“What I Received From The Lord”

“What I Received From The Lord” June 14, 2016

I received this question via e-mail and thought it might be useful to share it publicly together with my answer:

I was listening to a YouTube video when this came up. Paul says in 1 Cor 11:23 “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you”. I never really thought about this as a Christian, but what does this mean? My traditional understanding would have been that Paul had learned about the Last Supper from the other early Christians (some of whom would have been present) … but if so, why would Paul word it this way?

Did Paul learn about the Last Supper through a vision from God?

The person I was listening to advanced this as a hypothesis, continuing that perhaps the story of the Last Supper in the gospels comes from expanding on this vision of Paul.

Thanks for any insight you can offer.

Here’s my answer:

Sorry for the delay in responding about this – the end of the semester is busy! I’ve often pointed out that the mythicist scenario involves Paul receiving from the Lord by a vision of any number of things about which he agreed with other Christians, and so one has to posit, in effect, that these were genuine miraculous revelations. A very odd viewpoint for a mythicist to adopt, but they have no choice, given the implications of the more straightforward interpretation.

We see in Galatians that Paul’s authority was challenged precisely because of his alleged inferiority to the other apostles. And so he often emphasized that his commission came from Jesus and did not depend on anyone else. But the suggestion that he persecuted the movement without knowing anything about it, then joined it and still learned nothing from anyone, is really rather ridiculous.

Hope this helps!

What are your thoughts on this topic?



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