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ANTH 3020 Chapter Notes -Epistle To The Philippians, Jesus Movement, Pharisees

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ANTH 3020
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October 4th, 2013 Founders of Christianity HUMA 2830
Introduction To Paul
1. Who is Paul?
He was a Hellenistic Judean in the diaspora (the dispersion of Jews beyond Israel)
Was originally a Jew/Pharisee and was against the Christian church and the teachings
about Jesus; eventually converted after Jesus appeared to him
His birth place and age are unknown; can discern from his ability to read& write
articulately that he was well enough educated, possibly in Tarsus (according to the
book of Acts) (Ehrman, pg 312)
Went on to claim that, in regards to the Law, he was “blameless” (pg 312)
Can discern from his autobiographical statements in Galatians 1 and Philippians 3 that
it was as a law-abiding Jew that he persecuted followers of Jesus (pg 314)
Galatians 1:16 Paul claims that God was “pleased to reveal his son to [him]” (pg 315)
which later convinced him that he was to preach the word of God
Problems of the Acts: Paul’s Info vs That of the book of Acts
Paul’s teachings, words and deeds could have been modified in Acts to reflect Luke’s own
perspective on Paul, thus indicating how Luke understood Paul but not necessarily what Paul
actually said and did (Ehrman, pg 309)
differences in biographical detail in Acts vs Paul’s letters make it hard to validate the
information in Acts as being historically accurate; “In virtually ever instance in which the book
of Acts can be compared with Paul’s letters in terms of biographical detail, differences
emerge...shows something about the historical accuracy of Acts” (Ehrman, pgs 308-309).
One large difference between Acts, and Paul’s letters, is the relation of the experience which
caused Paul to convert; Ehrman says that, in Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, he did not go to
Jerusalem to consult with the other apostles, whereas in Acts, it says the opposite (pg 309)
Could it be possible that Paul altered details or the course of the story in order to make it
seem more credible?
Another instance of difference between Acts, and Paul’s own letters, is in regards to his view
on the Law; throughout the Acts narrative, Paul “maintains his absolute devotion to the Jewish
Law,” (Ehrman, pg 310); however, his own view of the Law is much more complicated
(Ehrman says on page 310 that, “In Paul’s words, he could live not only “like a Jew” when it
served his purposes but also “like a Gentile”) and this contrasts greatly with what is said in
Acts (pg 310)
In regards to Paul’s teachings, Acts portrays many of his sermons and teachings to be
directed towards Jewish audiences; this contrasts greatly with Paul’s own views, which
consisted of God being for all people (especially the Gentiles) (Ehrman, pg 310)
Also mentioned in Ehrman (pg 310) is the view of pagan polytheism between Acts, and Paul;
Acts believed that pagans were ignorant of a one true God, acted out of ignorance, and that
God overlooked this ignorance. Paul’s letter to the Romans says opposite
2. Paul’s relations with the Jesus movement at Jerusalem: Tensions in early Christianity
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