Rowing_Ant saidPaul was trying to start a new religion.
Thanks for your response, bro. I don't disagree with you about Jesus.
While I would agree that the theology of Paul is indeed radical and seemingly "new", I don't think Paul would agree with you as he would have seen his thoughts as a continuity of his Judaism. He very much considered himself a Jew. This self-identity governed much of how he formulated and justified his thoughts on the reinterpretation of the Law. In his mind, continuity with the old was foundational, gave him the basis
for the Gentile mission.
There's an interesting book I think you might be interested in. It has changed Christian scholarship in the last century as it basically set forth more clearly, than in the past, the premise that Paul didn't invent
anything new but that he was continuous with the theology and teachings of the existing (moreso Jewish) church in Jerusalem in the first century AD.
The book is written by Archibald M. Hunter, published by Westminster Press, entitled Paul and His Predecessors (PDF)
". It apparently impacted Pauline scholarship significantly, and put the interpretation of Paul's letter in a different light—rather than Paul being an "inventor" (formerly popular perspective) rather an eloquent "articulator" of existing teachings while addressing ad hoc
issues with the churches he founded in the context of his calling to the Gentiles.
Rowing_Ant saidSurely what Jesus has to say should "trump" anything that Paul does
I don't think it can be simplified as such. Here's why:
The Gospels and Paul are not over and against each other, but each must be considered according to their textual, literary and socio-cultural backgrounds. Textually and chronologically, the first-person nature of the Pauline letters and their earlier dating lend a bit more credence to the theological understanding of the first-century church at the time than the Gospels. An early dating of Galatians by a majority of NT scholars puts it around 48-50
AD; some would want an early dating of the Gospel (Mark) around 55-58 AD, but most agree that it is more likely 65-75, even up to 85 AD. Furthermore, in light of Dr. Hunter's premise that Paul's theology was actually in continuity with
what was already taught by the Jerusalem church, it suggests that the first-century church actually came to an early understanding of the post-Resurrection significance soon after Jesus' death and resurrection. There's no evidence in Luke-Acts that Paul was so severly discordant in theology with the Jerusalem church, other than and later resolved with the validation of the Gentile mission and the matters concerning primarily circumcision.
While the early church eventually and inevitably became all Gentile-dominated over time, I do not find that Paul necessarily "invented" anything new. That said, it was inevitable that Christianity emerged over and against being "just another sect" of Judaism in finding its identity. In that sense, you're right, it was "new" and no longer "Judaism" in the traditional sense as they were mostly uncircumcised members and perceived as worshipping "three gods" instead of the One.
PS - Sorry for taking this thread way off topic. My bad.