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 Post subject: Did St. Paul exist?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 1:36 pm 
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Those who have read my books The Christ Conspiracy and Suns of God know that I question the historicity not only of Jesus Christ but also of Paul the Apostle. My conclusion is that the character called "Paul" in the New Testament is a composite of both historical and mythical figures, including the Sauls of the Old Testament and Josephus, as well as Josephus himself, the mythical Greek figure Orpheus and the godman Apollonius of Tyana.

Although some extraordinary circumstances are claimed of Paul - such as his persecution of Christians, his conversion, his miraculous release from prison in Rome (Acts 16:26ff), his being hunted down by some 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen and 200 spearmen (Acts 23:23), his shipwreck (Acts 27) and his founding of several churches around the Mediterranean - this figure nonetheless makes it into no known historical text of the day. In other words, like Jesus, he is not reported in any contemporary record.

My take is that these "churches" already existed as pre-Christian brotherhood assemblies and were regularly visited by those seeking initiation into the mysteries. According to legend, this journey was taken by Orpheus as well as Apollonius. (See my article "Apollonius, Paul and Jesus.")

Ken Humphreys of JesusNeverExisted.com fame has written some great articles also questioning whether or not St. Paul ever existed or is a literary character. Following is an excerpt.

Quote:
Saul of Tarsus – a witness for Jesus?

One is informed by Acts that St Paul's early day stance was as "Saul, the Christian persecutor". Yet if Saul really was a vigilante for orthodox Judaism at the time of Stephen's stoning (Acts 7.58-8.3), becoming the chief persecutor of Christians, no less – one wonders just where was Saul, not long before, when a supposed radical rabbi called Jesus was stirring up whole towns and villages?

Paul's role as religious policeman seems not to have awakened until shortly after the godman's death. But in itself this suggests Jesus of Nazareth had no great impact. After all, Saul was a contemporary of Jesus in time and place, raised in Jerusalem ("at the feet of Gamaliel" – Acts 22.3) at precisely the time the godman was overturning moneychangers in the Temple and generally provoking Pharisees and Sadducees.

Would not Saul, a young religious hothead ("exceedingly zealous of the traditions" – Galatians 1.14) have waded into those multitudes to heckle and attack the Nazarene himself? Would he not have been an enthusiastic witness to JC's blasphemy before the Sanhedrin? And where was Saul during "passion week", surely in Jerusalem with the other zealots celebrating the holiest of festivals? And yet he reports not a word of the crucifixion?

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 Post subject: Paul on Jesus
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:09 am 
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While I agree with you that the Paul as depicted in the Book of Acts did not exist, there had to be someone to write those epistles attributed to him. I saw a documentary on the Discovery Channel – The History of the New Testament I think – which showed that scholars now only accept seven of the fourteen epistles originally attributed to him.

These epistles are significant, not for what they tell us about Paul, but for what they tell us about Jesus. These epistles represent the earliest of the Christian writings, and, when looked at critically, tell us what the early Christian community actually believed.

The writings of Paul paint a dramatically different picture of Jesus from the Jesus of the later gospels. In fact they corroborate virtually nothing that most Christians take for granted from the gospels. They tell us that Paul and the earliest Christians did not have a concept of an historical Jesus, or if they did, he was certainly nothing like the Jesus depicted in the later gospels.

This is the argument of Earl Doherty.

Paul knew nothing about the annunciation to Mary by the angel Gabriel, the virgin birth, the star of Bethlehem, the wise men, Herod, the slaughter of the innocents or the flight into Egypt. In fact Paul knew nothing at all of Mary, Joseph, Bethlehem or Nazareth. He knew of no disciples, friends, or earthly enemies, nor of any baptism by John in the Jordan. He didn’t mention or quote any teachings, parables or sermons or morals. In fact he attributed no ethical instruction to the earthly Jesus at all.

Nor did he seem to know of any healings of the blind or lame or lepers, or of any of Jesus’ especially spectacular miracles like bringing the dead to life, changing water to wine, feeding five thousand, stilling the storm or walking on water.

He knew of no temptation in the wilderness or dialogue with the Devil, no exorcisms, and no evil spirits falling down in fear before Jesus.

He knew nothing of the times, places or circumstances of the crucifixion. He never mentioned Gethsemane, or the betrayal by Judas (he merely said Jesus ‘was delivered up’ for crucifixion), or the denial by Peter or the disciples, or trials, or scourging, or judgment by Pilate, or Roman soldiers, or Golgotha or vigil at the cross. No last words – nothing!

