Saul (Hebrew: שָׁאוּל) of Tarsus, or שאול התרסי (St. Paul: Παῦλος, the name Paul does not appear until Acts 13:9) is never mentioned by any source other than the Book of Acts in the New Testament. The reliability of the Book of Acts has been questioned repeatedly by numerous scholars (Walton, Steve (2000). Leadership and Lifestyle: The Portrait of Paul in the Miletus Speech and 1 Thessalonians. New York, NY, USA and Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 3; Hare, Douglas R. A. (1987). “Introduction”, in Knox, John. Chapters in a Life of Paul (Revised ed.). Atlanta, GA, USA: Mercer University Press. pp. xxii; the Book of Acts account of Saul/Paul visiting Jerusalem contradicts the account in Galatians (i.13-24), that Saul/Paul allegedly wrote about the incident, ref. “Paul, St” Cross, F. L., ed. (2005). The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press, see: “Paul, St.”).
Outside of the Book of Acts of the Apostles, there is no historical evidence for a Saul of Tarsus, nor for a St. Paul. Even in the alleged writings of St. Paul, there is nothing to suggest that Saul/Paul was ever a Hebrew, for he relies on Septuagint Koine (Ελληνιστική Κοινή: Hellenistic [common] Greek, or ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτος, “the common dialect”, was spoken from 300 BCE to 300 CE—but little was written in this language; most compositions were made using Attic Greek; it made its mark by being the language of the Septuagint: the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Christian New Testament, both of which are filled with linguistic errors and grammatical mistakes) Greek, and shows not even a modest knowledge of the Hebrew language, its grammar, or its composition and history (Ανδρίοτης, Νικολαος Π. (1967) Ετυμολογικο λεξικο της κοινης Νεοελληνικης; Institut d’études néo-helléniques (Thessalonique, Grèce); Publisher: Αριστοτελειο Πανεπιστημιο Θεσσαλονικης – Ινστιτόυτο Νεοελληνικων Σπουδων (Ιδρυμα Μανολη Τριανταφυλλιδη); and Ανδρίοτης, Νικολαος Π. (1961). Λυκια. 1α, Το Ιδιωμα του Λιβισιου της Λυκιας. Publisher: Κεντρο Μικρασιατικων Σπουδων).
Saul/Paul is not mentioned by Tacitus, Pliny, or Josephus. Saul/Paul is found only in the Book of Acts. But there is a work far older than the Book of Acts that actually leaves a description of Saul/Paul both physically and psychologically. The description of Paul is preserved in Acta Pauli et Theclæ, an apocryphal book that has been proved to be older and in some respects of greater historic value than the canonical Acts of the Apostles (see Conybeare, Frederick Cornwallis (1894). The Apology and Acts of Apollonius and Other Monuments of Early Christianity. London, UK: S. Sonnenschein & Co. pp. 49-88):
“A man of moderate stature, with crisp [scanty] hair, crooked legs, blue eyes, large knit brows, and long nose, at times looking like a man, at times like an angel, Paul came forward and preached to the men of Iconium: ‘Blessed are they that keep themselves chaste [unmarried]; for they shall be called the temple of God. Blessed are they that mortify their bodies and souls; for unto them speaketh God. Blessed are they that despise the world; for they shall be pleasing to God. Blessed be the souls and bodies of virgins; for they shall receive the reward of their chastity.'”
It was by such preaching that “he ensnared the souls of young men and maidens, enjoining them to remain single” (Conybeare, loc. cit. pp. 62, 63, 67; cp. ibid. pp. 24-25; Galatians iii. 38; I Corinthians vii. 34-36; Matthew xix. 12; Clement of Rome, Epistle ii. § 12). The work known as the Book of Acts of the Apostles can be dismissed as a later-day fraud, and the lie of Saul/Paul easily found in the reference of Acts xviii.18: Ὁ δὲ Παῦλος ἔτι προσμείνας ἡμέρας ἱκανὰς τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ἀποταξάμενος ἐξέπλει εἰς τὴν Συρίαν, καὶ σὺν αὐτῷ Πρίσκιλλα καὶ Ἀκύλας, κειράμενος ἐν Κεγχρεαῖς τὴν κεφαλήν, εἶχεν γὰρ εὐχήν.
It would have been impossible for Paul to bring a Nazarite sacrifice in the Temple, as for him the blood of Christ was the only sacrifice to be recognized. Furthermore, Saul/Paul was around women most of the time and never commented on menstruation that Jewish law forbade man to be near or touch (Babylonian Talmud, the Tractate Niddah, and Leviticus xv.19 et seq.) yet the writers of the letters, that are argued to be from his pen, are disparaging of women. It is the authors of the writings ascribed or accredited to Saul/Paul who refer to Jesus as “the high priest after the order of Melchizedek” who atoned for the sins of the world by his own blood (Hebrews iv.14 to v.10, and vii.-xiii).
Saul/Paul’s references to specific Hebrew teachings are sparse (1 Corinthians vii:10-11 and ix.14). When Saul/Paul does speak on social issues, one of the mainstays of Judaism, Saul/Paul counters Hebrew thought and is more Hellenistic than Judaic. For example, the issue of women in early Christianity has sparked controversy since the Emperor Constantine created his catholic church in 325 CE at Nicaea.
There is evidence that Saul/Paul did not recognize gender of males or females in any way or for any reason, as seen in his comment on baptism. In early Christianity Saul/Paul suggested that gender hierarchy had been dissolved through baptism. Those who received baptism into the cult of Christ found a new humanity, one that was beyond gender. This is expressed in the baptismal formula used by St. Paul in Galatians 3:27-8:
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
While some feminists, such as Professor Rosemary Radford Reuther argue that the baptism of a convert released the individual from any gender identification, she goes too far in claiming that Saul/Paul required gender-neutrality. Professor Reuther wrote:
“The gender part of this formula was probably linked from its beginning with celibacy. Women became equal with men by dissolving their traditional relations with men as wives. Thereby they were also freed to teach and preach in local assemblies and as traveling evangelists.”
The issue of celibacy troubled the Saul/Paul of the New Testament. He is ambiguous. He only comments that celibacy is preferred, noting “it is better to marry than burn with passion” (1 Corinthians vii.9; my emphasis).
What Luke, Saul/Paul’s “intimate friend” and “scribe” wrote was in keeping with Luke xx.35: marriages would no longer be performed in the Kingdom of God: οἱ δὲ καταξιωθέντες τοῦ αἰῶνος ἐκείνου τυχεῖν καὶ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τῆς ἐκ νεκρῶν οὔτε γαμοῦσιν οὔτε γαμίζονται. The issue at stake in this reference is whether or not a person can “control” himself or herself and his or her sexual passions—a definite problem for Saul/Paul as I argued decades ago in my book Battling with Beasts, especially when he was confronted by numerous admirers: Luke, Timothy, and Titus, for example (Ide, Arthur Frederick (1991). Battling with Beasts: Sex in the Life and Letters of St. Paul: the Issue of Homosexuality, Heterosexuality, and Bisexuality. Garland, TX, USA: Tangelwüld Press).
Women were not a problem for Saul/ Paul. He numbered many among his closest confidants and admirers, including St. Thecla who preached and baptised when accompanying Saul/Paul (see: Acta Pauli et Theclae, a Coptic text; today it is included in the New Testament Apocrypha, but was acknowledged as canon at the end of the first century–only when males found more believers turning to the ministry of women was it denounced as fraud and denied its place in the canon of the New Testament. It is attested as early as Tertullian, a stinging gynephobe and misogynist, in his De baptimo 17:5 (c 190). Tertullian veighed against its use in the advocacy of a woman’s right to preach and to baptize). That women could (and did) preach and teach is recorded and granted in 1 Corinthians xi.5. Biblical literalists with marginal educations and little interpretative or translation skills, such as is common among Southern Baptists, Adventists, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and Ultra-Orthodox Jews argue that women are not allowed to preach or teach, citing 1 Corinthians xiv.33b-35. That is unscholarly and un-Biblical.
Most contemporary scholars today recognize that 1 Corinthians xiv.33b-35 is an interpolation that was not a part of the original text. Research into the composition, word order, and such demonstrates how misogyny rose in the early church among male bishops who considered themselves threatened with the advance of female bishops and female priests (Ide, Arthur Frederick (1984). Woman as Priest, Bishop and Laity in the Early Catholic Church to 440 A.D.: with a translation and critical commentary on Romans 16 and other relevant scripture and patrological writings on women in the early Christian Church. Mesquite, TX, USA: IHP) adding I Timothy ii.11-15 to their tortious trophy cases for battering the rights of women to enter the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter ii.9). It is the chauvinism of Reformation pastors such as Martin Luther, John Knox, Jean Calvin and others who enabled Adolf Hitler to grabbed on to in their move to suppress women, and condemn women to “Kirche, Kueche, Kinder” (church, kitchen, children) that was initially introduced by Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Reuther’s comments that women had a secondary status because Pauline Christians wanted women to cover their hair (as it was considered a temptation to sin by men; any part of a woman’s body that was uncovered was considered “naked” and would lead to incest, adultery, and other sexual vices; Talmud, Berakhot 24a) was also true for men by culture and custom, although there is some Biblical justification for it. A man was required to cover his head as a mark of submitting to the gods Abraham (codified in Exodus xxviii.4-40; the kippah (yarmulke), however, dates to the seventeenth century when David haLevy of Ostrog reasoned that the head-dress was necessary to differentiate between Jews and Christians praying as defined in Leviticus xviii.3 and Shabbat 156b; this changed in the Reformed Jewish movement in the USA in the 1970s).
The historical reality of a Saul/Paul has various interpretations, for he became a part of the brotherhood (Acts ix.28) and is “managed” by the elders, who took him from Damascus (Acts ix.25) and was brought to the table of the original apostles by Barnabas (Acts ix.27). Later he was sent back to Tarsus until Barnabas “brought” Paul back to Antioch (Acts xi.26) and then was “sent” to Jerusalem with famine relief (Acts xi.30).
Saul/Paul does not become a “missionary” until later (Acts xiii.4). When he is sent on a mission, he is directed to go as a messenger and not a leader (Acts xvi.4-5: “As they went through the cities they delivered them the decrees for to keep that were ordained of the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem and so the congregations were established). Furthermore, Saul/Paul was “sent away” to Berea (Acts xvii.10) and later “brought” to Athens (Acts xvii.14-15), all the time remaining an orthodox Jew who shaves his head in Cenchrea (Acts xviii.18).
Saul/Paul’s name appears 177 times in the Book of Acts. It is never coupled with the familiar honorific term “apostle”. Apostle (ἀπόστολος) is not a title but a word for “messenger” in contract to a disciple (μαθητής: mathetes), who is a student and studies under the leadership of a teacher who was to be a subject-matter expert. The term was introduced decades later by those who fashioned his biography and wrote the letters they headed with his name. This is unique since Acts was, supposedly, written by Saul/Paul’s companion and “admirer”: the Apostle Luke.
The Letters of Saul/Paul are nothing less than bombastic self-aggrandizing. The author makes certain that the name of Saul/Paul is on all—but one: Hebrews. Saul/Paul is extremely arrogant. He proclaims his own success with unmatched enthusiasm and bravado. Saul/Paul says little about the work of his “believers” or what their churches/congregations are doing (2 Corinthians ii, iii). Instead he “admonishes” and “exhorts” the believers like a father would discipline a child.
