Is this really true?

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by Neil Godfrey

Tom Holland is currently preparing a new book in which he fleshes out what he says in this video. Is Paul really like a “depth charge” in history, ultimately responsible for ripples that brought about the Enlightenment itself?

If one says that one’s inheritance is Christian what do we mean by Christian? Has not Christianity itself (including its use of Paul) been shaped according to shifting circumstances and ideologies through the ages?

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8 thoughts on “Is this really true?”

  1. This guy’s an idiot :p Or rather, probably just someone trying to get attention. I do agree with him that Paul had a huge impact on western civ, but not for the better. IMO, the only way one can hold this position is if one is completely ignorant of Greek and Roman thought prior to Christianity. The idea that Paul was responsible for the Enlightenment is just asinine. The Enlightenment was brought about by the rediscovery of pre-Christian literature. And most of the good aspects of Christian thought have little to do with Paul himself and much more simply to do with general Jewish thought, in terms of care for the poor and downtrodden, etc.

    Actually the book I’m working on now is a follow-up to my current book, and the working title is Christianity’s 2,000 Year War on Science, Reason and Happiness.

  2. A large part of that was the close to a millennium when Christianity was the only game in town when you wanted to learn how to conduct your life. The Pauline letters had a huge influence.

  3. • If Holland claims the rise of Christianity correlates to the erosion of slavery, then he needs to demonstrate causation.

    Scheidel, Walter, The Comparative Economics of Slavery in the Greco-Roman World. Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics Paper No. 110504. SSRN:1096417

    Abstract: A comparative perspective improves our understanding of the critical determinants of the large-scale use of slave labor in different sectors of historical economies, including classical Greece and the Italian heartland of the Roman empire. This paper argues that the success of chattel slavery was a function of the specific configuration of several critical variables: the character of certain kinds of economic activity, the incentive system, the normative value system of a society, and the nature of commitments required of the free population. High real wages and low slave prices precipitated the expansion of slavery in classical Greece and Republican Rome, while later periods of Roman history may have witnessed either a high-equilibrium level of slavery or its gradual erosion in the context of lower wages and higher prices.

    Scheidel, Walter (2010). “Slavery in the Roman Economy”. SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.1663556

    Abstract: This paper discusses the location of slavery in the Roman economy. It deals with the size and distribution of the slave population and the economics of slave labor and offers a chronological sketch of the development of Roman slavery.

  4. Why did not Holland say that he is ethically Jewish, rather than Christian?

    Does not Holland think that Paul/Saul was Jewish?

    Holland has received some attention for his TV presentation on Islam. While I appreciate his take on Islam, I wonder if somehow there is an identity crisis that study (of Islam) has sowed in Holland?

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