What did Jesus really teach?
For centuries, the argument has been advanced that Trinitarians follow Pauline theology in preference to that of Jesus. This charge is difficult to deny, for Jesus taught Old Testament Law whereas Paul negated it. Jesus preached orthodox Jewish creed; Paul preached mysteries of faith. Jesus spoke of accountability; Paul proposed justification by faith. Jesus described himself as an ethnic prophet; Paul defined him as a universel prophet. In disrespect to thousands of years of revelation conveyed through a long chain of esteemed prophets, and contrary to the teachings of Rabbi Jesus, Paul focused not on the life and teachings of Jesus, but upon his death. As Lehmann writes, “The only thing which Paul considers important is the Jew Jesus’ death, which destroyed all hopes of liberation by a Messiah. He makes the victorious Christ out of the failed Jewish Messiah, the living out of the dead, the son of God out of the son of man.”
More than a few scholars consider Paul the main corrupter of Apostolic Christianity and the teachings of Jesus, and they are not alone. Many early Christian sects also held this view, including the second-century Christian sect known as Adoptionists. According to Bart D. Ehrman, “In particular, [the Adoptionists] considered Paul, one of the most prominent authors of our New Testament, to be an arch-heretic rather than an apostle.
Perhaps the most conclusive contribution to this argument is encountered in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which many scholars believe condemn Paul for his abandonment of Old Testament Law and rebellion against Jesus’ teachings and early Christian leadership. The end of the Damascus Document, in particular, appears to document the early Christian community’s cursing and excommunication of Paul.
And there are many more arguments made and facts presented. It is definitely a very enlightening book that I would recommend everyone to read. There is also a second volume, God’ed.
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