None of the letters makes any reference to a “Damascene road” conversion or to his being born in Tarsus. Today, the American Psychiatric Association uses the term “Damascene conversion” to refer to any abrupt change in personality, and as a personality disorder. In 1987, D. Landsborough, a psychiatrist, published an article in which he stated that Paul’s conversion experience, with the bright light, loss of normal bodily posture, a message of strong religious content, and his subsequent blindness, suggested “an attack of [temporal lobe epilepsy], perhaps ending in a convulsion … The blindness which followed may have been post-ictal” (Landsborough, D. (1987). “St. Paul and Temporal Lobe Epilepsy,” Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 50; 659-664; cf. Brorson, J.R. and Brewer, K. (1988). “Matters arising: St Paul and temporal lobe epilepsy,” Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 51; 886-887). Did it happen? That is doubtful as there exists no secondary source, nor even a second primary source that supports this claim. Science, medicine, and psychiatry equally refute the possibility of such an incident. No where in The Act of the Apostles is there a statement of Saul/Paul suffering a lack of awareness of blindness (a characteristic of cortical blindness that could be caused by the total or partial loss of vision in a normal-appearing eye caused by damage to the visual area in the brain’s occipital cortex: the total or partial loss of vision in a normal-appearing eye caused by damage to the visual area in the brain’s occipital cortex) was reported in Acts, nor is there any indication of memory loss. Additionally, Paul’s blindness remitted in sudden fashion, rather than the gradual resolution typical of post-ictal states, and no mention is made of epileptic convulsions. Indeed such convulsions may, in Paul’s time, have been interpreted as a sign of demonic influence, unlikely in someone accepted as a religious leader. This evidence supports my original thesis presented in my work Battling with Beasts where Saul/Paul was attempting to hide his own homosexuality, and persecuting those who were–as was common in Damascus, but which even fundamentalists cannot explain away (Witherington, Ben (1998), The Acts of the Apostles: A socio-rhetorical commentary, Eerdmans, pp. 312-313.). Was Saul/Paul really from Tarsus and on his way to Damascus? Acts 9:7 and 22:9 raise strong questions against the authenticity of the account and even of Saul/Paul’s existence. St. Jerome actually reports, in Letter 120: To Hedibia, that Saul/Paul was from Galilee!
The name of Saul/Paul, connected with the epistle (or “letter”) to the Hebrews in Jerusalem by Church tradition. It was not attached to it in writing or signature, as was the case with the other epistles.
The Letter to the Hebrews, gives a clear picture of the psychology of Saul/Paul and his irreverent and frequent outbursts of anti-Semitism that slither from his writings–writings that were not completed in the first century. There are those who argue that the letters are indirectly referenced by Clement of Rome (c. 96 CE in 1 Clement xlvii:1) but the text of 1 Clement xlvii.1-4 references subject found in the Letters ascribed to Saul/Paul. Clement neither cites the name of the Letter(s) in question, nor does the name Paul appear in any of Clement’s verses. There is no indication in Clement that the bishop knew of or knew about Saul/Paul. Instead it is Clement’s cited letter that we read the pseudo-historical narrative from the problems in Eden forward. These lines were used as the foundation for the plagiarisms that became the Epistles of Paul. They are obvious forgeries to convince the emerging communities of christianos and chrestianos that there truly was a Jesus and a Paul—and to a minor regard, a Peter. This is especially true in the case of the dubious Letter to the Colossians that presents an unparalleled description (among the writings of Saul/Paul) of Jesus as ‘the image of the invisible God': a Christology found elsewhere only in John’s gospel that many have successfully argued in Gnostic in substance.
Colossians closely identifies with the Epistle to the Ephesians, putting both under scrutiny (MacDonald, Margaret Y. (2000). Sacra Pagina: Colossians and Ephesians. Collegeville, MN, USA: Liturgical Press). In both cases, the message is mangled under the weighty hand of the writer who is busy identifying himself (or herself) as Saul/Paul.
The primary, sultry problem with Saul/Paul is the self-style Apostle’s overwhelming ego. Saul/Paul praises himself relentlessly: “I magnify my office” (Romans xi.13) “I labored more abundantly than they all” (1 Corinthians xv.10) “As the truth of Christ is in me, no one shall stop me from this boasting in the regions of Achaia” (2 Corinthians xi.10) “for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest [sic] apostles” (2 Corinthians xii.11) and so forth. Half of Saul/Paul’s thirty-seven uses of the word “apostle” are a reference to himself. Saul/Paul is his own advertisement.
It is worthy of note that none of the Gospel writers identify or define Saul/Paul as an apostle. None of the four gospels even mentions Saul/Paul. Not even Luke, his scribe, and the Gospel of Luke, by myth and legend is written after Saul/Paul allegedly dies in Rome; dating of the Gospel ranges from 60 to 93 CE and Saul/Paul allegedly dies in 63/64 or 67 CE, along with “Peter”.
As for the celestial “Christ” calling out to “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” it is amateurish plagiarism. Myth has it that his companions fell down with him, but this not the tale in any current edition of the Bible:
Biblical translations of Acts 9:7 generally state that Paul’s companions did, indeed, hear the voice (or sound) that spoke to him:
And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.—Acts 9:7, King James Version (KJV)
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one.—Acts 9:7, New American Bible (NAB)
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.—Acts 9:7, New International Version (NIV)
By contrast, Catholic translations and older Protestant translations preserve the apparent contradiction in Acts 22:9, while many modern Protestant translations such as the New International Version (NIV) do not:
And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.—Acts 22:9, King James Version (KJV)
My companions saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me.—Acts 22:9, New American Bible (NAB)
My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.—Acts 22:9, New International Version (NIV)
The classic problem is between translation and interpretation. This fine line is frequently ignored by most schools and universities that twist and contort the two as to being identical, whereas, in reality, they are not. The NIV, New Living Translation, and similar versions contend that the translation used for Acts 22:9 is inaccurate. The verb used here — akouō (ἀκούω) — can be translated both “hear” and “understand” (both the KJV and NIV translate akouō as “understand” in 1 Corinthians xiv:2, for example; it often takes a noun in the genitive case for a person is being heard, with a noun in the accusative for the thing being heard). Late first-century readers and those who were familiar with the document in the second century probably understood the two passages to mean that everybody heard the sound of the voice, but “only Paul understood the articulated words” (Longenecker, Richard N. (1971) The Ministry and Message of Paul, Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Zondervan, p. 32). This was in keeping with the Oracles of pagan shrines where only the priests/ priestesses were privy to knowledge. To attempt to translate a document that is approximately 1700 years old using contemporary words is an insult to the translation and interpretation process and deletes the original meaning. This is compounded when it becomes apparent that the fable being expressed as sacred is not from the source cited, but, instead, is far older. Even more critical is the unanswerable question of why there were no reports of the seizure by any of the companions of Saul/Paul, nor are any mentioned by name, the reason for their accompanying Saul/Paul is not given (and it was unusual for more than two messengers to be sent to any locale, while one was more standard (the one incident of three messengers occurs in the fable of messengers meeting with Abraham: Genesis xvii.1-20, cp. ibid. xviii.1-16, the same being the case with Sarah who alone heard that she would be impregnated with an heir for Abraham).
The great light and fall comes from the Persecution of Dionysius as related in Euripides Bacchae (404 BCE; note the lines on “getting out of prison” (ll. 968 ff that matches the account of Saul/Paul and their leaving prison; the antecedent for kiss of Judas can be seen in ll. 1670-1674; the persecution is at ll. 1760 sq; most of the stories associated with Jesus and Saul/Paul can be found in the Bacchanae; an English translation is here. Plagiarism has long been a problem everywhere; even ancient Hebrews plagiarized the line, as read in I Samuel xxvi.18.
If Saul/Paul was the “chiefest [chief]” apostle (not Peter as in Matthew xvi.18), then why did he have to escape (2 Corinthians xi.32, 33)—and why in a basket (Acts ix.25)? Baskets throughout the Mesopotamian region since as early as 3700 BCE were lowered by a rope by tenement dwellers to buy bread from street vendors. The buyer would first lower the basket with payment for the bread, and then, on seeing the bread put in the basket, pull up the basket to retrieve the family loaf. There is no record that there was a “man-sized” (adult) baskets, as baskets, by culture, rule and law were to retrieve food for a family—not for an entire community, and no building contained more than three to four families (there were no skyscrapers).
While bread was a staple, it was eaten quickly as there were no preservatives, and bread was baked throughout the day to guarantee freshness. Baskets, then and today, for other food that was sold commercial were made of light-weight construction material and could not hole the weight of an adult male.
The biggest question: why did Saul/Paul just not climb down the rope like any normal person? Furthermore, why the escape? It is claimed by the authors of Saul/Paul that he was escaping from “the governor under Aretas the king” (2 Corinthians xi.32,33), but Aretas IV Philopatris was the King of the Nabataeans from roughly 9 BCE to CE 40 andruled a vast area in harmony with the people: Jew and Gentile. His full title, as given in the inscriptions, was “Aretas, King of the Nabataeans, Friend of his People“, which was in direct opposition to the prevalent φιλορώμαις (“Friend of the Romans“) and φιλόκαισαρ (“Friend of the Emperor“). His daughter Phasaelis married Herod Antipas, who later divorced her, causing her to flee to her father who invaded Harod’s kingdom, destroyed his army (Josephus puts it at 36/37 CE in order to connect it with the beheading of John the Baptist: Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 18.109-118), before dying in 40 CE. There is no record of Aretas knowing or corresponding with Saul/Paul, nor is there any record of Saul/Paul speaking to the king’s governor (ethnarch) through a window as noted in (2 Corinthians xi:32, 33, cf Acts ix:23, 24). The full history of Aretas is not yet known, and it may have been at a later time, for archaeologists have discovered a coin of Aretas dated 101 CE (new style dating).
Saul/Paul gives no explanation as to how he earned this monarch’s displeasure. Acts ix.23, 24, claims that Saul/Paul offended the Jews, but the Jews were not orthodox in the kingdom of Aretas, and there is no record of them giving any outcry against any preacher. Most Jewish residents were too intent on earning a living, correcting children, and so forth than to pay attention to an itinerant preacher.
The incident in Acts ix.23,24 is also plagiarized. It comes from Josephus, Vita xvii that was reused to embellish Acts xvi.25, 29.
There was no estrangement between Jews and Christians as Christians saw themselves, and publicly proclaimed themselves to be a branch of Judaism. There were no initial hostilities–and no martyrdoms (such as of Stephen; Acts vii; Stephan/Stephanos: Στέφανος is a title, not a name; it means “crown” a term given to those who surrender their life for a cause or event; his death, was the result of his declaration of a theophany: the visual/physical seeing of god,
“Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” In Acts 7:56: a declaration that went against Jewish law and was repetitive of pagan practices–a similar to the seizure and theophany of Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus and notes a mental illness, as Hovarth and Zuckerman defined concerning people who are high sensation seekers and are inclined 1) to thrill and adventure seeking such as skydiving; 2) to unusual activities such as wild parties; 3) at the extremes are usually disinhibited thus prone to heavy drinking, drug use, gambling and sexual experimentation; and 4) exhibit a susceptibility to boredomwith low tolerance for routine repetition; see: Horvath, P., & Zuckerman, M. (1993). Sensation Seeking, Risk Appraisal, and Risky Behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 14(1), 1147-1152; Scott, R. P. & Potts, R. W. (1995). “Using spiritual interventions in psychotherapy: Practices, successes, failures, and ethical concerns of Mormon psychotherapists.” Professional Psychology Research and Practice, 26:163-170) unless rape, adultery, or murder was involved.
The early Christians considered themselves to be a part of Judaism (Irenæus, Adversus Hæreses, i.26). Its first fifteen “bishops” were circumcised and hostile towards heathens (Sulpicius Severus, Historia Sacra, ii. 31; Eusebius, Historia Ecclesia iv. 5; compare Matthew. xv. 26) that included “the uncircumcised” as well as those who did not attend to purification ceremonies and Jewish holidays. Furthermore, the “Christian bishops” spoke regularly with the leaders of the synagogue (Grätz, Hirsch. Geschichte der Juden von don altesten Zeiten bis auf die Gegenwart. Leipzig, Germany, iv. 373 et seq) making Saul/Paul unnecessary–until there was a movement to reconcile with the Gentiles–a movement that did not occur until toward the end of the second century and into the third.
