Talk:Pauline Christianity

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Exclusive and Inclusive Paulinism[edit]

It may be useful to distinguish between a Paulinism that considers Paul the only authority to the exclusion of all others (Marcion) and a more inclusive Paulinism that considers Paul as the ultimate but not only authority. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:40, 2 January 2013 (UTC)


Italic textTo which Epiphanius does the article refer? The link goes to a disambiguation page. Wesley 06:29, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Epiphanius of Salamis. I substituted the actual quote from Panarion for the rehash that was in the article. ("Cite Sources" they're telling us.) --Wetman 08:56, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
The "Cite Sources" is a request for a proper footnote. I'm unfamiliar with Panarion with out a foot note, I can not find the published source --cjorden 04:36, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I don't see how you can support this sentence: Other critics point out that the expression, like most historical designations, is an anachronism, not used by contemporaries. A google search or shows the expression is alive and well and in use by mainstream groups, not fringe groups.

I'll add some references to show Pauline Christianity isn't an anachronism but is a hot topic in today's Christianity.

By "anachronism" I mean that no one in the first two centuries was calling it "Pauline Christianity." Sure the term is widely used today, but it wasn't at the time. That's what "not used by contemporaries" means. Wesley 04:45, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I don't think this statement is correct:

In the history of Christianity (q.v. for detailed discussion), "Pauline Christianity" is a term employed by non-Christian scholars to specifically identify the eventually dominant form taken by "official" Christianity, the "Gentile church" as it was organized by Paul and amended by the tradition of Johannine theology in the 2nd century and in the 4th century protected by Constantine and finally authorized by Imperial sanction in the Theodosian decrees of 391 in both the Eastern and Western Roman Empire.

Pauline Christianity is also used by Christian scholars. It refers to the teachings recorded in the Letters of Paul. Some people might claim that all Christianity is Pauline Christianity, etc., but these are just claims which might or might not be true. The only available reference is the Letters of Paul. It's either there or it's not, anything else is speculation. For example, one might speculate that Paul actually invented Christianity as it exists today. This might or might not be true, where are the quotes from the Letters of Paul that support this?

Johannine Christianity refers to the teachings recorded in the Gospel of John some of which differ from the Synoptic Gospels.

Pre-Nicene Orthodox Christianity is divided into two groups of Christian writings: the Apostolic_Fathers collection (early) and the Ante-Nicene_Fathers collection (between the Apostolic and Nicene).

The Christianity sanctioned by Roman emperors (Constantine to Theodosius) is called Nicene Christianity.

I've linked some of these phrases. There should be suitable entries for all of them. Nicene Christianity is currently a redirect; it needs its own article, then. I've revised the text to accord with our anonymous critic. How is it now?--Wetman 06:11, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

There's also so-called Jewish-Christianity, i.e. the Nazarenes and Ebionites.

And Apostolic Christianity: the church of Jerusalem led by James, John and Peter, recorded in Acts of the Apostles and by Paul's interactions with it.

Early Church Writings can be found here:

I think we should add two sections: One for Paul is a Torah observant Jew [i.e. Acts 16, 21] and another for Paul is opposed to the Torah, i.e. Marcionism [rumor and riot cited in Acts 21, cites from Pauline Letters ...]. Opinions?

New Perspective on Paul[edit]

This article should include a section on the new perspective on Paul: [unknown]

and/or a section on an even newer perspective on Paul: which author can provide further original research such as the connection between Paul starting the church in Rome which became the primary focus of Rev. 17:5 and her daughters born during the great Reformation and since, showing the Pauline church is all we know as Christian churches.

The great need is discovering the original intention Jesus had for church which Paul prostituted by teaching in Romans it's a duty to donate. The avenues available are to either do as the Gospel says and preach the gospel to the world (without epistles) or to analyze every statement of Paul to discover and reject everywhere it dumbs down Jesus' truth to half truth or less like contradicting Jesus saying you cannot serve God and mammon with his duty in Romans. [Kirk Fraser]

I am not sure what is being said here, except that it presumes a knowledge of Jesus's intentions and insights which need to be ventilated before being inserted. Our new editor may have insights denied the rest of us but as non-published authors we all have to cite our sources. Roger Arguile 19:05, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Gaining knowledge of Jesus' intentions is done by reading them in the Gospels and prayer to seek truth. For example, one might read Matt. 10:7-8 which is intentionally ignored in the teachings of some denominations and find that is the gospel Jesus commanded: the spiritual exercise of healing, cleansing leperousy, raising the dead, and casting out demons. It is written so strongly it appears to me that one dare not claim to be a mature Christian unless one can do these 4 things, most of which even Paul did but also dumbed his readers down preaching legal issues like donations and forgiveness of sin, some of which are true but not nearly as important from human perspective as those 4 actual miracles which provide the skills for eternal life. See Salvation discussion below. [Kirk Fraser] June 1, 07


