Jesus vs. Paul

The problem is not that Paul is such a bad person, but that he was an historically conditioned personality who, however inspired he might have been in certain respects, did not go beyond the prevailing collective opinions with regard to the psychological problem of the persona and the Shadow. Jesus was sufficiently conscious that he was able to transcend the collective thinking of his time. Paul was not able to do this. It is unfortunate that the Church elected to follow the admonitions of Paul rather than the teachings of Jesus in this regard. But that was inevitable. Given the general level of consciousness of the Church, it was certain that the teachings of Jesus would be disregarded, and the words of Paul would be followed, for this is where people were at that time. Nevertheless it is unfortunate for a great deal of psychological damage could have been avoided had the teachings of Jesus been followed with regard to the dynamics of human personality.

John A. Sanford, Evil: The Shadow Side of Reality, pp. 75-76.

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  • Most of this is water under the bridge… Without St. Paul, we may never have heard of Jesus of Nazareth. There is an inner truth which is conveyed by means of a outer message. Ego’s latch onto the outward form, “believe” it, and lend their support to promoting it in various ways. It’s very beautiful the way it works, actually. The outer message provides a point of ethical and cultural cohesion for the community and the inner message is preserved and proclaimed to those who are ready for it–those who have ears to hear. Perhaps we almost ready, now, to hear and proclaim– in a more straightforward fashion –the reality of the kingdom which Jesus said is within us; among us; at hand. But until that time, St. Paul continues to play a profound prepraratory role.

  • David Williams

    For progressive Christians who take critical scholarship seriously, the question is: which Paul? Are we talking Paul of Tarsus, who gave us (according to historical-critical and literary analysis) gave us seven letters? Or one of Paul’s followers, who created the clearly-later deutero-Pauline literature? If the former, there’s pretty much no space between Paul and Jesus. None. This I learned at the feet of a feminist scholar in seminary, who found the Paul of Romans, Galatians, and the Corinthian letters totally resonant with her faith…welcoming to all, radically spirit-driven. It’s worth parsing, because…best I can tell, that’s the reality of it.