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PAUL AND THE NON-HISTORY OF JESUS
SAINT SAUL WAS HE A SKELETON KEY TO THE HISTORICAL JESUS?

Saint Saul. This book is written about Saint Paul who as far as we can tell is the real founder of Christianity. He supposedly converted to Jesus on the way to persecute Christians at Damascus and had been a devout Jew. Jesus allegedly changed his name from Saul to Paul. He may have converted the year Jesus is believed to have died. He became an apostle, that is, a divinely inspired messenger of God to speak for Christ and provide the world with his true gospel. Nobody can deny that most religious or spiritual people are more interested in what they WANT to believe and not the truth. The fact that they disagree so much about what the truth is and are unwilling to accept new ideas or insights that question their truth proves this. That is why it is just stupid to trust the pope and religious leaders in general and why they are evil people for looking for obedience to them which is why miracles that invite us to believe are so absurd for only demonic ones would do that. Paul was no exception.
 
This interesting book by Donald Harman Akenson reveals several interesting facts. The prophecy in Daniel’s seventy weeks is revealed to be predicting an Anointed One and not a Christian style Messiah or Christ (page 36-7). Christians tend to believe that it predicted the time Christ would be active in Jerusalem and that he was the Anointed One. The King James Bible mistranslated the text to make it speak of the Messiah in the Christian sense (page 36). Now Anointed Ones or Moshiahs can be kings, priests or even prophets (Psalm 105:15). Never does the Old Testament say that anything like the Christian Messiah is its spine and core. Yet Jesus himself said the opposite which was a lie put into his mouth or told by himself if he lived. Christianity imagined from the very start that the Old Testament was just a preparation for the coming of the Saviour. The book points out that the Christian practice of looking for references to the Messiah in the Old Testament where there are none eg Isaiah 53, and then ignoring how it uses the expression Anointed One to refer to a wide range of different people and kinds of people is illogical and biased and underhand (page 38). The Qumran scrolls also show that Anointed One could be anybody who had a job from God and not a special saviour of the world. The Damascus Document speaks of the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel (page 40). This refers to at least two Messiahs but could be read as meaning there would be several. The majority of the Jews, the chosen people, were not expecting or looking for the coming of the Christ (page 41).
 
The Book of Daniel refers to one like the semi-divine Son of Man who will rule an everlasting kingdom (page 45) but who is not the Anointed One of the Seventy weeks prophecy who works only in Jerusalem and does not have an everlasting kingdom but ends up with nothing. This shows the Son of Man who is like the Jesus of the modern Churches was not predicted in the seventy weeks prophecy.
 
Page 49 says there was no uniform Judaism in the days of Jesus and Saul, but it was made up of different groups all with different beliefs and emphasis. The Jews of the Dead Sea even put a spiritual temple not the physical one at the fore of their theology! They did not follow exactly the same legal code either for there is no evidence that they did and there is evidence that they all interpreted the law differently. Jesus was once called to work out which of the different disputes about when divorce should be legal was near the mark.
 
Page 57 argues that when Jesus forbade any attempt to go to Gentiles with his message but just to focus on the Jews that this saying of his must have been authentic for the Church did start seeking out Gentiles within a decade after his resurrection and the command was too well-known to leave out of the gospel. Well known or not there was no obligation to put it in! It could still have come from the Jewish Christians who lived in Jerusalem and who claimed to be apostles and recipients of visions.
 
The early Church used lots of different names such as believers Nazarenes, Jesusers, Jessians and disciples and sometimes the Way (page 63). Strictly speaking it was not an early Church for there is no hint that they all thought they had exactly the same identity as a body (page 63). All the factions had in common was a faith in Jesus. The name Christians was meant to be an insult for it came from outsiders (page 64) so it naturally took it decades to catch on. Rome would have found the word Christian offensive for it implied that the Christ or Messiah in Heaven had to be obeyed before the Roman Emperor and that Christians out of loyalty to Christ could not reverence the Emperor as an infallible and holy god. They made the Roman regime look ridiculous and without credibility. So the believers in Jesus were not Christians in the first century. A few were, but that is all.
 
