Jesus the Nazarene: Myth or History

By Maurice Goguel (1926)



The oldest systematic form of Christian thought which we can discern is that which the Epistles of Paul (whose composition took place approximately between the years 50 and 62) makes known to us. We find therein a theology if not theoretically worked out, at any rate of very coherent character. It is important to examine its character and see whether it may be considered as a development from Jewish and Greek premises, or if it be necessary to its comprehension to bring in an historical factor—the life and death of Jesus.

The fragmentary developments which we possess in the Epistles only deal with the essential points in the system; the picture resulting from their assemblage and combination should nevertheless—with the exception of some unimportant details—give us a fairly accurate sketch of the general aspect that the apostle's teaching must have presented.

If Paul's was a powerful and systematic mind—and the Epistle to the Romans alone suffices to prove it—his teaching was not dominated by philosophic preoccupations. Paul preached a gospel and did not teach a doctrine. He was the bearer of a message of salvation. He desired to pluck men from perdition and death, and assure their access to the Kingdom of God, not to instruct them and reveal to them a history and an explanation of things. Religious affirmations predominate in the Epistles. But these affirmations presuppose a very general conception, which includes not only a history of humanity, but a theory of the world and a doctrine concerning God, celestial beings, and an explanation of the origin of evil, sin and death.


Although the apostle's thought was rooted in the religious tradition of Israel, his point of view as regards divinity is sufficiently different from the radical and uncompromising monotheism which characterizes certain declarations of the second Isaiah or of Jeremiah:

"Then shall it be for a man to burn, for he will take thereof (wood) and warm himself: yea, he kindleth it and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god and worshippeth it, he maketh it a graven image and falleth down thereto. He burneth part thereof (tree) in the fire; he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast and is satisfied; yea, he warmeth himself and saith, 'Aha! I am warm. I have seen the fire.' And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image" (Isa. xliv. 15-17; cp. Jer. x. 3-11).

The point of view of Paul might be better styled "monolatry" than "monotheism." "Although there are," he wrote, "either in heaven or on earth many beings which are called gods. . . . There are indeed many gods and lords, yet is there for us but one God, the Father, from whom all things proceed (and for Him we live) and one Lord, Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. viii. 5, 6). Practically—at least, for him who possesses the gnosis—this formula amounts to that of monotheism, since Paul offers it as a commentary upon the other formula which the Corinthian Gnostics employed: "We are aware that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no God but one" (1 Cor. viii. 4). The conclusion drawn by Paul is that he who possesses the gnosis—that is, he who knows the true nature of demons—can enter with impunity into relation with them when consuming food offered to idols. He no longer pays them worship, and he no more seeks their favour than he fears their enmity. But those who have not yet attained this degree of knowledge ought to fly from communion with idols which for them would be pollution.[1] Paul distinctly declares that an idol is nothing—that is to say, it is not a divine being. The worship paid to an idol is not directed to God, but to demons, and has the effect of putting the worshipper into direct relation with them,

[1] Concerning communion with demons, see Maurice Goguel, L'Eucharistie, p. 167.


and thereby exposing himself to divine anger. There exist, therefore, other gods than the Unique Father—these are the demons who, under the guise of idols, are adored by pagans. Idolatry is an insult to God, who alone has the right to be adored. In the very fact that they have claimed worship, the demons have made themselves enemies of God. Although we do not find in the Epistles explicit theories on this point, it is very probable that Paul does not explain the origin of demons by a fundamental and irreducible dualism, but by the theory of Satan, a celestial being who rebelled against God. An allusion to this theory is found in the great Christological passage of the Epistle to the Philippians, where the attitude of the preexisting Christ is opposed to that of another being who sought to seize for himself full divinity—that is to say, desired to impose himself upon man to be worshipped. Through the rebellion of Satan, who seduced away in his train a faction of celestial beings, there was created in the face of God an army of demons hostile to Him. These are the enemies referred to in 1 Cor. xv. 25, 26. The last to be conquered and destroyed will be Death, who is not to be imagined as an abstract power, but as a personality, Thanatos, probably identical with Satan himself. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, whose thought upon many points is closely related to Paul's, the devil is directly identified with Thanatos in the formula, "he who has the power of death—that is to say, the devil" (Heb. ii. 14). The same identification is not found formally in Paul. It appears, however, to be inferable from fairly precise indications. Paul speaks of a "god of this world" (2 Cor. iv. 4) who is evidently the devil, and on the other hand he asserts the existing world is subjected to the dominion of death owing to sin (Rom. v. 12, vi. 23; 1 Cor. xv. 21). According to 1 Cor. v. 5, the abandonment of the incestuous to the power of Satan will have as its consequence the destruction of the flesh—that is, the death of the guilty one. According to 1 Cor. x. 10, the rebellious Israelites in the desert were delivered over to the exterminator (Satan), who destroyed them.[1] It follows from these passages that Satan and Thanatos

[1] "Through the jealousy of the devil, death entered the world" (Wisdom of Solomon). "The devil was a murderer from the first" (John viii. 44). "Satan, the Evil One,and the Angel of Death are identical" (Rabbi Simon ben Lakisch).


are two equivalent terms, or, more precisely, Thanatos is Satan considered as exercising one of his essential functions.

Satan before his rebellion was one of the beings of the army of heaven. The existence of a whole hierarchy of beings inhabiting the heavens—angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, principalities and powers—particularly referred to in the Epistle to the Colossians (i. 16)—has nothing in it which is contrary to the will and design of God. Evil comes uniquely from the action of these beings, who, instead of keeping the subordinate position appertaining to them, dared to rise and oppose themselves to God. Thus is explained the fact that the Pauline theory not only insists upon a disorder introduced into humanity, but also of a disorder within the cosmos, making necessary the redemption not of humanity alone, but of the entire creation (Rom. viii. 19-22)—in other words, the re-establishment of the sovereignty of God (1 Cor. xv. 24-26).


If this notion of cosmic disorder is fundamental in the thought of Paul, and if the redemption of sinners is with him but a portion of a more general work, in his preaching and his Epistles it is the notion of human redemption which occupies the premier place.

