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Author Topic:   Historical Plausibility of Paul's Story
Brian
Member (Idle past 2700 days)
Posts: 4659
From: Scotland
Joined: 10-22-2002


Message 1 of 64 (433227)
11-10-2007 5:24 PM


Jaywill requested that we take this discussion to a new thread.

The main point of the topic is that, in an historical context, Paul's conversion story is historically unlikely.

Accuracy and Inerrancy please.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by AdminWounded, posted 11-10-2007 5:47 PM Brian has not yet responded
 Message 7 by Phat, posted 11-19-2007 12:22 PM Brian has responded
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 Message 46 by imageinvisible, posted 12-06-2007 12:03 PM Brian has responded

    
AdminWounded
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 64 (433230)
11-10-2007 5:47 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Brian
11-10-2007 5:24 PM


Could you maybe incorporate some of the material from the previous thread in your OP or at least flesh out the basis of the discussion a bit more. As it is this is a bit minimalist for an OP and it would be easier if people didn't have to read the previous thread to understand what it is about.

TTFN,

AW


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AdminWounded
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 64 (434671)
11-16-2007 7:35 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminWounded
11-10-2007 5:47 PM


*Bump*
Are you still interested in pursuing this topic?

TTFN,

AW


This message is a reply to:
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Brian
Member (Idle past 2700 days)
Posts: 4659
From: Scotland
Joined: 10-22-2002


Message 4 of 64 (434948)
11-18-2007 9:16 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by AdminWounded
11-16-2007 7:35 PM


Re: *Bump*
Hi WK,

I'll post an OP on Monday or Tuesday.


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Brian
Member (Idle past 2700 days)
Posts: 4659
From: Scotland
Joined: 10-22-2002


Message 5 of 64 (435130)
11-19-2007 10:54 AM


On the Damascus road
Anyone familiar with the New Testament will be aware of perhaps the most important events in the whole of Christianity, namely the conversion experience of a Pharisaic Jew named Saul. The Bible informs us that Saul was a man who persecuted Christians and was present at the murder of the first Christian martyr, Stephen. (Acts 7:58)

We are informed that Saul persecuted Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1) :

And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

and in his zeal to persecute as many as he could, he asked the high priest for letters to take to synagogues in Damascus so that he could get help to round up Christians there, bind them and bring them back to Jerusalem for sentencing, which included being put to death. (Acts 9:1-2)

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

So, complete with letters in his sweaty little hand, Saul sets off for Damascus to round up Christians. However, on the way this happens:

Acts 9:3-5

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

So, to cut a long story short, Saul, who went blind for three days, arrived at Damascus, and his blindness was lifted when a man named Ananias put his hands on him. Saul was so convinced that this experience was real that he immediately went and preached Christ in the very synagogues that he as going to take the letters from the high priest to. (Acts 9:20)

And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Saul of Tarsus thus became Paul, who was clearly the most fervent evangelist in the New Testament.

So, what problems do I have with this?

Well, the conversion experience itself really cannot be investigated, as it was a personal religious experience, and as such it cannot be investigated by using the normal tools employed by historical research. However, the circumstances surrounding this event can be investigated for historical plausibility.

Now, as every historian knows, we cannot deny that something happened just because there is no external evidence to support what is claimed, but if we are asking others to accept the plausibility of an event we do have to provide some supporting evidence.

Therefore, in this thread I would like to hear the supporting evidence for the following:

1. That it was historically plausible that under Pax Romana for a Jew to be permitted to persecute Christians, or any religious group to be permitted to persecute another religious group.

2. What authority did the sanhedrin have in Damascus, when the whole of Syria was a Roman province?

3. What evidence is there that Paul did indeed persecute Christians?

4. If Paul had went to the synagogues to get help to persecute Christians, why did the Jewish authorities allow Paul to preach Christianity in the very same synagogues?

One or two other issues may arise, but, for the time being, I think there is enough to be going on with.

So, what evidence can Christians offer to support the historicity of Paul's Damascus Road conversion.?


Replies to this message:
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AdminPhat
Administrator
Posts: 1841
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-03-2004


Message 6 of 64 (435142)
11-19-2007 11:59 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Phat
Member
Posts: 10659
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 7 of 64 (435148)
11-19-2007 12:22 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Brian
11-10-2007 5:24 PM


The Life Of Brian remix
Brian writes:

The main point of the topic is that, in an historical context, Paul's conversion story is historically unlikely.

Unlikely?

Unlikely based on what? Why must the probability factor come into play here? Why must evidence be presented, apart from the original manuscripts?

Does the court have reasonable grounds to dismiss the validity of the manuscripts themselves?