The bitterness found in the Pauline letters is apparent throughout church history, but more so under Protestantism that revived Pauline views and notions. This is because the Epistles of Saul/Paul were the true founder of “Christianity” (Paulinity) and not Jesus (nor a man known as Saul/Paul), a reality that even Martin Luther and Jean Calvin accepted in their praises of Paul. With these a biased opinion of Judaism and its Law took possession of Christian writers especially in the days of the Third Reich and currently with Bradlee Dean and contemporary evangelical Christianity (cp., e.g., Weber, Ferdinand Wilhelm (1897). Jüdische Theologie auf Grund des Talmud und verwandter Schriften, gemeinfasslich dargestellt. Leipzig, Germany: Dürffling & Franke, where Judaism is presented throughout simply as “Nomismus”; Schürer’s description of the life of the Jew “under the law” in Schürer, Emil (1898-1902) Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi 3d ed., Leipzig, Germany: J. C. Hinrichs, ii. pp. 464-496; Bousset, Wilhelm (1903) Religion des Judenthums in Neu-Testamentlichen Zeitalter. Berlin, Germany: Reuther & Richard. p. 107; and the more popular works by Karnack and others; see also Schechter, Solomon (1890) in Jewish Quarterly Review. [old series] iii. 754-766; Abrahams, Israel (1899). “Prof. Schürer on Life Under the Jewish Law,” ibid. xi. 626; and Schreiner, M. (1902). Die Jüngsten Urtheile über das Judenthum. pp. 26-34 where he comments that the sayings of Jesus are assertions but without substance or law; ref. Chwolson, David Abramovich (1901). Die Blutanklage und Sonstige Mittelalterliche Beschuldigungen den Juden: eine historische Untersuchung nach den Quellen, Frankfort-on-the-Main, Germany: J. Kauffmann, pp. 1-78).
Like the Gospels and Letters, Acts also is a loosely random collection, a collage of various tales interwoven without having justification on the basis of current thought or statements allegedly made by the New Apostle. Among the numerous errors in the Book of Acts is the claim that the “Christians” (they never called themselves that, but referred to themselves as “believers” or “brethren”) were persecuted—but once Saul/Paul returns to Tarsus, the persecution abruptly stops (Acts ix.31). Saul/Paul claims that the Jews were “of murderous intent” (Acts ix.23, 24), but the only record—in Acts—of any Jew having a “murderous intent” was Saul/Paul, himself, who flees to “Arabia” for three years, even though Damascus was a part of Arabia. Saul/Paul’s flight from Jerusalem was because of perceived dangers (Acts ix.29-30) is nothing but a replay of Josephus, War ii.20.1).
The Book of Acts states that Saul/Paul at the Council of Jerusalem argued heatedly against circumcision—and won (Acts xv.19, 32). Saul/Paul then promptly circumcised his own disciple, Timothy, whom he found in Lystra (Acts xvi.3)—a destructive act of delusional schizophrenia (a Gestalt psychology of mood-swings and actions) that might have been the result of agorophobia: acting out in panic (anankastic personality disorder) that which was previously denied. Saul/Paul glories in this sexual mutilation without recording Timothy’s thoughts on the act that even Josephus (Vita xxiii) notes was unnecessary and no one was “constrained by force” to endure it. Saul/Paul, on another occasion, most likely nearly at the same time, graciously spared his other follower, Titus from the barbaric act of circumcision (Galatians ii.3, 4). Why? Both were considered Jew-Christians. This would occur only if they were slaves, but Saul/Paul declared there were no slaves—another contradiction. The fact that Saul/Paul wrote two distinct letters to Timothy and only one to Titus, shows handily that there was a greater preference for Timothy—but for what reason? As for Saul/Paul being a “seeker of wisdom” with a thirst for knowledge, that is not only unbiblical but also fiction, if Acts is to be believed. Acts xix.19 notes that Saul/Paul presided over Christianity’s first book burning and condemned those who had the books, despite the injunction of the Jesus of the New Testament who forbade any mortal to judge another mortal (Matthew vii:1).
Most of Saul/Paul’s other journeys are pious legends at best. It is claimed that Saul/Paul Christianized Ephesus—the very city where the Beloved John lived for decades (Acts xviii.18ff, xix.5, 7; cp. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesia xxiii). As for being an “apostle”—the early church did not accord Saul/Paul that honor until the first half of the second century CE—and only after the Bar Kosiba war
had ended. By then, Saul/Paul was dead and a new Messiah had risen and was seen as the promised warrior—not like the passive Jesus. This war was over whether or not Hadrian (117-138), who is considered to be one of the most remarkable and talented men Rome produced, was the “saviour and god” personally associated with Zeus, by the Greek cities—a worship that spread to Syria and Antioch by 129, or his association with another male. Most scholars agree that the war was over the issue of his male lover, a beautiful Greek youth named Antinous. Antinous had been Hadrian’s companion of several years before the youth drowned, under odd circumstances, in the Nile.
After the boy’s death, Hadrian instituted a new religion for his worship and built a sanctuary city (Antinoopolis) where the tragedy occurred—and permitted a Christian bishop to enter and proselytize, as well as two other rival theologies who had little sympathy for the dead youth or the relationship the boy had with the Emperor. It was this intolerance that led to the war. The war was precipitated by an unusual high outpouring of hate-filled messages that came from the Jews who objected to people worshipping a boy whom they saw as a Qadesh/Qedesh (קדשה technically “dog” but it also signifies a dancer, cf. 1 Kings xv.12; 2 Kings xxiii.7; the female religious prostitute (cf. Herodotus, Historia i.199) was a Qedeshah (קדשה) a term–used primarily for a woman–that literally means “consecrated” (feminine form) from the Semitic root קדש for “holy” or “set apart”. This term was used for Antonius around whom a cult grew spontaneously. Its adherents argued that the youth was a virtuous young man who, by self-sacrifice, conquered death and now was able to offer salvation and protection to others (by the
fourth century, when the pagan Emperor Constantine created his catholic church at his Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, Antinous was presented in statuary as a young god with the grapes of Dionysus in one hand (prior to changing them into wine) and a cross in the other). While such a sacrifice was applauded and heralded, the complaint was that the youth “changed his sex[ual position] for that of the other [a woman]” (cp. Leviticus xviii:22 that is incomplete in composition and most likely should read: And with a male you shall not lay [in the] lyings of a woman.” That is, two men must not engage in sexual behavior on a woman’s bed, and xx.13 that ignores “as with” indicating a rejection of acceptance of reality, ref. Rabbi Gershon Caudill, “A Heterosexual Jewish Rebbe’s View on the (Supposedly) Homosexual Texts in the Hebrew Bible” (there was no Hebrew word for “homosexual”; it had the same purpose as xix.22 forbidding tattoos).
That this term should be applied to a young male only indicates that society then, as it does today, assumes that one party within a homosexual relationship was in the role of the female, the other in the role of the male as society was not sophisticated enough to know that both parties could be equally “feminine” and/or “masculine”. This is what would lead to the alleged condemnation of “effeminancy” in a ritual act, or the “changing of one’s role” that homophobes celebrate when chanting the mantra of hate in Leviticus and Romans. This is the “confusion” that does not exist in the normal and natural psychology of the homosexual (male or female) but led to the prohibition in Deuteronomy xxiii.17-18, which is distinctly not against the act, but rather is a prohibition against “bring[ing] the hire of a prostitute (זנה) or the wages of a dog (כָּלֶב or keleb [Strong Hebrew 3611]) into the house (temple) of the Lord your God to pay a vow…”. It is a reference to ritual or temple/sacred prostitution—not a denunciation or forbiddance of homosexuality.
The fear was over the reinvigoration of Canaanite worship services when Yahweh was but a minor god and ultimate forced to marry the Canaanite goddess Asherah (Venus/Astarte), which grew more intense when the Greek rulers of Jerusalem were accused of bringing prostitutes (hetairai: ἑταῖραι who were courtesans who entertained with song, poetry and conversation) into the Temple in Jerusalem and having sex with them there: 2 Maccabees vi.1-4: Μετ οὐ πολὺν δὲ χρόνον ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ βασιλεὺς γέροντα Ἀθηναῖον ἀναγκάζειν τοὺς Ιουδαίους μεταβαίνειν ἀπὸ τῶν πατρίων νόμων καὶ τοῖς τοῦ θεοῦ νόμοις μὴ πολιτεύεσθαι, Not long after this, the king sent an Athenian senator to compel the Jews to forsake the laws of their fathers and cease to live by the laws of God, μολῦναι δὲ καὶ τὸν ἐν Ιεροσολύμοις νεὼ καὶ προσονομάσαι Διὸς Ὀλυμπίου καὶ τὸν ἐν Γαριζιν, καθὼς ἐτύγχανον οἱ τὸν τόπον οἰκοῦντες, Διὸς Ξενίου, and also to pollute the temple in Jerusalem and call it the temple of Olympian Zeus, and to call the one in Gerizim the temple of Zeus the Friend of Strangers, as did the people who dwelt in that place. χαλεπὴ δὲ καὶ τοῖς ὅλοις ἦν δυσχερὴς ἡ ἐπίτασις τῆς κακίας. Harsh and utterly grievous was the onslaught of evil. τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἱερὸν ἀσωτίας καὶ κώμων ὑπὸ τῶν ἐθνῶν ἐπεπληροῦτο ῥᾳθυμούντων μεθ’ ἑταιρῶν καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἱεροῖς περιβόλοις γυναιξὶ πλησιαζόντων, ἔτι δὲ τὰ μὴ καθήκοντα ἔνδον εἰσφερόντων. For the temple was filled with debauchery and reveling by the Gentiles, who dallied with harlots and had intercourse with women within the sacred precincts, and besides brought in things for sacrifice that were unfit.
The Vulgate considers 2 Maccabees to be a deuterocanonical book, but it reads:
1 sed non post multum temporis misit rex senem quendam antiochenum qui conpelleret Iudaeos ut se transferrent a patriis et Dei legibus 2 contaminare etiam quod in Hierosolymis erat templum et cognominare Iovis Olympii et in Garizin prout erant hii qui locum inhabitabant Iovis Hospitalis 3 pessima autem universis et gravis malorum erat incursio 4 nam templum luxuria et comesationibus erat plenum et scortantium cum meretricibus sacratisque aedibus mulieres se ultro ingerebant intro ferentes ea quae non licebat.
The Books of the Maccabees, however, are not trustworthy. They incorporate many pagan/ancient stories (in much the same way as the Qur’an, Torah, and New Testament), including the trial (apology) execution of Socrates. Maccabees uses the Greek literary genre in Koine Greek rather than the Hebrew. At the time of its appearance, its author claimed he was abridging the five-volume work of Jason of Cyrene. There is an Arabic edition: و بعد ذلك بيسير ارسل الملك شيخا اثينيا ليضطر اليهود ان يرتدوا عن شريعة ابائهم ولا يتبعوا شريعة الله و ليدنس هيكل اورشليم ويجعله على اسم زوس الاولمبي ويجعل هيكل جرزيم على اسم زوس مؤوي الغرباء لان اهل الموضع كانوا غرباء فاشتد انفجار الشر وعظم على الجماهير و امتلا الهيكل عمرا وقصوفا واخذ الامم يفسقون بالمابونين ويضاجعون النساء في الدور المقدسة ويدخلون) This multiculturalism (considered an infection by bringing in a different culture, the same psychosis that took control of the mind of the Norwegian mass murderer and Christian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik on July 22, 2011) infuriated Shimon ben Kokhba (שמעון בן כוסבא, deliberately mispronounced by his followers as Bar Kochba, or son of the star: referring to the Star Prophecy of Numbers 24:17, at the instance of his contemporary, the Jewish sage Rabbi Akiva ben Joseph (ca. 17 – ca. 137 CE), who in the Talmud is referred to as “Rosh la-Chachamim”: “Head of all Sages”).
Kokhba’s original name wasAntinous becomes a god. To fulfill the “prophecy” of the coming of a messiah to rescue Israel, Simon bar Kokhba had himself led on a horse “as prophecy foretold”. John of Patmos would later embellish this story to make a saviour return to earth on a horse to join the forces of evil in the battle of Armageddon.
