This is a rebellious people, lying children, that will not hear the Law of Yahweh. Isaiah 30:9.

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Collection of Paul Criticisms at St. Lawrence University Blog

Did you ever ask the question... St. Lawrence University Blog
--------------------------It is not a new/modern concept to question Paul.------------------------ **********From Tertullian to President Jefferson********** This is a chronological collection of quotes and examination of Paul throughout history:

  • The entire Book of James is a rebuttal to Paul >
  • "Justin [103-65 A.D.] took no notice of Paul...." (Encyclopedia Biblica.)
  • Papias (a disciple of Apostle John) from 130 A.D. too never once quotes Paul.
  • Tertullian, 207 A.D. - A Highly Critical Analysis In fact, Tertullian in Adversus Marcion at 3:5 (Caput V) (others erroneously cite 3:6:4) said Paul is the "apostle of the heretics." In Latin, he called Paul "haereticorum apostolus." One commentator says this meant "the writings of Paul --- the haereticorum apostolos of Tertullian --- were regarded suspiciously at Rome." (Hans Lietzmann, The Lord's Supper (Brill: 1979)
  • In 207 A.D., Tertullian in Against Marcion…made the following sobering points about Paul: • Jesus never made Paul an apostle from the records that we can read. • Paul's claim to apostleship solely relies upon Paul's veracity. • If Paul were a true apostle, he is still an inferior apostle because Paul in Acts 15 submitted his doctrine to the twelve. • If Paul later varied from the twelve, we must regard the twelve as more authoritative than Paul because Paul came later. • Paul's claim of being selected as an apostle later by Jesus seems implausible. That story asks us to believe Jesus had not planned things adequately with the twelve.
  • • Lastly, Tertullian said Jesus warned us of false prophets who would come doing miracles in His name and signs and wonders, and Paul perfectly matches that prophesied type of prophet.
  • The key quote with most of these points is the following passage from Tertullian -- written in 207 A.D. in Against Marcion
    • I desire to hear from Marcion the origin of Paul the apostle. I am a sort of new disciple, having had instruction from no other teacher. For the moment my only belief is that nothing ought to be believed without good reason, and that is believed without good reason which is believed without knowledge of its origin: and I must with the best of reasons approach this inquiry with uneasiness when I find one affirmed to be an apostle, of whom in the list of the apostles in the gospel I find no trace. So when I am told that he [i.e., Paul] was subsequently promoted by our Lord, by now at rest in heaven, I find some lack of foresight in the fact that Christ did not know beforehand that he would have need of him, but after setting in order the office of apostleship and sending them out upon their duties, considered it necessary, on an impulse and not by deliberation, to add another, by compulsion so to speak and not by design [i.e., on the Road to Damascus]. So then, shipmaster out of Pontus [i.e., Marcion], supposing you have never accepted into your craft any smuggled or illicit merchandise, have never appropriated or adulterated any cargo, and in the things of God are even more careful and trustworthy, will you please tell us under what bill of lading you accepted Paul as apostle, who had stamped him with that mark of distinction, who commended him to you, and who put him in your charge? Only so may you with confidence disembark him [i.e., Paul]: only so can he avoid being proved to belong to him who has put in evidence all the documents that attest his apostleship. He [i.e., Paul] himself, says Marcion, claims to be an apostle, and that not from men nor through any man, but through Jesus Christ. Clearly any man can make claims for himself: but his claim is confirmed by another person’s attestation. One person writes the document, another signs it, a third attests the signature, and a fourth enters it in the records. No man is for himself both claimant and witness. Besides this, you have found it written that many will come and say, I am Christ. If there is one that makes a false claim to be Christ, much more can there be one who professes that he is an apostle of Christ.... [L]et the apostle, belong to your other god:.... (Tertullian, Against Marcion (Oxford University Press, 1972) at 509, 511, reprinted online athttp://www.tertullian.org/articles/evans_marc/ evans_marc_12book5_eng.htm.) >
  • Macarius Magnes ca. 300 Macarius Magnes, Apocriticus, III.30-36 (ca. 300) writes derisively of Paul's inconsistencies when talking of the Law: [Paul] says, ‘As many as are under the Law are under a curse’ (Gal 3:10). The man who writes to the Romans, ‘The Law is spiritual’ (7:14), and again, ‘The Law is holy and the commandment holy and just’ (7:12), places under a curse those who obey that which is holy!... In his Epistles … he praises virginity (I-Tim 4:1, I-Cor 7:25), and then turns round and writes, ‘In the latter times some shall depart from the faith,... forbidding to marry’ (I-Tim 4:1-3).... And in the Epistle to the Corinthians he says, ‘But concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord’ (I-Cor 7:25). >
  • Methodius Circa 311 A.D. Methodius, bishop of a see somewhere in Lycia, perhaps at Olympus wrote of Paul: ‘You should not be upset by the sudden shifts in Paul’s arguments, which give the impression that he is confusing the issue or dragging in irrelevant material or merely wool-gathering.... In all his transitions he never introduces anything that would be irrelevant to his teaching; but gathering up all his ideas into a wonderfully harmonious pattern, he makes all bear on the single point which he has in view.’ (Symposium III, 3.) (Quoted in Henry Chadwick, The Enigma of St. Paul. The Ethel M. Wood Lecture delivered before the University of London on 27 February 1968 (London: The Athlone press, 1969)
  • Jerome Believed Paul Lied About Peter (Reflected in Augustine's 394 & 397 A.D. Letters) Augustine of Hippo, Letter 28, to Jerome (394): Abelard, 1142 AD, Say Paul At Odds With What Christ Approved Peter Abelard, Letters of Direction (before 1142): We know of course that when writing to the Thessalonians the Apostle [Paul] sharply rebuked certain idle busybodies by saying that ‘A man who will not work shall not eat.’... But was not Mary sitting idle in order to listen to the words of Christ, while Martha was ... grumbling rather enviously about her sister's repose?