Page 74, says that Jesus predicting that not one stone would be upon another when Jerusalem would be attacked should be granted poetic license for a part of the Temple, two towers and a piece of the Western Wall survived the disaster. But Jesus was not writing poetry and using poetic license to simple people who tend to take prophecies literally would not have been something he would have done. He meant it literally. But he was wrong.
 
The book argues that the gospels were all written after the destruction of Jerusalem which happened in 70AD because they try to console people who have lost the Temple that there is no need for it anymore for Jesus is the new Temple (page 77). That makes sense. Jesus’ risen body becomes the Temple that is not made of human hands (Mark 14:58). The latest date for the creation of the gospels is 140 AD when evidence that they existed becomes available. A lot of that evidence is questionable! The late dating is rejected because the Jewish revolt of 115-117 AD is not mentioned. But then again who are we to decide if the gospellers would want to write about it? Their main goal was to promote Jesus as the new Temple and they were entitled to leave things out.
 
Paul speaks as if the second coming could take place any minute and tried to prepare all his followers for this even to the extent of telling single ones not to bother looking for wives and so he knew that Jesus never predicted the destruction of the Temple and the siege (page 134). He would say the gospels are lies for saying different.
 
Josephus writes little of Jesus and more about the Baptist and his movement indicating that the latter was more important (page 79). This would be a hint that even then the Baptist was the triumphant messenger from God and Jesus was still more or less a nobody.
 
If Jesus was baptised by John as the gospels say, then it follows that Jesus was John’s disciple (page 81). Jesus then could not really have been God or the Son of God.
 
Galatians 2:12 indicates that Peter far from being head of the Church and an infallible pope was actually under the authority of James (page 82). The verse says that Peter was afraid to upset the emissaries of James so he did something uncharitable. He showed himself up in front of Paul who made a show of him for doing that. He feared these men more than Paul and the only reason could be was that James was not only his boss, but had the power to destroy his apostolical career and perhaps declare him a fraud!
 
Page 85 admits that most historians accepted the secret gospel of Mark as providing a piece of Mark’s gospel that the Church left out for it didn’t suit its dogmas. But the book says it was a joke about Jesus being gay. There is that impression but there is no need to go that far in the interpretation. Plus, if that was the joke Morton Smith who discovered the gospel could not dare present it to the scholarly world for fear of derision and the end of his career. If Smith had written the story as many say, he would have been too afraid of people seeing the joke and making a joke of him!
 
The book is sceptical of the existence of the Book of Q (page 111, 321-327) and tells us that there is no physical evidence whatsoever that it existed (page 112) and says that it was invented in the late twentieth century (page 326). This is only right. Q is alleged to be the source of what the Synoptic gospels have in common. But maybe Mark made up his gospel out of thin air and plagiarised stories about different religious figures and Matthew and Luke copied parts of him with a bit of editing here and there?

The book sees no reason to believe that Luke really wrote the Luke Gospel or Acts either (page 135). The epistles of Paul that mention this person are rejected as inauthentic (page 136) technically forgeries so we don’t know if Luke even existed.
 
Like would have known Paul but the author of Luke and Acts seems to know nothing of Paul’s epistles (page 137).
 
Acts says Paul persecuted Christians and killed them and went into every Christian house in Judea to drag believers out but Paul says the believers there did not know him by face (page 138). But Paul in his letters says he persecuted the Christians (Philippians 3:6) which I take to mean he persecuted them by getting to know their religion and spearheading attacks based on doctrine and philosophy on them. He gives no intimation that he once violently persecuted them – his murdering of Christians is something that the Book of Acts speaks about. He said he persecuted them according to the Law and not his interpretation of the Law which means that he made life difficult for them for the Law did not command the killing of Jews for heresy but only very serious heresy and the Christians then were not serious heretics and indeed accepted by many Jews as true Jews.
 
