Two Views on the Lord’s Supper: Authentic or Inconceivable

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by Neil Godfrey

I Corinthians 11:

23 For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; 24 and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, This is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come. 

Richard Bauckham’s analysis:

On the other occasion when Paul explicitly states that he “received” a tradition, he is also explicit about the source: “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you” (1 Cor 11:23). The tradition is about the words of Jesus at the last supper (vv. 23-25) . . . . Paul certainly does not mean that he received this tradition by immediate revelation from the exalted Lord. He must have known it as a unit of Jesus tradition, perhaps already part of a passion narrative; it is the only such unit that Paul ever quotes explicitly and at length. . . . Paul’s version is verbally so close to Luke’s that, since literary dependence in either direction is very unlikely, Paul must be dependent either on a written text or, more likely, an oral text that has been quite closely memorized. . . . Paul cites the Jesus tradition, not a liturgical text, and so he provides perhaps our earliest evidence of narratives about Jesus transmitted in a way that involved, while not wholly verbatim reproduction, certainly a considerable degree of precise memorization.

. . . . 

[Paul’s] introduction to the tradition about the Lord’s Supper in 11:23 (“I received from the Lord”) focuses on the source of the sayings of Jesus, which are the point of the narrative, and claims that they truly derive from Jesus. He therefore envisages a chain of transmission that begins from Jesus himself and passes through intermediaries to Paul himself, who has already passed it on to the Corinthians when he first established their church. The intermediaries are surely, again, the Jerusalem apostles, and this part of the passion traditions will have been part of what Paul learned . . . from Peter during that significant fortnight in Jerusalem. Given Paul’s concern and conviction that his gospel traditions come from the Lord Jesus himself, it is inconceivable that Paul would have relied on less direct means of access to the traditions. . . . the authenticity of the traditions he transmitted in fact depended on their derivation from the Jerusalem apostles. We might note that his claim, as an apostle, to have the same right as the Jerusalem apostles to material support from his converts (1 Cor 9:3-6) is based on a number of reasons, but the final and clinching argument is a saying of the earthly Jesus (9:14).

(Bauckham, pp. 268 f.)

Bruno Bauer’s analysis as set out by Albert Schweitzer:

The Lord’s supper, considered as an historic scene, is revolting and inconceivable. Jesus can no more have instituted it than he can have uttered the saying ‘Let the dead bury their dead.’ In both cases the offence arises from the fact that a conviction of the community has been cast into the form of a historical saying of Jesus. A man who was present in person, corporeally present, could not entertain the idea of offering others his flesh and blood to eat. To demand from others that while he was actually present they should imagine the bread and wine which they were eating to be his body and blood would have been quite impossible for a real person. It was only later, when Jesus’ actual bodily presence had been removed and the Christian community had existed for some time, that such a conception as is expressed in that formula could have arisen. A point which clearly betrays the later composition of the narrative is that the Lord does not turn to the disciples sitting with him at table and say, ‘This is my blood which will be shed for you,’ but, since the words were invented by the early church, speaks of the ‘many’ for whom he gives himself. The only historical fact is that the Jewish Passover was gradually transformed by the Christian community into a feast which had reference to Jesus.

(Schweitzer, pp. 132 f)

Bauckham, Richard. 2008. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Schweitzer, Albert. 2001. The Quest of the Historical Jesus. Edited by John Bowden. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

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44 thoughts on “Two Views on the Lord’s Supper: Authentic or Inconceivable”

  1. • Support for Bruno Bauer’s position appears to be mainstream.

    Young, Frances M. (2006). “Prelude: Jesus Christ, foundation of Christianity”. In Mitchell, Margaret M.; Young, Frances M. Origins to Constantine. Cambridge History of Christianity: 1. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–34. ISBN 978-0-521-81239-9.

    [A]nalogies between Christ and the deity of a mystery cult are implicit in 1 Corinthians 10:19–21 and in Justin’s assertion that the devil imitated the eucharist of Christians in the mysteries of Mithras: both rites involved participation in bread and drink, but for Christians this represented the flesh and blood of ‘Jesus Christ our Saviour’. (1 Apol. 66–7.)
    The earthly life of Jesus was recalled in the context of cultic rites that assumed his divinity. . . . Already in 1 Corinthians (11:23–6), Paul had recalled what happened at the Last Supper as if the story were an aetiological cult-myth, and had insisted that there could be no communion between the ‘table of the Lord’ and the ‘table of the daemons’. Papyri found at Oxyrhynchus reveal invitations to ‘sup at the table of the lord Sarapis’. (P. Oxy. 110 and 523.) The analogies ran deep. —(p. 14)

    1. Brown, David Michael (2016). “The Didache and Traditioned Innovation: Shaping Christian Community in the First Century and the Twenty-First Century”. Dissertation: Duke Divinity School.