I am sure that if we all pull together we can bring this article round in accordance with the POV of User:Str1977. Surely a reapplied POV tag will not be necessary in this case. What may we do further to satisfy Str1977's POV? --Wetman 01:35, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

Specious pleading[edit]

I removed this text here: Other critics point out that the expression, like most historical designations, is an anachronism, not used by Paul's contemporaries even though the term is alive and well in modern Christianity as shown in the references. By the same accounting we would be forbidden to discuss Gnosticism, wouldn't we? Notice the non-attributive "other critics". This is very poor. --Wetman 13:23, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Text should not refer to James as Jesus's Brother[edit]

Matthew VERSE 55 is commonly interpreted as follows: "His brethren... These were the children of Mary the wife of Cleophas, sister to our Blessed Lady, (Matthew 27:56; John 19:25), and therefore, according to the usual style of the Scripture, they were called brethren, that is, near relations to our Saviour." as quoted from: —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Where text sources are available they are preferred at Wikipedia to interpretations presented by any particular ideology. --Wetman 04:40, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Its not an issue of ideology, rather its one of translation. Asking what a certain word (adelphos) means in a certain text based on its context is a translation issue. It should be handed as such. Personally I think the evidence is very much in favor of "brethren". —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

James is commonly refered to as the "brother of the Lord". It would be an absurd form of censorship to delete that. Yes, it is debated as to exactly what kind of brother he was (note English "brother" is also somewhat vague) and this should be discussed in the article or in the article on James, but to censor "brother of the Lord" is pov censorship run amuck. 20:16, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Multiple Editions of The Bible[edit]

Surely we can resolve to use one version of The Bible to quote from. Mainly it seems to be from the NKJV elsewhere but if there is a good reason for other version use then please at least just pick one and stick with it. Zarboki 14:46, 22 February 2006 (UTC)


Surely if you write an article on Pauline Christianity, you should have a hack and stab attempt to define what he thought salvation actually was, via his "undisputed" epistles. Or is that too difficult? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • [ [Special:Contributions/|contribs]]) .

If you would like to contribute something along these lines to the article, and can provide decent references for it, by all means go ahead. There's always room for improvement. Wesley 16:47, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

1 Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

This was presented as the gospel, adequate for salvation, by correspondance with the Billy Graham Evangelical Association [Kirk Fraser] June 1, 7.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Note: Although there is value in audible calling on Jesus Christ, it must be engaged with deep spiritual calling or yearning as practiced in genuine prayer. It is not clear any virtue exists in calling Lord, Lord for Jesus said:
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Note: As Lord is an archaic term for Boss, one must take care which boss one is referring to since Satan still rules much or your employer may slip into mind while using the term. Thus it's better to be specific -- say "Jesus Christ, help me do your will." [Kirk Fraser] June 2, 7.

Paul's gospels are minimal contrasting the gospel Jesus sent his believers to preach.

Matt. 10:7-8 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Note: This gospel commanded by Jesus is qualitatively distinct from Paul's gospels. Announcing the kingdom of heaven and demonstrating life giving miracles like Jesus did is a superior gospel to Paul's legal invocations of Jesus even if they're all in the kingdom of truth. This comparison and contrast of salvation methods helps show the difference between the church Jesus intended and the Pauline church practiced today. [Kirk Fraser] June 2, 7.

If someone wanted to summarize James Dunn (theologian)'s Jesus, Paul and the Law with references, that would be an excellent modern place to start. 20:23, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Rendering the article a contentious essay[edit]

I consider this article remarkable. The term PC has gained currency in recent times but it would be sensible to know something of the work of such Harnack, Conzelmann, Baur, Schweitzer, Weiss, Deissman Lietzman and Zeisler. Among other names that need to be mentioned if one is to account for the doctrines of the fourth century would be Justin Martyr, Irenaeus (who deals at length with the canon), Hippolytus,Marcion, Celsus, Clement of Alexandria, not to mention Athanasius, Hilary, the Gregories etc. To jump from the NT to the fourth and fifth century doctrinal formulations is breathtaking. No doubt to mention all of these would be otiose, but there is no real suggestion that the works of St. Paul went through a process before being accepted - as Edgar Goodspeed shows. I do not detect undue familiarity with all of this in what strikes me as a very eccentric article. I am sorry to be so brusque but I find the article wanting. Roger Arguile 16:21, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Father Roger Arguile, a parish priest, has substituted a contentious personal essay for the text that had been built up since April 2004. "Pauline Christianity" he categorizes from his outset as "pejorative", rather than simply descriptive. Some re-editing is required, to restore balance to a historical discussion presented from a purely secular point-of-view (Wikipedia is not a parish letter), once Father Arguile has completed his substitute text. Father Arguile's other projects have been to correct Paul of Tarsus and English Reformation. --Wetman 12:10, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
Articles are always in need of certain improvements and revisions, but the present text is undoubtly a wholesale improvement upon what was here before, which was a rather embarassing collection of haphazard and mostly inaccurate or improperly represented information. Lostcaesar 14:10, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Please tell me what more contentious than the use of a whole raft of distorted contestable facts such as the article formerly included. Let me itemise them: The expression may well originate with Hans Lietzman who is not so critical of the developments. The idea that the expression is commonly used is not true. The article does not say even what the characteristics of PC are alleged to be They are, as I have indicatged, various).