Paul appears to have believed that after three days Jesus ascended directly to heaven without any intervening time on earth, and he certainly didn’t cite any empty tomb.

If Paul and the first Christians knew so little about Jesus, what possible grounds do we have for believing Jesus existed as an historical figure rather than as a Jewish version of the pagan solar godman?


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 Post subject: Re: Paul on Jesus
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 12:11 pm 
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Yes, you make good points, and thanks for responding. Doherty's arguments are wonderful. I quoted him in both Christ Con and Suns of God.

Of course, the objection that "someone had to have written the epistles" has been addressed by proponents of the Paul-as-myth thesis. It is the first thing we address. Yes, "someone" wrote epistles - many of them, quite often pseudepigraphically and apocryphally. There are letters purported to be from the hand of Jesus - does that negate the Christ myth thesis? Several of the so-called Pauline epistles are accepted by even mainstream Christian authorities to not have been written by Paul himself.

One of the theses I explore, mostly in The Christ Conspiracy, is that whatever original texts could be attributed to "Paul," i.e., some of the earliest epistles that have a Gnostic flavor, were actually composed by Apollonius of Tyana and brought from Antioch by Marcion. So, yes, "someone" did write those earliest epistles. And someone wrote the others as well, but it wasn't "Paul."

Interested parties would need to read the arguments in my book, as well as others, including that by Ken Humphreys.

silkworm wrote:
While I agree with you that the Paul as depicted in the Book of Acts did not exist, there had to be someone to write those epistles attributed to him. I saw a documentary on the Discovery Channel – The History of the New Testament I think – which showed that scholars now only accept seven of the fourteen epistles originally attributed to him....

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 5:14 pm 
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Hi, i have been trying to find out about Paul for a while, I have read both Acharya's books, Freke and Gandy, and numerous web pages like jesusneverexisted.com

here's what I think.

Paul is not a real person at all.

Certainly Paul draws from Apollonius of Tyana and the works of Josephus. He appears to be a conglomerate of wise characters, that the early church wanted to assimilate under one to give credibility to their movement. Its easier to twist a history to make it fall inline, than it is to outright declare war on it. Especially when Apollonius was well respected amongst his contempories.

Apollonius be him real or mythical was a well respected person in the times, who caused a substantial movement with his philosophy, so the church later rewrote his history to fall inline to their thinking and give the impression that he was a follower of thier christ.

I cant find for certain, whether Apollonius of Tyana (there are other Apollonius') was a real person who did some marvellous things, certainly some of his history is purely mythological, ie propoganda by his followers, much the same as Jesus' miracles, or whether he is a purely mythical character coming from the Orphic religion as a kind of spiritual disciple of Apollo the sun-god.

It also occured to me that there is also the possibility that Paul is meant to be the forerunner character of Jesus - but 'gnostically', he represents the struggle of a man, who has received enlightenment, but not yet reached the 'Christ' status the gnostic interpretation aims for. Clearly this would mean him entirely spiritual and not real, as in the gnostic interpretation of Jesus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:42 pm 
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marcUK, that about sums it up! I do believe you will enjoy my book Who Was Jesus?

Also, check out the work by Hermann Detering concerning Paul. I haven't read it yet, but he sounds like he's in the same game. I recently had copies of my books sent to Detering, upon his request.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 2:15 pm 
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so Acharya, what do you think?

Was Apollonius of Tyana a real person, or a respected mythical character. - I'm leaning towards purely mythical, but am not entirely sure.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 3:12 pm 
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regarding Paul, another idea I have floating around - from the astrotheology - is that there are ancient (Greek?) calendars that divide the year up into 13 months of 28 days and 1 days for God. You can find in more accurate astrology that there are 13 signs of the zodiac, including the constellation of Ophiuchus.

So, when this system was in place, it would naturally be that there were 13 disciples - if the myth were consistant with 12 signs of the zodiac.

But at some point - and I guess it was because 12 factors into more numbers, ie 2,3,4,6, and has more symmetry, ie the cross, as such, symmetrical mathematics was more Godly than the 13 prime number, the calendar was changed to 12 months.

This would mean that 1 disciple had to be abandoned.

