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Response to LynneSin (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 10:50 PM

88. What's funny about Paul is that most of "his" fundamentalist writings weren't written by him.

Most biblical scholars now recognize that several of the books attributed to Paul--including 1 and 2 Timothy--were actually most likely written after his death. The style of the writing is inconsistent with the works that have a more proven connection to Paul, and these later writings reference events that are known to have happened after his deathl. At that time, attributing your own work to someone famous and well respected was not seen as dishonest. It was a way of honoring that individual and claiming that your own work was in keeping with their philosophy, even when it wasn't.

Most of Paul's more solidly attributed writings are actually remarkable for the central roles played by women, for the assertion that all are equal in Christ, for advocating the adjustment of one's own practices to better fit within the community where one finds one's self--whether that be eating "unclean" animals, allowing uncircumcised men as followers, and having women either wear or not wear the veil depending on what was less likely to offend the groups one was trying to convert. He was not the rigid dogmatist that he is so often viewed as today...for example, while he believed that an end time would come within his lifetime, and that people therefore should not waste time on marriage and family, he advocated doing what worked for yourself--staying married if you were married, and getting married if you really felt compelled to.

*note: I am an atheist (though I don't view my personal interpretation of the evidence as superior or inferior to anyone else's), who was raised as a Christian, and who views the study of Christian history and the development of its key ideas, and their diverse expression in various sects and denominations, a fascinating and worthy subject of research.*

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