Was Paul “Converted”?

Larry Hurtado's Blog

In the ecclesiastical calendar, 25 January (this Friday) marks the “Conversion of St. Paul.”  Over the last several decades, however, scholars have differed over whether “conversion” is the right term to describe Paul’s change from fierce opponent of the young Jesus-movement to one of the most well-known advocates.

In general usage, a “conversion” marks a change from one religion to another.  At the time of Paul’s experience (a scant couple of years after Jesus’ crucifixion), the Jesus-movement wasn’t what we know and think of as a self-standing “religion.”  It was more a rather exclusive new sect or movement within the larger Jewish tradition.  (And it must be emphasized that Paul’s “persecution” of Jesus-followers was not directed at “Christians” but solely at fellow Jews whom he must have regarded as having seriously problematic in their beliefs and practices.)

More significantly, Paul refers to that experience that prompted his shift in direction…

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The Life of Paul

N.T. Wright, one of the foremost experts on Paul in the world, delivers a talk and answers questions about his new book Paul: A Biography. Continue reading “The Life of Paul”

Jesus Politics

“Christ’s biggest issue is not found on the platforms of modern political parties. Instead, Jesus calls the entire world to give allegiance to him above country, company, or any other community.” Continue reading “Jesus Politics”

Paul’s Background

One of the leading scholars of Paul in the world, N.T. Wright, discusses the world that shaped one of the most influential individuals in human history, Paul of Tarsus. Continue reading “Paul’s Background”

Why did Paul go to Arabia?

Reading Acts

One of the more tantalizing aspects of Paul’s early ministry is his “three years in Arabia.” In Galatians 1:17, Paul claims he did not go to Jerusalem immediately, but rather he went to Arabia for a period of time before returning to Damascus. This period of time is not spent in modern Arabia (i.e. Saudi Arabia), but rather the Nabatean kingdom on the east side of the Jordan. As Robert Smith states, the term “Arab” “could be used as a virtual equivalent of ‘Nabatean’ (1 Macc 5:25, 39, 9:35, and 2 Macc 5:8)” (ABD, 1:326).

Jeresh, from Summer
of 2013

Paul gives us some details of these events in 2 Corinthians 11:32-33. While Luke indicates the Jews were plotting against him, 2 Corinthains adds an important fact: The local guard was looking out for him as well. He specifically mentions Aretas IV, the client-king over the Nabateans. During…

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Scot McKnight on Pauline Authorship

If you aren’t a Bible geek chances are you would be quite surprised to learn that the majority position in biblical scholarship is that Paul did not write all the letters in the New Testament that bear his name. In fact scholarship only accepts 7 undisputed letters which are Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians and Philemon. Now the main reason for questioning the remaining 6 traditional Pauline epistles are stylistic differences. I have never found that line of argumentation particularly convincing and you can find a good response to it here.

New Testament scholar Scot McKnight was discussing his new commentaries on Philippians and Colossians over at OnScript and he was asked about the authorship of Colossians. I found his response quite interesting to say the least. He said that he doesn’t think Paul wrote any of the epistles.

Continue reading “Scot McKnight on Pauline Authorship”

Lewis Couldn’t Write About Aliens AND Centaurs – (Or, N.T. Wright on Pauline Authorship)

Reformedish

paul and the faithfulness of GodWhen I got to seminary, I found out a lot of people think Paul didn’t all the letters attributed to him in the New Testament. Actually, it’s not just that some people don’t, but rather it’s the dominant position in non-conservative academia, and even many conservative scholars adopt it. The idea is that letters like Ephesians, Colossians, the Timothys, Titus, and 2 Thessalonians are later compositions, pseudepigraphal, either by an imposter, or a devoted disciple that claim Paul’s name and authority. Depending on how conservative you are, you might say that the earliest recipients would have, of course, known this, and so there really wasn’t fraud being committed, but rather this would have been seen as an acceptable instance of a very common practice. Or, you might just call it lying.

While I can’t get into all of the details, one of the main arguments against their authenticity is the…

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