Looked at from the point of view of humanity, evil takes the form of sin. It is a state of things whose essential characteristic is ignorance of God, estrangement and opposition to Him (1 Cor. xv. 34). Sin dishonours God (Rom. ii. 23); it is rebellion against His will and His law (Rom. ii. 8, iii. 5, xi. 30, etc.); it is also a state of weakness (Rom. v. 6, vi. 19). Paul does not only conceive it as an act or series of acts, but as a state characterized by the subordination of humanity to a power hostile to God (Rom. iii. 9, v. 19, vi. 17-20, vii. 20; Gal. iii. 22). It is in the flesh that resides the power of sin, and through which it is exercised (Rom. vi. 12, vii. 5-14, viii. 3).[1] Sin is universal. The whole beginning of the Epistle to the Romans is devoted

[1] We may leave aside the question, difficult enough to answer, as to whether the flesh is the cause or only the seat of the sin, and if it is so by its very nature or as a result of a fall.


to establishing this thesis, and particularly that (contrary to an idea cherished by Judaism) the sin of the Jews does not separate them less from God than the sin of the pagans (Rom. ii. 1-3, 18, xi. 32; Gal. iii. 21). The law, indeed, is not a means of escaping from the domination and consequences of sin. Its first task is to reveal it (Rom. iii. 20). In a certain sense it gives sin manifestation by transforming a tendency more or less unconscious into open rebellion (Rom. iv. 15, v. 13, vii. 7-13; Gal. iii. 22). In itself, however, the law is holy, just and good (Rom. vii. 12). It was designed to give life in showing the path to follow to obtain life, or, in other words, access to the Kingdom of God (Rom. vii. 10), but it has been disarmed and rendered impotent by the flesh (Rom. vii. 14, viii. 3). It is the disorder introduced into the world which has prevented the law producing the effects it should have done.

This brings us to the question of capital importance in the interpretation of Paulinism—the origin of sin. Faithful on this point to Jewish dogma, Paul seeks the origin of sin in the disobedience of Adam. His theory is expressed in the parallel between Adam and Jesus Christ, which appears to have been one of the habitual themes of his preaching, and of which we possess two examples, both incomplete, in 1 Cor. xv. 45-47, and in Rom. v. 12-21. The central affirmation is that sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam (Rom. v. 17-19). This disobedience has introduced a principle which produces consequences even where there are no acts of rebellion similar to that of Adam (v. 21). Paul certainly conceived the disobedience of the first man according to the narrative in Genesis (iii. 1-19), to which he alludes (2 Cor. xi. 3).

But the disobedience of Adam is only an historical explanation of the origin of sin. It shows when, and in what conditions, sin entered the world; it does not explain why it exists. The theory, therefore, only puts the problem farther back; it does not solve it. So Paul looks at the problem again and from another point of view, and he indicates—for it is a question of indications only and not of a theory systematically worked out—how the seduction of Satan was exercised and what the relation is between the sin of man and the rebellion of Satan against God. It is in Rom. i. 18-32, where is to be found the sole passage that


might be called a philosophy of religion, that these indications are met with. The starting-point of the argument is an admission of fact. The wrath of God is manifested from heaven upon the injustice and impiety of mankind (Rom. i. 18). How is it that men are thus so opposed to truth and have refused to worship God? To this question—which is, besides, not expressly formulated—Paul replies by rejecting the idea of a complete ignorance of God on the part of man. God revealed Himself to men, but they fell into idolatry (i. 19-23). The punishment of this attitude is that God abandoned men to their passions, which caused them to fall into all kinds of crime and impurity (i. 24-32). In the beginning there was, therefore, a kind of natural knowledge of God, whose invisible attributes, infinite power and divinity are revealed in creation (i. 19, 20). But man rejected this knowledge of God offered to him (i. 21); he refused to give the worship due to God; his heart became hardened, and has lost itself in vain speculations. Thus came about the adoration of men and animals, rendering to the creature the worship which rightly belonged to the Creator. Idolatry is the root of all sin. The divine wrath which it provoked abandoned man to his evil passions. These without doubt existed before this, but they were to some extent disciplined and kept under control; it was this control which was destroyed. Idolatry does not affect humanity alone. Paul does not conceive it as a perversion of the religious sense which substitutes imaginary beings for its real object. Idolaters adore demons—that is, celestial spirits in rebellion against God. In idolatry we find in alliance two orders of beings in rebellion against God: Satan and his angels, who claim the worship which only belongs by right to God, and mankind, which consents to accord to them the worship which it refuses to God. The second of these facts is a result of the first. In 2 Cor. xi. 3 it is shown that at the beginning of sin there was a seduction by Satan; it is the act whereby the demons obtained the worship of mankind. Human sin is thus in direct relation with the rebellion of Satan. Sin is thus not only a human fact; it is a cosmic fact; it is but one consequence of Satan's rebellion, one special case of the disorder which was thus introduced into the universe. In fact, notwithstanding the extremely valuable idications which are given us in the passage in Rom. viii. 19-22,


it is almost exclusively of the consequences for humanity of sin that Paul speaks. Sin involves death. "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. vi. 23). But the mechanism of this consequence, if we may so term it, is presented by Paul under two different aspects. Sometimes we meet with the idea of a kind of logical and necessary relation: sin breeds death. This takes place to some degree of its own nature and without God intervening to exact any sanction. This is what Paul calls "the law of sin and death" (Rom. viii. 2; cp. v. 12).

In consequence of sin man has fallen under the dominion of death, which must reign until at the moment at the end of time, when it will be destroyed by Christ (1 Cor. xv. 24, 25). But beside this, we find almost at every page of the Pauline Epistles the idea that death is the result of a judgment. The concept of judgment and the return of the Lord who will execute it has such precision in Paul's thought that, in a passage like 1 Cor. iv. 3, the word "day"[1] is meant in the sense of judicial authority—of judgment. Paul writes: "We shall all appear before the judgment-seat of God"[2] (Rom. xiv. 10; cp. with 2 Cor. v. 10). With the idea of judgment must be combined that of the divine wrath which at the end of time will fall upon the guilty (1 Thess. i. 10, v. 9; Rom. i. 18, ii. 5, v. 9; Col. iii. 6). There are thus in Paul's thought two conceptions. According to one, God appears as a Judge who executes upon sin the penalty it deserves; according to the other, He is a witness, to some degree passive, or rather the penalty He imposes comes, not at the end of time, but at the very moment that sin appears in the world. It consists entirely in the fact that humanity is abandoned to the power of Satan. It is probably because he found these two conceptions in the religious traditions of his nation that Paul allowed them to co-exist in his mind, and that he perhaps was unaware of the contradiction existing between them.

[1] Day of Lord's return.

[2] There is a certain amount of incoherence in Paul's thought on this. The Judge is sometimes God and sometimes Christ (2 Cor. v. 10). The first is related to the ancient Hebrew tradition of Yahweh (judge) ; the second is more Messianic. Dialectically, the contradiction is resolved by the idea of God judging through Jesus Christ (Rom. ii. 16). In a subordinate position is found in Paul the idea of judgment of the world by the saints (see 1 Cor. vi. 2).



