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Arrest and death
Paul arrived in Jerusalem c AD 57 with a collection of money for the congregation there. Acts reports that the church welcomed Paul gladly, but it was apparently a proposal of James that led to his arrest. Paul caused a stir when he appeared at the Temple, and he escaped being killed by the crowd by being taken into custody. He was held as a prisoner for two years in Caesarea until, in AD 59, a new governor reopened his case. He appealed to Caesar as a Roman citizen and was sent to Rome for trial. Acts reports that he was shipwrecked on Malta where he was met by St Publius (Acts 28:7) and the islanders, who showed him "unusual kindness" (Acts 28:1). He arrived in Rome c AD 60 and spent two years under house arrest. Irenaeus of Lyons believed that Peter and Paul had been the founders of the Church in Rome and had appointed Linus as succeeding bishop. Though not considered a bishop of Rome, Paul is considered highly responsible for bringing the Christianity to Rome. Tradition has said that Paul was beheaded, likely ad Aquas Salvias. By comparison, Peter was crucified upside-down. This account fits with the report from Acts that Paul was a Roman citizen and would have been accorded the more merciful execution. Paul's death is commonly dated to c 60-62 or c 62-65, or c 65-67, in any case during the reign of Nero. In June 2009, Pope Benedict XVI announced excavation results concerning the tomb of Saint Paul at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. The sarcophagus itself was not opened but examined by means of a probe, which revealed pieces of incense and purple and blue linen as well as small bone fragments. The bone was radiocarbon dated to the 1st to 2nd century. This seems to confirm the tradition of the tomb being Saint Paul's.
For its theology of atonement, the Christian church owes a unique debt to the writings of Paul. Paul taught that Christians are redeemed from the Law and from sin by Jesus' death and resurrection. His death was an expiation, and by Christ's blood peace is made between God and man. By baptism, a Christian mystically shares in Jesus' death and in his victory over death, gaining, as a free gift, a new, justified status of sonship.
Paul's letters are largely written to churches which he had visited; he was a great traveler, visiting Cyprus, Asia Minor (modern Turkey), mainland Greece, Crete, and Rome bringing the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth with him. His letters are full of expositions of what Christians should believe and how they should live. He does not tell his correspondents (or the modern reader) much about the life of Jesus; his most explicit references are to the Last Supper (1Corinthians 11:17-34) and the crucifixion and resurrection (1Corinthians 15 1 Corinthians 15). His specific references to Jesus' teaching are likewise sparse (1Corinthians 7:10-11, 9:14), raising the question, still disputed, as to how consistent his account of the faith is with that of the four canonical Gospels, Acts, and the Epistle of James. The view that Paul's Christ is very different from the historical Jesus has been expounded by Adolf Harnack among many others. Nevertheless, he provides the first written account of what it is to be a Christian and thus of Christian spirituality. Of the thirteen letters traditionally attributed to Paul and included in the Western New Testament canon, there is little or no dispute that Paul actually wrote at least seven, those being Romans, First Corinthians, Second Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, First Thessalonians, and Philemon. Hebrews, which was ascribed to him in antiquity, was questioned even then, never having an ancient attribution, and in modern times is considered by most experts as not by Paul (see also Antilegomena). The authorship of the remaining six Pauline epistles is disputed to varying degrees. The authenticity of Colossians has been questioned on the grounds that it contains an otherwise unparalleled description (among his writings) of Jesus as 'the image of the invisible God,' a Christology found elsewhere only in St. John's gospel. On the other hand, the personal notes in the letter connect it to Philemon, unquestionably the work of Paul. More problematic is Ephesians, a very similar letter to Colossians, but which reads more like a manifesto than a letter. It is almost entirely lacking in personal reminiscences. Its style is unique; it lacks the emphasis on the cross to be found in other Pauline writings, reference to the Second Coming is missing, and Christian marriage is exalted in a way which contrasts with the grudging reference in 1Corinthians 7:8-9. Finally it exalts the Church in a way suggestive of a second generation of Christians, 'built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets' now past. The defenders of its Pauline authorship argue that it was intended to be read by a number of different churches and that it marks the final stage of the development of Paul of Tarsus's thinking. The Pastoral Epistles, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus have likewise been put in question as Pauline works. Three main reasons are advanced: first, their difference in vocabulary, style and theology from Paul's acknowledged writings; secondly, the difficulty in fitting them into Paul's biography as we have it. They, like Colossians and Ephesians, were written from prison but suppose Paul's release and travel thereafter. Finally, the concerns expressed are very much the practical ones as to how a church should function. They are more about maintenance than about mission. 2 Thessalonians, like Colossians, is questioned on stylistic grounds, with scholars noting, among other peculiarities, a dependence on 1 Thessalonians yet a distinctiveness in language from the Pauline corpus.
