Who Was Paul of Tarsus
What Your Minister Doesn't Want You to Know

Part IV

Now, the real Paul who composed and preached the epistles was Apollonius of Tyana, but the conspirators realized that they needed a mechanism by which they could validate his teachings, so they incorporated events from the life of Rabbi Elisha. Why is this important? Because without the miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus, in which Jesus is purported to have revealed this information to him, Paul is just another itinerrant preacher, preaching nonsense of his own creation.

Much like Jesus Christ, there is no mention of a Paul or Saul of Tarsus in first and second century Jewish writings. This is strange considering that they make numerous references to the apostate Rabbi Elisha, but ignore their number one adversary Paul. Paul's claim to be of the tribe of Benjamin suggested by the similarity of his name with that of the first Israelitish king, is, if the passages are genuine, a false one, no tribal lists or pedigrees of this kind having been in existence at that time.

There exists no indication, in Paul's writings or arguments, that he had received the rabbinical training ascribed to him by Christian writers, ancient and modern; least of all could he have acted or written as he did had he been, as is alleged (Acts 22:3), the disciple of Gamaliel. His quotations from Scripture, which are all taken, directly or from memory, from the Greek version, display no familiarity with the original Hebrew text. Notwithstanding the emphatic statement, in Phil. iii. 5, that he was "a Hebrew of the Hebrews"—a rather unusual term, which seems to refer to his nationalistic training and conduct (comp. Acts 21:40, 22:2), since his Jewish birth is stated in the preceding words "of the stock of Israel"—he was, if any of the Epistles that bear his name are really his, entirely a Hellenist in thought and sentiment.

As a Hellenist, he distinguished between an earthly and a heavenly Adam (1 Cor. 15:45-49;), and, accordingly, between the lower psychic life and the higher spiritual life attained only by asceticism (Rom. 12:1; 1 Cor. 7:1-31). His whole state of mind shows the influence of the theosophic or Gnostic lore of Alexandria, especially the Hermes literature highlighted by Reizenstein in his important work "Poimandres," hence his strange belief in supernatural powers, in fatalism, in "speaking in tongues" (1 Cor. 12-14.; 1 Cor. 15:8; 2 Cor. 12:1-6; Eph. 3:3), and in mysteries or sacraments (Rom. 16:25; Col. 1:26, 2:2, 4:3; Eph. 1:9, 3:4, 6:19)—a term borrowed solely from heathen rites.

There is throughout Paul's writings an irrational or pathological element which could not but repel the disciples of the Rabbis. Possibly his pessimistic mood was the result of his physical condition; for he suffered from an illness which affected both body and mind. He speaks of it as "a thorn in the flesh," and as a heavy stroke by "a messenger of Satan" (2 Cor. 12:7), which often caused him to realize his utter helplessness, and made him an object of pity and horror (Gal. 4:13). It was, as Krenkel ("Beiträge zur Aufhellung der Geschichte und Briefe des

Continued / Table of Contents