The disorder in the world and the corruption of human nature demands a work of restoration, a redemption. Paul insists greatly on the idea that the initiative of this work belongs to God alone. "But all this is the work of God," he wrote (2 Cor. v. 18). Man here can boast of nothing.[1] It is God who calls men to salvation[2] (1 Thess. ii. 12, v. 9; 1 Cor. i. 9; Rom. viii. 28, ix. 24, xi. 32). Redemption appears at first as an effect of the love of God (Rom. v. 5, viii. 39). It is also an act of the grace of God. This notion of grace, which holds a central position in Pauline thought, is, above all, a practical one. Grace, in the life of Paul, had been an experience before it became an object of his theological meditations. There is noticeable in him a certain lack of homogeneity—at least in expression—redemption being attributed sometimes to love, sometimes to compassion, sometimes to the grace of God. This would be difficult to explain if we were dealing with a logically constructed theory, but, on the contrary, it is very readily explained if experience of redemption had preceded dogmatic reflection. Paul feels that what he is as a Christian and an apostle is the work of the grace of God. "By the grace of God," he writes, "I am what I am." He feels that he had undergone, at the moment of his conversion, a change which his former life had not prepared; that he was thrown outside his routine existence; that he had been coerced. It was this same force which was at work in his apostolic activity (1 Cor. xv. 10; 2 Cor. xii. 9).

Just as the Christian life of Paul in his own eyes is an original creation and not the resultant of earlier factors, so also it is that the notion of grace which explains it has no deep roots in Judaism. Indeed, in the Septuagint the word "grace" means only the ideas of favour, benevolence, benediction, and pardon, and not that of a divine force which creates in man something new. Its origin cannot be looked for in Hellenism either. In

[1] In his struggle with Judeo-Christianity he insists much upon the idea that the Law is impotent to effect salvation. See, for example, Rom. ii. 13, iii. 20; Gal. ii. 16.

[2] We may leave aside the question whether He destines all to salvation, a part of mankind only, and whether the fact that all are not saved is explicable by divine decree or by human freedom.


Philo's writings grace means the natural gifts which constitute man a reasonable being, but so far away is Philo from Paul's characteristic idea of aid accorded to a sinner, and precisely because he is a sinner, that the assertion is found of the eternal springs of grace being dried up when wickedness began to enter the world (De opificio Mundi). In the inscriptions the term "grace" means a gift bestowed by the sovereign authority.

In certain Pauline texts grace appears, without the thought being precisely defined, as the primary source of salvation (2 Cor. viii. 9, xiv. 9; Gal. i. 16). In others it is a divine force which seizes man, calls him, transforms him, justifies him—in other words, makes of him who was condemned a ransomed being, a child of God. It is a power which takes possession of man and permeates his entire life. But its independence of man does not exclude the moral character of its action in producing a renewal and a transformation of the personality (Rom. iii. 24, iv. 4, xi. 5, 6; Gal. i. 15). Sometimes grace is hypostatized; it seems as though it were a personal power—for example, in the parallel between Adam and Jesus Christ (Rom. v. 15-21)—but this is nothing more than a figurative mode of expression.

The essential character of Pauline theology, its originality in comparison with Judaism, is to substitute the notion of grace for that of merit, of justice imputed for that of acts performed. Upon this point Paul is distinctly conscious of separating himself from the religion of his fathers. It is this opposition which explains the energy with which he insists upon the absolutely gratuitous and unearned character of salvation. However, the independence of grace has its limits. From the thesis he affirms with so much fervour, Paul does not draw (what would seem to be the logical deduction)—namely, that the unique and all-sufficient cause of salvation is to be found in the paternal heart of God. The comparison between Pauline thought and the teaching of the Gospel is here very instructive. In the parable of the prodigal son pardon is not subordinated to the accomplishment of any other condition than the repentance of the sinner—that is to say, it depends upon no relations outside those between the offender and the one offended against. In Paul it is not the same thing. For him salvation would be impossible without the cross. What is the reason of this difference? It is not


enough to say that as a Pharisee Paul was too much concerned to safeguard the holiness of God to accept the idea of a free pardon for sin, for besides the holiness of God, Pharisaism insisted also upon His omnipotence. The true reason is elsewhere. Paul was obliged to explain the fact of the death of Christ, which thus appeared as one of the most essential premises of his theology. From the necessity of this explanation arose the Pauline doctrine of Redemption.

In Paul's writings the pardon of God is not the effect of a free, spontaneous and immediately efficacious initiative. It is subordinated to the accomplishment of a work of redemption.

For Paul salvation is not only a "processus" within the divine, designed to conciliate love and justice. This order of ideas which is represented in the Pauline doctrine of redemption does not exhaust it. It corresponds to the idea of sin conceived as a violation of the law of God and as rebellion against Him. But the divine pardon granted to man would remain fruitless if it were not accompanied by a victory gained by God over the evil powers, who, owing to sin, exercised their dominion over humanity. God has conceived for the realization of salvation a plan which reveals a wisdom infinitely superior to that of the world. This plan of redemption is the object of the teaching imparted by the apostle to the perfect (1 Cor. ii. 6; Rom. xi. 33). This is the mystery which is revealed unto the elect (Col. i. 25, ii. 2). Redemption has a double object. Man must one day appear before the judgment-seat of God, and if he be abandoned to himself he will not escape condemnation.

Redemption has the effect of making him the object of a judgment of acquittal, and thus having part in the divine Kingdom. On the other hand, the sinner must be delivered from the evil powers who have dominion over him. To these two elements correspond two different moments of the work of redemption—justification on one side and redemption properly so called on the other. On one side this distinction corresponds[3] that which Paul makes elsewhere between the two parts of the redeeming work of Christ, between that accomplished by lis death and resurrection and that which will be accomplished: the day of His glorious return at the end of the age. The work of justification is achieved in principle, whilst that of


redemption is only hoped for (2 Thess. ii. 8; 1 Cor. xv. 24). However, if redemption depends upon the victory that Christ is to gain at the end of the age over all His enemies, His triumph is certain, for by His death and resurrection Jesus has conquered and despoiled the powers and dominions—that is, the spiritual beings hostile to God to whom humanity is now enslaved (Col. ii. 15). This it is which gives to the Christian hope of Paul so special a character. The work of justification is described by Paul with much more precision than that of redemption. This is not only because the first develops upon an historical plane, whilst the second will take place at the end of the age, and will in consequence possess an extra-historical character. If, in theory, redemption, on Paul's theological system, possesses as much importance as justification, it is not so from the practical point of view. The whole missionary effort of Paul—and Paul was a missionary before all else—is concentrated upon the acceptation of justification by the sinner. This point once gained, everything else followed, for, from the individual point of view, redemption appeared as a consequence of justification, and the spirit which the justified one receives is the assurance of it (Rom. v. 10, viii. 23; Gal. iv. 6).