    • I have been reading also some writings ascribed to you, on the Epistles of the Apostle Paul. In reading your exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians,... most disastrous consequences must follow upon our believing that anything false is found in the sacred books: that is to say, that the men by whom the Scripture has been given to us and committed to writing, did put down in these books anything false.... For if you once admit into such a high sanctuary of authority one false statement as made in the way of duty, there will not be left a single sentence of those books which, if appearing to any one difficult in practice or hard to believe, may not by the same fatal rule be explained away, as a statement in which intentionally and under a sense of duty, the author declared what was not true.... If indeed Peter seemed to (Paul) to be doing what was right, and if notwithstanding, he, in order to soothe troublesome opponents, both said and wrote that Peter did what was wrong— if we say thus,... nowhere in the sacred books shall the authority of pure truth stand sure. ||
    • Letter 40 (397 AD): If it be possible for men to say and believe that, after introducing his narrative with these words, ‘The things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not’, the apostle (Paul) lied when he said of Peter and Barnabas, ‘I saw that they walked not uprightly, according to the truth of the gospel’,... [then] if they did walk uprightly, Paul wrote what was false; and if he wrote what was false here, when did he say what was true? >Jerome's Low View of Paul in 411 A.D. Jerome severely criticizes Paul for lack of clarity, and giving feints difficult to understand.
    • Jerome translated the Greek NT in 411 A.D. into the Latin Vulgate. Jerome in his Commentary on Galatians and Ephesians wrote: "Paul does not know how to develop a hyperbaton [i.e., a change of normal word order for emphasis], nor to conclude a sentence; and having to do with rude people, he has employed the conceptions, which, if, at the outset, he had not taken care to announce as spoken after the manner of men, would have shocked men of good sense." (Gaussen, Theopneusty (1844): 119 quoting Comm. Galatians Bk 11, titl. Bk 1, i.1; and Comm. Ephesians Bk. 11: 3.1; also quoted in Methodist Review at 602.) In other words, Paul is difficult to understand, as Second Peter says. Paul's writing and grammar is atrocious to decipher. And his arguments use terrible and shocking analysis that requires one to pick apart what he says to prevent him from meaning the opposite of what he is saying. Thus, one may be able to untangle Paul's word meanings, Jerome seems to imply, but it is very rough going. Obviously, basing doctrine on Paul was regarded as precarious in the early church.
  • >CARLSTADT, co-founder in 1517 of Reformation with Luther (who later pushed him out) "It is necessary in fact to preserve compliance to the Lord, and as the Spirit of the Apostles is not a guide equal or greater than the Lord, thus also the heart of Paul within his letters does not have as much authority as has Christ." (Carlstadt, Canonicis Scripturis (1520), quoted in Charles Beard's Martin Luther and the Reformation in Germany (1899) >
  • JOHN LOCKE, 1696, physician, wrote close commentaries on Scripture, evangelist in Reasonableness of Christianity and famous political theorist who influenced US Constitution "It is not in the epistles we are to learn what are the fundamental articles of faith, where they are promiscuously and without distinction mixed with other truths.... We shall find and discern those great and necessary points best in the preaching of our Savior and the apostles ... out of the history of the evangelists [i.e., the four gospels].... If all, or most of the truths declared in the epistles, were to be received and believed as fundamental articles, what then became of those Christians who were fallen asleep (as St. Paul witnesses in his first to the Corinthians, many were) before these things in the epistles were revealed to them? Most of the epistles not being written till above twenty years after our Saviour’s ascension, and some after thirty.... Nobody can add to these fundamental articles of faith." (John Locke, The Reasonableness of Christianity (1696) (emphasizing Jesus in the Gospels, and not the epistles of Paul, etc.) >
  • MATTHEW HENRY, 1721 "Paul took [Timothy] and circumcised him, or ordered it to be done (Acts 16:1-3). This was strange. Had not Paul opposed those with all his might that were for imposing circumcision upon the Gentile converts? Had he not at this time the decrees of the council at Jerusalem with him, which witnessed against it? He had, and yet circumcised Timothy." (Matthew Henry, Exposition of the New Testament (1721) Vol. 3 at 833 - Ch. 16 #6.) >
  • THOMAS MORGAN, 1740, used Paul to destroy both Original and New Testament "I have proved that if the Apostles made any such claim [to infallibility], their differences and divisions among themselves, both in doctrine and practice, must have confuted and convicted them. Peter and Paul with respect to Jews and Gentiles preached two different Gospels...." (Thomas Morgan, Moral Philosopher (1740) [Morgan used Paul's self-serving claim to being an apostle to undermine all of the OT and NT as fallible because Paul denigrated the Law and conflicted with Peter….] >
  • BOULANGER, 1746 "We should never finish, were we to relate all the contradictions which are to be found in the writings attributed to St. Paul.... Generally speaking it is St. Paul ... that ought to be regarded as the true founder of Christian theology,... which from its foundation has been incessantly agitated by quarrels [and] divisions." (Boulanger and Peter Annet, Critical Examination of the Life of St. Paul (letter to Gilbert West, 1746).) "The Encratites and the Sevenians adopted neither the Acts nor the Epistles of Paul." (Boulanger and Peter Annet, Critical Examination of the Life of St. Paul (reprint 1823) quoted in Paine, Age of Reason (1794) >
  • THOMAS PAINE, 1794 "That manufacturer of quibbles, St. Paul,... [wrote] a collection of letters under the name of epistles.... Out of the matters contained in those books,... the church has set up a system of religion very contradictory to the character of the person whose name it bears. It has set up a religion of pomp and of revenue, in pretended imitation of a person whose life was humility and poverty." (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1794) >Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Characteristics of the Present Age (1806): [The] Christian System ... [is] a degenerate form of Christianity, and the authorship of which ... [must be] ascribed to the Apostle Paul. >
