From: Brian Holtz []
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2003 10:19 PM
Subject: RE: A question re: Turkel response

> Perhaps I am underestimating the
> power of divine revelation but Paul describes no period of
> confusion or internal struggle with his radical change of heart.

I'm not sure he would have confessed such had it occurred.

> Jesus, according to Paul, was a pre-existent,
> cosmically significant entity he equated with Word of God through
> which the universe was created [..]
> Everything I attributed to Paul above can be found in his
> letters. In fact, you can find everything I state above collected
> in one place at Colossians 1:14-17.

Col 1:18 goes on to say that Jesus is "head of the body, the church". In such a metaphorical context, I don't think we can draw the precise conclusion of a pre-existence doctrine about the person of Jesus -- as was demonstrated by several centuries of competing heresies over Jesus' nature. In general, I don't think we can assume that someone like Paul (or Jesus) had a precise and consistent theology and that the only problem is figuring out which possible theology he had.

> the earliest
> Christians did identify Christ Jesus as a pre-existent entity
> that had far more in common with God's Wisdom personified or
> God's Word personified than a Galilean preacher. In fact, you
> can't find a Galilean preacher anywhere in Paul's letters nor
> those other Christian epistles from around the same time.

Which other epistles (from around the time of Paul) are you thinking of?

> I became an atheist under the assumption that Jesus was
> an historical figure but I have come to doubt that assumption
> thanks in large part to Doherty's book.

My impression of the overall evidence is that an ahistorical Jesus creates more problems than it solves.