Quotes About Paul
This is a collection of quotes about the self-proclaimed apostle Paul. It is important to note that not all quotes are from people who disparage Paul. Many are from believers in Paul, or even people who completely disavow Christianity as a whole, such as some Jews or atheists. As such, you should not take a quote here as meaning that the person believed or lived a life where they only listened to Jesus and did God's will.
"..." - Papias of Hierapolis (c. 60 - c. 130), Church Father and disciple of Apostle John, Papias never wrote about the self-proclaimed apostle Paul.
"..." - Justin Martyr (c. 100 - 165), Church Father and famous martyr, Justin Martyr never wrote about the self-proclaimed apostle Paul.
"I desire to hear from Marcion the origin of Paul the apostle...and I must with the best of reasons approach this inquiry with uneasiness when I find one affirmed to be an apostle, of whom in the list of the apostles in the gospel I find no trace." - Tertullian (c. 155 - c. 240), Against Marcion, Book 5, Chapter 1.
"He [Paul] himself, says Marcion, claims to be an apostle, and that not from men nor through any man, but through Jesus Christ. Clearly any man can make claims for himself: but his claim is confirmed by another person's attestation. One person writes the document, another signs it, a third attests the signature, and a fourth enters it in the records. No man is for himself both claimant and witness. Besides this, you have found it written that many will come and say, I am Christ. If there is one that makes a false claim to be Christ, much more can there be one who professes that he is an apostle of Christ." - Tertullian (c. 155 - c. 240), Against Marcion, Book 5, Chapter 1.
"If indeed Peter seemed to (Paul) to be doing what was right, and if notwithstanding, he, in order to soothe troublesome opponents, both said and wrote that Peter did what was wrong." - Jerome's (c. 347 - 420) anti-Pauline thoughts as reflected by Augustine of Hippo, Letter 28 (394 AD), to Jerome.
"If it be possible for men to say and believe that, after introducing his narrative with these words, 'The things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not', the apostle (Paul) lied when he said of Peter and Barnabas, 'I saw that they walked not uprightly, according to the truth of the gospel',... [then] if they did walk uprightly, Paul wrote what was false; and if he wrote what was false here, when did he say what was true?" - Jerome's (c. 347 - 420) anti-Pauline thoughts as reflected by Augustine of Hippo, Letter 40 (397 AD), to Jerome.
"It is necessary in fact to preserve compliance to the Lord, and as the Spirit of the Apostles is not a guide equal or greater than the Lord, thus also the heart of Paul within his letters does not have as much authority as has Christ." - Karlstadt (1486 - 1541), Canonicis Scripturis (1520).
"It is not in the epistles we are to learn what are the fundamental articles of faith, where they are promiscuously and without distinction mixed with other truths.... We shall find and discern those great and necessary points best in the preaching of our Savior and the apostles ... out of the history of the evangelists [the four gospels].... If all, or most of the truths declared in the epistles, were to be received and believed as fundamental articles, what then became of those Christians who were fallen asleep (as St. Paul witnesses in his first to the Corinthians, many were) before these things in the epistles were revealed to them? Most of the epistles not being written till above twenty years after our Saviour's ascension, and some after thirty.... Nobody can add to these fundamental articles of faith." - John Locke (1632 - 1704), The Reasonableness of Christianity (1695).
"Paul took [Timothy] and circumcised him, or ordered it to be done (Acts 16:1-3). This was strange. Had not Paul opposed those with all his might that were for imposing circumcision upon the Gentile converts? Had he not at this time the decrees of the council at Jerusalem with him, which witnessed against it? He had, and yet circumcised Timothy." - Matthew Henry (1662 - 1714), Exposition of the New Testament (1721), Vol. 3, Chapter 16, #6.
"I have proved that if the Apostles made any such claim [to infallibility], their differences and divisions among themselves, both in doctrine and practice, must have confuted and convicted them. Peter and Paul with respect to Jews and Gentiles preached two different Gospels..." - Thomas Morgan (? - 1743), The Moral Philosopher (1740).
