Being agnostic in regards to the historicity of St. Paul is justifiable.
Being agnostic in regards to the historicity of St. Paul is justifiable.
As Pro I need to show that one can be justified in holding the position of uncertainty on whether or not St. Paul existed in history.
Con needs to demonstrate that it one cannot justify the position of uncertainty on whether or not St. Paul existed in history.
Round 1 is for acceptance only.
Round 2 is for opening case only, no rebuttals.
Round 3 is for extending one's case and rebuttals.
Round 4 is for rebuttals only, no new arguments.
This is a select winner style voting debate. You need to have a minimum of 2500 ELO to vote.
Cut out 3274 characters
Pro gave no link to his source for his quote from Britannica, but since he trusts Britannica as a source, let it be known that in the link I am providing, you"ll see that the Encyclopedia Britannica says that Paul was indeed a historical person, and admits he wrote at least 7 books of the NT.
"Saint Paul, the Apostle, original name Saul of Tarsus (born 4 bc?, Tarsus in Cilicia [now in Turkey]"died c. ad 62"64, Rome [Italy]), one of the leaders of the first generation of Christians"Only 7 of the 13 letters, however, can be accepted as being entirely authentic (dictated by Paul himself)." http://www.britannica.com...
To conclude that even both Acts and the Epistles are unreliable in how they portray Paul is no indication of his non-existence. Most historians don"t accept the miracle stories in the Gospels concerning Jesus. Most of them believe the four Gospel are embellished with legend and contain contradictions about his life, yet, they agree he existed. "Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that"Jesus existed historically." http://en.wikipedia.org... So Pro thinks for a person to exist that every account of their life must be truthful and in agreement, and this is his own made-up standard which historians do not use, otherwise, our history books would be very few and very small.
Pro says "Acts would probably be written in the mid to late 2nd century." But there are good reasons to think Acts was written before 70 C.E. "A.D. 70. No mention of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (Luke 21:20).
1."The fall of Jerusalem in A.D 70 is hugely significant, and Acts leaves you with the impression that the temple is still standing.
2.Luke did mention fulfilled prophecies, i.e.,"Acts 11:28""so, why not mention the destruction of Jerusalem as was prophesied?" Wouldn't it have added to the validity of the"Christian"message?
2.A.D. 64. No mention of the horrendous persecution of Nero in A.D. 64.
2.Luke recorded Christian Martyrs: Stephen in"Acts 7:55-60"and James in"Acts 12:2." Why not write about the martyrs of the Nero persecution as well--if it happened before Acts was written?
3.A.D. 64. No Roman persecution of the Church mentioned.
5.A.D. 62." No mention of the death of the apostle James." https://carm.org...
As for the so-called contradictions he didn"t list, they don"t exit. http://www.tektonics.org...
As for "On the Historicity of Jesus" by Richard Carrier, Carrier agrees with me that Paul existed. So Pro"s own source disagrees with him. http://freethoughtblogs.com...
Pro, you cannot assume an epistle is not authentic just because you have others that are not. Every president of the US before Obama was white, so what is the probability of a black US president based on that? Yet, "yes we can!" The authenticity of Paul"s letters is decided based on the evidence behind each letter, not on a probability calculated from the amount which are classed as forgeries. Once a document passes the tests for authenticity, it is accepted as authentic regardless of how many others are forgeries. Scholars admit 7 of Paul"s letters pass these tests. Furthermore, Pro"s argument is one from authority. He gives no proof for the 6-7 letters being forgeries, just a mere claim that this is generally accepted by scholars. But the same scholars generally accept that Paul wrote the other letters, thus he existed. So why should I accept what scholars say in one instance but not the other? Just shows Pro"s bias.
How do we know Paul wrote 1Corinthians?
A. It is generally agreed by all that Paul was the author of First Corinthians
B. The account of Paul"s founding of the church is reported in Acts 18
C. External evidence: also supports this conclusion1
1. Clement of Rome (c. 95-97)
2. Polycarp (c. 110-150)
3. The Shepherd of Hermas [Mandate 3:6 (1 Cor. 7:11); 4:4.1 (1 Cor. 7:38-40)] (c. 115-140)
4. Didache [10:6 (1 Cor. 16:22); 13:1-2 (1 Cor. 9:13-14); and 16:6 (1 Cor. 15:22)] (c. 120-150)
5. Irenaeus (c. 130-202)
6. Justin Martyr (c. 150-155)
7. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215)
8. Tertullian (c. 150-220)
9. Origen (c. 185-254)
10. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-386)
11. Eusebius (c. 325-240)
12. Jerome (c. 340-420)
13. Augustine (c. 400)
D. Internal Evidence:
1. Paul identifies himself as the author in 1 Corinthians 1:1; 16:21
2. Paul refers to himself within the epistle (1:12,13; 3:4,5,6,22)
If Paul didn't write 1 and 2 Corinthians, why is there no other surviving tradition of another author?