The fundamental idea upon which the Pauline doctrine of justification rests is that of two worlds, one succeeding the other. The present world, placed under the dominion of evil powers, has for its essential characteristics sin, death and impotence (Gal. i. 4 ; 1 Cor. i. 20, ii. 6, iii. 18; 2 Cor. iv. 3). It is destined to perish. The world of the future is the Kingdom of Christ and of God. The time which passes between the death of Christ and His return is an intermediate period, in which the two economies (if we may so express it) overlap each other. The old dispensation (or economy) still subsists, since of the powers which reign over it, it is said that they will perish (1 Cor. ii. 8, xv. 24); it is never said they have perished; their destruction is foretold for the end of time (1 Cor. xv. 26).

The present world is dominated by three facts: Sin, the consequence of Adam's fall, and death introduced by it into


the world; the promise given to Abraham, which, amid the darkness of a world condemned, causes hope to shine; and finally the Law of Moses. For each of these points of view the cycle is completed by the manifestation of Christ. Through it sin is vanquished, the faithful are restored to life (1 Cor. xv. 22; Rom. v. 17), the promise made to Abraham is fulfilled (2 Cor. i. 20 ; Gal. iii. 16), and finally Christ is the end of the law (Rom. x. 4; cp. Gal. iii. 21, iv. 5).

The redeeming work of Christ involves at once God and man. Because of its essentially moral character, it can only be accomplished by a being in close solidarity with humanity, therefore by a man. But as humanity is radically impotent, and the initiative for salvation belongs to God, it can only come through a being who is not himself a sinner but in intimate union with God, therefore by a celestial being. Hence the double character of the Pauline Christ, a human personality and at the same time superhuman, not God (the term is not found in Paul), but the "Son of God"—a contradiction that the apostle solves by the idea of the incarnation of the pre-existing Christ. Christ belongs at once to the divine and the human spheres; His personality has a double aspect (Rom. i. 4). But there is nothing in Paul to resemble that which later was to be the orthodox dogma, because his thought does not express itself in theological definitions, and also because he does not picture to himself a combination in the person of Christ of incongruous elements, but rather the succession of diverse phases. The Pauline idea is that of a divine Being, the image of God (2 Cor. iv. 4; Col. i. 15), a celestial man (1 Cor. xv. 48, 49), the first-born of creation (Col. i. 15), who, laying aside His celestial attributes, became man, and who, after His resurrection, received the name of "Lord" (Phil.ii. 5-11).

Everything which concerns pre-existence is outside of experience, as Paul conceives it, and has a double origin. This proceeds from the theological system of Judaism, in which the notion of the Messiah was very developed, but also from theological eflection. If Jesus, by His death and resurrection, had brought about that which He had, in fact, accomplished according to the experience of Paul, it necessarily follows that His personality must have been unlike that of other men.


The name by which Paul most frequently designates Christ is that of "Son of God." This is but an image, for there is nothing in the apostle's writings which resembles the idea to be met with later, of a Son begotten by God. The Christ remains distinctly subordinate to the Father. He was created by the Father. This follows from the parallel drawn between Adam and Him, but also from the term "image of God," which recalls the narrative of the creation of the first man in the image of God (Gen. i. 27) and also of the term "first-born." The idea of the celestial man or the typical man of 1 Cor. xv. 48 is another form of the notion of pre-existence which is affirmed in a series of explicit texts—for instance, in the declaration of the Epistle to the Romans that God had sent His Son (Rom. viii. 3; cp. Gal. iv. 4; 2 Cor. viii. 9; Phil. ii. 5). It follows also from the part taken by Christ in the creation (1 Cor. viii. 6; Col. i. 15-17). At the end of time—that is, at the moment chosen by God in the plan conceived by His wisdom (Gal. iv. 4)—Jesus was born in the midst of the Jewish people, a descendant of Abraham and of David (Rom. i. 3). He was in all points obedient unto God (Rom. v. 17-19; Phil. ii. 8) and had in no wise known sin (2 Cor. v. 21). The texts in which a human appearance of Christ is spoken of (Rom. viii. 3; Phil. ii. 7) must not be interpreted against the reality of Jesus, for, as H. J. Holtzmann has very well observed, the Greek word employed is not opposed to the notion of identity, but to that of difference.[1] That which explicitly confirms this interpretation is the fact that Paul attributes to Christ flesh and blood (Rom. i. 3, iii. 25; 1 Cor. x. 16; Col. i. 20), whilst these are, in his view, elements which characterize human nature, and are foreign to the celestial life (1 Cor. xv. 50). The essence of the work of Christ is His death upon the cross. The cross is for Paul the power and the wisdom of

[1] It may appear, given the notion of the flesh, that there is a contradiction between the humanity of Christ and the fact that He is without sin. The solution of this is given by the parallelism drawn between Adam and Jesus Christ. Just as Adam, before the fall, was at the same time man and without sin, so it is possible to conceive that God had realized for Christ what Adam had been at the creation. It is to be noted that Jewish thought does not rigorously affirm the universality of sin. A Jewish Apocryphal book,4th Esdras, says that nearly all men are sinners and that very few are not. This offers some striking affinities with Paul's thought (vii. 139).