The Jews went to war over the youth’s role in religion once Hadrian’s ban on circumcision was enforced. Hadrian viewed circumcision as nothing less than sexual mutilation (Historia Augusta, Hadrian xiv.2).
It appeared to Jews and “believers” (proto-Christians who saw themselves as a part of the Jewish world) that the world was at war (Dio Cassius, Historia Romana lxix.9.12-13). Instead of there being four horsemen, each on a different colored horse bringing famine, death, and so forth, there were thousands of horsemen on common horses that brought the plagues Potmos would embellish in his fantasy.
At the end of the War, 500,000 of the three million Jews were slaughtered. Tens of thousands were sold into slavery and the arena. The study of the Prophets (scripture) and the Sabbath was outlawed. Even the name of Judaea was erased from the map, being replaced by Sina Palestinia.
The Christians saw it as fulfillment of the prophecy of Saul/Paul and John of Patmos, that the Jews would incur divine wrath for rejecting their prophet Jesus. There were at most 10,000 early Christians. With the death of the last circumcised bishop, they were able to install one of their own: Marcus. History records Marcus as the first bishop of those not circumcised and sixteenth bishop of Jerusalem, according to some chroniclers, and the Gentiles ruled (Eusebius, Eclessia Historia iv.6).
To lessen the assault expected against them, the authors of the epistles attributed to Saul/Paul were toned down. Saul was sanitized, as his zeal became an issue within the early communities, many who did not recognize him as an apostle, as was the case with “Philip the Evangelist” of Caesarea (Acts xxi.8), and it is recorded that Peter controlled the churches in Jerusalem and Antioch (Acts vi-xii), and Paul’s missionary zeal was not unique, but equally matched by that of Philip who proclaimed “The Christ” (anointed one) in Samaria and on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, where he baptized the eunuch (Acts viii.38). The Essenes did not recognize Saul/Paul and they were not living only in the wilderness, but in a number of towns in Judaea. According to Josephus they were living in Jerusalem in a very closed community, where they had probably settled after the 31 BC earthquake that disrupted their lives at Qumran (Kesich, Vaselin (1986). “The Historical Jesus: A Challenge From Jerusalem,” St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, vol. 30, No. 1, p. 26.).
It has been argued, on the basis of some archeological findings, that Essenes settled on Mount Zion, which also became the center of Jewish Christianity. The Alexandrian Jews were more receptive to Christians than those from Asia Minor, but here, too, we find no mention of Saul/Paul (Koester, Helmut (1982). History, Culture and Religion of the Hellenistic Age. Philadelphia, PA, USA: Fortress Press. vol. II, p. 42, 90).
There was no Diaspora (διασπορά, “scattering, dispersion”)—as the majority of Jews already lived outside of Judea (it becomes associated with Judaism only after the Bible’s translation into Greek and then to refer to the population of Jews exiled from Israel in ca. 607 BCE by the Babylonians, and from Judea in 70 CE by the Roman Empire). The vanity of Saul/Paul is toned down in the current canon, with his rebuke of Peter who he libeled as having reneged on his commitment to Jesus out of fear (Galatians ii.12-13) and commenting that Barnabas was naively “carried away” in his rejoinder. None of this is found in traits of religious Jews at that time, and this is clearly seen in his writings, for he took all of his scriptural references from the Greek (Septuagint) translation of Jewish scripture, and nothing from the Hebrew. This reveals that Saul/Paul had difficulty with his own alleged native tongue. As Professor Shlomo San of Tel Aviv University wrote: “The Jews as a self-isolating nation of exiles, who wandered across seas and continents, reached the ends of the earth and finally, with the advent of Zionism, made a U-turn and returned en masse to their orphaned homeland, is nothing but national mythology.” Emphasis mine. (Sand, Shlomo (2009), The Invention of the Jewish People, translated into English by Yael Lotan. London, UK and New York, NY, USA: Verso 2009, also 2010; there is a Turkish edition under the title Yahudi halkı nasıl icat edildi? : Kitabı Mukaddes’ten Siyonizme, translated by Isik Ergüden. Şişli, İstanbul: Doğan Kitap, 2011).
Saul/Paul needed to elevate himself, and tacking himself to an imaginary διασπείρω (used as a verb) served well. To this end, Saul/Paul became the Thirteenth Apostle.
Thirteen was not yet an unlucky number (even after he began to kill the disciples of The Lord: Acts ix.1 but this story is taken directly from Josephus, Antiquities xx.9.4). Thirteen had special significance to ancient Jews, for thirteen was the age a boy became a man; as a man the male became a full member of the Jewish faith and is qualified to be count as a member of Minyan. Thirteen also has, according to Rabbinic commentary on the Torah, a special place with god has 13 Attributes of Mercy that are the number of principles of Jewish faith according to Maimonides (see his commentary on the Mishnah: tractace Sanhedrin, chapter 10).
We find a mixing of stories in Josephus—not as a testimony to Saul/Paul, nor even to Jesus (whom is mentioned not as a god or a son of god, but as a common brigand, thief and murderer:
“So Jesus the son of Sapphias [chief magistrate of Tiberias], one of those whom we have already mentioned as the leader of a seditious tumult of mariners and poor people, prevented us, and took with him certain Galileans, and set the entire palace on fire … Jesus and his party slew all the Greeks that were inhabitants of Tiberias, and as many others as were their enemies before the war began.”
– Josephus, Vita xii).
It merely recognized the unsettled conditions of the time, and the longing of people for a different life. As the psychologist William James noted, it would initiate the time for a supernatural happening, and gave greater credence to divine revelation: to escape a time of Tribulation in anticipation of the coming of a Messiah (war lord).
Saul/Paul and his apologists claim that he was a Jew before his seizure on the Road to Damascus, but the writings ascribed to the individual belie that assumption. In the Epistle to the Romans, many parts are the product of the second-century Church. In this contempt-filled work, the authors of Romans show a forceful hatred for the Jews and everything Jewish, e.g., such passages as Romans ii. 21-24, in which the writers of this questionable work charge the Jews with theft, adultery, sacrilege, and blasphemy. It is reiterated in Romans ix.22 and xi.28 (cp. Romans iii.2).
The underlying motive of the Pauline theology was to tear down of the partition-wall between Jew and Gentile. It is best expressed in Ephesians ii.14-22. The redactors of Ephesians, over the years declared that the latter (the Gentiles) are no longer “gerim” (גיור: contemplating or actively pursuing הלכה: halachic (in accordance with Jewish law) conversion) and הדיירים: “toshabim” (A. V. “tenants” or “strangers” and “foreigners” as defined in Leviticus xxv.23. The conversion process requires taking the vow in Ruth i.16-17: כִּי אֶל-אֲשֶׁר תֵּלְכִי אֵלֵךְ, וּבַאֲשֶׁר תָּלִינִי אָלִין—עַמֵּךְ עַמִּי, וֵאלֹהַיִךְ אֱלֹהָי. בַּאֲשֶׁר תָּמוּתִי אָמוּת, וְשָׁם אֶקָּבֵר; כֹּה יַעֲשֶׂה יְהוָה לִי, וְכֹה יוֹסִיף—כִּי הַמָּוֶת, יַפְרִיד בֵּינִי וּבֵינֵךְ.), but “fellow citizens with the saints” of the Church and fully equal members “of the household of God” but a people not yet saved. Salvation is denied these Jews, Saul/Paul states, because they have not (as of yet) accepted The Christ.
In order to accomplish his purpose of saving the Jews (through a special Messianic promise to bring about a New King), Saul/Paul argues that just as little as the heathen escapes the wrath of God, owing to the horrible sins he is urged to commit by clinging to his idols, so little can the Jew escape by his Law, because “the law worketh sin and wrath” (Rom. iv. 15). As Isaac Troki noted (in Troki, Isaac ben Abraham; Moses Mocatta (1851). ̣חזוק אמונה (Faith Strengthened) or Hizzuk Emunah” London, UK: [s.n.] i.2, 4a, 6) “none of the Messianic promises of a time of perfect peace and unity among men, of love and truth of universal knowledge and undisturbed happiness, of the cessation of all wrong-doing, superstition, idolatry, falsehood, and hatred [Isaiah. ii. 1 et seq., 18; xi.1-9, lxv.19, 23; Jeremiah iii.17; Ezekiel xxxiv.25, xxxvi.25 et seq., xxxvii.26; Zechariah xiii.2, xiv.9; Zephaniah iii.13] have been fulfilled by the Church” of any Christian form, nature, or cult.
The Pauline hatred of Jews was ever more intensified (see Romans. ix.-xi., cp. ix. 31) under Saul/Paul—which is clear evidence of its composition being of a later origin—and culminates in Galatians iii., where, besides the repetition of the argument from Genesis xv.6 and xvii.5, the Law is declared, with reference to Deuteronomy xxviii.26 and Habakkuk ii.4 (cp. Romans i.17), to be a curse from which the crucified Christ—himself “a curse” according to the Law (Deuteronomy xxi.23; probably an argument taken up from controversies with the Jews)—was to redeem the believer. Another sophist argument against the Law, furnished in Galatians iii.19-24, and often repeated in the second century (cp. Hebrews ii.2; Acts vii.38, 53; Aristides, Apologia, xiv.4), is that the Law was received by Moses as mediator from the angels—a quaint notion based upon Deuteronomy xxxiii. 2, LXX.; cp. Josephus, Antiquities xv. 5, § 3. That it is not the law of the Hebrew gods. The laws of the Jews and the idolatrous practices of the heathen are placed equally low as mere servitude of” the weak and beggarly elements” ( cf. “planets”; Galatians iv. 8-11), whereas those who have put on Christ [used as a title, not as a name] by baptism have risen above all distinctions of race, of class, and of sex, and have become children of God and heirs of Abraham (Galatians iii. 26-29; what is meant by the words “There shall be neither male nor female” in verse 28 may be learned from Galatians v. 12, where eunuchism (that includes self-castration and self-sexual mutilation) is advised.
Origen of Alexandria (185-254 CE) followed this masochistic practice by castrating himself. From a clinical perspective, Origen suffered under the psychiatric sexual disorders category of paraphilias, meaning “abnormal or unnatural attraction to a theory or orientation that denied his natural sexuality (it is very similar to required celibacy in the Roman Catholic monasteries and churches of today). Origen claimed that he castrated himself so he could tutor women without suspicion a form of sadomasochism, and he risked his life countless times in encouraging martyrdom or at least the rejection “of this world” and its “evils” by sexual mutilation and death that is defined as group sadomasochism being psychologically unbalanced, and was especially common among women who gave up sexuality to follow a “religious call” (read: Benjamin, J. (1986). The alienation of desire: Women’s masochism and ideal love.Hillsdale, NJ, England: Analytic Press, Inc., reissued in 1990: New York, NY: New York University Press, cf. Gordon, R. (1991). Masochism: The shadow side of the archetypal need to venerate and worship. New York, NY: Guilford Press, and Montgomery, J. D. (1989). The hero as victim: The development of a masochistic life.Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc., Ruderman, E. G. B. (2003). Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose: Women’s “masochism” and ambivalence about ambition and success.Madison, CT: International Universities Press, Inc.,and Wurmser, L. (1997). The shame about existing: A comment about the analysis of “moral” masochism. Mahwah, NJ: Analytic Press, with special attention to Jewish males in Boyarin, D. (1994). “Jewish masochism: Couvade, castration, and rabbis in pain”, American ImagoVol 51(1) Spring 1994, 3-36, and Charme, S. L. (1983). “Religion and the theory of masochism” in Journal of Religion & Health Vol 22(3) Fall 1983, 221-233). Origen was among the best known controversial adherents to the new faith (Duchet, C. (2006). “Between life and death drives: Masochism tested by traumatic experiences”, Psychologie Clinique et Projective Vol 12 2006, 101-117; Grassi, A. (1986). Masochism and individuation” Psichiatria e Psicoterapia Analitica Vol 5(1) Apr 1986, 35-50). He was among the earliest teachers in the emerging church that did not agree with everything bishops or councils declared. For example, he found errors in “the inerrant book” (Bible), and taught that there were layers within Scripture:
… And when God is said to “walk in the paradise in the cool of the day”… I don’t think anyone will doubt that these are figurative expressions which indicate certain mysteries through a semblance of history and not through actual events. (De Principiis iv.3.1)
Origen found three levels of meaning in the Scriptures: the common or historical sense, for the simple-minded or beginning reader, the “Soul” of the Scriptures that edifies those who perceive it, and a meaning hidden under those passages that are repugnant to the intellect by means of allegory. What Origen did not concur with was the transmogrification of individual identity as one cannot hide from god–however, this is what Saul/Paul did after his trip to Damascus.