What 'most scholars agree' is a WP weasel expression; in fact it is a claim which cannot be supported.

I do not know how it is known that that 'Johannine theology' modified the 'organisation of Paul'.

The jump from there to the fourth century will not do. I do not know how you know that Constantine was an Arian. You have read Simonetti I take it? I do not know that anyone wrote about Nicene Christianity (whether it is conventional is a matter of opinion). There is no contemporanous record of the Council.

You don't mention Constantinople 381 or Chalcedon 451 nor the role of the eastern theologians (though as I have pointed out the controversies were much about the Person of Christ - the two natures and the Trinity.

We know little about the Ebionites. The sources are scattered and fourth century Epiphanius will not do. Justin and Irenaeus are centuries earlier.

Whether the Council of Nicea excluded Arianism is very unlikely. The debates on the homooousian continued for decades. The Quartodeciman controversy was mostly in the second century (not the fourth).

The stuff on James is not well argued and does not compare with other articles on the Council of Jerusalem. The fate of the Jurusalem church merits inclusion but apart from the comments from Eusebius much is speculation. I am happy to have a go at it.

That an article has grown since 2004 does not guarantee its quality. As WP emerges as a widely relied on source, articles sometimes need a thorough revision.

But finally, there lies behind what Wetman has written an implication which needs to be nailed. No one is unbiased. Christians like many others would claim that they are searching for truth. That it is known that I am a parish priest indicates one thing for sure: that I do not hide behind an alias and people know (or think they know) where I am coming from. Nor have I made any fuss about it. It is there on my user page for those who wish to know. I would be grateful for the courtesy of being known by my user name. In fact, I have offered different opinions. I have outlined some of the contentions which lie behind the argument. And in fact, the NT is remarkably open in its recognition of difference. I am not sure what a secular article is except one from which Christians are forbidden from contributing. As for the comment about a parish letter I would prefer to allow editors to make their own judgment on it.Roger Arguile 14:42, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

PS I am not normally a stikler for WP rules but it is considered improper to alter other people's contributions. This presumably includes altering the title of the section. I wounder if Wetman would do me the courtesy of reverting it. Roger Arguile 14:47, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

I have done some more work as has Lostcaesar. For the record he and I are not clones and though both Christians have disagreed on Paul in the past. If anyone thinks that any substantive argument has been omitted please say. I have avoided bringing forward the detailed arguments against the notion that Paul and the gospels are at variance in an attempt to allow the critical case to speak for itself. The article does not, in my view, need to be too long.Roger Arguile 19:59, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

In the understandable desire to be comprehensive there is always a danger of missing the point. It may be true that Paul had too great an influence on the faith, distorting its character; it is also a matter of dispute. It is scarcely a matter of dispute that the Didache etc. had less influence: they did not get into the canon. If, on the other hand, one looks at the wide range of literature as a whole, one has to remember what the question is. If the question relates to some notion that there is a true Christianity which someone distorted, one has to have criteria to determine what that true Christianity is, in order to cast out the demons. If on the other hand, one notices that there are various strands arising from the ministry of Jesus (supposing one can trust the four evangelists)and Paul and the non-canonicals, that the latter were not included may be for a number of reasons on which we can speculate,but there appears to be no question or at least no means of answering one. There are other questions: are Paul and the Gospels seriously inconsistent? Is Acts unreliable? Are Paul's Paul and Actss' Paul consistent? and so on. There is another question: what is there in the Didache that is inconsistent with Paul? Roger Arguile 09:26, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Because I offered to assist an editor working with Pauline mysticism, I came here seeking clarifications. What strikes me is that I cannot determine who the nay-sayers of Paul and his writings might be. I know of no Christian denomination which diminishes Paul and his writings; but in reading this article, it seems as if it is written from a perspective that all other Christians dismiss Paul as an authority within the Church.