Firing up Starry Night shows that the zodiacal constellation that has the suns presence the least, is Ophiuchus - only the extremes of his foot has the sun pass through it. Indeed, if you search the web for a caricature of Ophiuchus, you will find an image that almost fits exactly the image of St Paul.

this is a common pic of Ophiuchus
Image

and here is a stained glass window depicting a common image of St Paul
Image

Now if we go to the Bible, we find that Paul is proclaiming himelf an apostle, but that he has never met Jesus - only caught a glimpse of him (ie his conversion, which I believe is telling us in analogy that he stared at the Sun/Jesus - which explains why he went blind for a few days) - this would be paralleled by the Suns travells through the ecliptic passing underneath Ophiuchus, close enough for Ophiuchus to get a vision, but not close enough to be a real disciple?

Now Paul is a bit of an outsider to the 12 disciples in the Bible, and this too could be explained by the astrotheology by having to discard one of the signs of the zodiac.

Perhaps the Paul story is someones attempt to reconsile the 'loser' as in the ousted star-sign, as first starting off angry from being ousted and persecuting the tormentors, to reconsiling the anger and eventually growing to become stronger than (the other disciples). Its a parable of the bullied losing their anger and becoming wise and growing more powerful than the bullies?

I also find it more than a coincidence that Paul was without sight for 3 days and ate or drank nothing. As soon as I see 'three' in biblical talk, I instantly connect to the winter solstice/rebirth> Was this part of the Paul story analoguously retelling the event of the winter solstice? Would Paul/Saul-->Sol be a mythical connection to Jesus, in the same way Apollonius is connected to Apollo?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:08 pm 
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You obviously know more about this stuff than I do so I can't comment. But I will say that speculation is very useful. It may lead you up a blind alley but can inspire others who are following your speculation.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:59 pm 
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My question is simple: Why are all the main characters in the Christ story depicted as having blue eyes and white skin when they are supposedly of middle eastern descent?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 1:55 am 
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marcUK wrote:
OK, i guess this must be a really shite idea - but I wont be upset if you tell me so :lol:

Not at all. It looks like you've hit on an interesting area for further research. I see no reason why you shouldn't go for it.

Please don't take my silence as disinterest. Posts as yours require thought, and my brain is frankly fried from putting out fires today caused by the release of my new ebook, Who Was Jesus? (Please forgive me for the plug, but I am always in need of advertising. :roll: )

I would be interested in seeing a side-by-side chart of characteristics shared by Paul and Ophiuchus.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 1:24 pm 
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There's nothing to prove that the Gospels were written by Mark, Matthew, Luke & John in fact, it is well documented that those names were popularized by Irenaeus in his book "Against Heresies" around 180 c.e. Why couldn't "Paul" be another useful made up character? I see no reason to believe he was a real person at all. Plus, he never actually met Jesus anyway.

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 Post subject: Paul = Apollonius?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:55 pm 
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I've been working on a little side project for my upcoming radio show with Abraxas on Freethoughtmedia.com I have created a chart showing the characteristics of Apollonius, Jesus and Paul. Here's one very interesting conclusion:

Apollonius was split into two, some of his biography serving as the life of Jesus and then his later life being morphed into Paul. There is supposedly a gap in his biography from about 30 to 50 years old, ending when Jesus dies and picking up again when Paul surfaces. If the reports are true of Apollonius's fame and imperial favor, having temples erected to him, being worshipped by emperors, and having his biography commissioned by the empress Julia Domna, then we are talking about a very big phenomenon that was totally usurped and eradicated. In other words, if that's all true, then there had to be a vast effort to erase him from memory. Why? Because he was not only the competitor but one of the prototypes used in the creation of both Jesus and Paul.

Well, this subject would require another entire volume... Coming probably one day. :shock:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:33 pm 
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I am looking forward to your essay on this topic. I read about Apollonius of Tyana in a Health Research reprint some 30 years ago. I wish I could remember the author's name.

The eradication of Apollonius from memory would have taken some time, and fits with your model of the gospels having been written towards the end of the second century.

I think the true core of the Jesus story, however, is the brief report of Jehoshua ben Pandira, who was sentenced by the Sanhedrin for being a sorcerer, and hung on a tree (just like Judas) on the eve of the Passover (see John 19:14). Gerald Massey dated his execution to 70 BCE. This would account for "Paul's" tiny reference to a historical Jesus as "him crucified".

Ben Pandira could also be messianic figure called "the Egyptian" by Josephus.

