Member Rara Avis
the ass-end of space
Your theory does well to explain why Paul was a prolific, and eloquent letter writer. it still doesn't explain
why there is little said about James scriptually or historically.
Whether or not you believe the site at Qumran was in fact the early christian sect, there is no disputing that
the site housed an immense amount of scrolls on sect rules, beliefs and scriptural commentary. While not as
educated or sophisticated as paul's work, it still shows that while they may not have depended on letters, they
certainly didn't shy from writing. So while your theory may challenge the quality of the work, it doesn't explain
the absence of James or the early sect's work.
Back to those scrolls for a moment. Paul would have had access to such literature in his 3 year 'probation period'
with the early sect. Again whether or not you believe the Qumran sect was on in the same, Paul's letters and ideas
show he was exposed to writing that the sects shared. Paul's theology rests on faith. In his letters to the Romans
and Galatians he states that the scriptures say: 'the upright man finds life through faith' and 'we are told: the righteous
man finds life through faith' respectively.
Where did this idea come to Paul, what scripture is he quoting? Evidence points to the Book of Habakkuk, an apocryphal
OT text. 'The upright man will live by his faith' ~Habakkuk 2:4
Why is this important? Because the sect at Qumran repeatedly makes mention of this scripture in their Habukkuk
commentaries. The Qumran's Habukkuk commentary expands on this as such:
'Interpreted, this concerns all those who observe the Law in the house of Judah, whom God will deliver from the House of
Judgement because of their suffering and because of their faith in the Teacher of Righteousness.'
That quote is extremely important, because it sounds incredibly like Pauline doctrine, suffering and faith in the 'teacher of
righteousness' equal salvation or deliverance. Yet, retains an adherence to the Law, very much like Jesus' early words
do. Its not unreasonable to say that Paul was exposed to this, or similar commentary during his time with the sect. That
said, is it unreasonable to say then, that Paul got it wrong, preaching this passage not as it was intended by abandoning
its adherence to the Law?
There are other important features of the Habukkuk Commentary that make such a link and 'conspiracy theory' more
plausible. It deals with the leader of the Qumran sect, who, like James is called The Righteous. The Righteous has two
characters to contend with. The 'Liar', an outsider allowed to join the community who, disagreeing with their views, leaves
along with some members to preach his version of the sects doctrine. This sounds an awful lot like Paul's role as described
in the events in Acts.
The Second character is the Wicked Priest, who is determined to destroy those 'zealous for the law' and has a role in the
death of the teacher of righteousness. This would be the Temple priest (most likely Ananas) who we know was adamant
about rooting out and destroying the early christians. Something Saul of Tarsus, by his own admission was party to. What
we have of the Qumran's events of the death of their Righteous One, hold startling similarities to Eusebius & Josephus
versions of James martyrdom.
Is it merely coincedence that the Righteous leader and James have such similar histories? Perhaps, though the odds would
be astronomical. But how do you prove or disprove they are not one in the same person? History. The church dates the
people of the Qumran community and the battle spoken of in their War Scroll, to the 63BC Roman siege of Palestine. This
places the christian sect, James death and the revolt of 66AD conviently out of harms way from the events and personages
of the Qumran texts.
But for some important details in the Habukkuk Commentary and War Scroll. The 66BC attack on Palestine is clearly
Republican Rome, however, the scrolls mention practices of Roman troops making offers to their standards (which held
the likeness or initials of the emperor) after victory. Troops in the Republic would have sacrificed to their gods, sacrificing
to their standards and emperor is clearly a ritual of Imperial Rome. Josephus confirms the use of this practice in his
history. Thus the attack Qumran community, their respective characters and the revolt they speak would more accurately
by dated to 66AD. Right smack in the middle of James, Paul and the Christian sect.
Third, James was brought before the Sanhedrin, condemned and stoned to death at a relatively early date in early-church history. Jerusalem became particularly inhospitable to the church in the mid-50s A.D
Some historians have pushed the date up to around 62 AD, and have argued that James stoning in part prompted the revolt
of 66 AD. In fact early church historian Eusebius, Bishop of Cesarea, emphasises this in his history of James and early sect.
"'Let us stone James the Righteous', and began to stone him, as in spite of his fall he was still alive...While they pelted him
with stones.. one of them took a fuller, took the club which he used to beat clothes, and brought it down on the head of the
Righteous One. Such was his martyrdom...Immediately after this, Vespian began to besiege them."
and by quoting Josephus who referring to the revolt:
'these things happened to the Jews in requital for James the Righteous'
This Josephus quote curiously, no longer exists in any available versions of his text. But we know the it exists because the same
quote is used by Origen, another early church father and historian, in his work.
Why is this important? Because i mentioned the Qumran community, and therefore the Righteous One mentioned in their texts, as
more logically dated to around the time of 66AD. If James the Righteous' death is more accurately dated closer to 66AD as well, it
makes the chances of coincidence less likely.
I don't think you conspiracy theory hold much water. Paul's writings and theology were accepted (and defended, in Peter's case) by the other Apostles. It is important to note that misunderstandings of Paul's letters in relation to James' epistle have plagued the church through history. Your finding of conflict between the theology of Paul and James, where the Apostles themselves found no conflict, is simply a perpetuation of the message of "[the] ignorant and unstable [having] twisted his letters around to mean something quite different from what he meant ...".
I like how the accepted Church interpretation of the the letters by the Church is fact, and any challenges are merely misinterpretations
by the ignorant and unstable. Why is it implausible that it was Paul who misunderstood the teachings of the early sect? As the Qumran
texts, or at the very least, Paul's own admissions of being at odds with some of the early sect, would show.
I've never denied that some members of the sect or apostles agreed with Paul. I did say that Paul created a schism within the early
christian sect. Is that so absurd, considering the numerous factions and divisions of christianity that have arisen over the course of
the last 2000 years? Or is that just another ignorant and unstable assumption?
A most telling quote into the psychology of Paul read:
'And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews...though not being myself under the Law, that I might win those under
Paul shows that he will do whatever it takes, including deceit, to win new adepts to his vision and a look at the history of the church
shows the tradition continued. A tradition of preying on the ignorant and unstable.