God (1 Cor. i. 18, 23, 24), the sole reason that man can have to be assured of his salvation (Gal. vi. 14), and for this the enemies of the Gospel are called the enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. iii. 18). If Paul combated with the energy and perseverance known to us the idea of justification by the works of the Law and particularly by circumcision, it is in order that the offence—that is, the efficacity of the cross—may not be diminished (Gal. v. ii, vi. 12; 1 Cor. i. 17). It is upon this idea that the apostle insists with the greatest emphasis (Gal. i. 14; 1 Cor. xv. 3; Rom. iv. 25, v. 10). Several concepts are introduced to explain it—for instance, that of Christ as the paschal lamb (1 Cor. v. 7), that of Christ as propitiation (that is, a means of salvation conceived as a levitical sacrifice) (Rom. iii. 25), and also that of the sacrifice by ransom (Rom. vi. 17; Gal. iii. 13). But the governing thought which explains the process of justification is that of the condemnation of sin in the flesh of Christ (Gal. iii. 13; 2 Cor. v. 21; Rom. viii. 3). Jesus, whilst being perfectly holy, was treated by God as though He were sin personified and condemned. This is not the idea of expiatory sacrifice incidentally indicated in Rom. iii. 25, for the victim of this sacrifice had to be of perfect purity, whilst the death of Jesus on the cross was that of one condemned, loaded with sin. Neither is it the equivalent of ransom, for the punishment of sin in the flesh of Jesus was a legal sanction and not a satisfaction accorded either to God or devil. Neither can it be said, as does M. Loisy, who assimilates the death of Christ to the sacrifice of the ram dedicated to Azazel, that Christ took upon Himself the sins of men. These sins, in fact, are not destroyed by His death. They subsist after it, with all their consequences, and are only destroyed by the virtual death of the believer realized by mystical union with Christ. We have in Paul an original conception in which juridical notions play a much greater part than in the Jewish conception of sacrifice.[1]

[1] The question whether Paul taught a doctrine of expiation has been much discussed. There are many texts which seem to hint at it; those on which it is said that Christ died "for us" or "for our sins," but it is not certain that "for us" means "in our place" and not "in our interest," and that "for our sins" may have the sense of "accepting responsibility for our sins," and not "because of our sins." It is rather the idea of solidarity which seems to adapt itself to Paul's thought (2 Cor. v. 15).


The death of Christ without His resurrection would be without efficacy. The resurrection is not only for Paul a reparation accorded to Christ, a recompense for His sacrifice; still less is it a consequence of His divine nature. If Christ died without subsequent resurrection, His sacrifice was in vain (1 Cor. xv. 14-17). He was raised again for our justification (Rom. iv. 25). When Paul uses the verb "to rise again" in the active voice it is always God who is the subject of the sentence. Christ did not return to life by Himself.[1] It is God who raised Him (1 Thess. i. 10; Gal. i. 1; 1 Cor. vi. 14, xv. 15; 2 Cor. iv. 14; Rom. iv. 25). Through His resurrection Christ was restored to the rank and to the possession of the attributes which He had in His pre-existence, and He is even placed at a higher rank than that which He occupied (Phil. ii. 11), and seats Himself at the right hand of God (Rom. viii. 34; Col. iii. 1). He enters into the possession of the divine glory. In His glorious existence Christ was essentially spirit (1 Cor. xv. 45), and even the Spirit[2] (2 Cor. iii. 17; Rom. viii. 9, 10). The phrase "Christ, power of God" (1 Cor. i. 24) makes of Him almost a "mode" of the divine activity.

The death and resurrection of Christ also modify His position relatively to demoniacal beings. Henceforward, indeed, they have no power over those who belong to Christ (Rom. viii. 37). He has gained the victory and re-established order in the cosmos (Col. i. 18-20). He has taken the first place and brought into subjection all other powers. Nevertheless, according to 1 Cor. xv. 24, 25, the victory of Christ can only take place at the end of time. The reconciling of these two things, in appearance contradictory, seems attained by the idea that in the text of the Epistles to the Philippians, Romans and the Colossians they are considered as principles and in the absolute, whilst in the first Epistle to the Corinthians they are considered in their chronological development. In the Epistle to the Romans it is a question of a certain victory, but which one does not exclude a struggle. The Satanic powers are not destroyed; they can still wage the

[1] As in the case of the Johannine conception, "I have power to lay down my life and power to take it again" (John x. 18).

[2] Believers mystically in union with him ceased to be flesh to become spirit (Gal. v. 24; Rom. vi. 1).


last battle with Christ, but they will be unable to triumph. In the Epistle to the Philippians (ii. 9-11) Christ receives a name before which every knee shall bow, but this does not imply that they will not attempt to rebel. On the other hand, in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, if there is a battle, the issue is fixed in advance. The victory of Christ is certain. According to Col. i. 20 Christ gains the victory by the blood upon the cross. This may be compared with 1 Cor. ii. 8, where the statement is made that if the archons of this world had known the wisdom of God—that is, understood His plans—they would not have crucified the glorious Lord. Why is this? Because they would not have devoted their efforts to the realization of a work which must have for them as consequence their overthrow and spoliation. The cross is thus the means by which the princes of this world are to be annihilated and despoiled. It is impossible to interpret with precision the thought of Paul on this point, for it proceeds only by allusions which are concerned either with the teaching he had himself given, or with the current ideas of his time—for example, those developed in the Ascension of Isaiah, and which, to appeal directly to the intelligence of his readers, it sufficed to evoke.

The full and complete victory of Christ over the spirits would only be gained at the end of the age. After His resurrection Christ is seated at the right hand of God (Rom. viii. 34 ; Col. iii. 1). He will reign until all enemies have been put under His foot, and the last enemy of all—death. Then He will surrender the Kingdom to His Father, and this will be the end (1 Cor. xv. 24, 26).

How is this Pauline Christology formed? It is often said that the apostle was the creator of Christology. This formula is only exact if the word "creation" be understood, not in the sense ex nihilo, but in the sense of a synthesis formed from pre-existing elements. The Pauline thought appears as an original solution of a problem which arose out of the circumstances themselves, for the Christological problem existed from the very moment that one single man continued to believe in Jesus in spite of the ignominy of His death. But the solutions or the outlines of them were swept aside by the powerful synthesis of Paul, which dominated all later Christian thought.


Certain elements of the Christology of Paul have a speculative origin. These are specially the notions of saintliness—in so far as it is not the observation of a fact but the affirmation of a principle—and of pre-existence. The notion, too, of the Messiahship has a theoretical and absolute character. The drama proceeds according to a necessary plan, whilst if we adopt the idea in the parable of the vineyard, according to the thought of Jesus, we are led to the conception that the arrival of the Messiah was a last attempt at redemption, which would not have taken place if the wickedness of mankind had not rendered fruitless the mission of the prophets. The doctrine of the necessity of the death of Christ marks, indeed, an essential point of difference between the thought of Paul and that of Jesus. For Jesus death is the supreme proof of love for His fellow-men, which He will give them if it be necessary. It is like His entire ministry, but not separated from it; it is an appeal addressed to sinners; it is not—what it is according to Paul's thought—the very cause of the pardon of God. Reflection and speculation are dominant in Paul. As for the preponderance accorded to the cross—one might almost say the eclipsing of Christ's ministry in face of the unique and extraordinary radiance of His cross—it can only be explained by the angle under which Paul entered into contact with the Gospel.