First and second-century testimony is unanimous in attributing these letters to him. This suggests that they received their titles early; for if they had not, there would have been a great deal of speculation as to who had written them - a variation of titles would have inevitably risen, as had happened with the apocryphal gospels. It is rather harder to believe that these letters circulated anonymously for 60 or more years and then someone finally thought to put an author's name on them -- and managed to get the whole church across the Roman Empire to agree.
How could the early Christian community honor these letters as authoritative unless they knew who had written them?
Even granting such a late date as some critics surmise, it is doubtful that these letters could have gotten anywhere unless they were certainly attributable to someone who was recognized as knowing what they were writing about. If Paul didn't exist, the church would have asked, "who is Paul, that we must accept his letters?" On the other hand, I must say that some critics assume a high degree of gullibility in the first-century church.
For an anonymous author to have penned a Gospel, and have it accepted as from the hand of any authoritative person, would have required them to first produce the Gospel, then present it as the work of another; they would have to concoct some story as to how it came peculiarly to be in their possession; get around the problem of why a work by such a person disappeared or was previously unknown; then get the church at large, first in his area and then throughout the Roman Empire (and would not the claimed discovery of such a document cause a sensation, and controversy?), to accept this work as genuine. Please show us, Pro, where is the historical documentation of the controversy surrounding these letters when they were first given to the church.
At the beginning of the second century, there would have been first-generation Christians alive who recalled the apostles and their teaching, and many more second-generation Christians who would have had information passed directly to them.
We have early witnesses to the authorship of some of the Gospels. Papias wrote around 110-130, and he surely did not design the authorship of Matthew and Mark on the spur of the moment. That being so, how could anyone have dared to attribute the Gospels to anyone other than the genuine authors with these first- and second-generation witnesses still alive? Believers in the 70s-90s, when critics suppose that the Gospels were authored anonymously, would have known of no works of Paul; believers after the 90s who descended from this generation and lived into the lifetime of Papias would have had no tradition of such documents. How does Pro imagine a forger got the church to accept the letters of a man whom they didn't even believe to exist?
Pro said "For a long time 1 Clement, 2 Peter, etc. were thought to be authentic and were preserved as well. Is it really evidence for this particular set being authentic just because of it being preserved like that?,"but first of all, we don't have many copies of 1 Clement and 2 Peter when compared to the thousands of copies of Paul's letters from all over the Roman Empire. Why would so many people try to preserve the works of a man who didn't exist? Further, Clement was a real person, so was Peter, they existed. Maybe that's why people tried to preserve their work, cause these people were important to them. The same could be said of Paul.
Richard Carrier says: "Detering seems to think self-referencing signatures commonly appear only in forgery; in fact, they are commonly found on real letters"I"ve seen several examples in papyrological journals)...the letters explicitly present themselves internally as having been written in the 50s A.D. So the congruence of that fact with their content totally ignoring later existing doctrinal and tradition battles in the Church is very likely if the 50s is indeed when they were written. It is very unlikely otherwise: not impossible, but very unlikely, and that produces a strong Bayes factor favoring authenticity.
I can"t even think of a single example of an ancient forger successfully ignoring all the central doctrinal and tradition disputes of their own day merely to produce a convincing period-accurate but thereby contemporarily-irrelevant document. ...These six letters also claim to be written by Paul and cohere in references to and descriptions of himself, and if they were indeed written when claimed, there is no reason to doubt that the author was Paul. No motive existed then to invent that name. Nor would such an invention at that point in history matter, since the exact name of this apostle is irrelevant to any argument one might construct about this man"s and these letters" role in the history of Christianity." http://freethoughtblogs.com... More later
From the rules that Con accepted:
"Round 2 is for opening case only, no rebuttals."
This was in the rules that Con accepted, yet he violated them. This is completely unacceptable in a debate.
"Pro gave no link to his source for his quote from Britannica, but since he trusts Britannica as a source, let it be known that in the link I am providing, you"ll see that the Encyclopedia Britannica says that Paul was indeed a historical person, and admits he wrote at least 7 books of the NT."
Someone can agree with one section of something while disagreeing with another section of it.
"To conclude that even both Acts and the Epistles are unreliable in how they portray Paul is no indication of his non-existence. Most historians don"t accept the miracle stories in the Gospels concerning Jesus. Most of them believe the four Gospel are embellished with legend and contain contradictions about his life, yet, they agree he existed."
Completely irrelevant. I also argued that because of the MAJOR contradiction between Acts and the Epistles (not just minor ones) that at least one of them (not necessarily both, but possibly both) is unreliable in the portrayal of Paul.
Furthermore, Con says that it does not indicate non-existence.