"We should never finish, were we to relate all the contradictions which are to be found in the writings attributed to St. Paul.... Generally speaking it is St. Paul ... that ought to be regarded as the true founder of Christian theology,... which from its foundation has been incessantly agitated by quarrels [and] divisions." - Nicolas Boulanger (1722 - 1759), Critical Examination of the Life of St. Paul (1746).
"The Encratites and the Sevenians adopted neither the Acts nor the Epistles of Paul." - Nicolas Boulanger (1722 - 1759), Critical Examination of the Life of St. Paul (1746).
"That manufacturer of quibbles, St. Paul,... [wrote] a collection of letters under the name of epistles.... Out of the matters contained in those books,... the church has set up a system of religion very contradictory to the character of the person whose name it bears. It has set up a religion of pomp and of revenue, in pretended imitation of a person whose life was humility and poverty." - Thomas Paine (1736 - 1809), The Age of Reason (1794).
"[The] Christian System ... [is] a degenerate form of Christianity, and the authorship of which ... [must be] ascribed to the Apostle Paul." - Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762 - 1814), Characteristics of the Present Age (1806).
"He, the Apostle, could not mean to say this [i.e., salvation is by faith alone]; because if he did, he would say what is expressly and positively contradicted by other texts of at least equal authority with his own; he would say what is contradicted by the very drift and design of the Christian constitution; and would say, lastly, what is expressly denied and contradicted by himself. ...[He also] would say what is contradicted by the very highest authority...Our Savior's own [words]." - William Palely (1743 - 1805), "Sermon 209", The Works of William Paley (1825) Vol. 6.
"Of this band of dupes and imposters, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and the first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus." - Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826), "Letter of April 13, 1820"
"Paul was the ... first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus." - Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826) , "Letter to William Short" (1820).
"It rests with every professor of the religion of Jesus to settle with himself, to which of the two religions, that of Jesus or that of Paul, he will adhere." - Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832), Not Paul, But Jesus (1823).
"One thorn still remain[s] to be plucked out of the side of this so much injured religion,—and that [is], the addition made to it by Saul of Tarsus: by that Saul, who, under the name of Paul, has—(as will be seen) without warrant from, and even in the teeth of, the history of Jesus, as delivered by his companions and biographers the four evangelists,—been dignified with the title of his apostle...." - Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832), Not Paul, But Jesus (1823).
"If, by the removal of an incongruous appendage [i.e., Paul], acceptance should be obtained for what is good in the religion commonly ascribed to Jesus;— obtained at the hands of any man, much more of many, to whom at present it is an object of aversion;—if, in any one of these several ways, much more if in all of them, the labours of the author should be crowned with success,—good service will, so far, and on all hands, be allowed to have been rendered to mankind." - Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832), Not Paul, But Jesus (1823).
"Whosoever, putting aside all prepossessions, feels strong enough in mind, to look steadily at the originals, and from them to take his conceptions of the matter, not from the discourses of others,—whosoever has this command over himself, will recognise, if the author does not much deceive himself, that by the two persons in question, as represented in the two sources of information—the Gospels and Paul's Epistles,— two quite different, if not opposite, religions are inculcated: and that, in the religion of Jesus may be found all the good that has ever been the result of the compound so incongruously and unhappily made,—in the religion of Paul, all the mischief, which, in such disastrous abundance, has so indisputably flowed from it." - Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832), Not Paul, But Jesus (1823).
"It does not appear that the opinion of St. Paul, all things considered, ought to alter our opinion derived from the evangelists [the four gospels]." - Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882), "Last Supper", 1832.
"The only question comes to be how the Apostle Paul appears in his Epistles to be so indifferent to the historical facts of the life of Jesus.... He bears himself but little like a disciple who has received the doctrines and the principles which he preaches from the Master whose name he bears." - Dr. Ferdinand Baur (1792 - 1860), The Church History of the First Three Centuries (1853).
"What kind of authority can there be for an 'Apostle' who, unlike the other Apostles, had never been prepared for the Apostolic office in Jesus' own school but had only later dared to claim the Apostolic office on the basis of his own authority?" - Dr. Ferdinand Baur (1792 - 1860), The Church History of the First Three Centuries (1853).