      The Didache’s treatment of what later developed into the Eucharist begins with the phrase: “And concerning the thanksgiving, give thanks this way…” (9:1). O’Loughlin contributes the awkwardness of the phrase to the notion that the Didache communities, like all of the earliest followers of Jesus, “did not think of Eucharist as the title of a distinct event. ” The Didache community had not developed an understanding of “the thanksgiving” apart from a full communal meal, or agape feast, shared by the fellowship of believers. Furthermore, an initial reading of the Didache’s instructions reveals a number of surprises for the modern reader: the sequence of elements is reversed from what is attested in the Pauline writings and what the church later practiced; the words of institution are absent altogether; and the pass age contains no reference to the kerygma of Jesus’ passion. —(p. 82)

      1. The Catholic Church appeals to the Didache as an example of the age of it’s “traditions”. But if you actually read it, it’s rather an inconvenient document for that purpose.

        1. The Didache’s section on the eucharist stems from an attempt of grafting the Gnostic eucharist upon common Jewish meals. The Jewish meals according to Berakoth prescribe the blessing of YHWH for the creation of the grapes, a material entity. The Didache transforms this into thanking The Father for a symbolic entity named the vine of David, a symbol for the Christian church. The bread in the didache represents knowledge (Gnosis) revealed by The Son, i.e no longer the Torah, but the sayings of the gospels.

          Pseudo-Paul attempts with violence to provide a new etiological myth for the rite described in the Didache by means of equating it with a rudimentary Cena, which only contained the eschatological cup (no bread and no references to the ideology of flesh and blood). The gospels are then updated accordingly and replace the primitive accounts of the Cena appropriately.

  2. “Paul certainly does not mean that he received this tradition by immediate revelation from the exalted Lord.”

    Even though that’s exactly what he says here (“For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you…”).

    And in Galatians (1:11-12 “For I certify to you, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not devised by man. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ…”).

    1. Yep, folks like Baukham have to ignore what Paul actually tells us. They insist that Paul must have learned all sorts of things in Jerusalem when Paul tells us explicitly that he didn’t.

  3. Of course it is inconceivable and necessarily the result of a permanent shift of myth an dogm which befell Christianity from the very outset. The last supper cannot be used as an anywhere near original etiological myth for the eucharist, only as a late ammendment to enforce the dogm of the salvific character of the flesh and blood of the Lord. The feeding miracles, especially that of Mk 8, are more closely connected to the eucharist (primarily unrelated to any Passover stuff), while the original cena is merely eschatological.

    Jews did not drink the blood of sacrificial animals, but used it in different ways. (sprinkling?) A long zigzag gauntlet, which left traces in the Epistle to the Hebrews and other pseudo-apostolic works, was necessary to arrive at a doctrine such as the one evinced in the synoptic holy meal. Jean Magne described one possible path, others are also imaginable.

    I Corinthians 11:23-26 is a late blatant interpolation, regardless of whether the (heavily interpolated and glossed) synoptics effected it or vice versa.

    1. I’m not sure why it ought to be regarded as an interpolation, rather than a Pauline ‘revelation,’ perhaps the original source of Paul’s gospel: a sacrifice to remit sins.
      The underlying mystical notion seems to have something to do with a reversal of the primordial sin of the slaying of “righteous Abel” — the original murder. …..
      I’ve never come across consideration of the Lord’s Supper for Paul in these terms, and wish it would be by someone.

  4. I find Bauckham’s analysis untenable.

    My proposal, as laid out in DtG is that the statement from Paul is a revelation, invented by him, having never been uttered by anyone before. The author of Mark used Paul’s version as the basis for his Last Supper scene. The other Gospel writers all copied from Mark. It is also possible that Luke went back to Paul and touched up his version to bring parts of it more in line with Paul’s version, possibly considering Paul’s version “more authentic” due to thinking of it is older.