1) If there does not exist reliable sources to establish if someone existed then it lessens the chances that they existed.
2) My BoP is ONLY to show that one can be justified with a position of uncertainty in regards to the historicty of Paul, not to show that Paul was indeed a mythical character.
"Pro says "Acts would probably be written in the mid to late 2nd century." But there are good reasons to think Acts was written before 70 C.E. "A.D. 70. No mention of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (Luke 21:20)."
One has to remember that the author of Luke also wrote the Acts, that they were both written to the same person, and that Acts was written in the form of a biography of Paul (not of Jesus).
Furthermore, the source that he is using for this comes from an extremely biased website. Furthermore, the arguments on the website do not even agree with the modern consensus (which dates Acts to either the 80's or 90's).
Furthermore, his own source says that Acts came after Luke. This means that any argument that dates Luke at a later date also dates Acts at a later date.
Further evidence that Luke-Acts is a late composition is:
1) It makes reference to the Olivite Discourse in Luke 21 (meaning it has to come after 70CE).
2) It appears to be using Josephus' War of the Jews as a source (meaning it would have to come after 93CE).
3) Marcion has priority over it via the principal of accretion (meaning that it would have to come during or after the mid-second century).
4) Prominent church figures are silent about the existence of Luke-Acts until the late second century (meaning it was probably not compiled until the mid-to-late second century).
To say that Acts came before 70CE means that you have to explain, in a parsimonious way:
1) How it references the Olivite Discourse?
2) Why it appears to have used Josephus as a source?
3) Why it violates the principal of accretion with Marcion?
4) Why prominent church figures were silent about it?
All that has to be said (about my opponent's objections) when positing a later date is:
Acts was written as a biography of Paul and the events during the life of Paul.
"As for the so-called contradictions he didn"t list, they don"t exit"
And his only justification for this is an apologetics website? Sorry, but that is not even close to being convincing.
Paul in Acts speaks positively about Jewish Law (examples: 25:8 and 28:17), the Paul from the epistles appears to disregard it on many occasions.
Acts indicates Paul is an apostle, but the epistles never do so.
"As for "On the Historicity of Jesus" by Richard Carrier, Carrier agrees with me that Paul existed. So Pro"s own source disagrees with him"
I also agree with Newton's Laws of Motion. Does that mean I have to agree with Newton about alchemy and a hidden Bible Code? No. One can accept some of what someone says without accepting all of what they have to say.
"Pro, you cannot assume an epistle is not authentic just because you have others that are not."
Those arguments were only about the prior probability.
"Furthermore, Pro"s argument is one from authority. He gives no proof for the 6-7 letters being forgeries, just a mere claim that this is generally accepted by scholars"
Did you read the section on Justin which leads to the conclusion he was silent because he knew the were forgeries? How about the part where I also pointed out that if it holds true for Justin that it would hold true for Aristides?
"But the same scholars generally accept that Paul wrote the other letters, thus he existed. So why should I accept what scholars say in one instance but not the other? Just shows Pro"s bias."
Ad hom. Also, Detering (who I also used for a few of my arguments) is a Paul mythicist.
"Clement of Rome"
Are you going to refute my arguments for a late composition of 1 Clement?
The accuracy of which in contingent upon the Ignatian Corpus, which I already presented arguments for a late composition of.
"The Shepherd of Hermas"
In what way is this evidence?
Again, how is this evidence? You need to explain the claim instead of asserting that the document is evidence.
Interesting thing about Irenaeus though. In his book Against Heresies he argues that Jesus could be executed no earlier than 49 CE.
"The Thirty aeons are not typified by the fact that Christ was baptized in his 30th year: He did NOT suffer in the twelfth month after his baptism, but was more than fifty years old when he died."
"From the 40th and 50th year a man begins to decline towards old age, which our Lord possessed while He still fulfilled the office of a Teacher, even as the Gospel and all the elders testify; those who were conversant in Asia with John, the disciple of the Lord, affirming that John conveyed to them that information. And he remained among them up to the times of Trajan."
Considering how Paul was supposedly teaching around then, a while AFTER the supposed death of Jesus, this shows something about Irenaeus:
1) The mentions of Paul were later interpolations.
2) Irenaeus' mentions of an old Jesus were later interpolations.
3) Irenaeus was unaware of when Paul was supposed to have been preaching OR knew Paul was not preaching at that time.
There is little textual evidence for the first 2, so the 3rd explanation follows. From there, how can we say that Irenaeus is a reliable source for the historicity of Paul?
I already addressed this in my opening round.
"Clement of Alexandria"
AGAIN, how is this evidence?
AGAIN, HOW IS THIS EVIDENCE?
This document, and all the others you have listed afterwards, came about at a time too late to be an independent and reliable source. The authors would not have been eye-witnesses nor had access to eye-witnesses. They would only have access to extreme hearsay, rumours, or previous documents (either that we have or that are lost, if lost we can not be sure how accurately they recorded the information).
