The Epistles of Paul

Excerpts from "THE CHRIST" By John E. Remsberg.

Of the fourteen epistles ascribed to Paul, seven -- Ephesians, Colossians, Second Thessalonians, First and Second Timothy, Titus, and Hebrews -- are conceded by nearly all critics to be spurious while three others -- Philippians, First Thessalonians, and Philemon -- are generally classed as doubtful.

The general verdict concerning the first seven is thus expressed by the Rev. Dr. Hooykaas: "Fourteen epistles are said to be Paul's; but we must at once strike off one, namely, that to the Hebrews, which does not bear his name at all.... The two letters to Timothy and the letter to Titus were certainly composed long after the death of Paul.... It is more than possible that the letters to the Ephesians and Colossians are also unauthentic, and the same suspicion rests, perhaps, on the first, but certainly on the second of the Epistles to the Thessalonians" (Bible for Learners, Vol. III, p. 23).

The author of Second Thessalonians, whose epistle is a self-evident forgery, declares First Thessalonians to be a forgery. Baur and the Tubingen school reject both Epistles. Baur also rejects Philippians: "The Epistles to the Colossians and to the Philippians ... are spurious, and were written by the Catholic school near the end of the second century, to heal the strife between the Jew and the Gentile factions" (Paulus). Dr. Kuenen and the other Dutch critics admit that Philippians and Philemon, as well as First Thessalonians, are doubtful.

That the Pastoral Epistles are forgeries is now conceded by all critics. According to the German critics they belong to the second century. Hebrews does not purport to be a Pauline document. Luther says: "The Epistle to the Hebrews is not by St. Paul, or, indeed, by any apostle" (Standing Preface to Luther's N.T.).

Four Epistles -- Romans, First and Second Corinthians, and Galatians -- while rejected by a few critics, are generally admitted to be the genuine writings of Paul. These books were written, it is claimed, about a quarter of a century after the death of Christ. They are the only books of the New Testament whose authenticity can be maintained.

Admitting the authenticity of these books, however, is not admitting the historical existence of Christ and the divine origin of Christianity. Paul was not a witness of the alleged events upon which Christianity rests. He did not become a convert to Christianity until many years after the death of Christ. He did not see Christ (save in a vision); he did not listen to his teachings; he did not learn from his disciples. "The Gospel which was preached of me is not after man, for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it" (Gal. i, II, 12). Paul accepted only to a very small extent the religion of Christ's disciples. He professed to derive his knowledge from supernatural sources -- from trances and visions. Regarding the value of such testimony the author of Supernatural Religion (p. 970) says: "No one can deny, and medical and psychological annals prove, that many men have been subject to visions and hallucinations which have never been seriously attributed to supernatural causes. There is not one single valid reason removing the ecstatic visions and trances of the Apostle Paul from this class." 

The corporeal existence of the Christ of the Evangelists receives slight confirmation in the writings of Paul. His Christ was not the incarnate Word of John, nor the demi-god of Matthew and Luke. Of the immaculate conception of Jesus he knew nothing. To Him Christ was the son of God in a spiritual rather than in a physical sense. "His son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Rom. i, 3, 4). "God sent forth his son, made of a woman [but not of a virgin], made under the law" (Gal. iv, 4).

With the Evangelists the proofs of Christ's divinity are his miracles. Their books teem with accounts of these. But Paul evidently knows nothing of these miracles. With him the evidences of Christ's divine mission are his resurrection and the spiritual gifts conferred on those who accept him.

The Evangelists teach a material resurrection. When the woman visited his tomb "they entered in and found not the body of Jesus" (Luke xxiv, 3). The divine messengers said to them, "He is not here, but is risen" (6). "He sat at meat" with his disciples; "he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them" (30). "Then he said to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side" (John xx, 27). This is entirely at variance with the teachings of Paul. "But not is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead" (I Cor. xv, 20, 21). "But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die; and that which thou sowest thou sowest not that body that shall be" (35-37). "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body" (44). "Now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (50).

The Christ that Paul saw in a vision was a spiritual being -- an apparition; and this appearance he considers of exactly the same character as the post mortem appearances of Christ to his disciples. "He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve; after that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; ... after that, he was seen of James; then all of the Apostles. And last of all, he was seen of me also" (I Cor. xv, 5-8).


ITEM: Josephus - Tacitus

ITEM: Gospel Oddities

ITEM: Gospels

ITEM: Acts, Catholic Epistles, and Revelation

ITEM: Sources of the Christ Myth

ITEM: The Epistles of Paul













Revealing the Spiritual duality of the Bible, for it serves neither God nor truth to try and rationalize irrational things the Bible has said of God.