    There is nothing at all unreasonable about this scenario and indeed it fits the evidence perfectly. Mark’s use of Paul’s version fits the same pattern of how Mark used other teachings from Paul. In most cases he paraphrases and recasts Paul’s text to make it better fit the context of his narrative. Mark wasn’t trying to “preserve true words of Jesus”, because Mark knew that these weren’t words of Jesus, Mark knew he was using Paul’s words for Jesus. Luke, however, thought that Jesus was real and was trying to preserve “true words”. He viewed Paul’s statement as the “most original” version of the ritual and thus used them verbatim.

    1 Corinthians 11:
    23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

    Mark 14:
    19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
    22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ 23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24 He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’

    Luke 22:
    20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

    1. I tend to agree, but for the statement “Mark wasn’t trying to ‘preserve true words of Jesus’, because Mark knew that these weren’t words of Jesus, Mark knew he was using Paul’s words for Jesus.”
      I think Mark believed they WERE words of Jesus, much as he believed Jesus quoting the psalm on the cross were words of Jesus.  

      1. I think it pretty much established, unless you have some confessional understanding that trumps reason, that Mark is a meta-parable or allegory. The story is blatently unrealistic as to ordinary human behaviour and poisoned by magical goings-on that would only take in the credulous.

  5. Neil, please consider doing another post like this one, featuring:

    • Carrier v. Ehrman (with hypothetical sources) per Christianity “must” have started with a low exaltation Christology.

    1. • Two Views on Tacitus: one of our most important references to Jesus OR a preposterous reference

      Grabbe, Lester L. (2012). “‘Jesus Who Is Called Christ’: References to Jesus outside Christian Sources”. In Thompson, Thomas L.; Verenna, Thomas S. ‘Is This Not The Carpenter?’: The Question of the Historicity of the Figure of Jesus. Equinox. pp 57-70. ISBN 978-1-84553-986-3.

      Probably the most important Roman writer is Tacitus (56-c. 120). He was a historian of note and still regarded as the pinnacle of the Roman historians.

      […] [Per Annales, XV, 44] This is one of our most important references to Jesus. Unfortunately, it was written almost a century after Jesus is supposed to have died, according to the Gospel accounts. Yet Tacitus often had good sources, including the archives of the Senate. His statement should be taken seriously.

      What was his source for this particular piece of information? It is unlikely to have been Christians; indeed, it embodies mainly comments against the Christians, unlike the letter of his friend Pliny the Younger . . . who got information directly from Christians. We have no reason to think Tacitus came in contact with Christians, who were still very much a minority group in his time. He could in theory have derived his information from Pliny, but Pliny’s letter says nothing to hint at what Tacitus says. Could Tacitus have obtained the information from josephus? Although this is theoretically possible, Tacitus does not indicate knowledge of Josephus′ writings. Where the two talk about the same points relating to the Jews, Tacitus does not agree with Josephus in the details. Thus, it seems likely that Tacitus′ source is Roman. Tacitus is the only Roman writer to mention Pilate (though we have confirmation of his existence from an inscription). If Pilate had reported to the Senate on the matter, this would likely have been available in the senatorial archives. —(p. 57f)

      Per Allen, N.P.L. (2015) Clarifying the Scope of Pre-Fifth-Century C.E. Christian Interpolation in Josephus’ Antiquitates Judaicae (c. 94 C.E.). Unpublished Philosophiae Doctor thesis, Potchefstroom: North-West University.

      [Per Annales, XV, 44] If we disregard the glaring warning signs contained in this passage, including the preposterous reference to Pontius Pilate’s execution of someone called Christus, [^64] and naively accept (as does Meier and company), that this passage is authentic, it still does not supply the historian with any tangible evidence for the historical existence of Jesus (of Nazareth) in the early part of the first century C.E. As stated, and taken at face value, this information is at best a second-hand account that could be equally based upon hearsay and/or popular/traditional folklore.

      If one takes a more critical view, the passage has all the signs of a deliberate attempt to paint the Romans as responsible for the indiscriminate and mindless persecution of Christians. Considering that Christians supposedly preached peace and deliberately conducted themselves in ethically upright ways hardly explains why they are described here as hating mankind. —(p. 54)
      [note:64] The Roman authorities are hardly likely to have kept detailed records of every crucifixion victim in the provinces. Furthermore, if Jesus of Nazareth’s execution had indeed been recorded by Pontius Pilate’s clerics he would not have been referred to as “Christ”. Indeed, if the term “Christ” had been used in Jerusalem in c. 33 C.E. it would not have made any sense to either Jesus of Nazareth or Pontus Pilate. Similarly it would have meant very little to Tacitus in the early second century C.E. Therefore, if the latter actually wrote “Christus” he would have believed it to be a personal name. In this regard, it could never have been based on a Roman record but more likely hails from a Christian tradition. —(p. 54)

      1. • Neil, if you were to post “Two Views on Tacitus” with your commentary, it would be an excellent resource to cite. It appears that Grabbe′s viewpoint is often repeated by those who uncritically appeal to Tacitus′ Annales 15.44.