I hope it is not intended, but the appearance is that of a straw-man, in the form of a Paul-hating movement, as the raison d'etre for the existence of Pauline Christianity; and yet such a anti-Paul movement I have never encountered in any significant form. How does a "Pauline Christian" differ from Roman Catholicism, or Anglicanism, or Lutherans or Baptist? Maybe it does not differ. Is this a denomination, a movement, or what?

I have an image of a frantic army digging in and fortifying the walls based upon the false report of the enemy marching to besiege them. I do not see the enemy and the article does not seem to point to any. Perhaps my questions and observation scan help in outlining the article and how it develops. --cregil 19:56, 30 March 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crews Giles (talkcontribs)
Ah! I think I see! I read the original contribution and edits!
This article began as regarding the influence Paul's writtings had on the earliest Church as regards its development primarily among the gentiles; how those, with John's Epistles and Gospel, shaped the specifically Christian teachings into a form (essentially after Nicaea) which is recognizable even today.
Thus, the initial foes to the doctrine were the Judaizers (dealt with in Council of Jerusalem according to Acts 15), the Gnostics and the Arians which teachings had always been rejected as both new and different to Apostolic teachings and the Church formalized that rejection in the Council of Nicea and the subsequent Chalcedonian_Definition.
Why not say something like that in the opening section?

--cregil 22:45, 4 April 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crews Giles (talkcontribs)

The section "as a pejorative term" seems to be longer than the rest of the article put together - this is quite ridiculous. I don't know what is notable enough to leave in and what should go - but I know that some notes on how a term is used pejoratively should not exceed the rest of the article in length - this issue seems to further contribute to the feeling that this whole article is a massive POV Duster (talk) 23:30, 9 September 2011 (UTC)


From the intro:

Paul wrote the bulk of the letters in the New Testament, being its second most prolific contributor.

Hm? Who was the most prolific contributor? — goethean 17:11, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

The answer is Luke. This issue has been well ventilated in the Talk page of Paul of TarsusRoger Arguile 17:47, 3 February 2007 (UTC)


One of the difficulties of making any assertions about the Ebionites is that we know about them mostly by their opponents. The article contains a reference to Ireanaeus already. Epiphanius of Salamis is far too late to be of much use in making judgements about the relationship with Paul, who after all, died before the end of the first century. But the main trouble with the insertion by 'Solascriptura' is that is was in the wrong place. The section is about the characteristics of 'Pauline Christianity', a concept which is notoriously hard to define. I am sorry to have removed the material on Paul's poor old testament scholariship; but that is a huge issue. His use of the psalms could be faulted too. However, that is not at issue. Matthew's use of the OT raises many issues. The questions are whether Paul's interpretation of the gospel has led us astray from the teaching of Jesus and whether, having deduced what Paul's ideas are, there are criticisms either theological or moral or political etc. which can be made of them on whatever grounds. The failures , which are many, of the Palo Heights group in trying to produce an evangelically acceptable translation of the bible, are another issue entirely. May I suggest you throw out your copy and buy something like the NRSV --or read the Greek (!). Roger Arguile 08:42, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

I am afraid I have deleted the section on Ebionites, not because Tabor is wrong - he may well be right - but the material (see above) is too far from its origins (and from a very strange source) to be of help and - to repeat- it is in the wrong place: this article is about 'Pauline Christianity' ie. an expression which, whilst it has several meanings, includes the claim that Paul distorted the faith. We know quite a lot about St. Paul; we do not know what his relationship was to the Ebionites or what they believed. It is fine to speculate about what they did believe in an article on the Ebionites, but I would like to be helped in the answer to the question as to what the Ebionites had to do with the formulation of the NT canon. Roger Arguile 12:47, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

AN Wilson[edit]

I have shortened the material about Wilson. His view that St. Paul created the eucharist is a helpful insertion - though he is not the first or the most cogent proponent of this argument. Contrary to the previous editor's contention some of the text had become somewhat opaque. I have attempted to clarify it but more work is needed for someone who has time. I shall attempt to find a better source for the Eucharist argument. Likewise justification by faith sits somewhat uneasily with some of the gospel passages and I think that needs some elaboration. Roger Arguile 12:34, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Discussion over recent edits[edit]

I have copied the following messages here from my Talk Page so that all can read it and any discussion ensuing from them

Dear editor, I am sorry to disagree with your grammatical improvements. I am not sure what was wrong with what you altered. I hope you don't mind but I have removed AN Wilson to another section, not part of the introduction which is not normally the place for detail. Roger Arguile 12:03, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

There are clearly some differences in style. I don't think they are critical and I can let them go although I obviously think my style is better. I will explain my reasoning here and then let you reinstate my edits if you agree.
"Hans Lietzman (1875-1942)" vs. "Lietzman, Hans."