Paul taught that eating food sacrificed to demons or benign pagan gods was harmless - he wrote that he did not believe such food was anything, meaning anything that had power or significance - but it was wrong to do so in such a context that it implied you were in communion with the pagans (page 157). In other words, he denied the power of black magic for if the gods are demons they will empower the food with bad energy to draw people away from God. The Law of Moses taught clearly that supernatural powers in opposition to God did exist and could be used by people to do miracles and cast spells that work. Jesus was a whole-hearted supporter of the Law so he would have sided with it. It could be that when the gospels say Jesus was a supporter then they are lying which means they are entirely lies because Jesus’ Jewishness is the spine of everything that is said and done by Jesus in these writings. Jesus Christ warned about false signs and wonders that could deceive even the elect, the spiritual paragons of true Christianity. Jesus supposedly battled demons that threw people to the ground and made them foam at the mouth by their powers. This means that the majority of the gospel demon stories and the warnings Jesus gave about demons are lies made up after Paul’s death. When we can be sceptical about Jesus being an exorcist we can be sceptical about all the other supernatural stuff as well, and especially the resurrection. To accept Paul, is to eliminate the reliability of the gospels. They are not to be taken seriously when they contain so many lies about Jesus.
 
In most of the pagan lands, the temple was the abattoir, where you went to buy meat and where you went out to have a meal (page 293).
 
Paul talks about Jesus like he was in control of how Jesus was portrayed. It seems Paul was the one who determined the route and form the resurrection interpretations would take. This suggests that when Paul writes in the tampered 1 Corinthians 15 that Jesus appeared to him last of all that it could be that the apostles had visions of an unknown being and Paul claimed a vision and sorted out the confusion for them and identified the vision as Jesus and they accepted that. Paul could easily have been the inventor of Jesus Christ.
 
However, when Peter and Paul had a dispute at Antioch over Peter not eating with unclean Gentiles we can see that Paul and Peter made it a draw for Paul would have told us if he won the argument (page 160). This shows that there was a lot of doctrinal bickering and splitting in the early Christian communities.
 
Paul strangely spent ten years collecting for the “poor” of the Christian communities in Jerusalem. Why just the poor of Jerusalem? Obviously, Paul only did this because if he didn’t his ministry would have been declared illegitimate and his apostleship fraudulent (page 164). So money got Paul accepted not his Holy Spirit or his Jesus who appeared to him. This suggests a very mercenary pack of witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. Unsavoury men indeed. In Romans 15:31, amazingly Paul wanted people to pray that the Church in Jerusalem would accept the money he collected! Obviously, there was a danger that the apostles and their followers could loath him so much that they wouldn’t satisfy him to take the money. And this was because his doctrine was not the same as theirs. His doctrine had to be the problem for they knew he wouldn’t persecute them anymore. To reject Paul even to the extent of rejecting the money he brought and his kindness would mean rejecting the followers he had as well and cause a massive division in the followers of Christ. They would tell him to shove his money perhaps to make him look bad and look like a thief. Paul must have known they were capable of this and willing to do so. The Book of Acts tries to cover all this up by painting a rosy cosy picture of Church relations.
 
Saint Saul speaks of the gospels saying Jesus’ family rejected him for his ministry. I’d say the gospels made this up to explain why nobody claimed to be blood relatives of Jesus.
 
Acts 22:3 has Paul saying he studied his Jewish religion under Gamaliel 1st. This would mean he was in Jerusalem in Jesus’ time (page 302). Yet Paul knew nothing of Jesus’ life and never met him indicating that Jesus didn’t live then at all! The gospels lie about when Jesus lived.
 
