The traditional Christian view of Scripture as a book that speaks with one voice - God's voice - has been vigorously challenged in recent years. Scripture speaks with many voices, it is said - many different human voices, saying significantly different things. The diversity is such that, in the view of many, we cannot speak of the theology of the Bible, or even of the theology of the NT, since there are different, even contradictory, theologies in the two Testaments. Whether we can continue to speak of the unity of Scripture or even to regard the Bible as the inspired word of God is debated among scholars, with most agreeing that old definitions of the unity and inspiration of the Bible need to be replaced. The Jesus-Paul issue is a useful test-case, since there is prima facie evidence of significant diversity here. The evidence needs to be weighed before we can determine if, in the New Testament, we have a contradiction or simply divergence and development of the same idea. One you see the evidence for yourself I think you will see that the answer is without a doubt "counteraction" and not theological evolution of the same idea.


The wide divergence of opinion among scholars about Paul's relationship to Jesus makes it clear that the Jesus-Paul question is complex, to say the least. It is complex for a large number of reasons. What never ceases to amaze me is that many Christians who write about Jesus and Paul are totally unaware of the following problems; for if they had possessed such knowledge they would not be writing what they are.


The facts are that the Gospels and the Epistles records and purports to tell us things, but how reliable these are historically is uncertain. When one examines all the evidence both inside and outside Christian circles for the authorship, origin, authenticity, and integrity for such documents one does not come away from such an experience with any faith left in the hope and belief that such documents were written by Jews, that they were written by the followers of the Jewish Christ, or that the Holy Spirit had anything to do with them in the first place. In fact such ruthless inspection and evaluation of these documents, both internally and externally, prove their Gentile authorship and at a rather late date long after the death of the last apostle. Such uncertainty obviously makes any study of Paul's relationship to Jesus difficult.

answer for yourself: Why is that knowledge and facts so deadly to the Christian position that it must be hidden and kept from you by orthodoxy Christianity?

Simply because, among other things, that, if there does seem to be a connection between a story or saying of Jesus found in the Gospels and a Pauline saying, the dependence need not necessarily be from Jesus to Paul, but could be from Paul to the Jesus of the Gospels. Since the Gospels are usually thought to have been written after Paul's letters, it could well be that that these Gentile evangelists have been influenced by Paul or Pauline tradition in their portrayal of Jesus.

Goulder argues for extensive use of Pauline tradition by both Matthew and Luke (Goulder, Midrash and Lection, 153-170; The Evangelists' Calendar, 227-240; Luke: A New Paradigm, 129-146). Other scholars recognize occasional direct or indirect borrowing

That means the Gospels are a continuance of Pauline ideology and theology written in the names of the apostles of Jesus in order to make it look as if Paul's gospel (my gospel) was really the message of the earliest Jewish church as well. This is simply "back-writing" ideas into the past that never were held by those who followed the living Jesus, let alone Jesus himself. Such literary creationism is simply a lying agenda to promote the beliefs of a later group which held different beliefs from that of their earlier counterparts.

Scholars disagree not only on what goes back to Jesus, but also on the interpretation of much of the teaching given by Jesus in the Gospels. Even such a central theme as 'the kingdom of God' is understood quite differently by different scholars. Again this complicates the study of Paul's relationship to Jesus.

So we end up today with the Essene's corruption of the Jewish Old Testament (the Greek translation) which is full of prophecies of this coming sun-godman who will die only to be raised and ascend to heaven (Osiris) and who provides salvation for only his followers if they "believe" in him and share his "eucharist." It can be shown why and where the Essenes went for such "religious ideas" but it was not from the Torah, Prophets, and Writings. Later these same Essene oriented apocalyptics will write their rendition of the end of the world and these writings and ideas will make their way into Jewish theology, but all this happens at a much later day and coincides with the Jewish defeatism that accompanied their slaughter at the hands of Antiochus Epipanies.

Opposing this Old Testament lies the Jewish Masoretic text where, in repudiation of this Greek corrupted translation, we find the Jewish Bible with prophecies of a human deliverer anointed of God who will be surrendered to God and used by God to deliver and bring salvation to the world through the words of his mouth and through the teaching of the Torah to the whole world.


The good news is that there is an answer to the above problem but it entails a lot of hard study and reading in order to come to the understanding of the dynamics involved in the changing of the Jewish Masoretic text in the first place. The fact is simply this: The older Jewish Masoretic Texts have been changed in the translation of the Greek translation by the Essenes of Alexandria, Egypt. It is up to us to find our why they did it and what the repercussions of this is, not only for them then, but for the emerging Messianic movement in the first century let alone today. We have those answers:

And even if all of these difficulties can be overcome and a probable connection discovered between, for example, a saying of Jesus and a Statement of Paul, this does not necessarily prove that Paul knew or was consciously drawing on the sayings of Jesus.

So we are left at present with the still troubling question to be dealt with in the next articles: Was Paul a follower of some historical Jesus in any direct sense, or was his theology rooted rather in the teaching of the early Hellenistic Christian community?

This must be explored and we do so in the forth coming articles on this website.