"Protestantism is altogether untenable. It is a revolution brought on by proclaiming 'the Apostle Paul' at the expense of the Master (Christ). If there is to be any question of retaining Protestantism...we confess that this teaching is a mitigation of Christianity which we humans have allowed ourselves, appealing to God to put up with it. And instead Protestantism is blazoned forth as an advance in Christianity! No, it is perhaps the most profound concession to the numerical...this numerality that wants to be Christian but wants rid of ideality or to have it downgraded, and insists upon being such and such a number." - Søren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855), Papers and Journals (1855).
"[I]t is of great importance, especially in Protestantism, to correct the enormous confusion Luther caused by inverting the relation and actually criticizing Christ by means of Paul, the Master by means of a follower." - Søren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855), "My Task" (1855).
"As early as the Apostle [Paul], the scaling down process begins, and it seems as if the natural man gets off a little easier in becoming a Christian....[N]owadays whole countries and kingdoms are called Christian, and millions of natural men are disguised as Christians." - Søren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855), The Journals of Søren Kierkegaard (1855).
"Only the God-man [i.e., Jesus] would be able to endure...the propogation of the doctrine by proclaiming it, even if he did not gain one single follower. The apostle [Paul] still has some selfish urge for the alleviation, aquiring adherents, become many, something the God-man does not have [to do]. He does not selfishly crave adherents and therefore has only the market price of eternity, not the market price [of the world which is cheap]." - Søren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855), "What Do I Want?" (1855).
"Paul made Christianity the religion of Paul, not of Christ. Paul threw the Christianity of Christ away, completely turning it upside down, making it just the opposite of the original proclamation of Christ." - Søren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855), The Journals of Søren Kierkegaard (1855).
"The Gospel always refers to a pre-existing morality,... the Old Testament.... St. Paul, a declared enemy to this Judaical mode of interpreting the doctrine ... of his Master, equally assumes a pre-existing morality, namely that of the Greeks and Romans; and his advice to Christians is in a great measure a system of accomodation of that, even to the extent of giving an apparent sanction to slavery." - John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873), On Liberty (1859) at page 88.
"It is vain for Paul to talk ; He is inferior to the other apostles. He has not seen Jesus ; He has not heard his word. The divine logia and the parables are scarcely known to him. The Christ who gives him personal revelations, is his own phantom, — it is himself he hears,while thinking he hears Jesus." - Joseph Ernest Renan (1823 - 1892), Saint Paul (1869).
"True Christianity, which will last forever, comes from the gospels, — not from the epistles of Paul. The writings of Paul have been a danger and a hidden rock, — the causes of the principal defects of Christian theology." - Joseph Ernest Renan (1823 - 1892), Saint Paul (1869).
"Paul is the father of the subtle Augustine, of the unfruitful Thomas Aquinas, of the gloomy Calvinist, of the peevish Jansenist, of the fierce theology which damns and predestinates to damnation. Jesus is the father of all those who seek repose for their souls in dreams of the ideal. What makes Christianity live, is the little that we know of the word and person of Jesus. The ideal man, the divine poet, the great artist, alone defy time and revolutions. They alone are seated at the right hand of God the Father for ever more." - Joseph Ernest Renan (1823 - 1892), Saint Paul (1869).
"The story of one of the most ambitious and obtrusive of souls, of a head as superstitious as it was crafty, the story of the Apostle Paul--who knows this, except a few scholars? Without this strange story, however, without the confusions and storms of such a head, such a soul, there would be no Christianity." - Friedrich Nitzsche (1844 - 1900), The Dawn (1881).
"The separation between the doctrine of life and the explanation of life began with the preaching of Paul who knew not the ethical teachings set forth in the Gospel of Matthew, and who preached a metaphisico-cabalistic theory entirely foreign to Christ; and this separation was perfected in the time of Constantine, when it was found possible to clothe the whole pagan organization of life in a Christian dress, and without changing it to call it Christianity." - Leo Tolstoy (1828 - 1910), My Religion (1884).