Page 172-3 argues that Paul must have known about the life of Jesus after spending time with the apostles soon after his conversion and that the reason he never mentioned Jesus’ life was simply because he had already given it to his followers orally and when there was a spiritual crisis to prompt epistles, he preferred to focus on Jesus as he was now, risen and in Heaven and working to save his people. The book says that the first reason for this is that Paul likes the present Jesus best for he experienced him and finds him more accessible and relevant. The second reason is that Paul does not like some ideas about what Jesus did. The third reason is that Paul prefers his own authority to the pre-resurrection Jesus’ even going as far as to correct something Jesus said. Fourth, Jesus’ life was mundane so it is best not focused on.
 
My reply is this:
 
Paul would not like the risen Jesus best. Paul claimed to be weak and so a Jesus like that would terrify him
 
Paul does not correct Jesus but even if he did this is only a single instance and no evidence or hint is given that Paul didn’t like the Jesus history at all. The alleged correction is 1 Corinthians 7:10:11 where Paul absolutely forbids divorce. But the oldest gospel Mark has Jesus saying the same thing. It is just the later Matthew one that says Jesus permitted divorce if adultery took place. There is no reason to believe Paul knew Jesus permitted divorce then. Nor does Paul indicate that his ban on divorce which he says came from the Lord came from a historical person who lived recently. It could have been told to Paul in a vision. If Paul corrected Jesus then Paul should not be trusted as far as he can be thrown. Really, the servant correcting his infallible Lord! Paul did prefer his own authority to that of Jesus Christ because he knew that to follow Jesus really meant obeying Paul who one had to go to get the stories about Jesus and the interpretation meaning Paul was the one who had the real power. But that does not mean he would have been disinterested in Jesus sayings and life as a man.
 
Saint Saul is just speculating on why Paul never spoke of the Jesus of history. The reason for the silence is that no such Jesus ever walked this earth.
 
Paul never mentions that Jesus had a life and what he does say can be understood as just inference from his resurrection vision. For example, if he saw a pierced man in his vision he could conclude that the man was crucified and must have once been an ordinary man and a Jew for he died to wash away the sins of the Jewish people to please their God. Such a man would have to be the Son of God and the Messiah and the king seated at the right hand of God the Father.
 
If Jesus’ life and sayings were really that mundane then he didn’t do much and didn’t live on the edge like you have it in the gospels. It would mean again the gospels are lying all the time.
 
The book is right to say that it was Paul’s doctrine and teaching that if Jesus did not rise then he was not the Christ. This is implied by 1 Corinthians 15:12-17 which says the entire faith is in vain if Christ didn’t rise. That would mean holding Jesus to be the Christ would be in vain too. But if Jesus claimed to be the Christ and died and did not rise again he could still be the Christ for he could wait till later or the last day before rising again. It wouldn’t matter as long as he came back spiritually or physically or both. Implicitly then Paul denies that anybody knew of a man called Jesus who claimed to be the Messiah before he died. For Paul, the resurrection made Jesus the Christ. That is, Jesus didn’t claim to be Christ until after his resurrection from the dead. All this again denies that the gospel version of Jesus ever lived. Paul denied Turin Shrouds and Jesus’ physical resurrection and empty tombs when he said that the risen body cannot corrupt for it is not flesh and blood which can corrupt (1 Corinthians 15:50). Anyway, all the Turin Shrouds in the world cannot save Jesus from the fact that he was not even a real prophet inspired by God and gave us no reason to regard him as one. Now God could stop you physically corrupting and give you an immortal body. But it still has the potential to corrupt as long as there is anything physical there. So Paul is denying this potential. He is saying the resurrection is non-physical. It is spiritual. The body dies but a “body”, a spiritual essence that is entirely non-physical, rises. The body cannot be turned into that for if you turn gold into clay what you are really doing is replacing gold with clay.
 
When Paul mentions the birth of Jesus he says he was born of woman under the law (Galatians 4:4) and uses the law in a negative sense to mean corruption and weakness of the flesh which makes the law necessary he is saying that Jesus was born of sex between a man and a woman (page 180). This denies the virginal conception and the virgin birth.
 