  • WILLIAM PALEY, d. 1805, famous Christian preacher "He, the Apostle, could not mean to say this [i.e., salvation is by faith alone]; because if he did, he would say what is expressly and positively contradicted by other texts of at least equal authority with his own; he would say what is contradicted by the very drift and design of the Christian constitution; and would say, lastly, what is expressly denied and contradicted by himself. ...[He also] would say what is contradicted by the very highest authority...Our Savior's own [words]." (William Paley, Sermon 209, The Works of William Paley (1825) Vol. 6 at 214 or Sermons (1830) >
  • THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1820 "Of this band of dupes and imposters, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and the first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus." (Thomas Jefferson Letter of April 13, 1820 in Writings of Thomas Jefferson Vol. XV (1904) at 245) 'Letter to William Short' (1820): Paul was the ... first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus. >Jeremy Bentham, Not Paul But Jesus (1823) It rests with every professor of the religion of Jesus to settle with himself, to which of the two religions, that of Jesus or that of Paul, he will adhere. >
  • JEREMY BENTHAM, 1826, philosopher and attorney "One thorn still remain[s] to be plucked out of the side of this so much injured religion,—and that [is], the addition made to it by Saul of Tarsus: by that Saul, who, under the name of Paul, has—(as will be seen) without warrant from, and even in the teeth of, the history of Jesus, as delivered by his companions and biographers the four evangelists,—been dignified with the title of his apostle...." (Jeremy Bentham, Not Paul But Jesus (1826) "If, by the removal of an incongruous appendage [i.e., Paul], acceptance should be obtained for what is good in the religion commonly ascribed to Jesus;— obtained at the hands of any man, much more of many, to whom at present it is an object of aversion;—if, in any one of these several ways, much more if in all of them, the labours of the author should be crowned with success,—good service will, so far, and on all hands, be allowed to have been rendered to mankind." (Jeremy Bentham, Not Paul But Jesus (1826) "Whosoever, putting aside all prepossessions, feels strong enough in mind, to look steadily at the originals, and from them to take his conceptions of the matter, not from the discourses of others,—whosoever has this command over himself, will recognise, if the author does not much deceive himself, that by the two persons in question, as represented in the two sources of information—the Gospels and Paul’s Epistles,— two quite different, if not opposite, religions are inculcated: and that, in the religion of Jesus may be found all the good that has ever been the result of the compound so incongruously and unhappily made,—in the religion of Paul, all the mischief, which, in such disastrous abundance, has so indisputably flowed from it." (Jeremy Bentham, Not Paul But Jesus (1826) >
  • RALPH WALDO EMERSON, 1832, last sermon as pastor at Second Church "It does not appear that the opinion of St. Paul, all things considered, ought to alter our opinion derived from the evangelists." (Emerson, "Last Supper," Works of Emerson Vol. 11) >
  • DR. FERDINAND BAUR, 1853, theologian "The only question comes to be how the Apostle Paul appears in his Epistles to be so indifferent to the historical facts of the life of Jesus.... He bears himself but little like a disciple who has received the doctrines and the principles which he preaches from the Master whose name he bears." (Baur, The Church History of the First Three Centuries (1853, reprint 1878) "What kind of authority can there be for an 'Apostle' who, unlike the other Apostles, had never been prepared for the Apostolic office in Jesus' own school but had only later dared to claim the Apostolic office on the basis of his own authority?" (Baur, The Church History of the First Three Centuries (1853) >Ferdinand Christian Baur, 'The Christ Party in the Corinthian Church, the Opposition between Petrine and Pauline Christianity in the Ancient Church, and the Apostle Peter in Rome' (1831); The Church History of the First Three Centuries (1853): What kind of authority can there be for an 'Apostle' who, unlike the other Apostles, had never been prepared for the Apostolic office in Jesus' own school but had only later dared to claim the Apostolic office on the basis of his own authority? The only question comes to be how the Apostle Paul appears in his Epistles to be so indifferent to the historical facts of the life of Jesus.... He bears himself but little like a disciple who has received the doctrines and the principles which he preaches from the Master whose name he bears. >
  • KIERKEGAARD, 1855, independent theologian and philosopher "Protestantism is altogether untenable. It is a revolution brought on by proclaiming 'the Apostle Paul' at the expense of the Master (Christ). If there is to be any question of retaining Protestantism...we confess that this teaching is a mitigation of Christianity which we humans have allowed ourselves, appealing to God to put up with it. And instead Protestantism is blazoned forth as an advance in Christianity! No, it is perhaps the most profound concession to the numerical...this numerality that wants to be Christian but wants rid of ideality or to have it downgraded, and insists upon being such and such a number." (Kierkegaard, Papers and Journals (1996)[orig. ca. 1855] "[I]t is of great importance, especially in Protestantism, to correct the enormous confusion Luther caused by inverting the relation and actually criticizing Christ by means of Paul, the Master by means of a follower." (Kierkegaard, "My Task" (1855)," inThe Essential Kierkegaard (ed. Edward H. & Edna Hong)(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000) "As early as the Apostle [Paul], the scaling down process begins, and it seems as if the natural man gets off a little easier in becoming a Christian....[N]owadays whole countries and kingdoms are called Christian, and millions of natural men are disguised as Christians." (Kierkegaard, Journals [ca. 1855] 3:2921 quoted in David McCracken, The scandal of the Gospels: Jesus, story, and offense (1994) "Only the God-man [i.e., Jesus] would be able to endure...the propogation of the doctrine by proclaimnig it, even if he did not gain one single follower. The apostle still has some selfish urge for the alleviation, aquiring adherents, become many, something the God-man does not have [to do]. He does not selfishly crave adherents and therefore has only the market price of eternity, not the market price [of the world which is cheap]." (Kierkegaard, "What Do I Want?" (1855)," inThe Essential Kierkegaard (ed. Edward H. & Edna Hong)(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000) "Paul made Christianity the religion of Paul, not of Christ. Paul threw the Christianity of Christ away, completely turning it upside down, making it just the opposite of the original proclamation of Christ." (Kierkegaard, The Journals ca. 1855) >