"We know it to be certain that the teachings of Jesus, if it is only grasped and preached in its original strength, can and will exert in a yet higher measure vital and ennobling influences upon the further development of Christendom than have proceeded so far from the teaching of Paul." - Hans Wendt (1853 - 1928), Die Lehre des Paulus verglichen mit der Lehre Jesu, (1894).
"Attempts have been made to conceive ... all the messages [of John's Revelation/Apocalypse] as directed against Paul, the false Apostle.... The so-called Epistles of Paul ... are not only extremely doubtful but also totally contradictory." - Frederick Engels (1820 - 1895), On the History of Early Christianity (1894).
"The obvious contradictions in the three accounts [of Paul's conversion in Act 9 & 22 & 26] are enough to arouse distrust of all that goes beyond this kernel.... The moral majesty of Jesus, his purity and piety, his ministry among his people, his manner as a prophet, the whole concrete ethical-religious content of his earthly life, signifies for Paul's Christology--nothing whatever.... If we do not wish to deprive both figures of all historical distinctness, the name 'disciple of Jesus' has little applicability to Paul.... Jesus or Paul: this alternative characterizes, at least in part, the religious and theological warfare of the present day." - William Wrede (1859 - 1906), Paul (1904).
"In particular, in the case of St. Paul's Epistles, we can also see that they all arose out of historical events which can never occur again. We observe in them not only his circumstances and the circumstances of the Church to which He was writing, but also himself— his personal feelings, human passions, zeal, indignation, love, sorrow, and the like. These are not always of the highest morality." - Frederick Watson (1830 - 1915), Inspiration (1906).
"The system of the Apostle of the Gentiles stands over against the teaching of Jesus as something of an entirely different character, and does not create the impression of having arisen out of it..." - Albert Schweitzer (1875 - 1965), Paul and His Interpreters (1912).
"The differences and oppositions...reveal themselves between the teaching of Jesus and that of Paul...." - Albert Schweitzer (1875 - 1965), Paul and His Interpreters (1912).
"[Paul] does not appeal to [Jesus] even where it might seem inevitable to do so.... It is as though he held that between the present world-period and that in which Jesus lived and taught there exists no link of connection.... What Jesus thought about the matter is ... indifferent to him...." - Albert Schweitzer (1875 - 1965), Paul and His Interpreters (1912).
"[T]he rapid diffusion of Paul's ideas can be attributed to his belief that the death of Christ signified the end of the [Mosaic] Law. In the course of one or two generations this concept became the common property of the Christian faith, although it stood in contradiction to the tradition teaching represented by the Apostles at Jerusalem." - Albert Schweitzer (1875 - 1965), Out of My Life and Thought (1931).
"The fateful thing is that the Greek, the Catholic and the Protestant theologies all contain the Gospel of Paul in a form which does not continue the Gospel of Jesus, but displaces it." - Albert Schweitzer (1875 - 1965), The Mysticism of St. Paul (1931).
"Paul has surely nothing to do with the Sermon on the Mount.... The Sermon says: 'Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves' [Matthew 7:15]. This is generally understood as a warning against untrustworthy leaders in religion.... Does the verse express the experience of the primitive Church? Might it not be a warning against Paul and his followers?" Gerald Friedlander (1871 - 1923), The Jewish Sources of the Sermon on the Mount (1911).
"It is the same fallacy which underlies the contrast frequently sought to be drawn between the religious standpoints of Christ and Paul. Paul never for an instant dreamt of putting himself on the same plane with Christ. Paul was sinner; Christ was Saviour. Paul was disciple; Christ was Lord. Paul was weak, struggling man; Christ was Son of God. Jesus achieved redemption; Paul appropriated it. These things involved the widest contrasts in attitude and speech." - James Orr (1844 - 1913), "Christianity" International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Vol .I (1915).
"There is not one word of Pauline Christianity in the characteristic utterances of Jesus.... There has really never been a more monstrous imposition perpetrated than the imposition of Paul's soul upon the Soul of Jesus.... It is now easy to understand why the Christianity of Jesus failed completely to establish itself politically and socially, and was easily suppressed by the police and the Church, whilst Paulinism overran the whole western civilized world, which was at that time the Roman Empire, and was adopted by it as its official faith." - George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950), Androcles and the Lion (1915).
