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Featured Does Paul Rub You the Wrong Way

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by sandy whitelinger, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. sandy whitelinger

    sandy whitelinger Veteran Member

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    Agreed.
     
  2. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    The Book of Acts, and Luke for that matter, should be treated as any other historical source is treated. Neither one are first hand accounts. Both are relying on a variety of sources, and at times, (at least certainly for Luke), changes that source. Both get things wrong and both change things in order to fit a theological view.

    If Acts is the only source for a statement, unless it satisfies other criteria, we can't take it as historically certain. Acts is the only source that points to Paul being a Roman citizen. It does so for a theological reason. It simply fits his story. Yet, when we see basically the same situation in Paul's own letters, him objecting to be flogged because he's Roman never comes up. It fails miserably when it comes to historical certainty.

    So not disregarding those works. Just treating them like any other historical source.
    That's not true. There were a variety of ways to become a Roman citizen. So without actual evidence, to say that Paul had Herodian ancestry simply is dubious at best.

    All that Acts tells us is that he was born a Roman. So his parents would have been Roman citizens. There is a number of ways that was possible. They could have paid a fairly large sum for citizenship. They could have served in the military. It could have been by some special decree for the area (we don't know where his parents actually were from). There were a variety of ways Jews, or anyone, could have become a citizen. Without additional information, we can't say for sure.

    Paul brags about himself on a number of occasions. He delivers these speeches in his letters boasting about his background, yet never does he mention being Roman, even though it would have been to his advantage. After all, we was boasting about his past. So it makes no sense that he wouldn't mention it.

    As for lying about being whipped, there is no reason to think that. And there is no reason to think that the authorities weren't there, as it is clear, in his writings, that on at least three occasions, he was beaten by Roman authorities. Yet, if we are to believe Acts, for some reason, in just one instance, he decides to mention he was Roman, even though he doesn't any other time. It doesn't make sense. And as far as the Jews wanting to tear him apart. Why? Why in this one occasions would he have that problem? Paul is clear that he would go to the Jewish synagogue first when he went to a new city to preach. In Rome, he has an introductory letter sent ahead of him, so as to assure hospitality. There is no reason to think he was frightened of the Jews.

    Paul was a Pharisee. All sources agree on this and his preaching reflects it. To deny this is rather interesting on your part as it would seem that you are purposely only picking and choosing what fits your idea, even though you criticized me for dismissing the work of Acts. As for the Sanhedrin, Pharisees were part of it. So your point really doesn't fly. I also don't see a reference in the book of Romans to a little Herod. Please expand on that.
    And I think we should discredit that whole story as Paul never mentions it. It isn't independent confirmed elsewhere. It doesn't make sense in the context of Paul, as Paul only goes to Rome after being accepted there (he sends a letter to the congregations of Rome preceding his travel there). It contains elements that Paul never mentions, even though he has every reason to elsewhere. For those reasons, most Pauline scholars, and New Testament scholars, reject the narrative.

    And Paul is never mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls (which makes no sense anyway) nor in Revelations. Neither one really deals with the time Paul was associated with.
     
  3. ThePainefulTruth

    ThePainefulTruth Romantic-Cynic

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    All sources don't agree that Paul was a Pharisee. And yes the Sanhedrin was partially populated by Pharisees, but that doesn't mean they'd ever be its strong arm enforcers.
    Check Romans 16:11. Herodian, is also translated "Littlest Herod". Why would Paul be sending him greeting and calling him his kinsman, or to Narcissus, a member of Claudius' inner court?"

    His writings we have were written before that. Paul was under house arrest after that, and with his Roman citizenship and Herodian ancestry exposed, he was an enemy of the Jewish followers of Jesus. Luke was essentially a disciple of Paul's.

    Not by name, no. The number of the Beast in Revelations (not the anachronistic Arabic numerals, "666") is Jewish Gematria for Tarsus. Let him who has wisdom understand. And that's not my conclusion, but that of modern day Ebionites.

    And talking about picking and choosing with what you choose to attack or defend, I can't determine what your overall point is.
     
    #163 ThePainefulTruth, Feb 20, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
  4. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    All sources do agree that Paul was a Pharisee. At least all ancient sources. You may get a scholar today that says something else, but that's pretty different. All of our actual sources agree that he was a Pharisee. No one questioned it.

    Looking at Romans 16:11, you're really stretching here. It's Herodion. The O is important. It does not translate to Littlest Herod. And the claim to being a kinsman, its because he's a Jew. That is literally what the Greek says. Greetings to my kinsman, my fellow Jew. As for Narcissus being a member of Claudius inner court? Where do you get that? There is no evidence for that. The text doesn't say that. And the name wasn't all that rare.