"Paul identifies himself as the author in 1 Corinthians 1:1; 16:21"
Yes, and if it was forged it would also be written as if the author was Paul.
"Paul refers to himself within the epistle"
Same as above.
"First and second-century testimony is unanimous in attributing these letters to him."
I already argued against any first and early second references to Paul as the author of the epistles (and even to any reliable mention of Paul in the 1st and early 2nd century at all) without Con rebutting them.
" for if they had not, there would have been a great deal of speculation as to who had written them - a variation of titles would have inevitably risen"
This ASSUMES that they would have just been circulating since their composition no problem. This is not the case as Marcion either forged or rediscovered the Pauline epistles. He could have given them their names easily enough.
"How could the early Christian community honor these letters as authoritative unless they knew who had written them?"
Mark, Matthew, and many other early documents were anonymous (as it was more common then signed documents) where the church only assumed certain people wrote them (and it is even questionable if these people existed in the first place). This is not an issue.
"For an anonymous author to have penned a Gospel, and have it accepted as from the hand of any authoritative person, would have required them to first produce the..."
You have only asserted that that would have happened. Sometimes controversy can take other forms (like Justin refusing to acknowledge Paul or the Pauline Epistles despite clear influence of their existence in his own writings). And the consensus (as Richard Carrier and Hermann Detering have pointed out) already is that, at minimum, Marcion "rediscovered" and circulated the Pauline Epistles. If the only mentions of Paul and the Epistles came after Marcion (which I have argued without being rebutted), then it is not too much of a stretch to think Marcion could have invented Paul all together (especially considering other arguments I have brought up).
"At the beginning of the second century, there would have been first-generation Christians alive who recalled the apostles and their teaching..."
Pure assertion with no evidence to support.
"We have early witnesses to the authorship of some of the Gospels"
Not according to any consensus we have today, and your evidence is shaky at best.
"Richard Carrier says:"
I never used the signature argument.
Not only did Con decide he was above the rules he accepted for this debate by making rebuttals in his 2nd round, he also made comments in a way that attempted to insult my intelligence. He also (mainly) used large quotes instead of his own words, used apologetic sources, and pure assertion.
As for the Marcionites inventing Paul"s letters, Marcion himself quoted from them, showing these letters existed before him and his movement:
"These seven letters are quoted or mentioned by the earliest of sources, and are included in every ancient canon, including that of Marcion (c.140). There is no record of scholarly doubt concerning authorship until the 19th century when, around 1840, German scholar Ferdinand Christian Baur accepted only four of the letters bearing Paul's name as genuine, which he called the Hauptebriefe (Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Galatians). Hilgenfeld (1875) and H. J. Holtzmann (1885) instead accepted the seven letters listed above, adding Philemon, 1 Thessalonians, and Philippians. Few scholars have argued against this list of seven epistles, which all share common themes, emphasis, vocabulary and style. They also exhibit a uniformity of doctrine concerning the Mosaic Law, Christ, and faith." http://en.wikipedia.org...
Proof that Marcion didn"t write Paul"s letters is because Paul"s letters refute Marionism. "Marcion, we may conclude, was important for two reasons. He rejected the Old Testament as the document of an alien religion; and he taught that Jesus had come to save humankind from the control of the evil Creator to whom the Old Testament witnesses. These are precisely the two aspects of his work on which patristic condemnations, from Tertullian onwards, focus. In the process he denied the validity of allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament, which he saw as a means of accommodating it to Christian belief; this too is picked up by Tertullian. In short, Marcion was not a major influence on the formation of the New Testament; he was simply a Marcionite." (Lee Martin McDonald, James A. Sanders, Editors: The Canon Debate; John Barton, Marcion Revisited, p 354, 2002)
The letters of Paul fully accept the OT and its God as the truth. (1 Cor 9:7-11)
"Certain ideas that are presupposed in 1 Clement were not prevalent in the first century," but not prevalent doesn"t mean they didn"t exist and would not be mentioned.
Conflict between the priests and the common people. It happens today, it used to happen back then. Human nature doesn"t change. People don"t always agree with their spiritual leaders.
Some parts appear to be anti-Gnosticism. The doctrines that came together to form Gnosticism were already floating around in Greek philosophy and other sources that affected the first-century church. Also, other groups besides Gnostics rejected the resurrection.
It depicts Paul and Peter as being side by side peacefully. So what?
It talks about persecution but not a specific event (making it so it must have been more commonplace/unexpected). This letter "is at the end of the reign of Domitian, or c. AD 96, by taking the phrase "sudden and repeated misfortunes and hindrances which have befallen us" (1:1) for a reference to persecutions under Domitian." http://en.wikipedia.org... Christians were also persecuted by Jews in the first century CE.