The latter is a more bibliographic style. If Lietzman is noteworthy enough to have a Wikipedia article, then he should be linked. If not, then adding birth and death dates is not helpful.

However, Gnosticism's relationship either to Christianity in general or the writings of St. Paul is not agreed.
However, there is no universal agreement as to Gnosticism's relationship either to Christianity in general or the writings of Paul in particular.
I prefer to say "there is no universal agreement" instead of "is not agreed". "is not agreed" is acceptable though IMHO inferior. It's a question of emphasis. Unlike the German language, English tends to put the verb closer to the beginning of the sentence and since the point of this sentence is on the lack of agreement, that lack of agreement should be more prominently featured in the sentence i.e. at the beginning.
Independent of the "is not agreed" question, parallel construction should be used. If we say "Christianity in general", then we should say "or the writings of St. Paul in particular". If we don't want to say "in particular", we can drop "in general". "in general" and "in particular" work together in a pair similar to "either/or".
--Richard 15:32, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Again, I am sorry to have been so drastic but I want to make a number of points.

I am glad you find AN Wilson so helpful, but in inserting references to him I believe that you have misunderstood the article. It is not an article about all aspects of St. Paul's thought. It is about the use of a specific term usually mostly used pejoratively. Frankly, while AN Wilson is an entertaining writer, and sets out some of the reasons why some people think that he distorted the faith which Jesus taught, he is not best evidence. He is not a NT scholar and his assertion that St. Paul remained Jewish all his life needs so much unpacking that it is not worth much as it stands. The material on the Eucharist implies a knowledge of the mind of St. Paul which no scholar that I have read appears to have. The same is true of his view on kosher laws etc. St. Paul's own expressed reasons are different. I think your inclusion of the contention about the invention of the eucharist is helpful as is the reference to justification. Your reference to the end time is not merely Pauline but is very Jewish. Wilson's point about Paul not intending his letters to be scripture may be right - I think it is. but it is not really the point. The question is whether Paul, by whatever means steered the faith away from the teachings of Jesus. That is why I have deleted it.

Please respond if you have any dispute over what I have written.Roger Arguile 13:30, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I note that you have applied to be an administrator. That being the case I take it that you will not mind criticism. I don't think you have realised the difference in weight between the authors you have cited and the scholars otherwise refered to. That is, I fear, a lack of judgement as well as difficulty in understanding as to what the article is about. I would not normally write so harshly, nor am I very good at putting criticisms in the public arena. I note how editors often use vulgar language and hyperbole in expressing their differences of vie on WP. I try to avoid that, but I think your insertions betray a lack of understanding of the purpose of the article and of the way scholarly debate works. To have read a couple of books - one of them very light weight is not enough - not to realise that they are light weight is more serious. I do not think that at present you have the necessary perspective to be an editor. My hope is that you will not press your case. WP depends increasingly on people who are experts in the field. We should not tolerate amateur aircraft designers; the scope even for such part time scholars as myself will be increasingly marginalised if wP is to become a standard work of reference rather than a hobby. Roger Arguile 13:55, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Side note: I haven't applied to be an administrator although I expect to do so someday.
General response to the above comments by Roger Arguile. Roger, I think you have not really looked at the edit history as, for the most part, your criticisms should be addressed to someone else and not me. You go on a long criticism about A.N. Wilson. I actually have no idea about who A.N. Wilson is and it was not I who inserted the text about his perspective on Pauline Christianity. All I did was reorganize the article to provide a better organization of ideas and thus a better flow. If the text about A.N. Wilson rose in prominence as a result, it was an accident that arose from the movement of large pieces of text. I'm not going to spend a lot of effort trying to determine if and how this particular bit of writing was in the intro or simply early in the text. All I'm trying to say at this point is that I do not have any personal commitment to keeping A.N. Wilson's perspective in the article.
--Richard 14:46, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, hmmm... I will further comment that, if anything, it appears from this diff, that I actually moved the A.N. Wilson stuff lower in the article rather than higher. It appears that the text in question was originally in the introduction and I moved it lower.
I also want to point out that I was being conservative in my edits even though there was all sorts of stuff that I raised my eyebrow upon reading. Yes, on re-reading the A.N. Wilson stuff, I agree that some of that needs to be given "due weight" rather than being asserted as the mainstream perspective. However, that sort of modification was beyond the scope of my editing objectives which were largely organizational and stylistic in nature.
--Richard 15:32, 3 April 2007 (UTC)



Paul's thought, it is claimed, draws mostly from Stoic and Cynic sources and his knowledge of rabbinic thought was very imperfect [citation needed]."