  • JOHN STUART MILL, 1859, philosopher "The Gospel always refers to a pre-existing morality,... the Old Testament.... St. Paul, a declared enemy to this Judaical mode of interpreting the doctrine ... of his Master, equally assumes a pre-existing morality, namely that of the Greeks and Romans; and his advice to Christians is in a great measure a system of accomodation of that, even to the extent of giving an apparent sanction to slavery." (Mill, On Liberty (1859) at 88.) >
  • PAUL RENAN, 1869, independent theologian, "It is vain for Paul to talk ; He is inferior to the other apostles. He has not seen Jesus ; He has not heard his word. The divine logia and the parables are scarcely known to him. The Christ who gives him personal revelations, is his own phantom, — it is himself he hears,while thinking he hears Jesus." (Paul Renan, Saint Paul (G.W. Carleton, 1869) or (1875) "True Christianity, which will last forever, comes from the gospels, — not from the epistles of Paul. The writings of Paul have been a danger and a hidden rock, — the causes of the principal defects of Christian theology. Paul is the father of the subtle Augustine, of the unfruitful Thomas Aquinas, of the gloomy Calvinist, of the peevish Jansenist, of the fierce theology which damns and predestinates to damnation. Jesus is the father of all those who seek repose for their souls in dreams of the ideal. What makes Christianity live, is the little that we know of the word and person of Jesus. The ideal man, the divine poet, the great artist, alone defy time and revolutions. They alone are seated at the right hand of God the Father for ever more." (Paul Renan, Saint Paul (G.W. Carleton, 1869) or (1875) >Ernest Renan, Saint Paul (1869): True Christianity, which will last forever, comes from the Gospels, not from the epistles of Paul. The writings of Paul have been a danger and a hidden rock, the causes of the principal defects of Christian theology. >
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, The Dawn (1881): The story of one of the most ambitious and obtrusive of souls, of a head as superstitious as it was crafty, the story of the Apostle Paul--who knows this, except a few scholars? Without this strange story, however, without the confusions and storms of such a head, such a soul, there would be no Christianity. >
  • LEO TOLSTOY, 1884, famous writer, Christian "The separation between the doctrine of life and the explanation of life began with the preaching of Paul who knew not the ethical teachings set forth in the Gospel of Matthew, and who preached a metaphisico-cabalistic theory entirely foreign to Christ; and this separation was perfected in the time of Constantine, when it was found possible to clothe the whole pagan organization of life in a Christian dress, and without changing it to call it Christianity." (Leo Tolstoy, My Religion (1884) >
  • HANS WENDT, 1894 scholar "We know it to be certain that the teachings of Jesus, if it is only grasped and preached in its original strength, can and will exert in a yet higher measure vital and ennobling influences upon the further development of Christendom than have proceeded so far from the teaching of Paul." (Hans Hinrich Wendt of Jena 1894 "Die Lehre des Paulus verglichen mit der Lehre Jesu," ZTK 4 1-78, at 78, quoted in Wedderburn: 20.) >
  • Frederick Engels, 'On the History of Early Christianity' (1894): "Attempts have been made to conceive ... all the messages [of John's Revelation/Apocalypse] as directed against Paul, the false Apostle.... The so-called Epistles of Paul ... are not only extremely doubtful but also totally contradictory. "
  • WILLIAM WREDE, 1904, Christian scholar "The obvious contradictions in the three accounts [of Paul's conversion in Act 9 & 22 & 26] are enough to arouse distrust of all that goes beyond this kernel.... The moral majesty of Jesus, his purity and piety, his ministry among his people, his manner as a prophet, the whole concrete ethical-religious content of his earthly life, signifies for Paul's Christology--nothing whatever.... If we do not wish to deprive both figures of all historical distinctness, the name 'disciple of Jesus' has little applicability to Paul.... Jesus or Paul: this alternative characterizes, at least in part, the religious and theological warfare of the present day." (Wrede, Paul (1904).) >
  • FREDERICK WATSON, 1906, Christian scholar "In particular, in the case of St. Paul's Epistles, we can also see that they all arose out of historical events which can never occur again. We observe in them not only his circumstances and the circumstances of the Church to which He was writing, but also himself— his personal feelings, human passions, zeal, indignation, love, sorrow, and the like. These are not always of the highest morality." (Watson, Inspiration (London: 1906) >