"How could the ancient, firmly settled community oppose its Presbyters just because of a few ringleaders?" It only takes one convincing voice to start a riot, or even a war, especially when the powers that be are clearly (or perceived to be) in the wrong. Martin Luther"s role in starting the Protestant Reformation is a good example. " it is Martin Luther who is widely acknowledged to have started the Reformation with his 1517 work The Ninety-Five Theses." http://en.wikipedia.org...
Pro thinks someone wrote in Ignatius" name after he died, which he says was common place, so why does he not think someone wrote in Paul"s name after he died? Why write in the name of someone who doesn"t exist?
So Revelation doesn"t mention Paul by name, well, neither does it mention the other apostles by name, so they didn"t exist? It doesn"t mention Mary by name, or for that matter, many martyrs of John"s time. So they didn"t exist? Rev 1:1 shows this is a book about prophecy, so why would John break the prophetic to mention Paul"s death? And Pro seems to assume there is no God who could have given John this revelation, otherwise, he"d have to know John can only write what God tells him to. Rev 1:17-18 says the First and the Last (Jewish term for God [Isa 44:6]) became dead, and returned. Is that Jewish? It"s as Christian as you can get.
Pro accused me of using biased sources, but Detering is very biased. Detering argues that Paul isn"t mentioned in Greco-Roman or Jewish literature such as Plutarch. But Plutarch also did not mention Gamaliel, or Hanina ben Dosa; were they also mythological? Plutarch did not name all the missionaries of the Mithras cult, so they didn"t exist? On page 109 of his book, The Falsified Paul, he claims 10-20 years isn"t enough time for the church to develop hymns and creeds of Jesus for Paul to quote, and yet we have the Mormon (LDS) Church with creeds, hymns and poems in 1836, just 6 years after Joseph Smith officially founded the church and 16 years after his alleged vision of God.
So Justin Martyr doesn"t mention Paul, why then doesn"t he mention the name of the real author? Or just inform us that it was anonymous as was done with the letter from James? And if Justin thought it was a forgery, why would he be deriving his ideas from it?
Interestingly, not one of the sources which quote from the letters of Paul ever attributes them to another author. So my question to Pro is, how is it that we have not a single tradition of Maricion or anyone else being labeled as the author of these letters if indeed Paul didn't write them?
Pro says on the Britannica, "Someone can agree with one section of something while disagreeing with another section of it," but doesn't see one can agree to Paul's existence from Ignatius' writings while not agreeing with some elements in his accounts? Errors in his accounts somehow discredits the historicity of Paul, even though the alleged errors have nothing to do with Paul specifically.
Pro never provided any MAJOR contradictions between Acts and Paul's letters. I would like at least one quote from Acts and one from Paul to back up his claim. So far all we have is his claim, no proof.
If there does not exist reliable sources to establish if someone existed then it lessens the chances that they existed, which is why Pro needs to give examples to show that Acts and Paul's letters are not reliable. He has not done so. He claims contradictions exist but gives no examples to prove it. He claims they are unhistorical but give no example of events in history to back this.
To explain why Acts doesn't mention the destruction of the Temple, Pro say "Acts was written in the form of a biography of Paul (not of Jesus)," but this doesn't explain how Acts presents the Temple as still standing and being in use (Acts 2:46; 5:42) Why would Luke present a standing temple in letters to Theopholis knowing the Temple was in ruins? He also says "the arguments on the website do not even agree with the modern consensus (which dates Acts to either the 80's or 90's)," but his own arguments, and Detering whom he quotes, don't agree with the consensus of modern scholarship that Paul existed. So much for consensus. Even 80-90 CE is good enough to establish historicity.
Referencing the Olivet discourse only shows Luke was using a common source, or that the same discourse was floating around. Pro simply assumes Jesus couldn't have prophesied Jerusalem's fall before 70 CE, but that assumes God doesn't exist and gives revelation, with is outside the scope of this debate. Pro doesn't give any proof that Luke uses Josephus as a source, and there's a whole list of people not mentioned in ancient works even though they existed. So his argument from silence fails.
Acts 25:8 and 28:17 merely say Paul didn't break the law of the Jews, and he does speak positively of the law in Rom 7:12 and other places. He does have issues with the law in Acts 15:1-2; 13:39; 18:13. So Paul's view of the law is the same in both Acts and the Epistles.
I'm running out of space, but will finish my rebuttals next round.
"My sincere apologies for giving rebuttals in round 2. I was so excited but also pressed for time that I truly forgot to save it for the next round."
Sorry if I do not necessarily sound convinced, especially when doing what you did gave you an advantage in this debate (forcing me to spend more time defending my Round 1 positive arguments and rebutting your arguments that I do not have the room to expand on my own arguments outside of within rebuttals).