Until valid reference is found, the claim his points came from Stoic and Cynic sources and that his knowledge of rabbinic thought was very imperfect, has no authority. Who are 'they'? The POV is quite anti-Pauline, rather then nutreal. StudentoftheWord 19:01, 16 October 2007 (UTC)



In many respects, the Jewish Messiah becomes nothing but a catalyst, even a figurehead, for Paulinism's own agenda. Paul's new religion had the advantage over other salvation-cults of being attached to the Hebrew Scriptures, which Paul reinterpreted as forecasting the salvific death of Jesus. This gave Pauline Christianity an awesome authority within the period culture that proved attractive to Gentiles thirsting for salvation.[1]
A.N. Wilson, among others, contends that Paul invented the Eucharist[2]. (The contention that the eucharist originates in the religion of Mithras has been widely canvassed since at least the 2nd century when Justin Martyr disputed the allegation [1].)
He argues, likewise, [3] that the idea of justification by faith was his and which can be contrasted with passages in the gospel and elsewhere where doing the will of God is paramount.[4]
Those who characterize the tenets of Catholic Christianity as "Pauline" compare it with its alternatives, beliefs that Christian theologians called heresies.
It is argued that the Paulines were responsible for the marginalisation of James, the leader of the Jerusalem church, in favour of Peter. The small scattered Jewish Jerusalem Church was disbanded in 135 with the banishment of the Jews from the region by the Romans, having been decimated during the Jewish revolt of 66-70AD.

The article does not fit under the THEOLOGICAL heading. It focuses too much on a critism of Pauline Christianity, rather than on the THEOLOGICAL position of Pauline Chrsitianity. There is also a negative bias expressed in the above paragraphs that need to be revised in order to keep it neutral. The portion was copied here for discussion of where it should be placed. StudentoftheWord 19:10, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Descriptive definition[edit]

I have moved the descriptive sentence to its ordinary position, the first sentence in the article, and followed it directly by the negative characterization, which has stood first. The intense eagerness to discredit the very idea of Pauline Christianity, so vividly present in the article, needs to be kept more subtle. --Wetman 21:32, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

The article is now inaccurate in its first sentence. The first use of the expression which I can find is that of Hans Lietzmann who was not critical of the usage nor did he find it unorthodox. The same is true of Ziesler. It is true that the expression is used by those critical of Paul on several grounds a) that he distorted Jesus's gospel and b) that he defended morally dubious positions., but this is not the whole story. 'Intense eagerness'? I think that is parliamentary language for bad faith. I think Wetman draws attention of the need to rebalance the article, not however, in the direction which I think he desires. Roger Arguile 08:34, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

I am very interested in this issue as I recently argued that another article should NOT refer to this article because of the negative spin that this article puts on "Pauline Christianity", namely that is is an invention of Paul that is substantially different from that of pre-Pauline Christianity. The editor in question wanted to refer to the travels of Paul in a neutral to positive light and linked to this article and linking to this article did not make the point that he wished to make.
I think that Roger Arguile misses the point that Wetman is making and that both would probably be in agreement if Roger understood Wetman's point. This article does focus very much on those who would wish to argue that orthodox Christianity is "more due to Paul than to the Gospels" with the suggestion that it was somehow corrupted and perverted by Paul. This is obviously NOT the orthodox view which would see Paul as amplifying and explaining the principles which were taught by Jesus.
I believe that Wetman is arguing that we need to move this article to a more balanced, NPOV stance which explains what the orthodox view of Pauline Christianity first and then explain the negative view currently emphasized in this article. I would add that NPOV policy requires that we not give undue weight to minority opinions of which I believe the negative view is one.
I have made a first attempt to shift the article towards a more NPOV stance. However, I have very limited time this morning and readily accept that more work is needed.
--Richard 19:16, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

It may be that I do not understand Wetman. Unfortunately Richardshurs has failed to help me. If one looks at the history of the article it used to be an article which made the assumption that there is something called Pauline Christianity which is different from othodoxy. I inserted material which provided references to the different uses of the expression, ie by Lietzman and others. I would therefore argue that I left it more balanced than I found it. There is an argument that there is a great difference betweeen Jesus according to the gospels and Jesus according to Paul. I am afraid that I do not understand how it is being claimed that the article is biased. Perhaps if I look now at the article I shall see whehter I agree with the changes. Bear with me. Roger Arguile 19:36, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't have a problme with the change. Whether it is unbiased I am not sure. In fact the expression is widely used by those who consider Paul's version of the Christian faith a distortion, but the change is fine by me. Roger Arguile 19:41, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

PS I have just chaecked back to April 2005. The article then contained a lot of original research and unsupported assertions. It described Pauline Christianity as a term used by non-Chritian scholars who believed that Paul had distorted the faith. Insofar as it failed to notice other uses of the expression, and used sources carelessly and anachronistically, it was in need of improvement. It also failed to tackle the criticisms of its contention. But I am happy with the way things are now going. What we now need are some sources. Roger Arguile 19:47, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Pauline Christianity versus Mohammedism[edit]

A term like "Pauline Christianity" would indicate that it is a different sect of Christianity. In reality, it is a page long critism of Christianity filled with conspiracy theories. I think the page should be deleted. At best it could be condensed into two or three sentences on the main Christianity page under criticism. Wikipedia is not a soapbox.

