Chapter 3: Paul Disbelieved.—Neither His Divine Commission nor His Inward Conversion Ever Credited by the Apostles or Their Jerusalem Disciples.—Source of Proof Stated
Section 1: To Paul's Conversion Vision, Sole Original Witness Himself
Void, as we have seen, of all title to credence, is the story of Paul's commission from Jesus:—void may it be seen to be, even if taken by itself, and without need of resort to any counter-evidence. Who could have expected to have found it, moreover, disproved by the most irresistible counter-evidence—by the evidence of the Apostles themselves? Yes: of the Apostles themselves, of whom it will plainly enough be seen, that by not so much as one of them was it ever believed: no, not to even the very latest period, of which any account has reached us: namely that, at which the history of the Acts of the Apostles closes, or that of the date of the last-written of Paul's Epistles, whichsoever of the two may be the latest.
In regard to the story of his conversion, its cause, and manner,—it has been seen, that it is either from himself directly, or from an adherent of his, the author of the Acts,—who had it from himself, unless Ananias was a person known to the author of the Acts, and heard by him,—it is from Paul, and Paul alone, that all the evidence, which the case has happened to supply, has been derived.
In regard to the degree of credence given, to his pretence to the having received a commission from Jesus, still the same remark applies: still, either from himself, or from the same partial, and, as will be seen, not altogether trustworthy, narrator, comes the whole of the evidence, with which the case happens to have furnished us.