        Dr Sarah says (3 December 2018). “Jesus mythicism vs. Jesus historicity: a reply to R. G. Price”. Geeky Humanist.

        [Per] Tacitus, Tim O’Neill has a good article on this at https://historyforatheists.com/2017/09/jesus-mythicism-1-the-tacitus-reference-to-jesus/ , in which he points out two problems with the idea that Tacitus got his information from Christians:

        a) It’s not the type of information a Christian would typically have given if asked to explain his or her faith to a non-Christian; it’s not likely their focus would have been on the person who ordered Jesus’s execution.

        b) Since Tacitus’s disdain for Christians is very clear, it’s unlikely that he would have either gone to them for this information or accepted it unquestioningly if he did; it’s therefore likely that this came from another source.

        1. I responded on Dr Sarah’s site to her points about O’Neill’s arguments.

          I don’t like the term “meme” as it is used today but it does seem to me that some arguments, even their basic grammatical structures, are repeated over and over that I am reminded of how music can carry from one to another — it is as if some arguments are picked up and float through people’s minds like catchy melodies. Critical reflection on those arguments seems to be the last thought that would occur to those who love the melodies and play them for others.

          Maybe you can copy and paste my response on Dr Sarah’s site here if you have quick access to it.

          1. Neil Godfrey wrote: “I responded on Dr Sarah’s site to her points about O’Neill’s arguments.”

            Do you mean a new post today, or are you referring to the previous posts on Tacitus and accepted historical methodology per scholars of ancient history.

            Also I was thinking you might want to post (even without comment) on Vridar:
            • Two Views on Tacitus: one of our most important references to Jesus OR a preposterous reference

            Since it seems similar to:
            • Two Views on the Lord’s Supper: Authentic or Inconceivable

            Concerning two totally different viewpoints held by scholars, on the same topic.
            Allen′s curriculum vitae establishes his scholarly credentials.

            1. I cannot keep up with many online discussions and was thinking of a comment I left on Dr Sarah’s blog some time back.

              Tim O’Neill get lots of attention, I see, but he is an Australian and so am I and I have to say that when I see Tim speak in an online video or read what he says at some impressive length, I have to say I recognize what we in Australia call a “bullshit artist”. Tim has the knack of sounding as if he knows a hell of a lot and his tone invites respect, but anyone who knows in advance what he is discussing very quickly sees he is a poser, a bullshitter. Yeh, what he says may be considered “correct” at a primary school or secondary school level, but it is very apparent to anyone who knows the background to his stuff that he does not know the serious background to his stuff.

              I have invited Tim numerous times to discuss issues with me in any forum but with only one condition– that the exchange be civil. That condition is too much for Tim, for without his bluster and braggadocio (not to forget his “cheeky colourful insults”) the hollowness of his claims will become all too starkly visible for all to see. He relies upon his abusive style (he would call it “Aussie larrikanism” with a heavy dose of pride) to convince others of his “sincerity” and “depth of knowledge” — which in a calm and reasoned discussion would be immediately dismissed by any neutral observer.

            2. Tacitus? many years ago I read a XIX century book written by then a respected Oxford professor that said that Tacitus Annales was forged by Bracciolini, a XVI century Italian latinist. Though the professor was respected in his time, could not then be called a ‘crackpot’ his thesis seemed forgotten and now we see people quoting Tacitus as an original/primary source for the events in Roman Empire 2000 years ago.

        2. This “Dr. Sarah” person displays an uncritical reliance on historicist talking points received secondhand. They seem unaware of the true extent of interpolation in early writings, ignorant of the issues with loose translations from the Greek (especially regarding Ναζαρηνος vs. Ναζαρετ) — or Chrestus vs. Christus in Latin for that matter — and uninformed of the bewildering complexities of the Synoptic Problem. Nor do they seem interested in even the slightest investigation into the subjects on which they so assertively pontificate.

          In short, someone who doesn’t know much but thinks they know it all.

