusiast. He says now Paul's "reign is coming to a close," but Jesus' reign is alive "more than ever." Renan closes: "True Christianity comes from the gospels, not from the Epistles of Paul." And Renan adds, to make his point clear, Paul's writings represent a "hidden rock" that has caused many to fall away from following Christ. Id., at page 330.

6. BoulangerCritical Examination of the Life of St. Paul (1746, reprint 1823) (books.google.com copy) which we excerpt and summarize at this webpage. Boulanger claims Paul was an apostate against the Law given to Moses which was contrary to the message of Jesus, and thus proves Paul was not a true apostle.

7. Jeffrey J. Bütz, a Lutheran Pastor, in The Brother of Jesus (2005) laments that Paulinism has taken over Protestantism on the issue of where Jesus stood on the Law. See our webpage review.

8. Anthony Buzzard, a conservative Unitarian Pastor, in "The Amazing Shift Away from Jesus in the Popular Gospel" (2013), criticizes the Pauline filter Luther first imposed to dismiss the importance of the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels other than John. Here is a link to a PDF version as well.

9. Jeremy BenthamNot Paul But Jesus(1823)(books.google.com copy) - which we reformatted and edited -- pages i-11 (PDF) (work in progress). Bentham's thesis is everyone must choose between Paul or Jesus. They are not the same. (On critical reaction to Bentham's book, see our webpage.)

10. Horatio Woodburn Southworth, To Nazareth or Tarsus? (J.S. Ogilvie Publishing Company, 1901) - a collection of quotes on Paul's inconsistencies with Jesus are retyped at this html link. You can read the original book in the books.google.com version at these links -- pages 52-129 and 200-217.

11. Greg Ludeman, Paul the Founder of Christianity (2002). Ludeman is a major New Testament scholar. Ludeman is professor of the history and literature of early Christianity at the University of Göttingen, Germany. Ludeman has written five major works. He regards Paul's doctrines now predominate in the modern era, and have supplanted the doctrines of Jesus which were far different. Ludeman believes Paul was subject to self-deception in his encounter with the light and voice, and did not seek verification from the twelve which led Paul into what Ludeman regards as the "Great Deception." Our latest review of this work is at this link: Ludeman: Paul the Founder of Christianity.

12. Jefferson' Letters on Jesus' Words Only (PDF) [I disagree with his view of Jesus as a moralist and no more. Yet, Jefferson sees the variances Paul introduced against Jesus' teachings.]

14. H.G. WellsOutline of History (1921) (html) - profound thoughts on how Pauline doctrine replaced the lessons of Jesus, and focused on belief for salvation, without a need for change in habits/actions.

15. Hugh SchonfeldProclaiming the Messiah (London: 1997) -- said Paul imagined himself channelling Jesus' words, and almost therefore saw himself as a second Messiah. Our summary of this work is at this link.

16. Macarius Magnes, 300 AD. In Apocriticus, Magnes is the oldest systematic critic of Paul from 300s who couched it in a debate, appearing to defend Paul, but not doing a very good job of it.

17. Famous quotes critical of emphasizing Paul which we collected during research: Carlstadt, Locke, Bentham, Morgan, Boulanger, Jefferson, Paley, Bauer, Renan, Kierkegaard, J.S. Mill, Tolstoy, Wendt, Wrede, etc.

18. Prof. Barrie WilsonPaul on Trial (link to free PDF online)(historical dramatization of early church).

19. William Shakespeare. He parodies Paul in a Comedy of Errors. Explained in Prof. Wahl's article "Divining Paul in Shakespeare's Comedies," Poetry & Essays. See our webpage discussion.

20. Kersten & GruberThe Jesus' Conspiracy (Barnes & Noble, 1994). They contend Paul created a very attractive version of salvation that requires nothing of you at all, and transforms you without your will which was contrary to Jesus' doctrines.

21. Lord Bolingbroke. An English philosopher, died 1751, spoke that the atrocities committed on heretics by the church was not from the teachings of Jesus: "The Gospel of Christ is one thing. The gospel of Paul...is another." For more on Bolingbroke, see this link.

22. Thomas Cossette. A thoughtful short exposition Paul in Hebrew Prophecy (2007) which exposes several prophecies in the Hebrew Bible that are negative prophecies about Paul.

23. Lee Ferrell. A terse 127 page book entitled Paulianity: Identifying Christianity's False Apostle for $2.99 as ebook, published 10/13/2014. Mr. Ferrell is the son of an Adventist preacher. I thoroughly enjoyed this work. He has many keen observations about different passages in the Bible. He also does great exposition on misquotes by Paul of verses from the Hebrew Bible. He covers a lot of the same topics that I do, and frankly I admire him taking it a little bit further. I was very impressed by this book. I do not necessarily agree with everything he writes, but it is merely a matter of interpretation of a particular verse. Fundamentally, he appears to be coming at this topic from someone who wants you to pay attention to Jesus, and be more critical towards Paul. Thanks to Mr. Farrell, I think Paulianity is another word we can use to depict Paulinism -- another term which that may become useful in the future.

24. Robert Orlando in April 2015 Article "Lord, Liar, Lunatic, or the Apostle Paul" (excerpted here) which makes interesting historical observations that Paulinism failed in Paul's lifetime, and only survived due to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Then Constantine in the 300s revived Paulinism, and that is how it has injected itself into the modern era. Succinct and to the point.

25. Bouck WhiteThe Call of the Carpenter (Doubleday 1911) excerpted on Paul at this link - White argues Jesus preached a gospel of equality without domineering leaders that would do away with religion-sponsored state oppression of the poor, and instead encouraged open-handed charity to the poor. White then contrasts that Paul came with a different gospel - one of oppression, and a religion of financial demands to support teachers  / pastors, etc., with a work-for-food ethic on the poor, as well as teaching, as Rome taught, a subjugation of woman to man. The Call of the Carpenter was to a very different world and ethic.

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Any citation to a book is not an endorsement of everything that you may find in that book or an agreement with any other positions of the author.  Any citation to a web article is not an endorsement to any content of that article on the portion that we are not citing it for, nor an endorsement of any other article on the website that is not being linked here.