As comparison, Mohammedism redirects to Islam. There is not discussion criticizing Islam for being based on the word of Mohammed alone and discussions about how people think that he just made it all up. Oh and we should also see that this page was largely created by User:Wetman who is a self professed atheist. Wikipedia is not a soapbox. Barney Gumble 17:58, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Mr. Gumble is directed to the fact that whoever created the article, it has been modified often. Whether a contributor is an atheism is not a matter for us; just as it is not a matter of comment that I am an Anglican priest. (Normally, we add comments at the bottom of a page.)Roger Arguile 16:26, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

First off, the article is poorly setup. It begins "Pauline Christianity is used to describe the Christian beliefs and doctrines which were espoused by Paul the Apostle through his writings" but it should being with the second paragraph "There are those who claim that orthodox Christianity owes more to Paul's writings rather than to the canonical gospels". The current setup indicates that Pauline Christianity is a sect, not a critique.
Secondly would an article called Mohammedism stand? An article which claims "There are those who claim that Islam is the worship of Mohammed. Some scholars say that validation of this is noted in the fact that blasphemy in Islam is not defined as insulting Allah, but insulting Mohammed." Barney Gumble 21:16, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
I have to disagree with you on point 1) I am afraid. I stumbled on this page via the random button, and have thought little about theological issues since Sunday school - I guess I am part of the target audience. I found the opening sentence useful, because it was a rough description of what the article was about - what the word is used to mean. This and some possible views are then neatly summarised. I do not think it makes Pauline Christianity seem like a sect. Thehalfone 11:03, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Yep, I don't think there's a great deal wrong with the opening sentences. There is an (unwritten) critical air about the phrasing in the introduction as a whole, something I can't quite put my finger on - but the definition given seems reasonable. As far as Mohammedism is concerned, that's not an issue for us to discuss here. A quick Google search shows that the term "Pauline Christianity" is fairly widely used, so we should have an article on it. At present, though, this article reads like an essay and needs to be turned into something more encyclopaedic in nature. Waggers 11:13, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Characteristics section[edit]

I've removed the following text twice now - please don't reinstate it without first discussing here.

Two facts are central; Paul was not a contemporary of Jesus; he never met the incarnate Jesus in person, (leaving aside his converting vision on the road to Damascus), and his awareness of the faith was based on his conversion and his later meeting those who conveyed to him some of the oral tradition of Jesus's life and earthly ministry. Jesus wrote no known books himself.

  1. "Two facts are central" - that's a blatant breach of WP:NPOV.
  2. "Paul was not a contemporary of Jesus" - that's debatable, depending on one's interpretation of the Damascus Road experience. Since it's down to individual point of view, and doesn't have an relevance to the characteristics of Pauline Christianity, it has no place in this section
  3. "he never met the incarnate Jesus in person, (leaving aside his converting vision on the road to Damascus)" - while there's no evidence to say Paul did meet Jesus, there's equally no evidence to say he didn't. Wikipedia policy is to keep to verifiable facts; this is pure speculation.
  4. "and his awareness of the faith was based on his conversion and his later meeting those who conveyed to him some of the oral tradition of Jesus's life and earthly ministry." - patently untrue. Before his conversion, Paul (Saul) knew a great deal about Christian beliefs and was active in persecuting the young church. How could he persecute a group of people he knew nothing about?
  5. "Jesus wrote no known books himself." - again, not a characteristic of Pauline Christianity so does not belong in this section.