    I did a quick search for the link between Herodion and Littlest Herod (which this text only states that Herodion is a Jew, nothing more), and the only claim that they are related at all is from one fringe scholar. The argument he makes is basically, we don't have any hard evidence, but if we take some things for granted, and squint really hard, it works.

    Where his argument fails is that no one ever mentions the connection. Paul wasn't universally loved. And Herod definitely wasn't loved. If Paul had a connection to the Herods, there is no reason we shouldn't expect for someone to bring it up in the polemic against him.
    We will start at the last claim. We have no idea who wrote Luke or Acts. The works were initially circulated unanimously. The works give no clues as to who wrote them, and we can be fairly certain that it wasn't anyone associated with the work, as the author tells us from the beginning that he's compiling the work from other sources, as he was commissioned to do. So no, not written by Luke.

    As for your other statement, you are once relying solely on Acts, yet I've already explained why we can't rely on Acts. It simply, from a historical perspective, is questionable. This section you're talking about can't be independently corroborated.

    Your middle argument doesn't make sense though. According to Acts, Paul wasn't shy about being a Roman. It doesn't seem like a secret. So why all of a sudden would it make people upset? And why would him being born a citizen be held against him? There is no reason why being Roman would have been upsetting. Second, you're contradicting yourself now. If Paul was a Herodian, like you claim, it was never suddenly exposed. The letter to the Romans was sent to the congregations of Rome before Paul even left for the area. So it would have been no surprise.
    The number is 616, as shown in the best and oldest manuscripts we have. Scholars, at least mainstream ones, agree that it was a reference to Nero. The non-mainstream ones generally say it refers to the beast, Satan. To get it to mean Tarsus, you have to do not only mental gymnastics, but also linguistic gymnastics. So the argument is that you have to find the letters that add up to 666 or the consonants that equal 666. They state that it is TRSU, or Taursu, or Tarsu. And from that they claim it must be Tarsus. But by their logic, it could also be TQQSV. Or since the T is said as Tau, it could be TauQQSV. There are literally hundreds of other manners to come up with a different solution. Their claim only works if they start with the conclusion. As for the Ebionites, they are a revivalist religion. They are not an ancient sect, but one that has little to no connection with their historical counterparts. They were formed with the view that Paul was the enemy, and their theology has evolved from that. They started with a conclusion.
    I've been pretty clear on my arguments on what should be accepted and not. I don't dismiss anything based on whether or not I agree with it. That would be foolish. I dismiss texts based on their credibility, based on how I would treat any historical source. I take a pretty mainstream approach in this.
     
  5. ThePainefulTruth

    ThePainefulTruth Romantic-Cynic

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    You don't even read what I write. Both 666 & 616 are Arabic numerals, which didn't come into use until centuries later. "They are descended from the Hindu-Arabic numeral system developed by ancient Indian mathematicians around 500 CE." Jewish Gematria, look it up, but I'm sure you'll convince yourself to skirt that as well.
     
  6. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    I do read everything you write. I don't think the same can be said for you.

    So here's a problem. Lets say that 666 and 616 are only Arabic numerals. How in the world does Jewish Gematria work then? Are not 1, 2, 3, 4 etc Arabic numerals as well? So, your argument is that 666 and 616 are Arabic numerals, so they couldn't have come into play until centuries later. But somehow, Jewish Gematria, which relies on those same numerals, was in play. That really doesn't work.

    So breaking it down. First, Jewish Gematria doesn't appear in Jewish literature until around 200 C.E. So more than a century after the book of Revelations was written. But there were precursors to that. It was found in Greek writings. And the book of Revelations is written in Greek, and comes from a Greek environment. The same can be said with numerals. The Arabic numerals were not the first ones. The predecessors go back to at least the 4th century B.C.E. So, they had numerals in the time of Jesus, and both 666 and 616, the numbers, existed. Your argument really doesn't make sense.

    As for the Jewish Gematria, I have looked it up. Now, I'm not much into mysticism. I studied it during college, and then really just let it go because it wasn't in my main field of study. So I do have some foundational knowledge of it. What I do know is that it isn't exact.

    So, I pulled up a Gematria calculator (Gematria Value - English Gematria Calculator). Tarsus, according to that, is 561. Paul is 281. So neither close to the 616 or 666. Type in either 666 or 616, and you get dozens upon dozens of results.

    Your argument just doesn't hold water.
     