Page 191 is right to reject the silliness of John Meier that the crucifixion of Jesus, his denial by Peter, Judas betraying Jesus and his being baptised by John the Baptist are too embarrassing to have been made up and must have really happened. The crucifixion was turned into a victory of God over evil. Peters’ betrayal of Jesus later made Peter holier and more trustworthy according to the New Testament. Judas betrayed Jesus but Judas may have been a myth representing the Jews or the people of Judah. But since the New Testament says Judas could be replaced and came to a bad end his betrayal was noting to be ashamed about. The baptism by John seems to be embarrassing for it implies that Jesus became John’s disciple and was a sinner but the Christians turned it into the idea of Jesus being baptised for our sins and the gospels avoid saying that Jesus became a disciple of John. The baptism could have been invented to be able to say that Jesus was anointed by God before John in the Jordan. John baptises Jesus but soon learns that Jesus is the boss for the Holy Spirit comes down on him and God speaks audibly that Jesus is his beloved son. The argument that embarrassing facts about Jesus proves the facts are real facts does not work at all and yet most of modern scholarship is infected with this illogical error.

On page 196, we read that nearly everything said about Jesus in the gospels has a Hebrew subtext. That means the Bible stories were altered in details and used to create the Jesus story. The Old Testament not history was used to put the gospels together.
 
Page 203 argues that Paul contradicts the gospels that Jesus died at Passover time for he called Christ our Passover and didn’t say he died then. This would destroy the accounts of Jesus’ death making them unreliable. But it seems all Paul did was say Christ was our Passover that was sacrificed for us therefore we must keep the feast which only says he was our Passover meal and our Lamb which he could be without dying at Passover. Some would say that since he said we must keep the feast for Christ is our Passover it indicates that we must keep the feast for Christ is like a Passover Lamb and not because Christ became our Passover Lamb then. But still both could be true. He could have died at Passover and we keep the feast not because of this but because he was like a Passover Lamb. The Roman Catholic Church argues that the Passover has been replaced by the Eucharist so the Christian Passover is celebrated whenever the Eucharist is celebrated and has nothing to do with the date the Jewish Passover feast officially falls on. It is Jesus being iconically or like the Passover lamb that is the thought in Paul’s mind here.
 
Paul declared that before Jesus was given up he took bread and said it was his body given for his disciples and took the cup and said it was the new covenant in his blood. Jesus asked that this be done in his memory. Paul said that Jesus was crucified in weakness but lives by the power of God (2 Corinthians 13:4). His Jesus was really weak, he didn't have miracle power, so for Paul there was nothing miraculous about the Eucharist. Romanism says the Eucharist is the miracle of bread and wine turning into the body and blood of Jesus. Paul says Jesus took the bread before supper and the cup after. Why separate them so far in time? If they pictured the crucifixion it would be more natural to do them together.
 
Ignoring the possibility that Paul may have received the Eucharist story in a vision and not from witnesses of Jesus, page 202 says his Eucharist story is from history. Then why did Paul talk as if the story was being disputed and contradicted by Christians in Corinth? His saying he received the rite from the Lord is telling them that the rite is God’s truth (page 218). This is a kind of oath so he cannot use history to defend the rite but only his word meaning he instituted the Eucharist not Jesus. He tells them that he received it from the Lord and passed it on to them to ensure that they will accept it and stop abusing the rite to do nasty things. Obviously, they were ignoring the meaning of the rite because they did not take the alleged origin of the rite seriously and had to be reminded of what it stood for.
 
