menu

Earl Doherty Believes Paul Existed…For Much the Same Reasons Historians Believe Jesus Existed

Earl Doherty Believes Paul Existed…For Much the Same Reasons Historians Believe Jesus Existed April 3, 2011

Neil Godfrey has kindly posted an interview with Earl Doherty and then Doherty’s response to a question from Evan, who also frequently comments here at Exploring Our Matrix. The question relates to whether and why Doherty accepts the existence of a historical Paul, but not a historical Jesus.

It is a fantastic question.

If mythicism emerges out of a principled stance that literary documents alone, or in particular literary documents all from a particular religious tradition, cannot serve as historical evidence for the existence of persons, then there ought to be no difference in how the two are viewed. The difference of genre between letters claiming to be written by Paul and Gospels claiming to be about Jesus is for all intents and purposes irrelevant when it comes to this question, since there is no more difficulty forging letters from a fictional person than in “forging characters” in a fictional narrative.

Doherty, in fact, believes that a historical Paul makes better sense of the evidence. That is, of course, precisely the stance of historians when it comes to the question of the existence of a historical Jesus.

I am curious whether Neil Godfrey, Evan, and others will criticize Doherty for this or will be pleased with his answer. Either way it should make for interesting discussion.

"Under the old covenant (ten commandments), people were (and still are) racists and sexists. For ..."

Was Jesus a Racist?
"Reconciliation is a two-way street, restoring a broken relationship between two people. God does indeed ..."

Forgive Us Our Debts, Not Repay ..."
"Excellent. God is not, and does not want to be, an accountant; keeping a ledger ..."

Forgive Us Our Debts, Not Repay ..."
"Don't confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. Jesus tells us to forgive people who sin against us, ..."

Forgive Us Our Debts, Not Repay ..."

Browse Our Archives