There is in Paul an element whose origin is in the Jewish Messianic doctrine.[1] Brückner has shown that after eliminating what is specifically Christian in the Pauline Christology there is found a system of coherent ideas which finds its place in the most natural manner in the development of the Jewish Messianic doctrine. This Christology existed in Paul's mind before his conversion. Certain Hellenic elements are also to be recognized—those treating of the relations of Christ with the spirits—but they may have been incorporated with Jewish ideas before Paul. Nothing, however, would be more erroneous than to consider the Pauline Christology as only a simple development of Jewish or Judeo-Hellenic premises. That which gives

[1] Concerning the Jewish Messianic doctrine see Schürer (Gesch.), Bousset (Die Religion des Judentums), Baldensperger (Die Messianisch-apokalyptischen, etc.), Brückner (Die Entstehung der Paulischen Christologie).


him his originality is the synthesis built up of these elements and the historical episode of the life and death of Jesus.

It is not possible to reduce to a common element the historical and dogmatic constituents of the Pauline Christology, as M. Couchoud would do. This is proved by the fact that we do not find in Paul a homogeneous conception of the cause of Christ's death, as should be the case if the entire history of Jesus, and of His death in particular, had been the postulates of a dogmatic system. According to 1 Cor. ii. 8 Christ died crucified owing to the acts of the archons or rebellious angels against God. According to Rom. vii. 3 He died (although He was not in person a sinner, but through solidarity with humanity accepted by Him) because God treated Him as though He were sin itself, and inflicted the chastisement which sinners deserve. These two conceptions are not dialectically irreconcilable. One might imagine the archons as agents used by God to punish sin. Doubtless the two conceptions are far from having the same compass or being on the same plane. The first is only indicated in a quite incidental manner, in a dissertation which treats, not of the death of Christ, but of the wisdom of God. The second is in direct relation with the doctrine of justification, which is at the heart of the apostle's thought. The co-existence of these two explanations proves, however, that we are not dealing with a ready-made conception, nor with a system developed from myth or doctrine, but from the interpretation by this doctrine of an historical fact.


The same conclusion follows, with better evidence still, from the study of the Pauline theory of the justification and redemption of the sinner. The death of Christ, as we have seen, abolishes the consequences of sin, and contains in germ the defeat of the demons to whom humanity is subject and whose action produces sin and death. But, however efficacious it be, this death does not abolish the actual consequences of sin. The theoretical destruction of its power does not save mankind from continuing to bear as a fact the consequences of sins committed, and if


the demon-powers are in principle condemned, mankind still undergoes the effects of its subjection to them in the past. Moreover, their power continues to be exercised up to the time when their defeat will be fully consummated.

The work accomplished by Christ in dying on the cross does not at once justify sinners ipso facto by one act, to some extent magical; it merely makes justification possible—that is to say, the acquittal of man before God's tribunal. Justification opens to the believer access to the Heavenly Kingdom and gives him assurance of his future redemption.

Salvation can only be attained for the individual by a moral act. This plainly follows from the term of reconciliation employed by Paul. This term implies the change of the relation between persons. "We beseech you in the name of Christ," writes Paul, exercising thus what he calls the ministry of reconciliation, "be ye reconciled with God" (2 Cor. v. 20). To the act of God giving His Son there must correspond an act of man. God calls the sinner; the latter must respond. Justification is the act of imputing to the sinner the justice attained by Christ, who, considered as sinner, has put Himself through His death right with the Law, and who lives henceforth a life freed by the power of God from the dominion of sin and death. The starting-point of justification is faith. This term and words derived from it are often found in Paul.[1] Faith is the specific phenomenon of the religious Christian life. The type of believer is Abraham. In what did his faith consist? In this, that God, having promised that he should be the father of a large posterity, he had confidence in this promise at the time when his age and that of his wife rendered its realization improbable (Rom. iv. 17-21). Faith is therefore not founded upon the evidence of a truth, but upon the confidence inspired by God and His omnipotence. According to 1 Cor. ii. 4, 5 faith has its origin in the power of God, and not in human reasoning. Faith is faith in God (1 Thess. i. 8), but there is also faith in Christ (Gal. ii. 16; Rom. iii. 22), because it is through Christ that God keeps His promise. To believe in Christ is to believe in the promises of God ; it is therefore also to believe in God. Faith has for its origin the preaching of the Gospel by the apostles and the missionaries whom God

[1] About 280 times in the authentic Epistles.


has appointed for this object (Rom. x. 14); it includes an intellectual element, the idea of God who by His power raised up Jesus from the dead. Paul mentions it between the gift of wisdom and that of knowledge (1 Cor. xii. 8, 9). But faith is not only knowledge and confidence; it is also (and this is the most original element in the Pauline conception) mystical union. The believer united to Christ is made a participator in everything touching Him, and particularly in His death and resurrection. According to 1 Thess. v. 10 Jesus died in order that believers, whether sleeping or waking, may be with Him. This supposes the establishing of an indissoluble bond between the believer and the Saviour. In 1 Cor. i. 9 "communion" with the Son of God, the Lord, appears as an ideal held up to the faithful. He who is united with the Lord becomes a spirit with Him I (1 Cor. vi. 17). In Gal. ii. 19, 20 Paul declares himself to be crucified with Christ: "It is not I that live; it is Christ that liveth in me," and this suppression of the individual life has for its consequence the suppression of all accidental differences of race, sex and social situation (Gal. iii. 27, etc.). According to Rom. viii. 29 the object of predestination is that believers may be made like unto the image of the Son of God, so that Christ may be the first-born amongst many brethren (Rom. vi. 3-5, xiv. 9; 2 Cor. iv. 10, 11, xi. 2).

The explanation of this union is furnished by the idea of the death of Christ in solidarity with humanity. "As one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that the living should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose for them" (2 Cor. v. 14, 15). The mystical union has for its effect the rupture of the bond uniting the man to the world. He asks again: "Can it be that you do not know that all of us who were baptized into union with Christ Jesus in our earthly baptism shared His death? Consequently, through sharing His death in our baptism, we were buried with Him; that just as Christ was raised from the dead by a manifestation of the Father's power, so we also may live a new life. If we have

[1] In this passage the idea of the union of believers with the Christ serves as the starting-point of the argument, which proves that we are concerned with one of the fundamental ideas of the apostle with which the faithful must have been very familiar.


become united with Him by the act symbolic of His death, surely we shall also become united with Him by the act symbolic of His resurrection. We recognize the truth that our old self was crucified with Christ, in order that the body, the stronghold of sin, might be rendered powerless, so that we should no longer be slaves to sin. For the man who has so died has been pronounced righteous and released from sin. And we believe that as we have shared Christ's death we shall also share His life. We know that Christ, having once risen from the dead, will not die again. Death has power over Him no longer. . . . So let it be with you; regard yourselves as dead to sin, but as living for God, through union with Christ Jesus" (Rom. vi. 2-11).[1] There is here no image, but a precise formula which is to be taken literally. Christ is free in regard to sin because in dying He paid His debt. Sin, death and the law have no more dominion over Him. The same thing is also true of the believer mystically united with Christ. He also is free with regard to sin, death and the law.