Page 219 errs in saying that Jesus did the Eucharist knowing he was in mortal danger. Jesus believed he would be killed eventually but there is no reason to think he thought the danger was immediate from what Paul tells us. Moreover, Paul’s Jesus says that his body is for his disciples and the cup is the new covenant in his blood. Paul concludes from these words that therefore when we eat and drink we remember Jesus’ death. But nothing in the words indicates a violent death. The bread is the body of Jesus for his friends but it is not said to be killed for them. The cup is not his blood but the new covenant in his blood. Jesus then was able to inaugurate the new covenant without physically shedding blood. His death whatever form it would take, even a natural one, would still be him giving his body and blood that is his whole self to seal the covenant. However it is more natural to hold that a violent death involving bleeding was meant. But with symbolism one cannot be too sure. From the wording of Paul’s Eucharist rite, we can be sure that the gospels lie that Jesus held the rite for he knew his death was near. In the gospels, it is the death of Jesus that starts the covenant and it is with Paul as well. He speaks continually of how the death of Jesus for our sins redeems us. Clearly then the supper happened or was revealed AFTER the crucifixion. The gospels are lying that the supper happened before.
 
Jesus must have had these meals and insisted on equality and sharing at them. That is why Paul when criticising the Christians for making differences at their meals brings it up. The indications of equality would be Jesus serving the disciples with bread and wine and them sharing it among themselves so it is all equal. There is no priest. There is nobody who is in any way better than anybody else. Jesus even vows to give away his life for his friends. There is no room in any of this for people who claim to have a higher rank than others like Catholic priests do. There is no room at this table for even a Jesus who says he is the Son of God and the Messiah and an exorcist and healer. This Jesus was an ordinary normal man who got remarkable rewards for his devotion to God, exaltation to divine sonship and Christship at his resurrection.
 
The Eucharist must have been a regular thing with Jesus when Paul says we must run our regular meals in the same way that Jesus ran them. This would deny that the Last Supper was a Passover meal but it was just a friendship meal one of many Jesus held. Again this contradicts the gospels. Page 226 is right to say the Eucharist meal or Last Supper was not a Passover meal at all.
 
However, the narrative of the Eucharist does look so out of place for in 1 Corinthians 11 you can leave it out and the narrative runs more smoothly. Try it, read the chapter and omit verses 23 to 32. If it is an interpolation which it seems to be then the book Saint Saul should not be staking so much on it for getting meagre details about Jesus Christ. The interpolation was made to justify the invention of the Eucharist so it indicates that there were no traditions to help, the Eucharist was not history.
 
Page 302 tells us that the bit in Luke’s account of the Last Supper which is called the Long Text is fake. It has Jesus blessing the cup twice. This would bid us to accept the Short Text which does not say that Jesus spoke of body and blood and indicates that only bread was used at the supper.
 
Page 212 alerts us to people who find up to 900 parallels in Paul’s writings that indicate that he knew of the sayings of Jesus in the gospels that they are credulous and are turning expressions like be at peace with yourselves from Thessalonians 1 into a memory of Mark 9:50 which just says have peace with one another! So if I say, “People must try to stay at peace”, that is a memory of the gospel!
 
Paul knew that it made sense to focus on converting the Jews for he thought his gospel was all over the Old Testament. Yet he made no plans for this to be done. This shows he knew nothing of the disaster that Jesus had allegedly prophesied for the Jewish people that would come in 70AD (page 214).
 
The book sees evidence that Paul memorised hymns and creeds in his letters which would have been used in his Churches. This explains the sayings that seem close to the sayings of Jesus. They were probably memorised as well.
 
The book quotes the hymn of Paul about Jesus in Philippians 2. This hymn says we must be like Jesus who was obedient to God even unto death on a cross and sought no reputation when he was alive. Because of his humility, God exalted him highly at the resurrection and gave him the name which is above all names so that every tongue should confess Jesus Christ as Lord to glorify the Father. The gospel Jesus did seek a good reputation and boasted that he was the Son of God and did things only the messiah was supposed to do. He went to parties to hobnob with big name Pharisees. He was famous as a healer. This hymn shows that the later stories about Jesus that we have in the gospels are fiction. Jesus is to be declared Lord for it pleases the Father meaning the Father is the real object of worship so Jesus is not God but an exalted saint who God values above all his saints.
 