"Saul's ... fanatical resistance to Christianity,... as we know from the Epistles, was never entirely overcome. It is frankly disappointing to see how Paul hardly ever allows the real Jesus of Nazareth to get a word in." - Carl Gustav Jung (1875 - 1961), The Psychological Foundations of Belief in Spirits (1919).
"I draw a great distinction between the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus and the Letters of Paul. Paul's letters are a graft on Christ teachings, his own gloss apart from Christ's own experience." - Mahatama Gandhi (1869 - 1948), "Discussion on Fellowship", Young India (1928).
"This Paul is indeed a strange man. His soul is not the soul of a free man. He speaks not of Jesus nor does he repeat His Words. He would strike with his own hammer upon the anvil in the Name of One whom he does not know." - Kahil Gibran (1883 - 1931), Jesus the Son of Man, (1928).
"Paul had for the Jesus-communities of Jerusalem a scarcely veiled contempt.... 'Jesus is the Redeemer and Paul is his Prophet'--this is the whole content of his message." - Oswald Spengler (1880 - 1936), The Decline of the West (1928).
"That Saint Paul.... He's the one who makes all the trouble." - Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961), A Farewell to Arms (1929).
"It is most obvious that [Paul] does not appeal to the words of the Lord in support of his strictly theological, anthropological and soteriological views.... When the essentially Pauline conceptions are considered, it is clear that there Paul is not dependent on Jesus. Jesus' teaching is--to all intents and purposes--irrelevant for Paul." - Rudolf Bultmann (1884 - 1976), The Significance of the Historical Jesus for the Theology of Paul (1929).
"As far as Paul is concerned, in the Apocalypse only the names of the twelve apostles are found on the foundations of the New Jerusalem [Rev 21:14]--there is no room for Paul" - Walter Bauer (1877 - 1960), Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity (1934).
"For Justin [Martyr in the mid-second century], everything is based on the gospel tradition.... The name of Paul is nowhere mentioned by Justin;...not only is his name lacking, but also any congruence with his epistles...." - Walter Bauer (1877 - 1960), Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity (1934).
"If one may be allowed to speak rather pointedly, the apostle Paul was the only arch-heretic known to the apostolic age.... We must look to the circle of the twelve apostles to find the guardians of the most primitive information about the life and preaching of the Lord.... This treasure lies hidden in the synoptic gospels." - Walter Bauer (1877 - 1960), Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity (1934).
"Paul of Tarsus ... drew a clear line of division between [the] two sects.... Christian and Jew sprang apart." - Herbert A.L. Fisher (1865 - 1940), A History of Europe (1935).
"The spring which flows gently and limpidly in the Gospels seems to have froth on it in Paul's Epistles." - Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951), Culture and Value (1980, notes from 1937).
"To me it's as though I saw human passion here [i.e., in Paul], something like pride or anger, which is not in tune with the humility of the Gospels. It's as though he is insisting here on his own person, and doing so moreover as a religious gesture, which is foreign to the Gospel." - Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951), Culture and Value (1980, notes from 1937).
"In the Gospels--as it seems to me--everything is less pretentious, humbler, simpler. There you find huts; in Paul a church. There all men are equal and God himself is a man; in Paul there is already something like a hierarchy, honours and official positions." - Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951), Culture and Value (1980, notes from 1937).
"Paul created a theology of which none but the vaguest warrants can be found in the words of Christ." - Wil Durant (1885 - 1981), Caesar and Christ (1944) at 588.
"Through these interpretations Paul could neglect the actual life and sayings of Jesus, which he had not directly known." - Wil Durant (1885 - 1981), Caesar and Christ (1944) at 589.
"He had replaced conduct with creed as the test of virtue. It was a tragic change." - Wil Durant (1885 - 1981), Caesar and Christ (1944) at 592.
"Paul: he's in the Bible too. He is the fellow who theologized Christ almost out of Christianity. Look out for him." - Robert Frost (1874 - 1963), A Masque of Mercy (1947).