  7. ThePainefulTruth

    ThePainefulTruth Romantic-Cynic

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    The Bible says six hundred, threescore and six. Some later translations came up with 666. 616 is totally bogus, but neither work. The actual number is also in the O/T for the number of the talents of gold that came to Solomon (the son of David, BTW) in a year. It's an indication of great wealth. But the underlying number must be expressed in Hebrew numerals which are their letter equivalent: Taw-400 + Resh-200 + Samek-60 + Waw-6. Those letters spell trsw, the the Hebrew word for Tarsus.
    There are only 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and these are their corresponding Arabic numerals:

    Numeric Values of the Hebrew Alef-bet

    'alef =1, bet =2, gimel =3, dalet =4, he =5, waw =6, zayin =7, het =8, tet= 9,
    yod =10, kaf =20, lamed =30, mem =40, nun =50, samek =60, `ayin =70, pe =80, sadey=90,
    qof =100, resh =200, shin =300, taw =400

    Obviously very clumsy, as were Roman numerals and such, which is why the world settled on the Arabic (actually Indian, introduced to the West by an Arab) numeral system. So actually, gematria goes back to ancient Hebrew, it being nothing but adding up the equivalent values of the letters in any name.
































    So breaking it down. First, Jewish Gematria doesn't appear in Jewish literature until around 200 C.E. So more than a century after the book of Revelations was written. But there were precursors to that. It was found in Greek writings. And the book of Revelations is written in Greek, and comes from a Greek environment. The same can be said with numerals. The Arabic numerals were not the first ones. The predecessors go back to at least the 4th century B.C.E. So, they had numerals in the time of Jesus, and both 666 and 616, the numbers, existed. Your argument really doesn't make sense.

    As for the Jewish Gematria, I have looked it up. Now, I'm not much into mysticism. I studied it during college, and then really just let it go because it wasn't in my main field of study. So I do have some foundational knowledge of it. What I do know is that it isn't exact.

    So, I pulled up a Gematria calculator (Gematria Value - English Gematria Calculator). Tarsus, according to that, is 561. Paul is 281. So neither close to the 616 or 666. Type in either 666 or 616, and you get dozens upon dozens of results.

    Your argument just doesn't hold water.[/QUOTE]
     
  8. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    616 isn't totally bogus. The oldest and best manuscripts we have put the number at 616. It's not six hundred, threescore and six. And the literal reading of the Greek text is 666 or 616. Six hundred sixty six, or six hundred and sixteen. That is literally what the Greek is saying.

    To break it down. The number is represented by three words: ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ (as taken from the Novum Testamentum Graece, the Nestle-Aland 27th edition). ἕξ is the Greek for six. And here, we can see that it is the base of the other two words. ἑξακόσιοι is literally, 600, and ἑξήκοντα is literally 60. So the number is six hundred and sixty six. Its no different from six hundred, threescore and six besides I'm using common english right now, and not taking the text from an early translation.

    So the Greek language had access to those numbers. And what we are seeing is the Greek use of those numbers. Now the 616 version was known by Irenaeus, but decided against it for whatever reason. However, he also mentions that there were other versions of it as well, stating that they were scribal mistakes. For instance, we also see the number 665. But, we have a fragment from Papyrus 115, which is the oldest text we have of Revelation 13, uses the number 616. We also see its use in the great codices that we have. This has all led scholars to accept that the original number was 616.

    As for Tarsus working, I guess if you squint enough. But then what not say Paul of Tarsus? Or Saul of Tarsus? Why not give some indication, in rest of the work, that it is Paul who being talked about? Here you have to take a leap to see it as Paul, as, by your version, we only have the word Tarsus.

    We have another option though. We can look at Nero Caesar in Greek. In the Hebrew alphabet, that comes out to נרון קסר, or transliterated, to NRON QSR. Those numbers are 200, 60, 100; 50, 60, 200, 50. That equals 666. We know that Nero was addressed like this because we have scrolls from that time that refer to him in that manner.

    What really solidifies this though is that it also works with 616. So taking the Latin version, we drop the second Nun in the title, and it comes out to נרו קסר in Hebrew. Transliterated, it is NRO QSR. Those numbers are 200, 60, 100; 6, 200, 50. That equals 616. Again, we know Nero was addressed in this manner because we have evidence from that time period.

    Putting this in context. We are told that the Beast has a mark (the mark of the Beast). Paul never had a mark. Tarsus didn't have a mark. Nero did. So the term used in Greek is χάραγμα. It was also used in regards for imprints on documents or coins, specifically, it is really attested to in regards to an imperial seal that was used in the Roman Empire during that time (1st and 2nd century). Again, another point for Nero. There was even rumors, or legends, that after Nero died, he would return. Or that he wasn't even dead. Nero really fits the mold here.