Some links:

http://www.theosophical.ca/MythicalChrist.htm
http://www.librarising.com/spirituality/apollo.html
http://www.angelfire.com/mt/talmud/jesusnarr.html


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 1:54 am 
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Thanks! I just recorded an interview with MC/Abraxas at FreethoughtMedia.com regarding Apollonius, for which my article will be the companion piece.

Here's a quote from Abraxas/Miguel regarding our show together:

Quote:
He was the son of God sent from Heaven as a savior. He performed miracles including raising the dead, healing the blind and casting out evil spirits. He went to Jerusalem, was condemned by Roman authorities, and eventually was assumed back to Heaven after leaving a new dispensation. His name was Jes-- no, he was Apollonius of Tyana, one of the most overlooked, prodigious figures of antiquity that might have been the precursor for the Orthodox Messiah.

Special Guest:

Acharya S, author of The Christ Conspiracy, Suns of God & Jesus Who? [sic! :shock: ].

Topics Discussed:

The life and times of this first century miracle-working, wandering sage, religious reformer who had Imperial Temples built in his honor and was wined and dined from Emperors in Rome to Brahmins in India.

--Not only the striking parallels between Apollonius and Jesus, but the just as striking parallels between Apollonius and Paul of Tarsus.

--Evidence pointing that after Marcion came back from Antioch to Rome with the Gospel of Luke and the Pauline Letters, what he originally had retrieved was nothing more than The Gospel of Apollonius of Tyana.

--Could Apollonius also be the original author of the Epistle to The Hebrews?

--The Orthodox Church spent volumes of paper and energy condemning the Classic Gnostics, Manicheans, Jewish Christians, Pagan philosophers and their gods, Simon Magus and Marcion; but why is there an almost complete silence and cover up when it comes to Apollonius of Tyana, a character who was a worldwide celebrity in the first century?

--Acharya's views on astrotheology, mythology, and the virus that is Orthodox Christianity.

--An eerie thread starting with Paul and Apollonius, leading back through Pythagoras and all the way to Orpheus. It's a daring bridge we cross, my Truthseekers, but regardless of what you think the point of fact is that Apollonius of Tyana has been a missing piece of several puzzles in understanding the Esoteric and early Christianity. And certainly the historical Jesus of Nazareth."

BTW, Dr. Raymond Bernard wrote Apollonius the Nazarene.

Re the core of the Jesus story, nah, it's much more complicated than that. You may be interested in reading my books The Christ Conspiracy and Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ. :roll:

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 2:47 pm 
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For your edification, I have finished my article on Apollonius, et al., and provide it here, as a sneak preview:

Apollonius, Jesus & Paul: Men or Myths?

Also, here is another thread on this forum with relevant posts, such as a quote from Christ Con:

Apollonius, Jesus and Paul: Men or Myths?

Quote:
Over the centuries, not a few people have noticed a resemblance between the lives of the ancient sage Apollonius of Tyana and the Christian savior Jesus Christ, a comparison most notably brought to light by the "very important Roman official" Sossianus Hierocles in the fourth century. Apollonius was said to have lived in the first century, precisely at the time of Jesus's advent, although the former supposedly lived to be around 100 years old, while the latter allegedly died several decades earlier. It is claimed that hundreds of statues of Apollonius were erected during the first centuries of the Christian era, with his fame as a "divine man" widespread around the Mediterranean. Numerous events in Apollonius's life, as provided to us principally from a biography created around 210 by Philostratus, commissioned by the empress Julia Domna, peculiarly parallel those of Christ. It is difficult to determine what, if any, of Philostratus's Life of Apollonius constitutes history, although there appears to be confirmation at least of Apollonius's existence. In fact, from the odd coincidences between his life and that of Jesus, it has been suggested by not a few people that Jesus Christ is a fictional character based in large part on Apollonius of Tyana, although Christians beginning in early times cast the accusation of plagiarism in the opposite direction. In addition to this possible development are striking correlations between the lives of Apollonius and the apostle Paul, who, like Jesus, strangely finds no place in contemporary history, despite claims to his having made quite a ruckus in a populated and well documented part of the world. It appears that the stories of both Jesus and Paul were in part fabricated from that of Apollonius. The opposite is also possible, although, in this author's studied opinion, unlikely. It also may be that both Apollonius and Jesus were historical figures who did and said everything they are reported to have done and said, in which case we would be dishonest in accepting one without the other, both representing "God on Earth."

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