7 thoughts on “New YouTube Post”

  1. I am inclined to think the legend of Paul is based on a real person. The Thessalonian epistle is very obsessed with the end of the world and is written as if this is imminent. This suggests the writer believes the time frame is still short. The writing of course makes allowance for the fact that people have died since the prediction, so the time frame could be one or two generations since the death of the figure this is based on – assuming the original readers would be familiar with the legend.

    The conversion of Paul from a pharisee is difficult to make much sense of. Is this something the writer of Galations made up? if so for what purpose?

    I am attracted to the hypothesis that Paul is based on the historical person ‘Appollonius’ who came from Samaria and had some association with the aesthetic cults of the time. It would make sense then that the Simonians were keen to adopt Paul posthumously into their cult (and so did the Valentinians?). Maybe the conversion story was their sci-fi patch?

    If so, then to the Simonians Paul and Simon Magus were not the same, but to those outside this group, Paul == Simon Magus would have been how they saw it.


    1. I think Pauline studies are difficult because it might very well be all of the above. First you need to extract out the blatant forgeries, such as the Pastorals and 2 thessalonians, then you need to find the interpretations within the authentic texts, and account for redactions based on what we think we know about the Marcionite canon. Then, what we might imagine how people who actually liked Paul used his letters gives us another set of problems, particularly when juxtaposing the Marcionites and the Valentinians.

      Re Paul the Pharisee: he very clearly was not, so one wonders why add such a preposterous detail. Perhaps to convince skeptical Jews fleeing the holy land?

      We know there was a lot of fan fiction in early Christianity. It might be as simple as that…


    2. The Philipians letter also makes the outrageous assertion that Paul is from the tribe of Benjamin. Surely this contrivance is no coincidence. ie Saul the apostle is King Saul?

      Here are some of the parallels I can think of:

      King Saul persecuted David, Apostle Saul persecuted Christ
      King Saul (Samaria) versus King David (Judah). Saul is the hero of the Samaritans and enemy of the Jews.
      King Saul is troubled by a demon, Apostle Saul has a ‘thorn’ in his side that troubles him.
      King Saul put sacrifice before obedience, Apostle Paul was a Pharisee

      Then we have some possible anti-parallels:

      King Saul: tall strong and handsome, Apostle Saul: short stature and bald
      King Saul: chosen first, Apostle Saul: chosen last

      I don’t think it is too radical to suggest early Christians (especially gnostics) believed in reincarnation.

      This might explain how a mythology about Saul/Paul had such significance.


  2. A little bit of a sidetrack, but have you ever heard of a ‘mechane’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechane).

    Could this explain the flying duels between Simon Magus and Simon Peter, Yeshu and judas etc? Even Jesus and Satan flying off to the top of mountains and the pinnacle of the temple.

    That is that these stories were first told as plays with ‘special effects’, and if you have a machine that can lift the actors into the air – you obviously need plot devices to use it!


    1. I had not, though i’m familiar with deus ex machine as a literary device. But i’m definitely open to the idea that a lot of Christian literature was intended for dramatic performance. I’m a little surprised at how little this idea has been explored by scholars aside from the work of Bilezikian. The mechane would have definitely been useful for the flying sorcerer stuff, as well as the rise to heaven stuff.


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