"he argued that the Marcionites made the epistles themselves and attributed them to Paul, but putting Paul"s name on them is pointless unless people already know who he is."
The name "Paul" can easily be considered symbolic, thus making it useful in other ways then just identifying an author.
Paul's name in Latin is synonymous with "more little" (Paulus means littleboy). This can easily hold a symbolic purpose of humility (which is prevalent in the epistles and some other early Christian documents).
"Let me ask Pro these questions: when 1st and 2nd Corinthians were first written, to whom did these letters go?"
Who says they had to go anywhere? Marcion is known for "rediscovering" the epistles. If Marcion forged them he would have no reason to send them.
"Marcionism was heavily rejected by the early church of the 2nd century, so why would they trust a gospel produced by them anyway? And why forge letters in Paul"s name unless people recognized his authority? And what proof did Pro give that there was a legend of a fictional Paul before his letters were written?"
But if he "rediscovered" them then there would be greater reason to use them. It is already accepted by modern historians that Marcion "rediscovered" the epistles and is the one to spread them. And, again, the name "Paul" can be symbolic. Last, I said that it could be based on a previous legend or not (I didn't say for sure either way, I left it as a possibility).
"As for the Marcionites inventing Paul"s letters, Marcion himself quoted from them"
How does that prove anything? If he forged them as if they were not his own, then why not quote from them?
"The letters of Paul fully accept the OT and its God as the truth"
Yet Paul in the epistles disregards the OT Law countless times and points out that the OT Law is not nearly as important as you are making it seem like he said (Romans 2:25-29, Romans 8:1-4, 1 Corinthians 9:19-21, Galatians 2:15-16, Ephesians 2:15).
"but not prevalent doesn"t mean they didn"t exist and would not be mentioned."
But it does mean that it is more parsimonious that it would be written when they were prevalent.
"Conflict between the priests and the common people. It happens today, it used to happen back then"
Not really with 1st century Christians.
"The doctrines that came together to form Gnosticism were already floating around in Greek philosophy and other sources that affected the first-century church. Also, other groups besides Gnostics rejected the resurrection."
But why would we expect a CHRISTIAN source to address this when Gnosticism was not around? The resurrection was not the only part I was referring to.
"It depicts Paul and Peter as being side by side peacefully. So what?"
It was uncommon to do so until the 2nd century.
"is at the end of the reign of Domitian, or c. AD 96, by taking the phrase"
You are presupposing a date to determine the persecution.
"Christians were also persecuted by Jews in the first century CE."
And early documents were specific on those persecutions as well.
"Pro thinks someone wrote in Ignatius" name after he died, which he says was common place, so why does he not think someone wrote in Paul"s name after he died? Why write in the name of someone who doesn"t exist?"
Is it a possibility? Yes. Do I think it is likely? No. We have a lot more evidence for Ignatius then for Paul. I am also contesting that there were any letters written by Paul (not the same with Ignatius). And there are many reasons why people have written in the name of fictional characters throughout history.
"So Revelation doesn"t mention Paul by name"
Or show indication of knowledge of Pauline theology.
"And Pro seems to assume there is no God who could have given John this revelation, otherwise, he"d have to know John can only write what God tells him to"
The study of history includes using the principle of uniformity of nature. There are MANY reasons why credible historians don't use "god inspired" as an argument for anything.
"Pro accused me of using biased sources, but Detering is very biased"
Apologetics- Assume God X is true, do anything to affirm it.
Detering's flaw- Gives a little too much credit to arguments from silence and occasionally sources outdated scholarship.
Not equal. Also, Tu quoque.
"So Justin Martyr doesn"t mention Paul, why then doesn"t he mention the name of the real author?"
Instead of just bringing up arguments which can only be answered via speculation, how about addressing the analysis I gave.
"but doesn't see one can agree to Paul's existence from Ignatius' writings while not agreeing with some elements in his accounts? "
My arguments against the writings of Ignatius were to date it to a later date, not to (necessarily) discredit them directly.
"I would like at least one quote from Acts and one from Paul to back up his claim. So far all we have is his claim, no proof."
Positive view of Jewish Law:
Acts 25:8 and 28:17
Negative view of Jewish Law:
Romans 2:25-29, Romans 8:1-4, 1 Corinthians 9:19-21, Galatians 2:15-16, Ephesians 2:15
"which is why Pro needs to give examples to show that Acts and Paul's letters are not reliable."
I already argued that Acts is a late 2nd century writing, making it outside the range of reliable information.
I also already argued that the Pauline Epistles could easily be Marcion forgeries.
"Why would Luke present a standing temple in letters to Theopholis knowing the Temple was in ruins?"
Again, how would YOU explain the 4 issues with an early date I listed? Even if the explanation I provided seems unlikely it is still more parsimonious then what you have provided so far.
"but his own arguments, and Detering whom he quotes, don't agree with the consensus of modern scholarship that Paul existed."