The bizarre idea that those that teach the gospel should live by it and not have secular jobs originated with Paul and the gospels indicate that it may have been Jesus’ will (page 219). There is nothing wrong with doing some secular work and it doesn’t have to interfere with being an evangelist.
 
Page 226 says that what Paul gives us about the Jesus of history is that he was born normally, concerned about divorce, had a last supper, was crucified and buried. His mission was to Jews not Gentiles (Romans 15:8) and his teachers should not work to earn a living but live by their ministry. Romans 15:8 does not say that Jesus preached only to Jews. It only says he had a ministry to the Jews which does not exclude him making Gentile contacts when it was handy. And it does not say this ministry happened when Jesus was alive. Jesus spoke only to Jews after his death and resurrection.
 
Page 229 draws our attention to where Paul says he is crucified with Christ and that Paul does not live in Paul’s body but Jesus does (Galatians 2:20). He says this to refute the idea that you need to keep the Law in all respects to be saved and right with God. He then tells the Galatians to recall their own experience of receiving the Holy Spirit and to ponder if they experienced him through faith or through works of the Law (Galatians 3:1-3). So they could also have the same experience of identification with Christ too. Does this theology sound like you should exalt any man as pope and Vicar of Christ on earth? Of course not! All real Christians are vicars of Christ. The model worked out by Paul was that you experience Jesus in you and you know what Paul says is true because of what you experience. He virtually claimed to be Jesus which goes a lot further than the pope would dare to go and yet he refuses to expect the obedience the pope demands.
 
The traditions describe both Jesus and Paul as short unattractive men who had some disability. Paul virtually claims that he is Jesus and that the Church is Jesus too and its members are parts of the body of Jesus. Many cults have taught similar doctrines and in modern witchcraft the coven can become the goddess right now. So its odd then that nobody came up with the idea that Jesus maybe managed to get a look-alike crucified in his place or otherwise survived the crucifixion and after speaking to some of his friends claimed to have went up to Heaven and then sneakily returned as Saul who later became Paul! Paul stated he bore the wounds of Jesus on his body.  
 
Pages 238-9, tell us that the entire teaching of Jesus Christ could be plagiarised directly from Jewish sources of the time for there was nothing unique in it and it had all been said before.
 
Page 243 suggests that Paul thought that Jesus deserved his death by crucifixion. You certainly get that impression from Galatians 3. But he is clear elsewhere that Jesus had changed and was holy by the time he was crucified so that his death could save the world.
 
Page 245 contradicts the gospels that the Pharisees were inflexible keepers of the Law, they were more liberal and understanding than the gospels say. It also claims that there is no evidence that any Jewish theological group of Jesus’ day thought a resurrection had to be physical. Jesus, for example, was more unforgiving towards people who needed a divorce than the Pharisees generally were.
 
The book mentions John 7 where it is said that the Jews were determined to condemn Jesus without a hearing and Nicodemus reminded them that this was illegal and immoral without commenting on why this tale is untrue. The Jews had no need to do without a trial. They could have got Jesus executed by showing that the Old Testament never predicted him at all and he was an impostor. And he did and said enough to have him justly put to death in the eyes of the Mosiac Law. To try and get rid of Jesus without giving him a hearing would only make Jesus’ disciples say the Jews had nothing on him to justify destroying him. It would only have made the Jew’s task harder. I agree with the book that John is just using Nicodemus to rouse hatred towards the Jews by indicating that he was a good man though one of them meaning they had no excuse for being bad.
 
Jesus in Mark 7 showed his belief that the Gentiles would only get crumbs off the table and the Jews would get the banquet meaning the Gentiles were not entitled to have the full benefits of his ministry and teaching (page 253). Here we have the earliest gospel contradicting Paul in a foundational matter. Paul stated that there was no Jew or Greek where Christ was concerned. He did not know that Jesus was a racist.
 