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


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 Message 1 by Brian, posted 11-10-2007 5:24 PM Brian has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Brian, posted 11-19-2007 1:24 PM Phat has responded
 Message 12 by Jon, posted 11-20-2007 11:27 AM Phat has responded
 Message 13 by Force, posted 11-20-2007 10:09 PM Phat has not yet responded

  
Brian
Member (Idle past 2700 days)
Posts: 4659
From: Scotland
Joined: 10-22-2002


Message 8 of 64 (435155)
11-19-2007 1:24 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Phat
11-19-2007 12:22 PM


Re: The Life Of Brian remix
Did you read the post?

Look at the 4 points again.


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Replies to this message:
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Phat
Member
Posts: 10659
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 9 of 64 (435158)
11-19-2007 1:40 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Brian
11-19-2007 1:24 PM


Re: The Life Of Brian remix
I know little about the Historical aspects of the region, but why are we putting on our history caps and taking off our theological ones? :confused:
This message is a reply to:
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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5320
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 10 of 64 (435159)
11-19-2007 1:59 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Phat
11-19-2007 1:40 PM


Re: The Life Of Brian remix
why are we putting on our history caps and taking off our theological ones?

Uhhh...because the thread title starts with "Historical?"


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Brian
Member (Idle past 2700 days)
Posts: 4659
From: Scotland
Joined: 10-22-2002


Message 11 of 64 (435160)
11-19-2007 2:09 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Phat
11-19-2007 1:40 PM


Re: The Life Of Brian remix
We cannot examine the theo evidence Phat, I am questioning whether the circumstances surrounding Paul's conversion are historically plausible, if they aren't then it is possible that this is just a piece of propaganda.

Did Paul ever mention this dramatic event in his letters?


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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 64 (435313)
11-20-2007 11:27 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Phat
11-19-2007 12:22 PM


"... sprites and goblins."
Does the court have reasonable grounds to dismiss the validity of the manuscripts themselves?

Yes; they're full of stories 'bout spooks and hob-goblins. Another thing, how many (just) courts would base their decision on the testomony of only one person - 'specially when they're the one whose credibility's been called into question?

Why must the probability factor come into play here?

Because, it's part of reason and logic - the only system we have for understanding any of our experiences.

Why must evidence be presented, apart from the original manuscripts?

C'mon, stop joking around.

"Why should we have evidence?"
"Why should we use logic?"
"Why should we be reasonable?"

WHY SHOULDN'T WE?!?

Jon


In considering the Origin of Species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist... might come to the conclusion that each species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties, from other species. - Charles Darwin On the Origin of Species
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ ____ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

En el mundo hay multitud de idiomas, y cada uno tiene su propio significado. - I Corintios 14:10
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ ____ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

A devout people with its back to the wall can be pushed deeper and deeper into hardening religious nativism, in the end even preferring national suicide to religious compromise. - Colin Wells Sailing from Byzantium
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ ____ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

[Philosophy] stands behind everything. It is the loom behind the fabric, the place you arrive when you trace the threads back to their source. It is where you question everything you think you know and seek every truth to be had. - Archer Opterix The Shape of the Fabric (Message 210)


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Force
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 64 (435432)
11-20-2007 10:09 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Phat
11-19-2007 12:22 PM


Re: The Life Of Brian remix
Phat,


Why must evidence be presented, apart from the original manuscripts?

Please note that we don't have the autographs. We have manuscripts and translations that don't match. Thus we don't have the original documents(autographs) or even the original manuscripts(copies).

Edited by KISS, : No reason given.

Edited by tthzr3, : No reason given.


Thank you
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Phat
Member
Posts: 10659
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 14 of 64 (435470)
11-21-2007 2:13 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Jon
11-20-2007 11:27 AM


Re: "... sprites and goblins."
Dreams were never rational nor logical until the brainwaves could be measured. Ghosts, spooks, demons, and goblins are still unrealistic descriptions of as yet unexplained events.

God will never be rational and reasonable unless people take the default position that God is a product of our imaginations and is unknown and unknowable. A minority of Christians worldwide take this position. (15-20% est)


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 Message 12 by Jon, posted 11-20-2007 11:27 AM Jon has responded

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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 64 (435488)
11-21-2007 7:08 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Phat
11-21-2007 2:13 AM


Care to address the issue?
Dreams were never rational nor logical until the brainwaves could be measured. Ghosts, spooks, demons, and goblins are still unrealistic descriptions of as yet unexplained events.

What? How is this relevant?

God will never be rational and reasonable unless people take the default position that God is a product of our imaginations and is unknown and unknowable.

Bullshit. LOTS of things are rational and reasonable that are not simply "products of our imaginations." What makes you think God need be relinquished to the trash heap before analysing Him? We certainly don't do that with other things.

Nevertheless, what does any of this have to do with whether or not we use logic and rationality—our only methods for gaining understanding—on evaluating any of the books of the Bible?

Jon

Edited by AgamemJon, : No reason given.


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