    The mark really takes an effect here as you couldn't buy or sell items in the Roman Empire really without using mark which was on basically every coin in the Empire. For Christians, this was a problem as it required the participation in Roman idolatry. And this really wasn't any small deal. In fact, when the Jews had revolted against Rome, one of the initial things they did was coin their own money.

    So what we are really looking at, when taking into the whole context of Revelations, isn't something about Tarsus, or Paul. We are looking at a critique of the Roman Empire. Of the new Babylon. And it's Nero, the Beast, who sits there. Christians or Jews couldn't openly say these things, so they wrote them in code.

    As for the gematria topic, I think you missed my point. Jewish gematria wasn't really written down in Jewish texts until somewhere around 200 C.E. But we know that gematria in general goes back before that. So obviously there were predecessors. The same holds true with numerals. You stated that 666 or 616 couldn't have been used because they are Arabic numerals, and that system wasn't event until around 500 C.E. But the fact is, we know that other numeral systems, predecessors, were being used at the time of Jesus and much before that. That's why we can have the number 666 or 616, six hundred and sixty six or six hundred and sixteen, written in the book of Revelations.
     
  9. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

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    I believe at times Paul writes like a lawyer and it is almost as difficult to figure out what he is saying as it is to understand tax laws.
     
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  10. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

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    I have to admit I enjoy having Paul massage the word for us as well.
     
  11. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

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    I believe you should be since it is a total fantasy and no-one should be comfortable with that.
     
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  12. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon Veteran Member
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    Yes, the Trinity is total fantasy.
     
  13. sandy whitelinger

    sandy whitelinger Veteran Member

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    Very true. I've been dissecting Romans for about 10 years and am only on chapter 8
     
  14. 12jtartar

    12jtartar Active Member
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    sandy whitelinger,
    Nothing that Paul said causes disharmony. Quite the opposite, a close meditation of Paul’s writings will help anyone to better understand the Holy Scriptures.
    Paul was, by far, the greatest teacher of Christianity. Jesus, being a Jew, and under The Mosaic Law Covenant, could not teach Christianity.
    There are a few things that Paul wrote that are a little bit difficult to understand, but only until they are explained to you, even Peter mentioned Paul’s writings, 2Peter 3:15.
    Paul write 14 of the Books of the Christian Greek Scriptures!!!
    Paul knew more about Christianity, and the proper way that the Congregations should carry out their work, than anyone. The reason for Paul knowing so much, was because he received the message from Jesus Christ, by revelation, Galatians 1:6-12. As great as Paul was he always kept humble, 1Corinthians 15:9-11.
    There are a few things said that many do not understand, so if you mention a particular problem, please state it, and I will be very happy to explain exactly what Paul meant.
    Agape!!!
     
  15. Buddha Dharma

    Buddha Dharma Dharma Practitioner

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    Paul is quite obviously unaware of things Jesus said, if we take the gospels and his epistles as any comparison. He told people it was better not to marry, but Jesus called marriage positive. He told people the saints judge the world, but Jesus said to give to Caesar what is Caesar's. There are other examples besides this.

    This ignorance on Paul's part shouldn't be surprising since he never met Jesus in his life. I guess if you think claiming special visions makes one an authority... :rolleyes:
     
  16. Buddha Dharma

    Buddha Dharma Dharma Practitioner

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    I'm like Jefferson. I consider Paul the great corrupter of whatever Jesus's original message may have been.

    Jesus's teachings have been so distorted by Paul enthusiasts that all we can safely exercise from the texts is the Nazarene's humanism. That is easy enough to exercise from the Christian narratives and compile, as with the Jefferson Bible.

    Paul thought faith in Jesus's death saves you irrespective of works, but the gospels report that Jesus said: 'why say to me Lord, Lord; but obey not the things I say?'
     
    #176 Buddha Dharma, Mar 13, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  17. ThePainefulTruth

    ThePainefulTruth Romantic-Cynic

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    For problems with Paul, you need go no further than some of the posts in this thread.
     
  18. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

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    The Trinity is Biblically sound but your concepts of it are either fantasy or speculation.
     
  19. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

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    I believe you could spend a lot of time on chapter 8 and still find something new in it.
     
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  20. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

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    I don't believe that is obvious and certainly Paul didn't say one way or another that I can remember.

    I believe that is not a contradiction.

    I believe I am finding it difficult to see how you are relating one thing from one context to another thing from another context.

    I believe I have seen some but none of them had any validity.

    I don't believe Paul is ignorant and I do believe he knows Jesus through the Holy Spirit.


    I believe the authority is always God but there is enough evidence that Paul has the Holy Spirit.
     
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