In the last passage cited, what is said about baptism might be interpreted symbolically. But other passages show that this explanation does not suffice, and that to Paul baptism is more than a symbol. It effectively brings about the union of the believer with Christ, "For we were all baptized to form one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or freemen" (1 Cor. xii. 12). Faith and baptism are thus presented in Gal. iii. 27 as the two means through which is realized the union of the believer with the Lord, "For all of you who were baptized into union with Christ clothed yourselves with Christ."[2]

That which is true of baptism is also true of the Eucharist. This, for Paul, is an act instituted by Jesus in commemoration of His sacrifice, and as a means of entering into relation with Him in His death. In this act, with which the entire Church is associated, the faithful are invited to sit down at the Lord's table and receive His cup. The bread and the wine distributed to them are the flesh and blood of Christ. They put those who

[1] Translator's Note.—English version from Twentieth Century New Testament, based upon Westcott and Hort's text.

[2] This is confirmed by the practice of baptism for the dead to which Paul alludes in 1 Cor. xv. 29, without pronouncing any censure or making any reservation. (Author's note.)


consume them in direct relation with Christ through His death. The fruit the believer obtains by his participation in the repast is the consciousness of being by its means intimately united to the dying Christ (1 Cor. x. 16, 17).

Baptism and communion, then, occupy in the Pauline system exactly the same place as faith. Like it, they are the means through which mystical union is attained. What relation exists between these two things? Have we here two notions which, if not contradictory, are at any rate different as to their origin and not reducible to each other—the idea of mystic union through faith which represents Paul's thought, while the theory of the sacraments is only an interpretation of the rite practised in the Church? This solution seems to us to encounter several difficulties. If the sacraments were in the background of Paul's thought it would be comprehensible that he should have spoken of them in 1 Cor. xi, where there was an abuse to be attacked, but not that on a quite practical question (the consumption of meat sacrificed to idols) he should have relied upon the meaning of the communion as a decisive argument. Neither would the texts relating to baptism be comprehensible. On the other hand, seeing that in so systematic a mind as the apostle's the simple juxtaposition of two different conceptions is very improbable, one is forced to suppose that the mystical union attained by faith and that attained through the sacraments are only two aspects of the same fact. The link uniting them is not the idea that the sacrament is only a symbol of the faith alone efficacious. The apostle, in fact, attributes a real, though harmful, action to the communion when observed without reverence (1 Cor. xi. 27-30). The sacrament acts of itself ex opere operato and without the intervention of faith, but faith—that is, the conscious desire to become one with Christ—is necessary to direct its action. To understand this it is necessary to get rid of the modern ideas opposing symbol and reality to each other, and to remember that for the mind of antiquity the symbol partook of the reality of that which it represents; for instance, a name was not a simple designation, but the very substance of the thing named.

The mystical union accomplished for every believer that which had been accomplished for Christ by His death and His resurrection. This is implied in the fundamental affirmation


of Paulinism, "the believer is justified by faith." Certain texts seem to favour an interpretation imputing to Paul the idea of effective justification—that is, a transformation of the believer. In Rom. viii. 4, for instance, it is stated that God "condemned sin in the earthly nature (of Christ) so that the requirements of the Law might be satisfied in us who live now in obedience, not to our earthly nature, but to the Spirit." But it is a question here not of justification, but of sanctification, which, whilst intimately related to, is still different from it. Similarly the exhortation to sin no more which is addressed in Gal. ii. 17 to those who have been justified by faith in Christ would have no meaning if justification were identical with sanctification. Justification is forensic; it is the act of God the Judge, who proclaims "just" (that is, acquitted) the sinner who appears as the accused before Him. It is an anticipation of the Last Judgment.

The mystical union in linking the fate of the believer to that of Christ breaks the fetter which keeps man the slave of sin and death. In like manner as Christ, who lived in the flesh during His earthly ministry, has become spirit, the believer also is no longer flesh, but spirit (Rom. vi. 12). But if in theory the believer has broken with sin and the carnal life, in practice this rupture is not consummated. It suffices to show this to recall the important place filled in the Pauline Epistles by exhortations to sanctification (for instance, Gal. v. 1-6, 10). In fact, sanctification is never completely realized, and it is this which explains the somewhat special character which the Pauline morality assumes.[1] The fundamental idea upon which it rests is that of the abolition of the Law[2] (Gal. iii. 24, iv. 4, 5, v. 18; Rom. vi. 14, vii. 1-6). "I am dead unto the Law," wrote Paul (Gal. ii. 19). The believer is then a free man (Gal. v. 1; Rom. vi. 18, 22; 1 Cor. ix. 1-19, etc.). His activity should, in principle, be spontaneous. Since he belongs to God, he ought to live according to God; since he is a spirit, he ought naturally to

[1] Upon the Pauline morality see Wernle, Der Christ und die Sünde bei Paulus; also R. Bultmann, Das Problem der Ethik bei Paulus.

[2] By this is meant the abolition of the ritual part of the Law, not of its moral part. But the inadequacy of the terminology which does not allow the apostle to distinguish exactly between the two things prevents his reaching an exact statement, as is seen by the passage 1 Cor. ix. 20, where Paul declares that he is not under the Law, although he cannot be without a law, since he is under the law of Christ.


produce what Paul calls the fruits of the spirit (Gal. v. 16; Rom. viii. 12).

Things are not, however, so simple in reality, and obligation, abolished in principle, is restored in fact. That which seems as though it should be shown as a consequence is formulated as a postulate.[1] Man should strive to realize the fruits of the spirit, which are in harmony with his new nature. He ought to struggle and labour to escape indeed the very law which in theory no longer exists for him (Gal. v. 13; Rom. vi. 15, viii. 7, 8).