  • ALBERT SCHWEITZER, 1906-1931 writings, believed Paul's dispensation replaced that of Jesus "Paul ... did not desire to know Christ after the flesh.... Those who want to find a way from the preaching of Jesus to early Christianity are conscious of the peculiar difficulties raised.... Paul shows us with what complete indifference the earthly life of Jesus was regarded by primary Christianity." (Albert Schweitzer, The Quest for the Historical Jesus (1906) "The system of the Apostle of the Gentiles stands over against the teaching of Jesus as something of an entirely different character, and does not create the impression of having arisen out of it.... It is impossible for a Hellenized Paulinism to subsist alongside of a primitive Christianity which shared the Jewish eschatological expectations.... To the problem of Paulinism belong ... questions which have not yet found a solution:... the relation of the Apostle to the historical Jesus ... and towards the [Mosaic] Law.... He does not appeal to the Master even where it might seem inevitable to do so.... It is as though he held that between the present world-period and that in which Jesus lived and taught there exists no link of connection.... What Jesus thought about the matter is ... indifferent to him.... Critics [have] demanded of theology proof that the canonical Paul and his Epistles belonged to early Christianity; and the demand was justified." (Albert Schweitzer Paul and His Interpreters (1912) "The differences and oppositions...reveal themselves between the teaching of Jesus and that of Paul...." (Albert Schweitzer Paul and His Interpreters (1912) "[T]he rapid diffusion of Paul's ideas can be attributed to his belief that the death of Christ signified the end of the [Mosaic] Law. In the course of one or two generations this concept became the common property of the Christian faith, although it stood in contradiction to the tradition teaching represented by the Apostles at Jerusalem." (Albert Schweitzer, Out of My Life and Thought (1931) "What is the significance for our faith and for our religious life, of the fact that the Gospel of Paul is different from the Gospel of Jesus?... The attitude which Paul himself takes up towards the Gospel of Jesus is that he does not repeat it in the words of Jesus, and does not appeal to its authority.... The fateful thing is that the Greek, the Catholic and the Protestant theologies all contain the Gospel of Paul in a form which does not continue the Gospel of Jesus, but displaces it." (Albert Schweitzer The Mysticism of St. Paul (1931) >
  • GERALD FRIEDLANDER, 1911, Jewish "Minister of the West London Synagogue" "Paul has surely nothing to do with the Sermon on the Mount.... The Sermon says: 'Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves' (Matt.vii.15). This is generally understood as a warning against untrustworthy leaders in religion.... Does the verse express the experience of the primitive Church? Might it not be a warning against Paul and his followers?" (Gerald Friedlander, The Jewish Sources of the Sermon on the Mount (1911) >
  • JAMES ORR, 1915, Christian scholar "It is the same fallacy which underlies the contrast frequently sought to be drawn between the religious standpoints of Christ and Paul. Paul never for an instant dreamt of putting himself on the same plane with Christ. Paul was sinner; Christ was Saviour. Paul was disciple; Christ was Lord. Paul was weak, struggling man; Christ was Son of God. Jesus achieved redemption; Paul appropriated it. These things involved the widest contrasts in attitude and speech." (James Orr, "Christianity, ISBE Vol. I (1915) >
  • George Bernard Shaw, Androcles and the Lion, Introduction (1915): "There is not one word of Pauline Christianity in the characteristic utterances of Jesus.... There has really never been a more monstrous imposition perpetrated than the imposition of Paul's soul upon the Soul of Jesus.... It is now easy to understand why the Christianity of Jesus failed completely to establish itself politically and socially, and was easily suppressed by the police and the Church, whilst Paulinism overran the whole western civilized world, which was at that time the Roman Empire, and was adopted by it as its official faith. "
  • Martin Buber, 'The Holy Way' (1918); Two Types of Faith (1948): "The man who, in transmitting Judaism to the peoples, brought about its breakup,... this violator of the spirit,... [was] Saul, the man from Tarsus.... He transmitted Jesus' teaching ... to the nations, handing them the sweet poison of faith, a faith that was to disdain works, exempt the faithful from realization, and establish dualism in the [Christian] world. It is the Pauline era whose death agonies we today [in World War I] are watching with transfixed eyes. Not merely the Old Testament belief and the living faith of post-Biblical Judaism are opposed to Paul, but also the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount.... One must see Jesus apart from his historical connection with Christianity.... It is Peter [rather than Paul] who represents the unforgettable recollection of the conversations of Jesus with the Disciples in Galilee. "
  • Carl Gustav Jung, 'The Psychological Foundations of Belief in Spirits' (1919); 'A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity' (1940): "Saul's ... fanatical resistance to Christianity,... as we know from the Epistles, was never entirely overcome. It is frankly disappointing to see how Paul hardly ever allows the real Jesus of Nazareth to get a word in."
  • Herbert George Wells, The Outline of History (1920): St. Paul and his successors added to or completed or imposed upon or substituted another doctrine for--as you may prefer to think--the plain and profoundly revolutionary teachings of Jesus, by expounding ... a salvation which could be obtained very largely by belief and formalities, without any serious disturbance of the believer's ordinary habits and occupations. >Again, H.G. WELLS, 1921 "But it is equally a fact in history that St. Paul and his successors added to or completed or imposed upon or substituted another doctrine for—as you may prefer to think— the plain and profoundly revolutionary teachings of Jesus by expounding a subtle and complex theory of salvation, a salvation which could be attained very largely by belief and formalities, without any serious disturbance of the believer's ordinary habits and occupations, and that this Pauline teaching did involve very definite beliefs about the history of the world and man. It is not the business of the historian to controvert or explain these matters; the question of their ultimate significance depends upon the theologian; the historian's concern is merely with the fact that official Christianity throughout the world adopted St. Paul's view so plainly expressed in his epistiles [953] and so untraceable in the gospels, that the meaning of religion lay not in the future, but in the past, and that Jesus was not so much a teacher of wonderful new things, as a predestinate divine blood sacrifice of deep mystery and sacredness made in atonement of a particular historical act of disobedience to the Creator committed by our first parents, Adam and Eve, in response to the temptation of a serpent in the Garden of Eden. (H.G. Wells, The Outline of History (1921) >
  • James Joyce, Ulysses (1922): Robbing Peter to pay Paul.