      2. “Considering that Christians supposedly preached peace and deliberately conducted themselves in ethically upright ways hardly explains why they are described here as hating mankind.”
        Perhaps the author of the remark grasped the underlying psychology of Christian morality as well as Nietzsche did (!). [Genealogy of Morals]

      3. You might recall from Carrier, OHJ, p303 that Annales is missing the years middle 29 to middle 31AD. He cites Robert Drews concluding no more plausible explanation than Christian excision.

        1. I’ve misplaced my copy of OHJ, and my subscription to the American Journal of Ancient History has run out. Could you share R. Drews’ words on this matter?

          NB: Book V (covering AD 29 -31) may have lacunae, but it is not missing.

    2. Actually I think apologist Larry Hurtado has done an effective job of demonstrating the high christology beginnings of Christianity. Sometimes it’s just lucky that the evidence happens to cohere with dogmatics.

      1. It must be galling to many of them that they supply us the ammunition, load the gun, and in umpteen cases pull the trigger for us to blow their own brains out.

  6. This claim specifically is completely baseless: “since literary dependence in either direction is very unlikely”

    That claim should render anyone completely uncredible.

    Literary dependence is actually VERY likely! It is widely accepted that the author of Luke used Paul’s letters when he wrote Acts of the Apostles. Why wouldn’t he use Paul’s letters here as well?

    This is a major flaw in mainstream thinking. To me this is one of the huge fundamental problems of mainstream scholarship. While acknowledging that the epistle were written before the Gospels, they ignore the possibility of the influence of the epistles on the Gospels. That’s a huge flaw in thinking. David Oliver Smith’s book, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul: The Influence of the Epistles on the Synoptic Gospel, shows just how big a deal this is, because in fact use of the epistles by the Gospel writers is demonstrable and explains many aspects of their content.

    But to claim that only the Eucharist in Luke shows literary dependency is also absurd, because the Eucharist in Mark is virtually identical to Paul’s version as well. Luke’s is just slightly closer.

    But again, the explanation of Paul invented it, Mark copied it, Matthew evolved his from Mark, Luke saw Mark’s version but had also read Paul’s version and decided to use Paul’s version because the agenda of Luke was to try and record “authentic history”. Luke, knowing that Paul’s letters were written before Mark’s Gospel, viewed Paul’s version as “more authentic” and thus preferred Paul’s version.

    That explanation is completely reasonable and completely supported by the evidence.

    Paul’s letters were written prior or 67 CE. Luke was writing some time between 85 and 120 CE. And we know that Luke was the most prolific user of sources. The writer of Luke was clearly someone who was “conducting research”, trying to take all of this disparate material from various sources and fit it all together in a coherent and authoritative way. OF COURSE Luke was using sources like the epistles!

    1. This:

      "While acknowledging that the epistle were written before the Gospels, they ignore the possibility of the influence of the epistles on the Gospels."

      I think it’s a complete failure of reading comprehension on their part myself. When first made aware of the fact from G. A. Wells, I couldn’t fail to see from reading Paul in that light that Wells had a case to answer. I haven’t been disabused in the forty-odd years since I came to this conclusion in grammar school that in biblical scholars I was dealing with a peculiar class of fool; if anything I think even less of them. In the words of the God-Emperor: “Sad”.

  7. I see that Klaus Schilling has already pointed out that 1 Corinthians 11 23:26 is also pretty obviously a later interpolation, as it clearly breaks the flow of existing ideas in the chapter. So you really can’t tell much about Paul’s beleifs from it.

    1. I’m not convinced by the interpolation arguments. It is possible, almost anything is, but I think the passage is authentic, because if it were interpolated I don’t think the interpolator would have had the content coming from revelation. I don’t think the argument for interpolation is very strong personally. I find it much more likely that Paul wrote it and Mark copied it from Paul (and everyone else copied from Mark, with Luke going back to the source to make his version match Paul’s).

      1. In 11:21 Paul complains that participants in “the Lord’s supper” are gobbling down food and guzzling down wine without waiting for the other participants. Paul disapproves in 11:22-23. Then we get a paraphrase of Luke’s last supper scene, then several lines about being judged (& perhaps condemned) by the Lord. And then in 11:33, Paul simply urges everyone to “wait for another” before diving in.

