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Paul and Jesus

Well, if you ask the question what exactly did Paul know about Jesus?  I think the answer really is quite a lot.  You have to realize his letters are ad hoc documents.  They are written for specific purposes.  They presume a lot of knowledge and the thing I would want emphasized is not the fact that Paul doesn’t quote Jesus on every page, but that he presumes a great deal of knowledge about the story of Jesus, the life-pattern of Jesus, some of the basic teachings of Jesus.  I mean what evidence we do have that’s direct evidence is that he knew about the Sermon on the Mount kind of material.  He certainly knew about the Last Supper material.  He knew about the tradition of how Jesus appeared to a whole bunch of witnesses, including him last of all.  So there seems to be quite a lot that he knows about the historical Jesus even though he didn’t have Gospels presumably to read.

  • Ben Witherington

    Ben Witherington is Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and is on the doctoral faculty at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He has presented seminars for churches, colleges, and biblical meetings not only in the United States but around the world. Recent works include Invitation to the New Testament (Oxford University Press, 2013) and A Week in the Life of Corinth (InterVarsity, 2012). He is the general editor of the New Cambridge Bible Commentary Series.