One of the things about the New Testament that I was unaware of when I first began doing a little amateur biblical research was the fact that the Canon is not assembled in correct chronological order.
It looks as if it is, but this is simply clever redaction from the compilers at Bible Are Us; an attempt to show continuity to the story.
Now, though, I know that Paul’s “letters” were the first New Testament writings. Although I’ll wager there are still plenty of people that do not know!
Read as compiled the Canon apparently displays a natural progression, from Gospels to Acts through to the Epistles etc … until Revelation, the fantastical Doomsday Finale that was debated for a considerable time as to whether it was genuine and should be included in the compilation. They decided to chuck it in.
And Acts is now regarded as largely historical fiction. And if you haven’t read it … you really should.
And of course, Mark is the first gospel not Matthew as was originally thought. So, there’s another mistake. Divine inspiration? Hmmm.
So discovering that it was Paul who wrote first raised a Red Flag. Why does Paul mention the Apostles, but the gospel writers make absolutely no mention of Paul?
Oh, there are some cute apologetic answers and I am sure most of my readers along with most other people who are reasonably savvy with Christian Apologetics will have heard the answers.
Yet, considering the supposed impact Paul caused and the enmity displayed by Paul towards Peter, for example, and as the forerunner and likely ”Father” of Christianity as we know it, it seems bizarre that the gospel writers never mentioned him once!
Now, I know that any Christian reading along will be likely be smirking and thinking ”Conspiracy Theory”, but that really isn’t my bag. I am just pointing out what is already known and stating what I would think would be the obvious: That the gospel writers would have made mention of Paul and for the sake of accuracy and honesty and … er …. truth? the Epistles should have been placed before the gospels.
But then, anyone reading it this way, would almost certainly have thought, how bizarre, the gospel writers have not mentioned Paul.
Furthermore, it is believed by certain scholars – don’t know how many – that it was Marcion who discovered and collected the letters of Paul and handed them over to the church. I would like confirmation of this by any reader a bit more clued up on Marcion than I am. Tim Stepping Out, maybe?
It is also believed ( according to my encyclopedia) that it was Marcion’s bible that prompted the Church to get its backside in gear and come out with a version of the bible of its own. Which it did, of course, and soon declared Marcion a heretic and his writings heresy.
For the record, briefly, Marcion rejected the Old Testament god, Yahweh, who he said was not a nice fellow at all (astute of him) considered Jesus a new god, took the Gospel of Luke as his basis and removed as much ”Jewishness” as possible. That’s the theory, more or less.
Some believe that it was Marcion who penned the epistles of Paul. You can find all this stuff on the internet and on respectable sites as well. Or maybe it be under biblical history in an up to date encyclopedia?
And many biblical scholars consider the writer of Luke used Jewish historian, Josephus as the basis for some of the material.
Oh, and outside of the bible there is not a single known verifiable reference to Paul either. Considering all the people he met on his travels, including many supposed great and powerful, Kings and what have you, you would think he would have been mentioned somewhere. Alas … another wall of silence.
According to Wiki …..http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Paul_of_Tarsus
Historicity of Paul
There is no evidence for Paul outside the New Testament. No records of him ever visiting the kings and other powerful authority figures he supposedly held audiences with, no Jewish records of a Christian-hunter gone rogue, etc. Even the usual suspects brought up in defense of a historical Jesus: Josephus, Tacitus, etc, have nothing to say on Paul. That said, seven of the documents attributed to Paul do appear from textual analysis to be written by the same person. This is considered reasonable evidence that some single individual performed the role, and we may as well call him Paul, as does the author of Acts, thought by scholars to have also written the Gospel of Luke. Even proof of the common authorship of some of these books, though, does not prove that Paul ever met Jesus[note 2], nor that Jesus ever existed.
Yes, me too!
If you can figure it out …. be my guest.