        The continuity between the complaint about not waiting for others and the admonition to wait is disrupted by a rambling, tangential non sequitur. The interpolation is attached to two verbal ‘hooks’ before and aft: “the Lord’s supper” in 11:20, and “judgement” in 11:34. But the “Lord’s supper” Paul references is a ritual communal meal, not The Last Supper™. Nor does Paul’s judgement of gluttony relate in any way to God’s judgement of guilt.

        1. Of course it isn’t The Last Supper™, G.Mk’s invention is thirty years at least in the future! You can take the atheist out of Christianity but you evidently can’t take Christianity, or a rather a zombie process thereof, out of the atheist. 🙂 I am not seeing a discontinuity as such here, but rather a switch to quoting in another language style, whether it is another of Paul’s and he is quoting himself or it is the word of his Christ spoken in vision, or the word of some other apostle before him. In the Greek I don’t know; but there doesn’t seem to be a consensus one way or the other; so I’ll trust my own comprehension.

          1. You can take the atheist out of Christianity but you evidently can’t take Christianity, or a rather a zombie process thereof, out of the atheist.

            Please explain the meaning of this statement.

  8. Not qualified as a “scholar”, I dare to simply state my opinion that Richard Bauckham’s analysis is ridiculous apologetic nonsense. He concludes the exact opposite of what the Pauline text says.

    1. Lately I have turned my attention to 1 Cor11:23ff, and it has dawned on my that the L.S. is clearly Paul’s creation. He explicitly says so in V23! (Or it’s from a ‘special revelation’, another way of saying it’s his own creation). Why do even so-called ‘liberal’ commentaries avoid this obvious conclusion? The gospels were written to cohere with Paul’s theological construction on this point.
      “Ridiculous apologetic nonsense”, indeed.

      1. That is absolutely correct, of course.
        The gospels are pseudo-biographies written by different authors to give the Pauline “Christ” a more human-like figure and something the Pauline Christians to talk about, including their spurious attempt to relate it more closely to the Hebrew Bible (Septuagint version).

  9. “Paul’s version is verbally so close to Luke’s that, since literary dependence in either direction is very unlikely, Paul must be dependent either on a written text or, more likely, an oral text that has been quite closely memorized….”

    A much simpler possible solution that does not require invoking yet another lost document or oral tradition, but one that Bauckham apparently finds impossible to entertain, is that the interpolator of this hot mess in the middle of 1 Cor. 11 cribbed off GLuke.

    1. Very peculiar; the author seems to think G.Jn is prior, that Jesus was real, and that a conspiracy of some sort had miscarried. A failed “Passover Plot” a la Schonfield. File with Atwill, Eisenman, Thiering and other… How shall I put it? … Crackpots. It isn’t as outré as Jesus being a magic mushroom and God a giant ejaculating penis in the sky though; I’ll give it that much.

      1. Eisenman does not belong in the ‘crackpot’ bin. Eisenman’s connection of Paul to the Herodians is uncontroversial. While his identification of Paul as the “Spouting Liar” of the DSS, and James as the “Teacher of Righteousness”, have run afoul of MSS dating, we know that Paul and The Pillars were at odds, and that Paul’s version of Christ worship was diametrically opposed to the jewish-christians’. Also, if not identical, James’ sect had considerable overlap with the beliefs of the Qumran community.

        Whereas Atwill’s premise, that the Romans invented Jesus out of whole cloth, is sunk by a plethora of inconsistencies, Eisenman’s suggestion, that Paul’s heavenly Kingdom of God was intentionally designed to undermine the jewish-christian foment for an earthly reign of a militant messiah, is at least plausible. (Though I personally lean against it.)

        Finally, whereas the ‘crackpots’ are either not familiar with, or outright ignore, most source material, Eisenman is nothing if very thorough and far-reaching in his use of sources.

        1. Agreed, but I reject the label “Jewish Christians”. Christianity is based on the idea of “Christos”, a shapeshifting deity according to Philippians 2, which is a total contradiction of what the Jewish Messiah was expected to be.

        1. Do you consider Ohlig, Popp and others to be “crackpots” for suggesting Muḥammad was an Epithet for Jesus before it was ever used as a personal name? It corresponds with Benedict which came from the epithet benedictus.

          Some members of the Inârah Institute most notably Karl-Heinz Ohlig, Volker Popp, and the pseudonymous author Christoph Luxenburg have long argued that the word muḥammad should be understood as an epithet for Jesus rather than a reference to the Muḥammad. These scholars base themselves on the assertion that the phrase ‘Muḥammad ʿabd Allāh wa-Rasūluhu’ should be translated as ‘Praised be the servant of God and His messenger,’ and that this phrase parallel with the Christian liturgical (Mt. 23:39) phrase ‘mubārak al-ātī bi-ism al-rabb,’, which is the modern Christian Arabic version of the Benedictus qui venit.’