Saul/Paul changes his name to Paul occurs only in Acts 9:11, 21:39, 22:3. This record exists because of his favored disciple. The only references to “Paul” are within the Pauline epistles, no other communications exist, correspondence, public record, or government record where it is used, nor is there a Saul of Tarsus on any document.
The claim in Romans 11:1 and Philippians 3:5 merely suggests that he was of the tribe of Benjamin due to the similarity of his name with the first Israelite king. This is a false later inclusion, done in a trembling effort to justify that which did not exist. There were no tribal lists at the time that Saul/Paul lived, and such a list does not appear before the fourth century (Eusebius, Historia Ecclesia” i.7, 5; Pesahim 62b; Sachs, Michael (1852). Beiträge zur Sprach- und Alterthumsforschung: Aus jüdischen Quellen. Berlin, Germany: Veit und Comp, ii. 157).
Saul/Paul’s quotations from scripture show only that he knew Greek scripture
(that he was allegedly taught by Gamaliel I; cp. Book of Wisdom and other Apocrypha, as well as Philo (see Hausrath, Adolf (1956) Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte, Berlin [dann] Hamburg, Germany: Furche-Verlag. ii. 18-27, originally published at Heidelberg, Germany: F. Bassermann, 1872—I am using the original edition; Siegfried, Carl (1875). Philo von Alexandria aks Ausleger des Alten Testaments: an sich selbst und nach seinem geschichtlichen Einfluss betrachtet: nebst Undersuchungen über die Grecitaet Philo’s. Jena: Hermann Fufft, 1875, pp. 304-310; Jowett, Benjamin (1894). The Epistles of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, Galatians and Romans. London: John Murray. i.363-417) as it show none shows any familiarity with the original Hebrew text.
Josephus, neither a reliable historian, nor an eye-witness, does claim that a Saulus went to visit Nero in 66 CE, leading a delegation as an intermediary between the Chief Priests and the Pharisees to Agrippa II to petition the emperor to suppress an uprising during the 60s (the date is not clear). If the account is true, it would have been known to the Jews in the late first century and Saul would have been considered untrustworthy and disreputable—and for that reason is referred to as Saul in the early parts by the authors of the Acts of the Apostles. Saul/Paul’s Hellenistic background is betrayed by his distinguishing between an earthly and a heavenly Adam (I Corinthians xv. 45-49; cp. Philo, De Allegoriis Legum, i.12 in Philonis Judaei Opera Omnia 1. Contiens libb. De opificiis mundi, De allegoriis legume libb. i-iii, De cherubim, De sacrifisiis Abelis et Caini, De eo quod deterius potiori insidiatur (the work is in Greek). Lipsiae, Germany: Schwickert, 1828) that is neither found in Hebrew scripture nor thought.
Saul/Paul’s state of mind shows the influence of the theosophical or Gnostic lore of Alexandria, especially the Hermes literature recently brought to light by Reizenstein in his important work “Poimandres,” 1904 (Reitzenstein, Richard (1904). Poimandres: Studien zur griechisch-āgyptischen und frühchristlichen Literatur. Leipzig, Germany: Teubner. see Index, s. v. “Paulus,” “Briefe des Paulus,” and “Philo”); hence his strange belief in supernatural powers (Reizenstein, loc. cit. pp. 77, 287), in fatalism, in “speaking in tongues”: γλωσσολαλία (I Corinthians xii.-xiv.; cp. Reizenstein, loc. cit. p. 58; Dieterich, Albrect; Usener, Hermann; and Societas Philologa Bonnensis (1891), Abraxas: Studien z. Religionsgeschichte d. spāteren Altertums. Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, pp. 5 et seq.; Weinel, Heinrich (1899) Die Wirkungen des Geistes und der Geister im nachapostolischen Zeitalter bis auf Irenāus. Freiburg i B, Germany: J.C.B. Mohr. pp. 72 et seq.; I Corinthians xv. 8; II Corinthians xii. 1-6; Ephesians iii. 3; the verses in Mark xvi:9-20 were not written by the author of Mark; the passage is a later addition by an unknown forger and are unreliable,with open controversy between Acts ii.1-21 and Saul/Paul’s later commentaries, as the author(s) of Acts state(s) that the visitors all heard the preaching in their own language (verse 13 refers to some skeptics in the audience who stated that the men were drunk), in contrast to Saul/Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians where he mentions that people speaking in tongues cannot be understood by most observers, but have to be first interpreted), and in mysteries or sacraments (Roman xvi. 25; Colossians i. 26, ii. 2, iv. 3; Ephesians i. 9, iii. 4, vi. 19)—a term borrowed solely from heathen rites. Jews do not have sacraments.
Saul/Paul used frequently the Gnostic term τέλειος meaning “perfect,” “mature” (I Thessalonians v. 4, 10; Philippians iii. 12, 15; I Corinthians ii. 6, xiii. 12 et seq., xiv. 20; Ephesians iv. 13; Colossians i. 28). This term, taken from the Greek (see Lightfoot, Joseph Barber (1876). St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, London, UK: Macmillan, ad loc.), and used also in Wisdom iv. 13, ix. 6, suggested an asceticism which in some circles of saints led to the unsexing of man for the sake of fleeing from lust (Wisdom iii. 13-14; Philo, De Eo Quod Deterius Potiori Insidiatur, § 48; Matthew xix. 12; see Conybeare, Frederick Cornwallis. (1894). The Apology and Acts of Apollonius and Other Monuments of Early Christianity. London, UK: S Sonnerschein & Co., New York: Macmillan (reissued in 1896 under the revised title The Armenian Apology and Acts of Apollonius: and other monuments of Early Christianity, my copy having the imprint: London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co.), p. 24). Paul’s “gnosis” (I Corinthians viii. 1, 7; II Corinthians ii. 14; I Timothy vi. 20) is a revival of Persian dualism, which makes of all existence, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, a battle between light and darkness (I Thessalonians v. 4-5; Ephesians v. 8-13; Colossians i. 13), between flesh and spirit (I Corinthians xv. 48; Romans viii. 6-9), between corruption and life everlasting (I Corinthians xv. 50, 53). This lead to the revival/continuation of asceticism and the denial of reality and life in the real world that Max Weber defined as ausserweltliche (a form of mental illness leading to withdrawal from reality; Masson, J. M. (1976). “The Psychology of the Ascetic,” in Journal of Asian Studies. XXXV.4:611-625; cf. Russell, Bertrand (1946). Ideas that have Harmed Human Kind; asceticism leads to subjectivity and reductionism in the psychology of the ascetic; cf. Brown, Peter (1989). The Body and Society; Men, Women and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity. London, UK and Boston, MA, USA: Faber and Faber; Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and its Discontents; translated by J. Strachey. New York, NY, USA: Norton, 1961; and, Glucklich, Ariel (2001). Sacred Pain; Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul. Oxford [NY and UK] and New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press).
Saul/Paul’s whole state of mind shows the influence of the theosophical or Gnostic lore of Alexandria, especially the Hermes literature. It was the intensity of conflict within his mind, that today we define as classic schizophrenia that led to repeated epileptic seizures. The reality of these seizures—or the denial of one’s own self (as I have written in my biography of Saul/Paul) can be found in the writings allegedly completed by Saul/Paul, who speaks of “a thorn in the flesh” that came as a heavy stroke by “a messenger of Satan” (2 Corinthians xii.7). This “thorn” made Saul/Paul realize his utter helplessness, and made him an object of pity and horror (Galatians iv.13). Max Krenkel (Krenkel, Max (1890). Beiträge zur Aufhellung der Geschichte und Briefe des Apostels Paulus. Braunschweig, Germany: C.A. Schwetschke und Sohn, pp. 47-125) argues that the pressure described by Saul/Paul shows epilepsy, which the Greeks called “the holy disease” and would appeal to Greeks/Gentiles, but it would frighten away Jews who believed that god is above all and such a disease would indicate that Saul/Paul was being punished by the god of the Jews (cp. 2 Corinthians v.13, x.10, xi.1 and 16, xii.6). I offer a different analysis, for Saul/Paul speaks of a “thorn in the flesh” that was a common expression of one “wrestling with evil” (homosexuality) and was unwilling to give into his natural passions and selected, instead, the abnormal and unnatural state of celibacy (cp. Maslow, Abraham H. (1970) Motivation and Personality. New York, NY, USA: Harper & Row; Goleman, Daniel (1985). Vital Lies, Simple Truths–the Psychology of Self-Deception. New York, NY, USA: Simon & Schuster; Ogden, Sofia K. and Biebers, Ashley D. (2010). Psychology of Denial. New York, NY, USA: Nova Science Publishers). I base this argument, more so, on the passages that Saul/Paul shrinking from life and normal social discourses and proclaiming that he longed for redemption by deadening all desires for life while striving for another world that he claimed he saw in ecstatic visions. This, in psychological terms, is classic self-denial and the rejection of self-acceptance and self-actualization that was used for to entice others to follow his lifestyle of celibacy that had no coinage in the Jewish world at that time. Saul/Paul had as his goal ensnaring young men and maidens (assumed virgins) as he encouraged them to be celibate and remain single (Galatians iii.18, 1 Corinthians vii.34-36, Matthew xix.12; cp. Clement of Rome, Epistle ii. § 12). Either way, the “seizures” resulted in the variegation within his writing and/or dictations (it is highly likely that Saul/Paul was like the classic Muhammad: totally illiterate and thus was required by necessity to employ a scribe) to Luke or other favored disciples (cp. James, William (1902). The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, being the Gifford Lectures on natural religion delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902. New York, NY, USA: Modern Library), and hallucinations leading to bad plagiarisms (a neuronal dysfunction).
It is not only chronic neurological dysfunction that can cause religious and supernatural beliefs. Some of the founding experiences leading to the creation of new religions and cults, such as Joseph Smith’s (1805-1844) Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) who dictated “reformed Egyptian” to his wife from behind a curtain (Howe, Eber Dudley (1834), Mormonism Unvailed: Or, A Faithful Account of that Singular Imposition and Delusion, from its Rise to the Present Time, Painesville, Ohio: Telegraph Press; in this author’s private library), Charles Taze Russell’s (1852-1916) Jehovah’s Witnesses who after his death was declared “ruler of all the Lord’s goods” (Watch Tower, March 1, 1923, pages 68 and 71), to the contemporary Harold Camping (1921- ; who retired from his radio station in October 16, 2011) can be based on single neurological events such as isolated strokes or seizures.
Many types of fits or seizures do not involve the motor area of the brain but the transference and transmogrification of thoughts brought on by stress, so they do not result in obvious, physical signs of seizures that usually are associated with epilepsy. They can be purely sensory in nature, involving sights, sounds and feelings that range from subtle through to overwhelming. As psychologists and psychiatrists have explained: “Seizures explain most “religious experiences” as with Partial seizures can [...] cause clonic movement of part of a limb [ ... or] may trigger an abnormal sensation, or aura, such as an odd smell or sparkling lights. Most bizarre are the partial seizures that elicit more well-formed auras such as déjá vu (the feeling that something has happened before) or hallucinations.” (cf. Bear, Mark F.; Connors, Barry W.; Paradiso, Michael A. (1996). Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain. Baltimore, MD, USA: Williams & Wilkins. p. 464).