I was pointing that out because if I have an enormous BoP for not necessarily following the consensus, then you would also have that if you are arguing for that early of a composition.
"Referencing the Olivet discourse only shows Luke was using a common source, or that the same discourse was floating around."
It means that it has to be written AFTER the discourse.
"Pro simply assumes Jesus couldn't have prophesied Jerusalem's fall before 70 CE, but that assumes God doesn't exist and gives revelation, with is outside the scope of this debate."
1) Principal of uniformity of nature.
2) Extremely low prior probability for a god.
3) Extremely low prior probability for any "god inspired" texts.
"Pro doesn't give any proof that Luke uses Josephus as a source"
Article by Richard Carrier on the subject supporting that Luke used Josephus:
"and there's a whole list of people not mentioned in ancient works even though they existed. So his argument from silence fails."
But we would EXPECT to find references to Paul where there are none.
Not all arguments from silence are equal, but the ones in this case are very compelling.
All Con has managed to do is show that there are a few decent arguments for historicity. He has not confirmed that Paul existed as a historical figure and his rebuttals all seem to be that I have not affirmed that Paul was mythical (which was not what my BoP was to do).
I have successfully shown that the case for a historical Paul is not as strong as most people believe. I feel as if I have given sufficient reasons to believe that the Pauline Epistles could have been forged by Marcion or his followers, that Acts is not a reliable source, and that sources that mention Paul came from the 2nd century and are not necessarily reliable.
Therefore, I believe that I have sufficiently shown that one can be justified in holding the position of agnosticism in regards to the historicity of St. Paul.
Yes, "One can accept some of what someone says without accepting all of what they have to say," but Pro ignores what his own source has to say on the very same subject he quotes him on! Bias? Pro has not yet told us why we should take Carrier so seriously when he agrees with Pro but disregard him when he disagrees with him.
"Those arguments were only about the prior probability," he says, but the probability that Paul existed begins very high. To quote one of Pro"s sources: "Jesus belongs to several myth-heavy reference classes. He is a worshipped savior deity. He is a legendary culture hero. He is a Rank-Raglan hero. And he is a revelatory archangel (already as early as the earliest writings we have, granting the letters of Paul are such). All of those classes of person already start with a high prior probability of being mythical, because most members of them are mythical (or for culture heroes, about even). And these are beings all of whom are claimed to be historical, yet are usually in fact mythical. Just like Jesus.
Paul does not belong to any such class. Paul thus falls into the class of ordinary persons who wrote letters and had effects on history. In ratio, most of such people claimed to exist, actually existed. By far. The mistake being made then is that people assume the starting prior for anyone claimed to exist is "50/50R43; (agnosticism) but we know for a fact that that is not true. Examine thousands of cases, and you will find persons claimed to exist, overwhelmingly actually existed. Only a small proportion didn"t. That entails that for any random person claimed to exist that you pick out of a hat, the prior odds are quite high they actually existed (On the Historicity of Jesus, Chapter 6.2 and 6.5).
To challenge that starting point, you need to show that Paul belongs to a reference class whose members are most often mythical (or at least half of whose members are). No one has done this. And it won"t be easy to." http://freethoughtblogs.com... Here Carrier gives good reason to disagree with Pro, but Pro likes to quote sources that disagree with him, like Britannica and Wikipedia.
His case was built on ASSUMPTION rather than fact. He assumes Justin didn't mention Paul because he thought Paul's letters were forgeries, and ASSUMES the same for Aristides. Did he give a quote where any of these two men ever claimed that Paul's letters were forged? NO! These men would not have used Paul's letters extensively had they not believed them to be genuine. Neither did Pro show any evidence that the earliest manuscripts of 1st and 2nd Corinthians (for example) did not include Paul's name as the author in the first verse. He doesn't explain why there is no debate among the church fathers about who Paul was, nor how the Marcionites could plausibly convince the Church across the board to accept letters they forged, and believe in the existence of this apostle whom they made up, which was absent from their church history all along. Skeptics like my opponent usually can't explain how these difficulties are overcome, yet, as far back in history we go the church has always accepted Paul's letters as being from him, and being authentic. In fact, had they been written by Marcion or his followers, there would be speculation about who had written them when they were first introduced to the church, or at least a tradition that Marionites authored them. No such tale has been told until the 19th century. So why didn't anybody through the centuries question who wrote them till now? How did these letters gain unanimous acceptance as works of the Apostle Paul? Had they been written anonymously, competing names would have popped up for authorship until a name was settled, but from the beginning it was accepted that Paul was the author. Pro can't tell us why there is no record of the church resisting or even investigating Marcion's claim, which is odd, because he would have need to explain how such works happened to be in his possession when the church didn't have them for over 100 years, how they came to be lost or unknown until this point, and how comes nobody for over 100 years had known of an Apostle Paul who (from the testimony of these letters and Acts) played a more prominent role in the first century church than any of the 12 apostles. He wrote more books, did more missionary work, established more churches, performed more miracles, and was well known as THE persecutor of the church before his conversion. This is not an easy history to hide, and to just make it up and have it gain universal acceptance by the church from the hand of their enemies (heretics practicing Marcionism which denies central teachings of the church such as the love of the OT God and the truth of the OT), is just too hard to believe.