Waggers 10:22, 11 July 2007 (UTC)


In addition to the above, the rest of the section needs rewriting (or removing) too. "The characteristics of "Pauline Christianity" can best be deduced by..." - this implies that there are other methods of deducing the characteristics and the opinion of Wikipedia is that this method is best. But Wikipedia is supposed to be neutral and not have any such opinion. The section goes on in much the same vein - it's written like an essay, full of opinion and argument, all of which should be removed, leaving the bare facts and nothing else. Waggers 10:48, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

I think you're correct overall. Regarding whether Paul was a contemporary, remember that just means that Paul and Jesus were both alive at about the same time, regardless of whether they ever met. Given that Paul's epistles generally predate the Gospels, that both Paul and the book of Acts record him meeting a number of Jesus' disciples, and Peter's epistle mentioning that Paul's are hard to understand, the internal evidence of the New Testament is that they were contemporaries. To have them not be would require a lot of creative dating, disputing of authorship of several NT books, etc. Wesley 16:00, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I removed all but the intro to this section. What remains seems to be a straightforward introduction to the subsections, which unlike the bits I removed, seem to be well referenced and attributed to various writers. Does this sufficiently address the concerns with this section to warrant removing the NPOV tag from it? Wesley 16:12, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Good job, I've removed the tag. Waggers 21:15, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Separating fact from opinion is not easy, expecially when the facts are opinions, those of the users of the expression. Perhaps what is needed is the addtiion of some footnotes to support some of the opinions, rather than mere deletion. I offer to add them. Roger Arguile 13:52, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Sure. When an article is documenting a set of opinions, it needs to attribute those opinions either to a broad group or to specific writers or other sources. The bits I deleted seemed to be espousing those opinions rather than documenting them. Wesley 16:39, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

The article still seems a bit overly critical and unbalanced, for instance, 'In many respects, the Jewish Messiah becomes nothing but a catalyst, even a figurehead, for Paulinism's own agenda' as an example. Likewise, what does 'Friedrich Nietzsche designated Paul as an Anti-Christ, a view to which some Muslims agree' have to do with Pauline Christianity in the context which it is place in the article? The first sentence says '"Pauline Christianity" is used to describe the Christian beliefs and doctrines which were espoused by Paul the Apostle through his writings' and that paragraph concludes with 'Thus, mainstream Christianity considers Paul's teachings to be fully in consonance with the teachings of Jesus' but then the rest of the article (with the exception of "other views") is about the critical use of the term. If Pauline Christianity is that critical of a term, then the introductory paragraph needs to be removed or moved to "other views". As a footnote, while Catholic, I'm not trying to be an apologist, this just doesnt seem very encyclopedic. BURNyA 15:59, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

About disputed tags[edit]

A tag has been applied to this article questioning its neutrality. I initially reverted attempts to delete it, arguing that disputed tags should not be summarily removed without discussion. However, it's also the case that an editor applying such a tag should be prepared to initiate or participate in discussion. The disputed tag has been sitting there for over a week now without discussion. That is unacceptable. Tags should not be applied to articles, like a dog visiting a fire hydrant, to mark territory. Therefore, I am removing the tag. Ovadyah 16:04, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. --Michael C. Price talk 19:20, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

19th/20th century[edit]

The article currently says: Pauline Christianity, as an expression, first came into use in the twentieth century amongst those scholars who proposed different strands of thought within Early Christianity, wherein Paul was a powerful influence.

But weren't those proposals a major part of 19th-century Biblical scholarship, especially the Tübingen school? --Delirium (talk) 14:06, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Paul's mysticism[edit]

Could we bring something in about Pauline mysticism, and would you kindly also contribute to align the Pauline mysticism article to this article. (Yessy543 (talk) 04:44, 2 April 2011 (UTC))


IIRC, the idea thet Christian doctrine evolved in stages, among them "Pauline Christianity", was condemned in Lamantabili. Should this be included in the article? (talk) 17:15, 22 February 2012 (UTC)


The lead is historically confused. F.ex.:

Others[who?] perceive in Paul's writings, teachings that are different from the original teachings of Jesus documented in the canonical gospels,

Yes, there are such "others", but this is mostly a modern opinion, vindicated by f.ex. Thomas Jefferson (the president), and voices who want to distinguish between Judaic Christianity and Pagan Christianity. On the other hand:

Proponents of the perceived, distinctive Pauline form of Christianity, include Marcion of Sinope, the 2nd century theologian and excommunicated heresiarch,

is quite off-topic from the modern debate. What Marcion of Sinope did, was to discard all the Gospels, the Acts and most of the epistles, except some of those currently attributed to Paul. Then he declared the Yahveh of the Bible being Satan and Jesus being the sole God. That's not in any way related to the modern debate of Pauline "versus" Judaic Christianity, which is a mere discussion about influences and intended public. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 12:40, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

  1. ^ MacCoby, Hyam, The Mythmaker, Paul and the Invention of Christianity (ISBN 0-06-015582--5)
  2. ^ A.N Wilson, Paul:The Mind of the Apostle
  3. ^ (ibid.)
  4. ^ 'Not everyone who says to me "Lord, Lord", will enter the kingdom of Heaven but only those who do the will of my Father in heaven.' - Matthew 7:21)cf. James 2:18ff