As is the case with the New Testament Saul/Paul, the most plausible explanation of the erratic writings of Saul/Paul is that a brain malfunction led the alleged man from Tarsus (in truth, a school of second-class writers in that city) to incorporate many Greek myths and legends, many of which were copied, placing Jesus at the center of them (this is known as mythologizing or fantasizing reality or teleology; cf. Giegerich, Wolfgang; Miller, David; Mogenson, Greg. (2005). Dialectics and Analytical Psychology. New Orleans, LA, USA: Spring Journal Books. pp. 43-44, cp. Bruhl, Lucien Lévy (1978). Primitive Mentality. New York, NY, USA: AMS Press, Inc., and Giegerich, Wolfgang (2005). The Neurosis of Psychology: Primary Papers toward a Critical Psychology. New Orleans, Spring Journal Books. p. 115). It was from these myths and other misinformation that Tacitus, never a discerning researcher or reputable historian, added his legends. This shows a strong form of schizophrenia where an individual or a group can create a phantom to express their collective ideas, as with the invention of Paul/Saul (“Emotions and Mind” by Daniel Nettle (2004) in Toates, Frederick; Mackintosh, Bundy; and Nettle, Daniel (2004). Emotions and Mind. London, UK: Open University and Milton Keynes, chapter 3 “Schizophrenia” p. 113 arguing how biochemistry and neurology account for feelings or emotions without the need of a “soul”, deity or accompanying adiaphora of religion; cf. Haselton, Martie and Nettle, Daniel, “The Paranoid Optimist: An Integrative Evolutionary Model of Cognitive Biases,” in Personality and Social Psychology Review 10.1 (2006), pp. 47-66). There was no reason to create a new religion. Judaism had opened its Temple doors to all who would learn. It even incorporated Hellenistic literature to entice Gentiles to convert to the path of Moses (Matthew xxiii.15, cp. Romans iv.3-18, Acts x.2, xiii.16, 26, 43, 50, xvi.14, xvii.4, 17, and xviii.7; cf. Seeberg, Alfred (1903), Der Katechismus der Urchristenheit. Leipzig, Germany: pp. 1-44). The difference had little to do with theology differences; the Jewish life was political and social, while the Christian existence was eschatological. The symbol of circumcision was required, and Saul/Paul removed that commandment given to Abraham claiming authority from a single vision that he referred to as a state of entrancement when he was carried into paradise to the third heaven where he heard “unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Corinthians xii.2-4)—but this is not unique with Saul/Paul or Christianity. It comes from the same set of visions experienced by Metatron (Mithra) and Akteriel and is found in the minds of many including some Jewish mystics. Embedded in the writings of Saul/Paul we read that Jesus was not god, but in the Gnostic sense “the image of god” (2 Corinthians iv.4; Colossians i.15)—almost as “the heavenly Adam” (1 Corinthians xv.49) who would be mediator between god and the world of man (1 Corinthians viii.6) “the first-born of all creation, for by him were all things created (Colossians i.15-17) who was identical with the Holy Spirit that Saul/Paul saw as a magical power that works sanctification and salvation and was void of ethics or ethical consideration, playing favorites as a child who possess a ball determines who will play with it (1 Corinthians x.4, 2 Corinthians iii.17; cp. Wisdom x.1-xii.1; Philo, De Eo Quod Deterius Potiori Insidiari Soleat, § 30). The Holy Spirit, at best, is a selfish demigod who awards salvation, as the congregations (churches) of Saul/Paul are awarded salvation by an arbitrary act of divine grace that justifies one class of people and condemns others (Romans ix). For Saul/Paul, an all-loving and all-forgiving god (as was known and taught by the Jews at that time) did not exist—it was an intangible substance known as πίστις that will determine the fate of each mortal—much like the magic feather of the goddess Maat in ancient Egypt or the Mandaean-Bablonian King of Light descending to Hades to free the faithful (Brandt, August Johann Heinrich Wilhelm (1889). Die māndaische Religion, ihre Entwickelung und geschichtliche Bedeutung, erforscht, dargestellt und beleuchtet. Originally a thesis/dissertation (Proefschrift) in Dutch; Utrecht: Repelius, in German; pp. 151-156).
Schizophrenia allows people to believe in that for which there is no scientific evidence, no concrete rationality, and the conditioned desire to follow someone or canon/codex blindly as with Martin Luther’s “Faith alone”: sola fide confession that hinges on monergism. Luther argued a part of one technicality in Romans: the doctrine articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae (“article of the standing and falling of the church”) (Luther, Martin (1532-1533). XV Psalmos graduum in WA 40/III.352.3 now a part of Augsburg Confession, Article 4, “Of Justification” but the term “faith alone” appears no where in any Protestant (or other) Bible (Luther added it to Romans 3:28), and is, in fact, rejected by James 2:24; cp. Paul Kurtz, Skeptical Inquirer (2006) Sep/Oct) vole 30: Issue 5). It is for this reason that Christianity became an “exclusive” (rather than an inclusive [as Jesus commanded; Mark xvi.15]) religion. As Lester Kurtz explained: “Elites in virtually every culture use religious legitimation to explain why they are in control and others are not. Similarly, the most effective dissident movements often employ religious arguments to legitimate their own positions.” (Kurtz, Lester R. (1995). Gods in the Global Village: the World’s Religions in Sociological Perspective. Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: Pine Forge Press, p. 17)
Jesus similarly schizophrenic in the writings of Saul/Paul. Jesus was the “king of glory” (1 Corinthians ii.8), although Jesus claimed to be a man (Matthew xxvi.63-64) on the water planet: Earth. It took Church Fathers until the fourth century to declare Jesus equal to god citing Mark 13:32, an issue and scripture that Arius will debate in 325 CE). The Jesus of Saul/Paul was cosmic in nature and a power more forceful than would ever be known. Jesus would annihilate Satan or Belial, according to Saul/Paul—but not once did Jesus state this future as his own in any work anyone knows of—not even among the Gnostic writings. Not only was Jesus to evaporate Satan, he would destroy Satan’s armies of evil (1 Corinthians xv.24-26), as if he were the reincarnation of the ancient Persian dualism of Ahura-Mazda (1 Thessalonians v.4-5, Ephesians v.8-13, Colossians i.13). In the Final Battle, Jesus would separate flesh from spirit (1 Corinthians xv.48, Romans viii.6-9; quite similar to the way the ancient Egyptians separated flesh from bones and placed basic organs in urns) and end mortal corruption while giving everlasting life (1 Corinthians xv.50, 53).
While the Jesus of the New Testament spoke of peace (e.g. Matthew v.9), Saul/Paul, who claimed he spoke for Jesus, announced war and the need of the faithful to put on the armor of light, the breastplate of love, and the helmet of hope (Romans xiii.12, 2 Corinthians x.4, Ephesians vi.11, 1 Thessalonians v.8, Wisdom v.17-18, Isaiah lix.17), following the interjection by later glossers of Matthew, adding that Jesus came to bring a sword, not peace (Matthew x.34).
Like most fanatics, Saul/Paul believed that Jesus’ Second Coming would be soon. His prophecies were no different from Harold Camping or David Koresh. It would be speedy, and separate the saved and the unjust. Saul/Paul believed he would restore the Gan Eden of Genesis birthed in Babylonian mythology. Once this would happen “believers” would be miraculously lifted up into the clouds and transformed into spiritual bodies that would live forever (1 Thessalonians iv, 1 Corinthians xv, Romans viii). In the revitalized, restored Gan Eden, all would be young and full of light–a future that Saul/Paul was impatient to know and embrace, as long as he was in the company of Barnabas.
Saul/Paul found his ties with Barnabas, a native of Cyprus, to be quite uncomfortable. Barnabas was older than Paul and (apparently) of a more imposing stature (Acts xiv.12). He left Barnabas to travel with a younger and more attractive co-laborer who had the name of a god: Apollos (1 Corinthians i.10, iii.5-23, xvi.12).
At this point, the rift in the emerging group of believers began to appear. The work of spreading the “good news” (gospel) was divided between Peter and Paul. Peter would preach to those who were circumcised (whom Saul/Paul calls “dogs” in Philippians iii.2). Saul/Paul would preach “the gospel of uncircumcision” to the others. Saul/Paul was not well-received; he was stoned by angry mobs, imprisoned, whipped (“punished with stripes”; he claimed he received thirty-nine stripes in the synagogue five different times), and beaten with rods three times (cp. Acts xvi.22) that made him “groan” for deliverance (1 Thessalonians ii.2, 19-iii.1, 2 Corinthians i.8-10, iv.7-v.5, xii.7, Galatians iv.14). He could not make a living as a missionary—he had none of the stellar qualities of a Pat Robertson nor a James Dobson.
Because Saul/Paul had few financial supporters, unlike today’s televangelists like the now-disgraced Jimmy Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, he made his living as a tent-maker at night (Acts xviii.3, 1 Thessalonians ii.9, 2 Thessalonians iii.8, 1 Corinthians iv.12, ix.6-18). Sound academic studies he called “folly” (1 Corinthians i.17-24) and preferred the ignorance of the masses in Rome (Acts xviii.12-17, xix.35-40). The phantom of Saul/Paul directed the authors of what would be attributed to his authorship, to write the hallucinations they experienced when group psychosis prevailed in an environment that made them uncomfortable: that of Mithraic congregations and similar resurrection-oriented societies. In many ways it is like being drunk “on the Gospels, that were not yet written.
Saul/Paul was in a state of denial, or as William James wrote: “Knowledge about a thing is not the thing in itself. …to understand the cause of drunkenness, as a physician understands them, is not to be drunk [but to observe it objectively]. A science might come to understand everything about the causes and elements of religion, and might even decide which elements were qualified, by their general harmony with other branches of knowledge, to be considered true: and yet the best man at this science might be the man who found it hardest to be personally devout (William James (1902). The Varieties of Religious Experience From the Gifford Lectures delivered at Edinburgh 1901-1902, first Edition printed 1960. Quotes here are taken from the fifth edition, 1971, Collins. p. 467). As Vexen Crabtree noted:
Emotional and societal factors influence our thinking much more than we like to admit. Our expectations and recent experiences change the way we recall memories. Even our very perceptions are effected by pre-conscious cognitive factors; what we see, feel, taste and hear are all subject to interpretation before we are even aware of them. Our brains were never meant to be the cool, rational, mathematical-logical computers that we like to sometimes pretend them to be.
People easily misperceive random events as evidence that backs up their beliefs.
We attribute causes to events based on our beliefs even when we don’t know we’re doing it.
Physiological causes can lay behind even profound supernatural experiences.
Our perception of reality is distorted by our expectations and beliefs.
Our experiences are not objective, but are informed by our mindset and culture.
We can take preventative steps. Learning to think skeptically and carefully and to recognize that our very experiences and perceptions can be coloured by societal and subconscious factors should help us to maintain our cool. Beliefs should not be taken lightly, and evidence should be cross-checked. This especially applies to “common-sense” facts that we learn from others by word of mouth and traditional knowledge. Above all, however, our most important tool is knowing what types of cognitive errors we, as a species, are prone to making.
(Crabtree, Vexen (2008). Errors in Thinking: Cognitive Errors, Wishful Thinking and Sacred Truths. On-line.
As is the case with William James’ studies, the letters ascribed to Saul/Paul show us a tortured mind filled with confusion and schizophrenia—a trait that is inherent in all religious extremism and its practitioners. Many aspects of religion are drawn-out ideas of childhood—of what the child seeks but does not find. When the child matures and realizes the fantasies are phantoms of the mind, the child puts away the illusions (a distortion of sensory perception; in psychiatry the term illusion refers to a specific form of sensory distortion such as hearing voices that take place when there is the sound of water running or an earthquake is taking place; it is different from a hallucination, which is a sensory experience in the absence of a stimulus, e.g. hearing voices regardless of the environment would be a hallucination and there is no auditory source that would generate the sound of voices; cf. Bower, J.E. et al. (1998) “The optimal margin of illusion” in Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 8:176-189; Alicke, M.D. (1985). Global self-evaluation as determined by the desirability and controllability of trait adjectives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49:1621-1630; John, Oliver P. and Robins, Richard W. (1994). “Accuracy and Bias in Self-Perception: Individual Differences in Self-Enhancement and the Role of Narcissism.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 66.1: 206-219)—but not completely.
