[XTalk] Akenson on Paul and Jesus
> Ed Tyler wrote:I too think Akenson guilty of overstatement, but worse, his use of Paul to get to
> > The J-h scholars, on the other hand, do
> > not see Paul as particularly relevant
> > to a characterization of Jesus, since by Paul's
> > own account he never saw Jesus "in the flesh" and
> > only met those who knew him "in the flesh" several
> > years after he, Paul, had become a Christian.
> Loren Rosson wrote:
> As an aside, I would note that this needs to change.
> Donald Akenson has argued that Paul is actually our
> best source for understanding Jesus (in Saint Saul: A
> Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus) -- which I
> believe is an overstatement, though I think he has
> successfully done away with the uncritical assumption
> that because (a) Paul never knew Jesus, it follows
> that (b) Paul knew next-to-nothing about Jesus. (a) in
> no way implies (b), and in fact, I'd stake my entire
> bank account (which is admittedly pitiful) that Paul
> knew about as much of the sayings and deeds floating
> around at the time as James, Peter, et all. The
> parables and faith-healing tales may not have had much
> bearing on Paul's church situations, but this doesn't
> mean that the letters don't show signs of their
> indirect influence. Using Paul as a source for
> understanding Jesus -- even of we have to do a lot of
> "reading in slant", as Akenson puts it -- is something
> I believe HJ scholars need to take more seriously.
Jesus does not tell us anything we didn't already know, and is either so general
or is built so entirely on Pauline silences that it does not actually suggest that
Paul knew much about the HJ: Jesus was Jewish; he was born in typical fashion
(i.e., not by virgin birth); Jesus did not see himself as the Messiah; Jesus was
not interested in the Gentiles; the Passion did not happen at Passover; Jesus
provided the model which Paul imitated, that of a "revolutionary figure"; and the
resurrection, which inaugurated Jesus Messiahship, was cosmic and not physical.
I am inclined to stick to the traditional line that Paul can offer us little
(additional) insight into the HJ.
- Zeb wrote:
> I too think Akenson guilty of overstatement, butIt's a sad irony that Akenson pushes so hard in a new
> worse, his use of Paul to get to
> Jesus does not tell us anything we didn't already
> know, and is either so general...
direction, yet hardly takes his own thesis seriously
enough to apply it more diligently (and less
superficially) in order that we perhaps could learn
something "new" about HJ through Paul.
Loren Rosson III
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