Various Christian writers have suggested more details about Paul's life. 1 Clement reports this about Paul: "By reason of jealousy and strife Paul by his example pointed out the prize of patient endurance. After that he had been seven times in bonds, had been driven into exile, had been stoned, had preached in the East and in the West, he won the noble renown which was the reward of his faith, having taught righteousness unto the whole world and having reached the farthest bounds of the West; and when he had borne his testimony before the rulers, so he departed from the world and went unto the holy place, having been found a notable pattern of patient endurance." Commenting on this passage, Raymond Brown writes that while it "does not explicitly say" that Paul was martyred in Rome, "such a martyrdom is the most reasonable interpretation." Eusebius of Caesarea, who wrote in the fourth century, states that Paul was beheaded in the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero. This event has been dated either to the year 64, when Rome was devastated by a fire, or a few years later, to 67. The San Paolo alle Tre Fontane church was built on the location where the execution was believed to have taken place. A Roman Catholic liturgical solemnity of Peter and Paul, celebrated on June 29, may reflect the day of his martyrdom, other sources have articulated the tradition that Peter and Paul died on the same day (and possibly the same year). A number of other sources including Clement of Rome, say that Paul survived Rome and went to "the limits of the west." Some hold the view that he could have revisited Greece and Asia Minor after his trip to Spain, and might then have been arrested in Troas, and taken to Rome and executed (2Timothy 4:13). A tradition holds that Paul was interred with Saint Peter ad Catacumbas by the via Appia until moved to what is now the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. Bede, in his Ecclesiastical History, writes that Pope Vitalian in 665 gave Paul's relics (including a cross made from his prison chains) from the crypts of Lucina to King Oswy of Northumbria, northern Britain. However, Bede's use of the word "relic" was not limited to corporal remains. Paul, who was quite possibly martyred in Rome, has long been associated with that city and its church. Paul is the patron saint of London.
Conversion and mission
Paul's conversion can be dated to around AD 33 by his reference to it in one of his letters. According to the Acts of the Apostles, his conversion (or metanoia) took place on the road to Damascus, where he experienced a vision of the resurrected Jesus after which he was temporarily blinded (Acts 9:1-31, 22:1-22, 26:9-24). This event is the source of the phrase pauline conversion.
Council of Jerusalem
Most scholars agree that a vital meeting between Paul and the Jerusalem church took place in AD 49 or 50. Paul refers to this meeting in Galatians, and Luke describes it in Acts 15. Most think that Galatians 2:1 corresponds to the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. The key question raised was whether Gentile converts needed to be circumcised (Acts 15:2ff; Galatians 2:1ff). At this meeting, Peter, James, and John accepted Paul's mission to the Gentiles. See also Circumcision controversy in early Christianity. Some Jerusalem meetings are mentioned in Acts, some meetings are mentioned in Paul's letters, and some appear to be mentioned in both. For example, it has been suggested that the Jerusalem visit for famine relief implied in Acts 11:27â€“30 corresponds to the "first visit" (to Cephas and James only) narrated in Galatians 1:18â€“20. F. F. Bruce suggested that the "fourteen years" could be from Paul's conversion rather than the first visit to Jerusalem.