The morality of Paul answers to the dualism of the fact of flesh and spirit which subsists in the believer until redemption is achieved; it possesses, therefore, only a temporary value, and will be abolished when believers shall fully live the life of the spirit.[2] There lies here a difference between theory and practice which must be explained. Paul has expressed in touching words which remain classic the sense of this imperfection of sanctification: "For I am so far from habitually doing what I want to do that I find myself doing the very thing I hate. . . . But when I do what I want not to do, I am admitting that the Law is right. This being so, the action is no longer my own, but that of sin which is within me. I know there is nothing good in me—I mean in my earthly nature. . . . Miserable man that I am! who will deliver me from the body that is bringing me to this death?" (Rom. vii. 15-24).[3] Doubtless the apostle gives a cry of triumph to follow this lament—"Thanks be unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord"—but the motive of this cry is the hope of being delivered in the future. The liberation of those who are in Christ is therefore only a potential liberation.

This dualism which exists in man after justification is explained by the fact that the believer, although dead to the flesh, continues

[1] A curious fact must be pointed out that in the exposition of the Epistle to the Romans where the modus operandi of redemption is analysed the argument ends by an exhortation, "Being justified by law, let us have peace with God." Logical consistency seems so plainly to require a declaration that many manuscripts have substituted "we have" for "let us have."

[2] Concerning the Pauline morality should be noted among the motives proposed by the apostle the place occupied by the idea of the imitation of Jesus (1 Thess. i. 6; 1 Cor. xi. i; Col. iii. 13).

[3] Translator's Note.—Twentieth Century N.T., Westcott and Hort's text.


to live in the flesh. Neither his body nor the world in which he lives has been transformed. He has only received the promise of the Spirit as surety of that which will be fully realized later (2 Cor. i. 22, v. 5 ; Rom. viii. 23). Glory, the celestial attribute reserved for the elect, is only promised him (Rom. v. 2, viii. 18). Salvation is not fully accomplished. " By our hope we were saved." Again he writes : " Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed " (Rom. xiii. n). In the same Epistle further he writes : "If while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, how much more now that we are justified by His blood shall we be saved by His life ? " The Epistle to the Philippians similarly affirms that salvation is not yet attained (i. 6). It is at the second coming of the Lord that it shall be fully realized (Rom. viii. 18-25).


How are we to explain this seeming contradiction in Paul's conception of the position of the justified man, which is not in fact what in theory it ought to be? For the faithful it is only at the end of time that will be consummated the thing which in principle follows from the new situation in which he finds himself through mystical union with Christ. This is one of the most difficult and delicate problems which the interpretation of Paulinism presents. It is by no hazard that it is so; it is the consequence, we would say without hesitation it is the penalty of the association in Paul's thought of two incongruous elements. There is, indeed, something more than the complex situation in which man struggles between two antagonistic forces which alternately attract and repel him. The contradiction is much deeper; it lies at the very root of Pauline thought. In the way Paul conceives it, the situation of man between justification and redemption is of a provisional and temporary character. Paul expects the return of Christ at a very early date to complete the work begun.[1] Justification and redemption, although separate,

[1] In 1 Thess. iv. 15 and 1 Cor. xv. 51 Paul conceives that the return of Christ will take place during his life. He had announced this to the Thessalonians in such a way that the latter had begun to suppose that the faithful who died before the Saviour's return would be excluded from salvation (1 Thess. iv. 13).


remain organically linked one to the other. They are two acts of the same drama. So inter-related and complementary are they that their separation can only be conceived by a complete dislocation of the Jewish doctrine of the Messianic redemption. There is no equivalent for this dislocation in the whole Jewish Apocalypse. We do not think that it is possible to give any other explanation than the following : The conception of redemption, in Paul, is anterior to his Christian faith. As a Rabbi, he already expected the arrival of a Saviour who would rescue men from the dominion of sin and death to bring them into the Kingdom of the Spirit, whose advent would be marked by the triumph of the Messiah over the enemies of God.

This faith was his at the time when Jesus in his eyes was only a justly condemned blasphemer. Then happened the mysterious event upon the Damascus road which gave him the conviction that Jesus was living and in glory. From this he concluded that what His disciples had said about Him was true: that Jesus had been the holy Son of God, sent upon earth to accomplish His work. Hence was established an unexpected synthesis between the doctrine of redemption (already in his mind) and the story of the Nazarene Jesus, crucified by Pontius Pilate, but raised again from the dead, since He showed Himself to His friends and to Paul himself, and henceforward was living in the spirit life.

The synthesis of these two elements (the story of Jesus and the doctrine of redemption) Paul was unable to effect completely at once. There were in the mission of the Saviour-Messiah certain elements which did not permit of their relation to Jesus of Nazareth. These were all those which (to put it in one word) related to a triumphant Messiah, restorer of the sovereignty of God. Paul resolved the difficulty by dividing the mission of the Messiah into two parts and in reserving for the glorious return of Christ (which he considered very near) everything it was impossible to discover as accomplished in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The Pauline doctrine thus proceeds from a dislocation of the work of redemption. It therefore has no single source; it is not born out of the elaboration or the transformation of a myth, but proceeds from the interpretation of an historical fact by a doctrine already pre-existing it: the


fact constituted by the life and the death of Jesus and by belief in His resurrection. The theology of Paul assumes therefore a double starting-point for its development. One is a doctrine of redemption whose origins must be sought in Judaism[1]; the other is an historical episode, the life of Jesus. It is not possible, as M. Couchoud has attempted, to attribute to it a more homogeneous character, and by reducing one of these elements to the other to maintain that the history of Jesus was deduced from a drama of redemption. Indeed, it would not be possible to find in the history of Jewish thought—more or less syncretic—an analogy to the process that must be admitted in Paul; for to presume the existence of certain forms of Judaism of the Diaspora sensibly differing from that of Palestine and which would not have been without a strong influence on rising Christianity would not be to state a true parallel.

We know of nothing, in fact, in the Judaism of the Diaspora which offers any real analogies with the Pauline speculations on this point, and it would be unquestionably making use of an inadmissible historical method to attempt the explanation of a given fact by something which is only a conjecture. But it is not entirely the absence of any parallel which forbids us to see in Paulinism an exclusive product of speculation; it is also the existence of incoherences and internal contradictions which we have pointed out. If the Christian doctrine had come forth in its entirety from the brain of Paul, as Minerva did from that of Jupiter, it would present a homogeneous character. The manifest traces of the sutures we have discovered plainly prove its double origin and justify us in affirming that the Pauline system of theology assumes and certifies the historical tradition about Jesus.

[1] In a Judaism which, no doubt, had not been entirely uninfluenced by foreign ideas, principally Greek and Persian.

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