People tend to hang on to those mysteries and allusions that seem most comforting at a time of crisis. It is in this psychology that we find the Pauline, the human idea of an ever-present (omnipresent), all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient) and all-loving parent, with a plethora of antitheses: the feeling of guilt when no-one is looking, the lack of death, the feeling of abandonment and the need to put away our toys. This is the message we find in the Letter recorded as being by Saul/Paul:. 1 Corinthians 13:11: “when I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me”. The putting away of childish (sometimes translated as “childlike”) things is painfully destructive. It removes the security blanket that Linus of the cartoon Peanuts was most reluctant to do, and which most religious devotees still hang onto, as seen among Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, evangelical Christianity as expressed most grotesquely by Bradlee Dean Smith, drummer for the Junkyard Prophets and self-proclaimed pastor and his patron Congressional Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), and Islamic fundamentalism of Taliban and al-Qaeda groups. It is the way that the emotionally insecure, such as Dakota Ary of Fort Worth, Texas, the late David Koresh of Waco, Texas, Maggie Gallagher, and the ramblings of Bob Vander Plaats of Iowa, hang on to in a conspiratorial effort to maintain superiority when they know of their own inferiority and inability to cope in a real world.
Conversion to a new religion when done at a low point in one’s life, often leads to an improvement, but that improvement is short-lived and the stain and strain of zealotry takes over with the confessor declaring that he or she has the absolute truth and speaks for and illusionary god as with Allah (الله; who had sons: Qur’an 6:100, and daughters: Qur’an 53:19-22; 16:57; 37:149) who is the incarnation of three goddess of ancient Arabia: el-Lat or al-Lat (اللات; Qur’an Sura53.19; in older sources, Allat is an alternative name of the Mesopotamian goddess of the underworld, now usually known as Ereshkigal), el-Uzza or al-Uzza (العزى), and Manat (مناة; chief goddess of Mecca; Ibn al-Kalbī; (author) and Nabih Amin Faris (translator & commentary) (1952): The Book of Idols, Being a Translation from the Arabic of the Kitāb al-Asnām. Princeton, NJ, USA:
Princeton University Press. pp. 12-14) who are not defrocked until the sixth century CE as a pagan female trinity (Qur’an an-Najm 53:19-22). Muhammad acknowledges this when he refers to it as the “Satanic Verses” (Qur’an 17:73-75, and 22:52-53; ref. Finegan, Jack (1952) The Archeology of World Religions: the background of primitivism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, Islam, and Sikhism. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press. pp. 482-485, 492; cp. Sura 53.19-20; Tabari [Abū-Ga’far Muhammad Ib-Garīr at-Tabarī], Annals of Prophets and Kings. Leiden, Holland: E. J. Brill, distributed by Extenza Turpin (Biggleswade) 2010: i.1192-1193/Tabari vi.108-109 (the original is in Arabic تأريخ الرسل والملوك ; a Persian copy is available, published in Tihrān by Bungāh-i Tarjamah va Nashr-i Kitāb, 1351 ), cf. Peters, Francis Edward (1994). The Hajj: the Muslim Pilgrimage to Mecca and the holy Places. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press, pp. 3-41).
The majority of what Saul/Paul and Gospel writers wrote came from the stories of miracles performed by Asklepios (fifth century BCE), although some of his miracles come from the ontological writings about Dionysios in the eighth century BCE. Dionysios was the son of god (Zeus) and a mortal woman, who had compassion on the poor and sick, summoned little children, healed the lame and blind, turned water into wine at a marriage ceremony in a city called Kana, was mortal until he died at which time he rose from the crypt a god and ascended into heaven. Asklepios would heal the blind (he was considered the god of medicine, and had four daughters: Hygieia [goddess of hygiene]. Iaso [goddess of medicine], Aceso [goddess of healing], and Panacea [goddess of universal remedies] and was one of Apollo’s sons), raise the dead including his “beloved” companion (a prototype for Lazarus), rebuke an adulteress but then tell her to “go forth and do not commit adultery again”, and free slaves, encourage the rich to share their wealth with the poor, and so forth. He was later killed by his heavenly father, the god Zeus, but raised from the dead on the third day. Most of the documents on this deity and his medicinal remedies were destroyed by Constantine’s Christian bishops.
We find in the theology and mythology surrounding Herakles (fifth century BCE) a male baby born of a virgin who was impregnated by a god (Zeus), and as a young man walked on water, died with the words “father, it is done” (cp. John xix:30 and Matthew xxvi.42) on his lips (and chiseled in stone), before rising into heaven. Most of the Herakles mythology finds its way into the Infancy Narratives of Jesus as with the Gospel of James that is also known as the Protevangelium of James. The early Christian church (fourth century) even dated its calendar and festivals from cult of Hercules, with Eusebius writing (Preparation of the Gospel x.12–in Greek) that Clement of Rome offered historical dates for Hercules as a king in Argos: “from the reign of Hercules in Argos to the deification of Hercules himself and of Asclepius there are comprised thirty-eight years, according to Apollodorus the chronicler: and from that point to the deification of Castor and Pollux fifty-three years: and somewhere about this time was the capture of Troy.”
St. Jerome does the same in his Chronicon. Statues, including those of Herkules and Apollo, covered in gold, were even erected in Christian churches in the second century CE. Documents (epistles) attributed to Saul/Paul are 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Philemon and Romans, but none of the originals exist and what theologians base their arguments on are from the fourth century. Furthermore, by the middle of the second century the communities to which Paul had written his letters are known to have been centers of Marcionite Gnosticism. Marcion Christians where more tolerant and generous than Pauline Christians and because they followed the precepts allegedly stated
by Jesus of the New Testament, they were persecuted and murdered by Pauline Christians. Marcionite Christians believed in two gods, since the gods of the Old Testament and the New Testament were uniquely different (Gospel of Marcion). The gods of the Old Testament were murderous (Exodus i-iv; Deuteronomy xiii.13-19, xvii.12, xxii.20-21, xxxi.12-15, Numbers i:48-51, Leviticus xx.13, 19), demanding (Nahum i.2, jealous (Exodus xxxiv:14), vocal, and constantly interfering with its people (Leviticus ix), and one who creates evil (Amos iii:6). On the other hand, the gods of the New Testament were more peaceful and reasoned, and the Marcionites believed Jesus came into the world to save them from the wrath of the Old Testament gods (Ehrman, Bart (2003). Lost Christianities. New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press, pp. 104-105 sq). In this regard, the diligent reader can find in Saul/Paul Marcionite leanings, for Saul/Paul wrote that Jesus came only “in the likeness of flesh” (Romans viii:3) and not as a man—as would become the later confession of Paulinity that adapted itself to the will of the Emperor Constantine. Pseudonymous writings that are attributed to Saul/Paul (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Ephesians, Colossians and 2 Thessalonians) do not have the same style or composition techniques as the others.
First and Second Timothy, and Titus, were written long after Saul/Paul is alleged to have died (Ehrman, Bart (2003), Lost Christianities, New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 235-236). Many contain totally fraudulent commandments, especially as found in the First Letter to Timothy:
- Don’t wear gold, braids, expensive clothes (1 Tim. 2:9 – Fake)
- Don’t let women teach/have authority over men (1 Tim. 2:12 – Fake)
- Don’t give welfare to women under sixty (1 Tim. 5:9 – Fake)
Contradictions exist in Galatians v:2 vs. 3; 1 Timothy v:8 vs. 9; 1 Corinthians viii:1 and 4 are repetitive; women are not prohibited from praying, prophesying, preaching, or being priests—provided that their hair is covered (1 Corinthians xi:5-6 being a tenant from Mithraism—but later, in 1 Corinthians ix:5 women are permitted to prophesy and pray aloud in the church provided they have their heads covered; and then, once more, this is contradicted by 1 Corinthians xiv:34, where the writers state “Let your women keep silence in the churches” that is redacted in 1 Timothy ii:12—a much later addition). Celibacy (1 Corinthians vii.1-8) is declared to be the preferable state, and marriage is allowed only for the sake of preventing fornication (Ephesians v.21-33; cp. 1 Corinthians vii.8-9 and Hebrews xiii.4 where marriage is exalted). Saul/Paul was the first to refer to “Jesus Christ”—two words that do not appear in the original Greek as a unit, but come from the theology of Mithraism that was practiced as early as 67 BCE (according to Plutarch) had a Hellenic Christ as opposed to the Judaic messiah (Freke, Timothy and Gandy, Peter (1999). The Jesus Mysteries 2000 paperback edition published in London by Thorsons, p. 199). Paul mistook the Jewish “Messiah” to mean the Hellenistic “Christ”. The former was a ruler who was to be a great warrior in keeping with Matthew x:34. Prior to the writing of Matthew, a messiah was to be a person who is a great leader who leads your people to freedom.
The title of Christ was taken by Jews from Persian and Egyptian cultures. The later was to be a great magi(cian) who would perform miracles. A christ is a god-king who dies as an offering to some divine being as a sacrifice in return for prosperity, especially agricultural prosperity. Both are anointed with oil as a mystical, sexual rite, as seen in the final days of Jesus when he was followed from The Garden by a naked male youth (Mark xiv:51-52). This happened before anything was written down. It happened during Paul’s conversations with people as he was working through what had happened.
That Saul/Paul of Tarsus would turn to Mithraism is not hard to understand. Tarsus was a seaport that was more than 2000 years old at the time that Saul/Paul allegedly lived, and it was the chief center for the Mithraistic rites that were religiously observed in its numerous popular shrines and seen in the images its craftspeople created to send as far west as to the Danube (Freke, Timothy and Gandy, Peter, op. cit.). It was in Tarsus that the worship of Attis,
son of the goddess Nana acclaimed a virgin, was born and taught that he would be a sacrificial victim (he would be sacrificed on a pine tree) and saviour who would bring salvation to the planet (Herodotus, Historia (i.34-45): Ἄττις or Ἄττης). Attis priests were eunuchs, and served as temple priests in sexual rituals (they were passive recipients and frequently wore the clothing of women), as explained by original theology pertaining to Attis who encouraged castration so that they would remain “chaste and celibate for a greater place at the Table in the sky”. This theoloy would be adopted by many Christians, such as Origen. Known as the Sun God, Attis was eventually slain by a boar’s tusk (in the shape of a cross) late in the winter (the date is uncertain, but convention puts it at December 25).
Attis was told that his body would be eaten by worshippers who would see it in the form of bread, and only after his death would be resurrected from a tomb to become the “most high god” who would hold the universe together. To this would be added the cult of Osiris of Egypt who would be tricked, killed, returned to life, and for a period of time allow his enemies to rule before returning to claim his throne (cf. Revelation xx).
The worship of Mithra was first recognized by Emperor Aurelian (215-275, emperor 270-275). It was the emperor who instituted the cult of “Sol Invictus” or the Invincible Sun: it had nothing to do with Jesus—as there were no scrolls or official records of a man who as not important to anyone but a few in Judea and Galilee. Even the citations have been repeatedly proven to be forgeries. The Emperor Diocletian also a worshipper of Mithra, the Sun God, burned much of the Christian scriptures in 307 CE. Even Constantine was not a Christian although there are some who claim he was baptized on his death bed—by an Arian bishop (who was considered to be a heretic). No where is there in any existing writing a mention of a Saul/Paul.