  • Mahatma Gandhi, 'Discussion on Fellowship', Young India (1928): I draw a great distinction between the Sermon on the Mount and the Letters of Paul. They are a graft on Christ's teaching, his own gloss apart from Christ's own experience. >
  • Kahil Gibran, Jesus the Son of Man (1928): This Paul is indeed a strange man. His soul is not the soul of a free man. He speaks not of Jesus nor does he repeat His Words. He would strike with his own hammer upon the anvil in the Name of One whom he does not know. >
  • OSWALD SPENGLER, 1928, social historian "Paul had for the Jesus-communities of Jerusalem a scarcely veiled contempt.... 'Jesus is the Redeemer and Paul is his Prophet'--this is the whole content of his message. The Decline of the West (1928) >
  • Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (1929): "That Saint Paul.... He's the one who makes all the trouble."
  • Rudolf Bultmann, 'The Significance of the Historical Jesus for the Theology of Paul' (1929): "It is most obvious that [Paul] does not appeal to the words of the Lord in support of his strictly theological, anthropological and soteriological views.... When the essentially Pauline conceptions are considered, it is clear that there Paul is not dependent on Jesus. Jesus' teaching is--to all intents and purposes--irrelevant for Paul."
  • Walter Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity (1934): "As far as Paul is concerned, in the Apocalypse [Rev/Ap 21:14] only the names of the twelve apostles are found on the foundations of the New Jerusalem--there is no room for Paul.... For Justin [Martyr in the mid-second century], everything is based on the gospel tradition.... The name of Paul is nowhere mentioned by Justin;...not only is his name lacking, but also any congruence with his epistles.... If one may be allowed to speak rather pointedly, the apostle Paul was the only arch-heretic known to the apostolic age.... We must look to the circle of the twelve apostles to find the guardians of the most primitive information about the life and preaching of the Lord.... This treasure lies hidden in the synoptic gospels."
  • Herbert A.L. Fisher, A History of Europe (1935): "Paul of Tarsus ... drew a clear line of division between [the] two sects.... Christian and Jew sprang apart."
  • LUDWIG WITTENSTEIN, 1937, distinguished philosopher "The spring which flows gently and limpidly in the Gospels seems to have froth on it in Paul's Epistles.... To me it's as though I saw human passion here [i.e., in Paul], something like pride or anger, which is not in tune with the humility of the Gospels. It's as though he is insisting here on his own person, and doing so moreover as a religious gesture, which is foreign to the Gospel. I want to ask--and may this be no blasphemy--'What might Christ have said to Paul?'... In the Gospels--as it seems to me--everything is less pretentious, humbler, simpler. There you find huts; in Paul a church. There all men are equal and God himself is a man; in Paul there is already something like a hierarchy, honours and official positions." (Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value (1980, notes from 1937) >
  • WIL DURANT, 1944, historian "Paul created a theology of which none but the vaguest warrants can be found in the words of Christ.... Through these interpretations Paul could neglect the actual life and sayings of Jesus, which he had not directly known.... He had replaced conduct with creed as the test of virtue. It was a tragic change." (W. Durant, Caesar and Christ (1944) at 588 (vaguest warrant); 589 (neglect); 592 (tragic change) >
  • Paul Schubert, 'Urgent Tasks for New Testament Research', in H.R. Willoughby (ed.), The Study of the Bible Today and Tomorrow (1947): "As regards Paul and his letters there is no notable agreement [among modern theologians] on any major issue."
  • ROBERT FROST, 1947, poet "Paul: he’s in the Bible too. He is the fellow who theologized Christ almost out of Christianity. Look out for him." (Robert Frost, A Masque of Mercy, 1947) >
  • HERBERT J. MULLER, 1952 "Saul of Tarsus, who became St. Paul,... knew Jesus only by hearsay, and rarely referred to his human life.... Paul preached a gospel about Jesus that was not taught by the Jesus of the synoptic Gospels.... Setting himself against [the] other disciples,... he was largely responsible for the violent break with Judaism.... He contributed a radical dualism of flesh and spirit unwarranted by the teachings of Jesus." (Muller, Uses of the Past (Oxford University, 1952) at 157 (hearsay, not taught by Jesus); 160 (unwarranted).)
  • Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ (1955): "The door opened. A squat, fat hunchback, still young, but bald, stood on the threshold. His eyes were spitting fire.... 'Are you Saul?' Jesus asked, horrified.... 'I am Paul. I was saved--glory be to God!--and now I've set out to save the world....' 'My fine lad,' Jesus replied, 'I've already come back from where you're headed.... Did you see this resurrected Jesus of Nazareth?' Jesus bellowed. 'Did you see him with your own eyes? What was he like?' 'A flash of lightning--a flash of lightning which spoke.' 'Liar!... What blasphemies you utter! What effronteries! What lies! Is it with such lies, swindler, that you dare to save the world?' Now it was Paul's turn to explode. 'Shut your shameless mouth!' he shouted.... 'I don't give a hoot about what's true and what's false, or whether I saw him or didn't see him.'"