Saint Paul, also called Paul the Apostle, the Apostle Paul or Paul of Tarsus, (Ancient Greek: Î£Î±Î¿ÏÎ» (Saul), Î£Î±á¿¦Î»Î¿Ï‚ (Saulos), and Î Î±á¿¦Î»Î¿Ï‚ (Paulos); Latin: Paulus or Paullus; Hebrew: ×©××•×œ ×”×ª×¨×¡×™â€Ž Å aÊ¾ul HaTarsi (Saul of Tarsus)) (died c 64-65), was a Hellenistic Jew who called himself the "Apostle to the Gentiles" and was, together with Saint Peter and James the Just, the most notable of early Christian missionaries. According to the Acts of the Apostles, his conversion took place on the road to Damascus. Thirteen epistles in the New Testament are attributed to Paul, though scholars dispute their authenticity. According to the Anglican Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Paul's influence on Christian thinking has arguably been more significant than that of any other New Testament author.
Following his stay in Damascus after his conversion, where he was healed of his blindness and baptized by Ananias of Damascus, Paul says that he first went to Arabia, and then came back to Damascus (Galatians 1:17). He describes in Galatians how three years after his conversion he went to Jerusalem. There he met James and stayed with Simon Peter for 15 days (Galatians 1:13â€“24). There is no evidence that Paul had known Jesus prior to the Crucifixion. Paul asserted that he received the Gospel not from any person, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:11â€“12). Paul claimed almost total independence from the "mother church" in Jerusalem. Paul's narrative in Galatians states that 14 years after his conversion he went again to Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1â€“10). It is not completely known what happened during these so-called "unknown years," but both Acts and Galatians provide some partial details. At the end of this time, Barnabas went to find Paul and brought him back to Antioch (Acts 11:26). When a famine happened in Judea, around 45â€“46, Paul and Barnabas journeyed to Jerusalem to deliver financial support from the Antioch community. According to Acts, Antioch had become an alternative centre for Christians following the dispersion of the believers after the death of Stephen. It was in Antioch that the followers of Jesus were first called "Christians" (Acts 11:26).
In the East, church fathers reduced the element of election in Romans 9 to divine foreknowledge. The themes of predestination found in Western Christianity do not appear in Eastern theology.
First missionary journey
Luke, writing c 85-90, arranges Paul's travels into three separate journeys. The first journey, led by Barnabas, takes Paul from Antioch to Cyprus then southern Asia Minor (Anatolia), and back to Antioch. Antioch serves as a major Christian center for Paul's evangelizing.
Incident at Antioch
Despite the agreement achieved at the Council of Jerusalem as understood by Paul, Paul recounts how he later publicly confronted Peter, also called the "Incident at Antioch" over his reluctance to share a meal with Gentile Christians in Antioch. Writing later of the incident, Paul recounts: "I opposed [Peter] to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong". Paul reports that he told Peter: "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?" (Galatians 2:11â€“14). Paul also mentions that even Barnabas (his travelling companion and fellow apostle until that time) sided with Peter. The final outcome of the incident remains uncertain. The Catholic Encyclopedia states: "St. Paul's account of the incident leaves no doubt that St. Peter saw the justice of the rebuke." In contrast, L. Michael White's From Jesus to Christianity claims: "The blowup with Peter was a total failure of political bravado, and Paul soon left Antioch as persona non grata, never again to return." The primary source for the Incident at Antioch is Paul's letter to the Galatians.
Influence on Christianity
Paul's influence on Christian thinking arguably has been more significant than any other New Testament author. Christianity is commonly said to owe as much to Paul as to Jesus. Paul declared that faith in Christ made the Torah unnecessary for salvation, exalted the Christian church as the body of Christ, and depicted the world outside the Church as under judgment.