The adherents of Mithras were very much like Christians. They believed that by eating the bull’s flesh and drinking its blood they would be born again, just as life itself have been created anew from the blood of the bull. Christians argued that they, too, ate the body and drank the blood of their god in secret ceremonies that they publicly referred to as “love feasts” who practiced cannibalism restricted to believers. The followers of the god Mithra all people to enter and participate publicly and in the open; it had no secret “love feasts’), and the believers of Mithra were never accused of cannibalism. Participation in this rite would give not only physical strength but lead to the immortality of the soul and to eternal light.
Justin the Martyr mentions the similarity between the Mithras ritual and the Eucharist (Cumont, Franz Valery Marie (1903). Die Mysterien des Mithra, ein Beitrag zur Religionsgeschichte der romischen Kaiserzeit, Leipzig, Germany: Teubner. pp. 101, 118-119). He argues that it was a part of the mystic conception of faith, πίστις (cp. Reizenstein, Richard (1904). Poimandres: Studien zur griechisch-āgyptischen und frūhchristlichen Literatur. Leipzig, Germany: Teubner. pp. 158-159). According to Mithraic theology, the god Mithra would undergo a cultic transformation into a bull [or] a ram. Mithras would be killed and his flesh and blood would be consumed by the faithful (there are times where the meat was merely singed and eaten, as in a very rare steak). The pictorial and sculpted scenes presenting this sacred meal were the ones that enraged Christian sensitivities, and many smashed-up Mithraeums show the traces of the fury of Christian iconoclasts. Tertullian (160 CE – 240 CE) mentioned (De praescre., 40) this ritual of the Mithras which was a ‘devilish imitation of the Eucharist’. He also mentions that the Mithraists enacted the resurrection (Reynolds, Alfred (1993). Jesus Versus Christianity; originally published in 1988; London, UK: Cambridge International Publishers, pp. 77-78). Mithra is an ancient vedic deity who was worshipped along with Varuna. Varuna was worshipped in the ancient vedic times as the lord of heavens, and Mitra was worshipped as the lord of light. The birth day of Mitra was celebrated in those days in Rome as the Sun Festival (called dies natalis solis invicti meaning Birth of Invincible Sun) on the Winter Solstice which was on December 25 in those days. Note that winter solstice is one of the most important sacred days in the vedic hindu calendar too. The celebration is to mark the longer days that arrive in the northern hemisphere after winter solstice.
Mithra’s worship spread from ancient India to ancient Iran ( Zoroastrianism / Parsis where Varuna and Mithra were worshiped), and from there to ancient Rome. Mithra was popularly called Sol Invictus in ancient Rome, and in 274 CE, the Emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. It matched emerging Christianity in every way, from a Trinity to a Divine Feast where the believers drank the blood and ate the flesh of their sacrificed god, to waiting for the Last Day when those who were “faithful unto death” would be united with their saviour. The Emperor Constantine was a strong believer in the god Mithra, and tried to reconcile it with the hand of Judaic-Christianity that was gaining in popularity as it adopted an increasing number of rituals and messages of Mithraism, as Christianity appeared more exclusive than the universality of Mithraism, and thus those who had been accorded little preference in society (while the military received increased recognition at the expense of the poor) turned to the various cults within the Christian community.
While Jesus is portrayed as a man, the god Mithra was seen as a bull: the original Egyptian Yah. Mithra is described in the Zoroastrian Avesta scriptures as, “Mithra of wide pastures, of the thousand ears, and of the myriad eyes,”(Yasna 1:3), “the lofty, and the everlasting…the province ruler,”(Yasna 1:11), “the Yazad (divinity) of the spoken name”(Yasna 3:5), and “the holy,”(Yasna 3:13). The Khorda Avesta (Book of Common Prayer) also refer to Mithra in the Litany to the Sun, “Homage to Mithra of wide cattle pastures, “(Khwarshed Niyayesh 5), “Whose word is true, who is of the assembly,Who has a thousand ears, the well-shaped one,Who has ten thousand eyes, the exalted one,Who has wide knowledge, the helpful one,Who sleeps not, the ever wakeful. We sacrifice to Mithra, The lord of all countries,Whom Ahura Mazda created the most glorious, Of the supernatural yazads. So may there come to us for aid, Both Mithra and Ahura, the two exalted ones,”(Khwarshed Niyayesh 6-7), “I shall sacrifice to his mace, well aimed against the skulls of the Daevas,” (Khwarshed Niyayesh 15). Some recent theories have claimed Mithra represents the sun itself, but the Khorda Avesta refers to the sun as a separate entity as well as the moon with which the sun has “the best of friendships,” (Khwarshed Niyayesh 15).
One of the greatest problems with the Jesus of the New Testament and Mithra is in the last statements of the two gods—both from a pole: σταυρός (defined by Justin Martyr as a “cross” crux), for both cried out “El! Why have you forsaken me?” Both were sons of god–Jesus being “made flesh” (John i:14, there is no divine creation mentioned; he is neither all-knowing: Mark xiii:32 and Matthew xxiv.36, nor all-powerful: John v.19 and subordinate to god: John v.30, rejecting the claim that he was a good man: Luke xviii.19, cf. xxii.42 and John v.30 and was never god but would ascend to god: John xiv.28 and v.30 as god is a spirit John iv.24 while Jesus a man)–while Mithra born a bull to be sacrificed by a knife on a pole that would pierce his side, from which would come holy blood believers would drink to gain eternal life (Boyce, Mary (2001), “Mithra the King and Varuna the Master”, Festschrift für Helmut Humbach zum 80., Trier: WWT, pp. 239–257; cp. John xix.34). It is first recorded in Psalm xxii:1 and has a variety of spellings: אל, إل or إل. It is Akkadian in origin (from ‘ilu) and was a part of the ancient Canaanite religion before Palestine was conquered by the Hapiru/Hebrews (originally mercaneries) who incorporated it into their lexicon of names for their gods: אֱלהִים (it is both a
singular and plural noun) as the husband of Asherah (Venus), as recorded in the clay tablets of Ugarit (Syria) by whom he had many children, the most famous being Ba’al Hadad (cf. Institute of Religious Iconography. Iconography of Religions. Section 15, Mesopotamia and the Near East, Fasc. 8, Ugaritic religion. Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill. p. 12); Ba’al translates as “master” “lord” and “god” as well as “husband” giving Saul/Paul the foundation to build his case that the husband is master of the house and lord over his wife—an old Mediterranean and Mesopotamian mythology).
After the fourth century many mistranslations of the crucifixion have the cry as Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ (Mark xv:34); it means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? El is a term for a pagan Messiah—a word found used for pagan kings who assumed they were give a divine right to rule. Even in the Gospels, those near the stake/cross questioned if Jesus was calling upon Eli, Elias, or Elijah (Matthew xxvi:46-48): prophets—not gods nor the King of Gods (a phrase that is made more clear in the mythology of Moses in what today is known as the Book of Exodus, where the primary commandment reads: “You shall have no other gods before me”—after the god, it was acceptable to have additional gods in keeping with all ancient religions.
It was the emperor Constantine who officially fused Mithraism into Christianity in an effort to stabilize his empire in the fourth century before he established his “catholic [universal] church [(Εκκλησία; a Congregation): a group to oversee the enactment of secular laws (νόμος) codified as divine]”. The
permanent influence of Mithra and Mithraism is apparent in the Arch of Constantine, built to honor his triumph in the name of the God Mithra. The monument displays no symbolic relevance to a Judaic or Christian God, but does have images of Mithra. Such an imperial action went against the heart of the message of Saul/Paul who declared that all statutes are worthless human teachings (Colossians ii.22) Saul/Paul incorporates he idea of a sacrificed saviour from Mithraism with its symbolism of bulls, rams, sheep, the blood of a transformed saviour washing away sins and granting eternal life, the seven sacraments (in honor of the gods of the seven hills of Rome), the banishing of an evil host from heaven, apocalyptic end of time when God/Ormuzd (Ormuzd is also known as Ahura Mazda—a name that means Light and Wisdom—
Ahuramazda, Hourmazd, Hormazd, Hurmuz, Aramazd and Azzandara and was proclaimed the “uncreated God” by Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism (c. 3000 BCE; he is addressed in Plato’s First Alcibiades 1221a1) that still exists in Persia and is the source for the myth of Armageddon and the eventual and ultimate destruction of evil “although no man shall no the hour of my coming” that is a part of the oldest Avestan and Sanskrit words in the Proto-Indo-Iranian language: mazdhā meaning “wise”) sends the wicked to hell and establishes peace.
What would become the Catholic Church, based in Rome and founded on top of the most venerated Mithraist temple, was nothing less than a transmogrification of ancient deities—requiring its warrior bishops to transform the Pantheon into a temple to the god of Saul/Paul. The religion that was born out of this transmogrification was based on Mithra and other Greek mystery religions (see Aurich, Gustav (1894). Das Antike Mysterienwesen in Seinem Einfluss auf das Christenthum. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck u. Reuprecht; Wobbermin, Georg (1896). Religionsgeschichtliche Studien zur Frage der Beeinflussung des Urchristenthums Durch das Antike Mysterienwesen. Berlin: Germany: E. Ebering, p. 153; Hatch, Edwin (1890). Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church. London, UK: Williams and Norgate. pp. 281-296; Cumont, Franz (1903), Die Mysterien des Mithra, Deutsch von Gehrich Autorisierte deutsche Ausgabe von Georg Gehrich. Zweite vermehrte und verbesserte Auflage. Mit 26 Abbildungen im Text und auf 4 Tafeln, soiwe einer Karte. Leipiz, Germany [n.p.] 1903 (reissued 1911), pp. 101, 118-119; Anz, Wilhelm (1897). Zur Frage nach dem Ursprung des Gnostizismus. Ein religionsgeschichtlicher Versuch. Leipzig, Germany: J. C. Hinrichs, pp. 98-107).
Constantine’s lack of interest in Christianity (save as a tool to control a growing “rabble” element of poor who turned to the new religion out of the Middle East) can best be seen in his worship of the Sun. Constantine decreed (March 7, 321) dies Solis—day of the sun, “Sunday”—as the Roman day of rest:
- On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost. (Codex Justinianus, lib. 3, tit. 12, 3c)
Constantine’s triumphal arch was carefully positioned to align with the colossal statue of Sol by the Colosseum. The Sol formed the dominant backdrop when seen from the direction of the main approach towards the arch.
There was never a historical Paul, nor a Peter or any other apostle—any more than there was a historical Moses, Muhammad or Jesus. While the Pantheon is real, as was the transformation of the temple into a church, nothing else is historically correct or provable. If it is Christian duty to ‘turn the other cheek’ (Matthew v.39), ‘resist not evil’ (ibid.), ‘love your enemies’ (Matthew v.34) and ‘love your neighbors as yourself’ (Mark 12:30-31), then it is clear that the Pauline Christians, who eliminated Marcionism and got to choose the books of the Bible, were not the true Christians any more than are the Christians, like Dakota Ary who does not understand, respect, or practice Matthew vii:1 or Revelation v.9, Acts x:34, 1 Peter i:17 as Dakota Ary of Fort Worth, Texas, has declared himself to be a vengeful and hate-filled deity (Psalm v.5, Proverbs vi.16-19, Leviticus xx.23, Hosea ix.15, Zechariah viii.17 exposing that Yahweh is but mortal and prerogative; cp. John iii.36) much like the mythological Saul/Paul or Mormons or other sects of today (an interesting perspective is Devi, Savitri (1958). Paul de Tarse, ou Christianisme et juiverie. Calcutta, India, privately published 1958, who makes the observation:
Le vrai fondateur du christianisme historique, du christianisme tel que nous le connaissons en pratique, tel qu’il a joué et joue encore un rôle dans l’histoire de l’Occident et du monde, ce n’est ni Jésus, de qui nous ne savons rien, ni son disciple Pierre, de qui nous savons qu’il était galiléen, et simple pêcheur de son état, mais Paul de Tarse, de qui nous savons qu’il était juif de sang, de formation et de coeur, et, ce qui est plus, juif lettré et «citoyen romain», comme tant d’intellectuels juifs sont aujourd’hui citoyens français, allemands, russes ou américains.