  • W.D. DAVIES, 1958 "Jewish-Christians [opposing Paul] ... must have been a very strong, widespread element in the earliest days of the Church.... They took for granted that the gospel was continuous with Judaism.... According to some scholars, they must have been so strong that right up to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 they were the dominant element in the Christian movement." W.D. Davies, 'Paul and Jewish Christianity', in J. Daniélou (ed.), Théologie du Judéo-Chriantianisme (Paris: 1958) >Lawrence Durrell, Clea (1960): For a brief moment [freedom] looked possible, but St. Paul restored ... the iron handcuffs. >
  • HANS JOACHIM SCHOEPS, 1961 "[Drawing a] stark contrast between the religion of the law and the religion of grace,... Paul had lost all understanding of the character of the Hebraic berith [covenant] as a partnership involving mutual obligations, [and thus] he failed to grasp the inner meaning of the Mosaic law." (Hans Joachim Schoeps, Paul: The Theology of the Apostle in the Light of Jewish Religious History (English translation 1961).) >
  • Erich Fromm, The Dogma of Christ (1963): "Paul appealed ... to some of the wealthy and educated class, especially merchants, who by means of their adventures and travels had a decided importance for the diffusion of Christianity.... [This] had been the religion of a community of equal brothers, without hierarchy or bureaucracy, [but] was converted into 'the Church', the reflected image of the absolute monarchy of the Roman Empire."
  • Gilles Quispel, 'Gnosticism and the New Testament', in J. Philip Hyatt (ed.), The Bible in Modern Scholarship (papers read at the 100th meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, 1964): "The Christian community of Jerusalem ... did not accept [Paul's] views on the [Mosaic] Law."
  • Emil G. Kraeling, The Disciples (1966): "The peculiar, unharmonized relationship between Paul and the Twelve that existed from the beginning was never fully adjusted.... Modern Biblical research in particular has made it difficult to put the religion of the New Testament (to say nothing of the Bible as a whole) into the straightjacket of Paulinism."
  • Paul Tillich, A History of Christian Thought (1968): "The [Mosaic] law was not evaluated in the negative way in which we usually do it; for the Jews it was a gift and a joy.... The way of despair ... was the way of people like Paul, Augustine, and Luther.... Paul's conflict with the Jewish Christians did not have to be continued. Instead of that, the positive elements in the faith, which could provide an understandable content for the pagans, had to be brought out. "
  • Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Creative Mythology (1968): The reign in Europe of that order of unreason, unreasoning submission to the dicta of authority:... Saint Paul himself had opened the door to such impudent idiocies. >
  • Günther Bornkamm, Paul (1969): Above all there results the chasm which separates Jesus from Paul and the conclusion that more than the historical Jesus ... it is Paul who really founded Christianity.... Already during his lifetime Paul was considered an illegitimate Apostle and a falsifier of the Christian message.... For a long time, Judeo-Christianity rejected him completely, as a rival to Peter and James, the brother of the Lord.... Paul does not connect immediately with ... [the] words ... of the earthly Jesus. Everything seems to indicate that he didn't even know them. >
  • William Steuart McBirnie, The Search for the Twelve Apostles (1973): Why did Jesus choose only twelve chief Apostles? Obviously, to correspond to the twelve tribes of Israel.... Paul stoutly maintained that he also was an Apostle.... Yet there is no evidence that he was ever admitted to that inner circle of the original Twelve.... Those who expect the Acts to be the complete early history of Christianity are doomed to disappointment.... The Bible student is soon, and perhaps unconsciously, caught up in the personal ministry of Paul. Peter, though prominent at first, is later ignored, as the Acts unfolds for the reader the story of Paul and his friends.... There is absolutely no evidence that Paul ever recognized the 'primacy' of Peter. >
  • Ronald Brownrigg, The Twelve Apostles (1974): The letters of Paul present a marked contrast to Luke's writings [in his Gospel and the Acts]. Whereas Luke suggests that the Apostles were a closed corporation of twelve governing the whole Church, Paul disagrees, claiming his own Apostleship to be as valid as any of the twelve.... Certainly Paul knew no authority of the twelve.... The qualification for Apostleship, at the election of Matthias [Ac 1:15-26], had been a divinely guided selection and a constant companionship with Jesus throughout his [active] lifetime. >
  • Elaine H. Pagels, The Gnostic Paul (1975): Two antithetical traditions of Pauline exegesis have emerged from the late first century through the second. Each claims to be authentic, Christian, and Pauline: but one reads Paul anti-gnostically, the other gnostically.... Whoever takes account of the total evidence may learn from the debate to approach Pauline exegesis with renewed openness to the text. >
  • Irving Howe, World of our Fathers (1976): The view that sexual activity is impure or at least suspect, so often an accompaniment of Christianity, was seldom entertained in the [east-European Jewish] shtetl. Paul's remark that it is better to marry than to burn would have seemed strange, if not downright impious, to the Jews. >
  • Patrick Henry, New Directions in New Testament Study (1979): There remains in the popular mind a strong suspicion ... that Paul corrupted Christianity (or even founded a different religion).... Jesus [was] a teacher in the mainstream of Jewish prophetic piety,... while Paul ... takes the irrevocable step away from Judaism of rejecting the [Mosaic] law.... Paul imported into the Christian community a form of religion characteristic of the 'mysteries',... religious movements of initiation into secret rites and esoteric knowledge. >
  • Juan Luis Segundo, The Person of Today confronting Jesus of Nazareth (1982): "Within less than thirty years of the events narrated by the synoptics concerning the life and proclamation, death and resurrection of Jesus, Paul permits himself to compose a long and complex exposition of what this means, retaining, apparently, only the two final specific events, the death and the resurrection. Jesus' words are not cited (with the exception of those pronounced over the bread and wine at the Last Supper), his teachings are not remembered. The key terms have disappeared which he employed to designate himself, his mission and his immediate audience: the Son of Man, the Kingdom of God, the poor."