Paul's writings include the earliest reference to the supper of the Lord, a rite traditionally identified as the Christian Eucharist, as instituted by Christ at the Last Supper. Some contemporary scholars hold that the Lord's supper had its origins in a pagan context, where dinners to memorialize the dead were common and the Jewish prohibition against drinking blood did not prevail. They conclude the "Lord's supper" that Paul describes probably originated in the Christian communities that he had founded in Asia Minor and Greece.
In his commentary The Epistle to the Romans (Ger. Der RÃ¶merbrief; particularly in the thoroughly re-written second edition of 1922) Karl Barth argued that the God who is revealed in the cross of Jesus challenges and overthrows any attempt to ally God with human cultures, achievements, or possessions. Many theologians believe this work to be the most important theological treatise since Friedrich Schleiermacher's On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers. As in the Eastern tradition in general, Western humanists interpret the reference to election in Romans 9 as reflecting divine foreknowledge.
Paul's visits to Jerusalem in Acts and the epistles
This table is adapted from White, From Jesus to Christianity. * First visit to Jerusalem (Acts 9:26â€“27) * after Damascus conversion * preaches openly in Jerusalem with Barnabas * Second visit to Jerusalem (Acts 11:29â€“30) * For famine relief * Third visit to Jerusalem (Acts 15:1â€“19) * With Barnabas * "Council of Jerusalem" * Fourth visit to Jerusalem (Acts 18:21â€“22) * To "keep the feast" (Acts 18:21) * Fifth visit to Jerusalem (Acts 21:17ff) * Paul arrested * No visit to Jerusalem immediately after conversion (Galatians 1:17â€“18) * First visit to Jerusalem (Galatians 1:18â€“20) * Sees only Cephas (Peter) and James * Second visit to Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1â€“10) * With Barnabas and Titus * Possibly the "Council of Jerusalem" * Paul agrees to "remember the poor" * Followed by confrontation with Peter in Antioch (Galatians 2:11â€“14) * Third visit to Jerusalem (Romans 15:25ff, 2 Corinthians 8-9, 1 Corinthians 16:1â€“3) * Paul delivers the collection for the poor
Prior to conversion
St Paul, whose earlier Hebrew name was Saul, was â€œof the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews and in religious respects â€œas touching the law, a Phariseeâ€ (Philippians 3:5). Acts identifies Paul as from Mediterranean Tarsus (in present-day south-central Turkey), well-known for its intellectual environment. Acts also claims Paul said he was "a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee" (Acts 23:6). According to his own testimony, Paul â€œviolently persecutedâ€ the â€œchurch of Godâ€ (followers of Jesus) prior to his conversion to Christianity (Galatians 1:13-14, Philippians 3:6, and Acts 8:1-3). Paul asserted that he received the Gospel not from person, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:11â€“12). Paul claimed independence from the "mother church" in Jerusalem , but was just as quick to claim agreement with it on the nature and content of the "gospel of Christ" (Galatians 1:23â€“24).
* Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. * AulÃ©n, Gustaf, Christus Victor (SPCK 1931) * Brown Raymond E. The Church the Apostles left behind(Chapman 1984) * Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament. Anchor Bible Series, 1997. ISBN 0â€“385â€“24767â€“2. * Bruce, F.F., Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free (ISBN 0â€“8028â€“4778â€“1) * Bruce, F.F. 'Is the Paul of Acts the Real Paul?' Bulletin John Rylands Library 58 (1976) 283â€“305 * Conzelmann, Hans, the Acts of the Apostlesâ€”a Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles (Augsburg Fortress 1987) * Davies, W. D. (1962), "The Apostolic Age and the Life of Paul", in Black, Matthew, Peake's Commentary on the Bible, London: T. Nelson, ISBN 0840750196 * Davies, W. D. (1970). Paul and Rabbinic Judaism: Some Rabbinic Elements in Pauline Theology (third ed.). S.P.C.K.. ISBN 0281024499. * Dunn, James D.G., 1990, Jesus, Paul and the Law Louisville,KY: Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 0664250955 * Hanson, Anthony Tyrrell (1974). Studies in Paul's Technique and Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. ISBN 0802834523. * Holzbach, Mathis Christian, Die textpragmat. Bedeutung d. KÃ¼ndereinsetzungen d. Simon Petrus u.d. Saulus Paulus im lukan. Doppelwerk, in: Jesus als Bote d. Heils. Stuttgart 2008, 166-172. * Irenaeus, Against Heresies, i.26.2 * Maccoby, Hyam. The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity. New York: Harper & Row, 1986. ISBN 0â€“06â€“015582â€“5. * MacDonald, Dennis Ronald, 1983. The Legend and the Apostle: The Battle for Paul in Story and Canon Philadelphia: Westminster Press. * Ogg, George (1962), "Chronology of the New Testament", in Black, Matthew, Peake's Commentary on the Bible, London: T. Nelson, ISBN 0840750196 * Murphy-O'Connor, Jerome, Paul the Letter-Writer: His World, His Options, His Skills (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1995) ISBN 0814658458 * Murphy-O'Connor, Jerome, Paul: A Critical Life (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996) ISBN 0-19-826749-5 * Murphy-O'Connor, Jerome, Jesus and Paul: Parallel lives (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2007) ISBN 0814651739 * Rashdall, Hastings, The Idea of Atonement in Christian Theology (1919) * John Ruef, Paul's First letter to Corinth (Penguin 1971) * Sanders, E.P., Paul and Palestinian Judaism (1977) * Segal, Alan F., "Paul, the Convert and Apostle" in Rebecca's Children: Judaism and Christianity in the Roman World (Harvard University Press 1986). * Segal, Alan F., Paul, the Convert, (New Haven/London, Yale University Press, 1990) ISBN 0-300-04527-1.
Relationship with Judaism
Some scholars see Paul (or Shaul) as completely inline with first century Judaism (a "Pharisee"), others see him as opposed to first century Judaism (see Antinomianism in the New Testament and Marcionism), while still others see him as somewhere inbetween these two extremes, opposed to "Ritual Laws" (see for example Circumcision controversy in early Christianity) but in full agreement on "Divine Law". These views of Paul are paralleled by the views of Biblical law in Christianity. See also Expounding of the Law versus Antithesis of the Law. Paul's theology of the gospel accelerated the separation of the messianic sect of Christians from Judaism, a development contrary to Paul's own intent. He wrote that faith in Christ was alone decisive in salvation for Jews and Gentiles alike, making the schism between the followers of Christ and mainstream Jews inevitable and permanent. He successfully argued that Gentile converts did not need to become Jews, get circumcised, follow Jewish dietary restrictions, or otherwise observe Jewish Law. Nevertheless, in Romans he insisted on the positive value of the Law, as a moral guide. E. P. Sanders' publications have since been taken up by Professor James Dunn who coined the phrase "The New Perspective on Paul" and N.T. Wright, the Anglican Bishop of Durham. Wright, noting a difference between Romans and Galatians, the latter being much more positive about the continuing covenantal relationship between God and his ancient people than the former, contends that works are not insignificant but rather proof of attaining the redemption of Jesus Christ by grace (free gift received by faith) (Romans 2:13ff) and that Paul distinguishes between works which are signs of ethnic identity and those which are a sign of obedience to Christ.
Around AD 50-52, Paul spent 18 months in Corinth. The reference in Acts to proconsul Gallio helps ascertain this date. Here he worked with Silas and Timothy. After Corinth, the next major center for Paul's activities was Ephesus. Ephesus was an important center for Early Christianity from the AD 50s, see also Early Christianity#Western Anatolia. From AD 52-54, Paul lived here, working with the congregation and apparently organizing missionary activity into the hinterlands. Paul's time here was marked by disturbances and possibly imprisonment. Finally, he was forced to leave. Next he traveled to Macedonia before going probably to Corinth for three months (AD 56-57) before his final visit to Jerusalem.
