“I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool” (Paul, 2 Cor 11:17)

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Eisenman on Paul in the New Testament Code

This is a review of Robert Eisenman's treatment of Paul in his work The New Testament Code (London: Watkins Publishing, 2006) -- a voluminous work exceeding 1000 pages. It has numerous references to Paul. We shall review the major references.

Page 569

Apostolic Credentials, Boasting and 'the Apostles of Surpassing Degree' in Paul

....The notices we have just encountered above, about persons dogging Paul's footsteps with a contrary doctrine, are rife throughout Paul's letters and he repeatedly and often bitterly complains, as we have seen, about just that sort of thing. FN 44. Yet specialists are either still unwilling or unable to determine who these ubiquitous 'some' or 'certain ones', he is constantly complaining about, are. For instance, in 1 Corinthians 9:1-2 he asserts:

Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? Even if I were not an Apostle to others, I should still be an Apostle to you, who are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my answer to those who would examine me. [Eisenman's translation.]

[Compare: Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not you my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of my apostleship are you in the Lord. [KJV 2000]

Paul's wounded pride here is self-evident. So is his feeling of inferiority to those above him whom he refers to in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, as already underscored as well, by phrases such as 'Super Apostles,' 'Hebrews,' and finally, as we have several times had occasion to remark, even 'pseudo Apostles, dishonest workment transforming themselves into...Servants of Righteousness, whose End shall be according to their works' (once again, in this last, note the purposeful play on 'Jamesian' doctrine). Not only is the terminology like 'Servants of Righteousness' clearly reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls, but the whole phraseology plays off of the unmistakeablly 'Jamesian' approach to 'works Righteousness.' FN 44.

**** [Page 570]

Continuing on the subject of Apostolic Credentials in 2 Corinthians 3:1, Paul asks rhetorically, his wounded pride and feelings of inferiority again painfully evident, 'Do we begin again to commend ourselves to you?' Then, alluding to the ever-recurring issue of not having official 'written letters of Apostolic appointment from James (much like a rabbi or some churchmen have today), a theme which actually permeates the run-up in 2 Corinthians 10:9-18 to his evocation in 11:13 above of the 'dishonest workmen transforming themselves into Apostles of Christ' jib:

Unlike some (clearly implying the Hebrew 'Super Apostles'), we need no letters of recommendation either to you or from you.'

My Analysis

Eisenman has a very incisive approach to various statements by Paul, highlighting that a theme runs through Paul that Paul knows he lacks apostolic credentials blessed by the church of Jerusalem led by the 12 apostles. As proof, Eisenman cites 2 Cor. 10:19-18 that Paul is glad the Corinthians accept him without any letters of recommendation. Second, 1 Cor. 9:1-2 where Paul said his credentials were those who accepted him became, by their very existence, a "seal" or proof of his apostleship. Eisenman ties these very cogently together to prove Paul's self-awarness that he lacked apostolic credentials.

In Progress.