  • Yigael Yadin, 'The Temple Scroll--the Longest Dead Sea Scroll', Biblical Archaeology Review (Sept/Oct 1984): We must distinguish between the various layers, or strata, to use an archaeological term, of early Christianity. The theology, the doctrines and the practices of Jesus, John the Baptist and Paul ... are not the same. >
  • James Michener, Legacy (1987): Women ... will no longer kowtow to the fulminations of St. Paul. >
  • Paula Fredriksen, From Jesus to Christ (1988): Scholars, their confusion facilitated by Paul's own apparent inconsistency,... do not agree even on what Paul said, much less why he said it. >
  • HELMUT KOESTER, 1990, scholar on Paul "Paul stands in the twilight zone of heresy...." (Helmut Koester, "The Theological Aspects of Primitive Christian Heresy," in James Robinson (ed.), The Future of our Religious Past (N.Y.: Harper & Row, 1971). "One immediately encounters a major difficulty. Whatever Jesus had preached did not become the content of the missionary proclamation of Paul, nor of the churches from which his proclamation took its origin...." (Helmut Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels (1990) at 51.) "Sayings of Jesus do not play a role in Paul's understanding of the event of salvation.... The Epistle of James also shares with the Sermon on the Mount the rejection of the Pauline thesis that Christ is the end of the [Mosaic] law. || Paul did not care at all what Jesus had said.... Had Paul been completely successful, very little of the sayings of Jesus would have survived." (Helmut Koester with Stephen Patterson, "The Gospel of Thomas: Does It Contain Authentic Sayings of Jesus?," Bible Review (April 1990) Vol. 6 No. 2 at 28-39 >
  • Stephen Mitchell, The Gospel according to Jesus (1991): Paul of Tarsus ... [was] the most misleading of the earliest Christian writers,... [and] a particularly difficult character: arrogant, self-righteous, filled with murderous hatred of his opponents, terrified of God, oppressed by what he felt as the burden of the [Mosaic] Law, overwhelmed by his sense of sin.... He didn't understand Jesus at all. He wasn't even interested in Jesus; just in his own idea of the Christ. >
  • Shlomo Riskin, The Jerusalem Post International Edition (March 28, 1992): Saul of Tarsus ... broke from Jewish Law, and the religion thereby created was soon encrusted with pagan elements. >
  • Dennis J. Trisker & Vera V. Martínez T., They Also Believe (1992): While many persons believe that Christianity was founded by Jesus Christ,... it is due to Paul that there exists the organization called Christian.... In the New Testament, we can see how Paul ... was in disagreement with the church in Jerusalem and even held in suspicion by them.... He did not emphasize the Jewish aspect of the teaching, and this brought about the first separation within the church. Across the years this separation widened, making the church more pagan and less Jewish.... Paul was no Apostle. >
  • Xavier Zubiri, The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions (1993): There is absolutely no doubt that much of St. Paul's terminology derives from the Mystery Religions. >
  • BART EHRMAN, 1993, scholar "What did the historical Jesus teach in comparison with what the historical Paul taught?… Jesus taught that to escape judgment a person must keep the central teachings of the Jewish Law as he, Jesus himself, interpreted them. Paul, interestingly enough, never mentions Jesus’ interpretation of the [Mosaic] Law, and Paul was quite insistent that keeping the Law would never bring Salvation. The only way to be saved, for Paul, was to trust Jesus’ death and resurrection… Paul transformed the religion of Jesus into a religion about Jesus." (Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, 1993) >
  • Alan F. Segal (for Eugene Schwartz), 'Electronic Echoes: Using Computer Concordances for Bible Study', Biblical Archaeology Review (Nov/Dec 1997): We can easily quantify allusions by measuring whether a passage in one Biblical work merely repeats a few words of another or whether it directly quotes several words running.... The results of our research seemed to confirm ... very few clear parallels between Paul and the Gospels.... [They] almost always express [even] the same ideas in completely different words.... I am unconvinced by the myriad rather weak parallels between the Gospels and Paul. Rather,... the [computer] word study seems to show that the two are definitely unrelated. >
  • Georg Baboukis, On the Way to One God (1999): Paul ... is the real founder of Christianity as we live it today, which is completely different from the Christianity of Jesus. >
  • THOMAS COSETTE, 2007, independent Christian "This man Paul hijacked what is called the church....But he can only keep those who do not love the truth. Those who still have conscience and will compare his teaching and his testimony to Y'shva's and the prophets without granting Paul's testimony [is] the Word of God but [is] just another man's testimony in light of Jesus' teachings. Then they will discover that Paul usurps the truth...." (Thomas Cosette, Hebrew Prophecies of the Coming of Paul (2007)
  • EDGAR JONES, Baptist, Paul The Stranger (Abilene, 2003) at vii "Paul heavily influenced the resulting church due to the preservation of his writings, especially after the church canonized his epistles. Christianity became a Gentile religion that, following Paul, blended elements of paganism, Judaism, and Jesus. This constituted a vast deception in that the church came to see Jesus as Paul saw him, and it is Paul’s Jesus that has come down to us through the church. The reformers reformed Paulinism, not the faith of Jesus."
  • There are more, I did not list them all: http://www.paulv.net/theology/UC/Paul%20Paradox.htm http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/Recommended-Reading/early-church-views.html http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/Recommended-Reading/famous-quotes-on-paul.html