Role of women
Paul supported the role of women in the church, including as prophets and apparently apostles. Elaine Pagels maintains that the majority of the Christian churches in the second century went with the majority of the middle class in opposing the trend toward equality for women. By the year 200, the majority of Christian communities endorsed as canonical the "pseudo-Pauline" letter to Timothy. That letter, according to Pagels, stresses and exaggerates the antifeminist element in Paul's views: "Let a woman learn in silence in all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent." She believes the letters to the Colossians and to the Ephesians, which order women to "be subject in everything to their husbands," do not express what she says were Paul's very favorable attitudes toward women, but also were "pseudo-Pauline" forgeries. Theologian Robert Cramer agrees that the "pseudo-Pauline" epistles were written to marginalize women, especially in the church and in marriage: Since it is now widely concluded that the Pastoral Epistles were written around AD 115,[dubious â€“ discuss] these words were written most likely about 50 years after Paul's martyrdom. Considering the similarity between 1 Corinthians 14:35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12, conclusions that I and others continue to draw are: * that Paul wrote the bulk of what was in 1 Corinthians but that he did not write 1 Timothy, and * that around AD 115, the writer of 1 Timothy or a group associated with him added the 1 Corinthians 14:33-36 pericope to the body of letters that later became 1 Corinthians. Father Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, O.P., in the New Jerome Biblical Commentary, agrees that the verses not favorable to women were "post-Pauline interpolations": 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 are not a Corinthian slogan, as some have arguedâ€¦, but a post-Pauline interpolationâ€¦. Not only is the appeal to the law (possibly Genesis 3:16) un-Pauline, but the verses contradict 1 Corinthians 11:5. The injunctions reflect the misogyny of 1 Timothy2:11-14 and probably stem from the same circle. Some mss. place these verses after 40.
* Achaichus * Authorship of the Pauline Epistles * Christian mystics * New Covenant * Old Testament: Christian views of the Law * Pauline Christianity * Pauline Epistles * Persecution of Christians in the New Testament * Persecution of religion in ancient Rome
Sources of information
The Book of Acts contains an account of Paul's travels and deeds, his conflicts with pagans and Jews, and his interactions with the other apostles. The account of Acts, however, is widely challenged. It was written from a perspective of reconciliation between Pauline Christians and their opponents, so portrays Paul as a law-abiding Jewish Christian and omits his dispute with Peter. Acts schematizes Paul's travels and takes liberties with his speeches. The primary source for historical information about Paul's life is the material found in his seven letters generally thought to be authentic. However, these letters contain very little information about Paul's past. Even Acts leaves important parts of Paul's life undocumented. Many scholars, such as Hans Conzelmann and 20th century theologian John Knox (not the 16th century John Knox), dispute the historical accuracy of Acts. Paul's own account of his background is found particularly in Galatians. Acts sometimes contradicts Paul's own epistles. (Please see the full discussion in Acts of the Apostles). An example is the account in Acts of Paul visiting Jerusalem (Acts 11:27-30) which doesn't fit the account in Paul's letters. Most scholars consider Paul's accounts more reliable than those found in Acts.