"Saul of Tarsus, who became St. Paul,... knew Jesus only by hearsay, and rarely referred to his human life.... Paul preached a gospel about Jesus that was not taught by the Jesus of the synoptic Gospels." - Herbert J. Muller (1905 - 1980),Uses of the Past (1952) at 157.
"Setting himself against [the] other disciples,... he was largely responsible for the violent break with Judaism.... He contributed a radical dualism of flesh and spirit unwarranted by the teachings of Jesus." - Herbert J. Muller (1905 - 1980),Uses of the Past (1952) at 160.
"Jewish-Christians [opposing Paul] ... must have been a very strong, widespread element in the earliest days of the Church.... They took for granted that the gospel was continuous with Judaism.... According to some scholars, they must have been so strong that right up to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 they were the dominant element in the Christian movement." - W. D. Davis (1911 - 2001), "Paul and Jewish Christianity", in J. Daniélou's, Théologie du Judéo-Chriantianisme (1958).
"For a brief moment [freedom] looked possible, but St. Paul restored ... the iron handcuffs." - Lawrence Durrell (1912 - 1990), Clea (1960).
"[Drawing a] stark contrast between the religion of the law and the religion of grace,... Paul had lost all understanding of the character of the Hebraic berith [covenant] as a partnership involving mutual obligations, [and thus] he failed to grasp the inner meaning of the Mosaic law." - Hans Joachim Schoeps (1909 - 1980), Paul: The Theology of the Apostle in the Light of Jewish Religious History (English translation 1961).
"Paul appealed ... to some of the wealthy and educated class, especially merchants, who by means of their adventures and travels had a decided importance for the diffusion of Christianity.... [This] had been the religion of a community of equal brothers, without hierarchy or bureaucracy, [but] was converted into 'the Church', the reflected image of the absolute monarchy of the Roman Empire." - Erich Fromm (1900 - 1980), The Dogma of Christ (1963).
"The Christian community of Jerusalem ... did not accept [Paul's] views on the [Mosaic] Law." - Gilles Quispel ( - ), "Gnosticism and the New Testament" in J. Philip Hyatt's The Bible in Modern Scholarship (papers read at the 100th meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, 1964).
"The peculiar, unharmonized relationship between Paul and the Twelve that existed from the beginning was never fully adjusted.... Modern Biblical research in particular has made it difficult to put the religion of the New Testament (to say nothing of the Bible as a whole) into the straightjacket of Paulinism." - Emil G. Kraeling (1892 - 1973), The Disciples (1966).
"The reign in Europe of that order of unreason, unreasoning submission to the dicta of authority:... Saint Paul himself had opened the door to such impudent idiocies." - Joseph Campbell (1904 - 1987), The Masks of God: Creative Mythology (1968).
"Above all there results the chasm which separates Jesus from Paul and the conclusion that more than the historical Jesus ... it is Paul who really founded Christianity." - Günther Bornkamm (1905 - 1990), Paul (1969).
"Already during his lifetime Paul was considered an illegitimate Apostle and a falsifier of the Christian message.... For a long time, Judeo-Christianity rejected him completely, as a rival to Peter and James, the brother of the Lord." - Günther Bornkamm (1905 - 1990), Paul (1969).
"Paul does not connect immediately with ... [the] words ... of the earthly Jesus. Everything seems to indicate that he didn't even know them." - Günther Bornkamm (1905 - 1990), Paul (1969).
"The letters of Paul present a marked contrast to Luke's writings [in his Gospel and the Acts]. Whereas Luke suggests that the Apostles were a closed corporation of twelve governing the whole Church, Paul disagrees, claiming his own Apostleship to be as valid as any of the twelve.... Certainly Paul knew no authority of the twelve." - Ronald Brownrigg (1937 - 2016), The Twelve Apostles (1974).
"Paul imported into the Christian community a form of religion characteristic of the 'mysteries',... religious movements of initiation into secret rites and esoteric knowledge." - Patrick Henry Reardon (b. ?), New Directions in New Testament Study (1979).