          Muhammad being an epithet for Jesus comes from the assertion that Islām during it’s formative period in the seventh century was still a non-trinitarian sect of Christianity not yet having fully split off as an independent religion. Their cobbled together scripture—the Quran—mentions Jesus 187 times (25 times by name, 79 times by title, 48 times in the 3rd person, 35 times in the 1st person) far more than Muhammad (4 times) and even Mary is mentioned 34 times.

          The earliest non-Islamic source explicitly mentioning Muḥammad by name is the Syriac chronicle composed by the Christian Thomas the Presbyter ca. 640. In the chronicle, we read: “In the year 945, indiction 7, on Friday 4 February (634) at the ninth hour, there was a battle between the Romans and the Arabs of Muḥammad (ṭayyāyē d-Mḥmṭ) in Palestine twelve miles east of Gaza.”

          The chronicler very well could of misundertood who is this Mhmt whom the Tayayye claim is their leader. “We fight for Mhmt” Remember that according to pseudo-Sebeos the Arabs wanted to resurrect Jesus to lead them. We also have examples of Christian chroniclers believing Amir al muminun was the proper name of a Calife.

          1. It’s not Popp, but Kropp. Please stick to the article that you quoted from and linked to. I have read the link you posted. Have you taken up my challenge and read the discussions of serious scholarly research into the nature and origins of both Islamism and terrorists and terrorist organizations?

  10. No it was Volker Popp because I have a paper of his printed out here somewhere I was going to translate sometime for an ex-Muslim friend in India. From one of the conferences a dozen years back:

    Christoph Heger, convinced of the validity of Christoph Luxenberg and Volker Popp’s thesis that early documents, inscriptions and coins that contain the terms “muhammad” and ” ‘ali” should not be understood as proper names of the putatively historical figures of Islamic historiography but as honorific titles of Jesus Christ, argued that confirmation of the said thesis could be found in the old text of an inscription of a talisman in the possession of Tewfik Canaan.[3] The text of the talisman should be read as:

    “O healer, O God! Help from God and near victory and good tiding of the believers! O praised one [muhammad], O merciful one, O benefactor. There is no young man like the high one [ ‘ali] and no sword like the two-edged sword of the high one. O God, O living one, O eternal one, O Lord of majesty and honour, O merciful one, O compassionate one”.

    This text should be understood as an invocation of Jesus Christ- the healer, the good tiding, the praised, merciful and high one, the young hero, “out of the mouth [of whom] went a sharp two-edged sword” [Apoc. 1:16], namely “the word of God,” which is “sharper than any two-edged sword” [Hebrews 4:12].

    Where Dr. Markus Gross discussed the Buddhist influence on Islam, Professor Kropp explained the Ethiopian elements in the Koran. Independent scholar, traveller, and numismatist Volker Popp argued that Islamic history as recounted by Islamic historians has a Biblical structure –the first four caliphs are clearly modelled on Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. The Muslim historians transformed historical facts to fit a Biblical pattern. Popp also developed a fascinating thesis that Islamic historians had a propensity to turn nomen (gentile) (name of the gens or clan) into patronyms; a patronym being a component of a personal name based on the name of one’s father. Thus Islamic historians had a tendency to take, for instance, Iranian names on inscriptions and turn them into Arabic-sounding names. Having turned Iranians into Arabs, the next step was to turn historical events connected with the original Iranians which had nothing to do with Islamic history into Islamic history. For example, Islamic history knows various so called Civil Wars. One of them was between Abd-al-Malik, his governor al-Hajjaj and the rival caliph in Mecca by the name of Abdallah Zubair. The evidence of inscriptions tells us that the name Zubayr is a misreading. The correct reading is ZNBYL. This was made into ZUBYL by the Arab historians. From ZUBYL they derived the name Zubair, which has no Semitic root. The real story is a fight between Abd al-Malik at Merv and the King of Kabulistan, who held the title ZNBYL. This took place between 60 and 75 Arab era in the East of the former Sassanian domains. The historians transferred this feud to Mecca and Jerusalem and then embedded the whole into the structure of a well known story from the Old Testament, the secession of Omri and his building the Temple of Samaria.

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