All ancient writers who reference 1 Clement have always ascribed it to Clement of Philippians 4:3, who was a travelling companion of Paul,and according to the early episcopal lists, the third or fourth bishop of Rome during the last decades of the first century. From the amount of pseudepigraphic literature attributed to him it is probable that he was a famous man in his own time, for why else would people want to name him as author of their works if he was a nobody? Tradition has naturally identified him with the Clement who is mentioned in Philippians iv.3. It appears from chapter 5 to be later than the persecution in the time of Nero, and from chapters 42-44 it is clear that the age of the apostles is regarded as past. It can therefore scarcely be older than 75-80 A.D. On the other hand chapter 44 speaks of presbyters who were APPOINTED BY THE APOSTLES and were STILL ALIVE, and there is no trace of any of the controversies or persecutions of the second century. It is therefore probably not much later than 100 A.D. If it be assumed that chapter 1, which speaks of trouble and perhaps of persecution, refers to the time of Domitian, it can probably be dated as c. 96 A.D. Most scholars therefore date it within the last decade of the first century C.E.
This Epistle was held in very great esteem by the early Church. The account given of it by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., iii. 16) is as follows: "There is one acknowledged Epistle of this Clement (whom he has just identified with the friend of St. Paul), great and admirable, which he wrote in the name of the Church of Rome to the Church at Corinth, sedition having then arisen in the latter Church. We are aware that this Epistle has been publicly read in very many churches both in old times, and also in our own day." The Epistle before us thus appears to have been read in numerous churches, as being almost on a level with the canonical writings. The doctrine, style, and manner of thought are all in accordance with that, so we may with great probability conclude that we have in this Epistle a composition of that Clement who was Paul's companion.
Pro's proof that 1 Clement was a 2nd century document? "1)Conflict between the priests and the common people
Chapter 40 verse 5" Here is what chap 40:5 actually says:
40:5 For to the High Priest were assigned special services, and to the priests a special place hath been appointed; and on the Levites special duties are imposed. But he that is a layman is bound by the ordinances of laymen.https://en.wikisource.org...(Hoole_translation)
Nothing here about conflict between priests and people.
"2) Some parts appear to be anti-Gnosticism
Chapter 20 verse 11"
20:11 All these things the great Maker and Master of all things hath appointed to be in peace and harmony, doing good unto all things, but more especially unto us, who have fled for refuge to his mercies, through our Lord Jesus Christ,
How is this anti-Gnosticism? No reference to Gnosticism here at all, except in Pro's imagination. Detering was just biased, and didn't expect us to actually check. I wonder if Pro even read 1 Clement.
Pro wants to know how the Didache and the Shepherd of Hermas became evidence. They are examples showing the UNANIMOUS agreement through history on who wrote 1 Corinthians. Why don't we have any tradition that traces it back to Marcion? Pro believes Marionites were so clever they could pull off this hoax without a single person doubting until the 19th century?
Pro read Iraeneus out of context to make it seem like he claimed Jesus was 50 years old. I invite every to see what Iraneus said in context. http://www.philvaz.com...
Pro claims "Mark, Matthew, and many other early documents were anonymous," but all the manuscripts we have of Matthew, Mark, etc, have the same names on the title page. Pro would need to provide at least one single manuscript dated earlier than the ones we do have, which does not contain the authors name on it, to show the originals were written anonymously. No such document has ever been found. This is Pro's speculation again.
As I'm running out of space, let me just say the Pro keeps making reference to a consensus that Marcion rediscovered the epistles, but gives no link to this alleged consensus that we may see if its so. Marcionism rejected the OT and its God as an evil God unworthy of our worship, whom Jesus came to defeat. Please read what the epistles say about the OT and its God, and ask yourself if Marcion could have written this: Rom 1:2 the only "HOLY Scriptures" could be the OT since the NT wasn't written yet; "oracles of God" which he quotes (Rom 3:2, 10-22 quotes Ps 14:3-4); Rom 4:3 Abraham believed God and was righteous; 1 Cor 9:8-10 the law of Moses was written for OUR sake; Rom 1:17 quotes Hab 2:4; Rom 9:17 same God as Exo 9:16 - Paul claims the OT God; Rom 10:13 same God as Joel 2:32; Eph 5:31 and Gen 2:24. Would Marcion have written this? Please vote.