Elaine Pagels, professor of religion at Princeton and an authority on Gnosticism, argues that Paul was a Gnostic  and that the anti-Gnostic Pastoral Epistles were "pseudo-Pauline" forgeries written to rebut this. British Jewish scholar Hyam Maccoby contends that the Paul as described in the Book of Acts and the view of Paul gleaned from his own writings are very different people. Some difficulties have been noted in the account of his life. Additionally, the speeches of Paul, as recorded in Acts, have been argued to show a different turn of mind. Paul as described in the Book of Acts is much more interested in factual history, less in theology; ideas such as justification by faith are absent as are references to the Spirit. On the other hand, according to Maccoby, there are no references to John the Baptist in the Pauline Epistles, but Paul mentions him several times in the Book of Acts. F.C.Baur (1792â€“1860), professor of theology at TÃ¼bingen in Germany, the first scholar to critique Acts and the Pauline Epistles, and founder of the so-called TÃ¼bingen School of theology, argued that Paul, as the "Apostle to the Gentiles", was in violent opposition to the original 12 Apostles. Baur considers the Acts of the Apostles were late and unreliable. This debate has continued ever since, with Adolf Deissmann (1866â€“1937) and Richard Reitzenstein (1861â€“1931) emphasising Paul's Greek inheritance and Albert Schweitzer stressing his dependence on Judaism. Maccoby theorizes that Paul synthesized Judaism, Gnosticism, and mysticism to create Christianity as a cosmic savior religion. According to Maccoby, Paul's Pharisaism was his own invention, though actually he was probably associated with the Sadducees. Maccoby attributes the origins of Christian anti-Semitism to Paul and claims that Paul's view of women, though inconsistent, reflects his Gnosticism in its misogynist aspects. Professor Robert Eisenman of California State University, Long Beach argues that Paul was a member of the family of Herod the Great. Professor Eisenman makes a connection between Paul and an individual identified by Josephus as "Saulus," a "kinsman of Agrippa." Another oft-cited element of the case for Paul as a member of Herod's family is found in Romans 16:11 where Paul writes, "Greet Herodion, my kinsman." This is a minority view in the academic community. Among the critics of Paul the Apostle was Thomas Jefferson who wrote that Paul was the "first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus." Howard Brenton's 2005 play Paul also takes a skeptical view of his conversion. F.F. Powell argues that Paul made use of many of the ideas of the Greek philosopher Plato in his epistles, sometimes even using the same metaphors and language.  For example, in Phaedrus, Socrates says that the heavenly ideals are perceived as though "through a glass dimly." These words are echoed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:12.
The World to come
Paul believed that Jesus would return within his lifetime. He expected that Christians who had died in the mean time would be resurrected to share in God's kingdom, and he believed that the saved would be transformed, assuming spiritual bodies. Paul's teaching about the end of the world is expressed most clearly in his letters to the Christians at Thessalonica. Heavily persecuted, it appears that they had written asking him first about those who had died already, and, secondly, when they should expect the end. Paul regarded the age as passing and, in such difficult times, he therefore encouraged marriage as a means of happiness. He assures them that the dead will rise first and be followed by those left alive (1Thessalonians 4:16ff). This suggests an imminence of the end but he is unspecific about times and seasons, and encourages his hearers to expect a delay. The form of the end will be a battle between Jesus and the man of lawlessness (2Thessalonians 2:3ff) whose conclusion is the triumph of Christ.
Augustine's foundational work on the gospel as a gift (grace), on morality as life in the Spirit, on predestination, and on original sin all derives from Paul, especially Romans. In the Reformation, Martin Luther expressed Paul's doctrine of faith most strongly as justification by faith alone. John Calvin developed Augustine's predestination into double predestination.
Thirteen epistles in the New Testament are traditionally attributed to Paul, of which seven are almost universally accepted, three are considered in some academic circles as other than Pauline for textual and grammatical reasons, and the other three are in dispute in those same circles. Paul apparently dictated all his epistles through a secretary (or amanuensis), who would usually paraphrase the gist of his message, as was the practice among first-century scribes. These epistles were circulated within the Christian community, where they were read aloud by members of the church along with other works. Paul's epistles were accepted early as scripture and later established as Canon of Scripture. Critical scholars regard Paul's epistles (written 50-62) to be the earliest-written books of the New Testament, being referenced as early as c. 96 by Clement of Rome.