Paul referring to homosexuals as the extremely derogatory buttfuckers (page 12) would not match Jesus who welcomed prostitutes many of whom were doing anal sex to avoid pregnancy so again Paul is indicating that Jesus never did any such thing.
 
We read on page 265 that only four synagogues have been found in Palestine which makes some consider the synagogues mentioned in the gospels and Acts to be anachronisms for there are too many of them. Others say that private houses were used as synagogues in Jesus’ day which explains this.
 
Page 269 dismisses the references to Jesus in rabbinic literature as being worthless for they were written down late. But they look so primitive and came from older traditions and writings. So who knows?
 
Josephus’s writings were preserved by Christians for the Jews had strangely no time for his writings (page 270). No wonder they have some Christian interpolations in them for it is now certain that Josephus hardly mentioned Jesus if at all.
 
Page 276 rejects the Christian consensus that the Jews met in 90AD at a general council in Yavneh and determined the canon of scripture for the Old Testament. It was not really a council and nothing is verifiable bout it and it had little clout. It was not binding.
 
Interestingly, 285-6, tells us that the general life span was 25 years in those days and childbearing killed many women but speculates that Jesus and Paul would have lived to about 60 had it not been for them being put to death! Both of them allegedly met a lot of people and people like that die faster for they catch bugs and viruses easily. There is no doubt that the early Christians hadn’t long to wait if they wanted rid of the vast majority of unfavourable witnesses who contradicted their Jesus tales.
 
If page 295 is right to say that when Paul spoke of Jesus Christ that he did not mean Jesus the Messiah but just meant Jesus Christ as in two names then Paul did not agree with the gospels which give Christ as a title to Jesus. It would mean it could be that Jesus was not the Messiah at all and never claimed to be. Yes he used Messiahs’ name but would somebody calling themselves Joshua which is our version of Jesus be claiming to be Jesus or the saviour?
 
Page 296 remarks that no scripture can be found to back up Paul’s claim that the scriptures say that Jesus was to be killed and rise again on the third day. The only hope is to maybe argue that the prophet Jonah was Jesus. One can speculate without contradicting the book of Jonah that Jonah was crucified by the men who kidnapped him. They bury him at sea and a fish comes along and eats the dead man off the stake or cross. Jonah comes back to life inside the fish after three days and it spits him out. When Jonah goes then to preach to Nineveh to convert the people there and threatens divine destruction the people believe him and repent. Now why did they repent and how were they so easily convinced? Did they believe Jonah was dead and raised to life again? Did Jonah then become Jesus when Jonah started appearing to the apostles? If Jonah rose from the dead it was a physical resurrection but perhaps after his mission he then became a spiritual being.
 
Page 298 draws attention to Mark 9:41 where Jesus says that anybody who gives you a drink of water because you bear the name of Christ will be rewarded. Jesus didn’t claim to be Christ then. The verse is really referring to people who help you because you are a Christian, a Christian means follower of Christ and to be a Christian means you bear the name of Christ. But since the name Christian only took off late in the first century (page 64) and is rarely used in the New Testament and other names are preferred it would mean that this gospel was written then. The first gospel had a late origin. There is no evidence for the Book of Q so the first gospel could have been pure invention. Jesus was made to officially sanction people saying they were the followers of Christ before it actually happened at Antioch years later. So we have a serious anachronism here.
 
CONCLUSION
 
The book Saint Saul is excellent. It sharpened my own thoughts and brought me new insights which I have written down in this review. I have corrected it here where necessary and overall I find that it is undeniable that Saint Saul or St Paul did not believe in the existence of the Jesus of the gospels and he was a later invention.
 
Saint Saul, A Skeleton Key to the Historical Jesus, Donald Harman Akenson, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002
 
The Historical Evidence for Jesus, G A Wells, Prometheus Books, New York, 1988
Conspiracies and the Cross, Timothy Paul Jones, Front Line, A Strang Company, Florida, 2008