"Within less than thirty years of the events narrated by the synoptics concerning the life and proclamation, death and resurrection of Jesus, Paul permits himself to compose a long and complex exposition of what this means, retaining, apparently, only the two final specific events, the death and the resurrection. Jesus' words are not cited (with the exception of those pronounced over the bread and wine at the Last Supper), his teachings are not remembered. The key terms have disappeared which he employed to designate himself, his mission and his immediate audience: the Son of Man, the Kingdom of God, the poor." - Juan Luis Segundo (1925 - 1996), The Person of Today confronting Jesus of Nazareth (1982).
"We must distinguish between the various layers, or strata, to use an archaeological term, of early Christianity. The theology, the doctrines and the practices of Jesus, John the Baptist and Paul ... are not the same." - Yigael Yadin (1917 - 1984), "The Temple Scroll--the Longest Dead Sea Scroll" in Biblical Archaeology Review (Sept/Oct 1984).
"Scholars, their confusion facilitated by Paul's own apparent inconsistency,... do not agree even on what Paul said, much less why he said it." - Paula Fredriksen (b. 1951), From Jesus to Christ (1988).
"Paul stands in the twilight zone of heresy...." - Helmut Koester (1926 - 2016), "The Theological Aspects of Primitive Christian Heresy" in James Robinson's The Future of our Religious Past (1971).
"One immediately encounters a major difficulty. Whatever Jesus had preached did not become the content of the missionary proclamation of Paul, nor of the churches from which his proclamation took its origin..." - Helmut Koester (1926 - 2016), Ancient Christian Gospels (1990) at 51.
"Sayings of Jesus do not play a role in Paul's understanding of the event of salvation.... The Epistle of James also shares with the Sermon on the Mount the rejection of the Pauline thesis that Christ is the end of the [Mosaic] law." - Helmut Koester (1926 - 2016), Ancient Christian Gospels (1990) at 51.
"Had Paul been completely successful, very little of the sayings of Jesus would have survived." - Helmut Koester (1926 - 2016) and Stephen J. Patterson (b. ?), "The Gospel of Thomas: Does It Contain Authentic Sayings of Jesus?" in Bible Review (1990) Vol. 6, No. 2 at 39.
"Paul of Tarsus ... [was] the most misleading of the earliest Christian writers,... [and] a particularly difficult character: arrogant, self-righteous, filled with murderous hatred of his opponents, terrified of God, oppressed by what he felt as the burden of the [Mosaic] Law, overwhelmed by his sense of sin.... He didn't understand Jesus at all. He wasn't even interested in Jesus; just in his own idea of the Christ." - Stephen Mitchell (b. 1943), The Gospel according to Jesus (1991).
"Saul of Tarsus ... broke from Jewish Law, and the religion thereby created was soon encrusted with pagan elements." - Shlomo Riskini (b. 1940), The Jerusalem Post International Edition (March 28, 1992).
"There is absolutely no doubt that much of St. Paul's terminology derives from the Mystery Religions." - Xavier Zubiri (1898 - 1983), The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions (1993 by Antonio González).
"What did the historical Jesus teach in comparison with what the historical Paul taught?… Jesus taught that to escape judgment a person must keep the central teachings of the Jewish Law as he, Jesus himself, interpreted them. Paul, interestingly enough, never mentions Jesus' interpretation of the [Mosaic] Law, and Paul was quite insistent that keeping the Law would never bring Salvation. The only way to be saved, for Paul, was to trust Jesus' death and resurrection…" - Bart D. Ehrman (b. 1955), The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (1993).
"Paul transformed the religion of Jesus into a religion about Jesus." - Bart D. Ehrman (b. 1955), The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (1993).
"Paul ... is the real founder of Christianity as we live it today, which is completely different from the Christianity of Jesus." - Georg Baboukis (b. ?), On the Way to One God (1999).
"Paul heavily influenced the resulting church due to the preservation of his writings, especially after the church canonized his epistles. Christianity became a Gentile religion that, following Paul, blended elements of paganism, Judaism, and Jesus. This constituted a vast deception in that the church came to see Jesus as Paul saw him, and it is Paul's Jesus that has come down to us through the church. The reformers reformed Paulinism, not the faith of Jesus." - G. Edgar Jones (1926 - 2017), Paul, The Stranger (2003).