Sypsis of Paul: A Would Be Apostle Christian anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism can be laid squarely at the feet of Paul the apostle. He was a hellenistic Jew and a mystic who never saw Jesus of Nazareth but, based on a life changing experience, a vision, he took it upon himself to reshape a tradition for which he had minimal sources and direct experience. An early tradition says Paul was born in Gishala of Galilee but grew up in Tarsus of Cilicia. In Tarsus he would have been exposed to the Greek disciplines of the great university there, studied his scriptures as translated in the Septuagint, and been immersed in metaphysical dualism and individualistic ethics. His interpretation of the Law was distorted in this perspective, and his worldview was further misshaped by the Mysteries he encountered. After the early years in Tarsus, Paul moved to Jerusalem where he studied with Judaean rabbis, encountered and participated in the persecution of followers of the Way, and made the decision personally to pursue some of them to Damascus. On the way he experienced a vision of the moschiach he so adamantly opposed. Over the next three years he shaped his own version and meaning of that life and death. He then spent fifteen days in Jerusalem telling James and Peter his plans to take his gospel to the Gentiles and left for fourteen years of ministry in Syria and Cilicia. Their initial differences were magnified and the break between them ackwledged when he returned for a short visit. By then Paul had rejected the Law, igred circumcision, and created his own narratives of resurrection, baptism, and eucharist. To this he added the myth of a returning Lord. He spent most of the next ten years sharing his interpretation with cities in Asia Mir and Greece. By the time he arrived in Rome after being arrested for a disturbance caused in the Temple back in Jerusalem during his third and last visit, Paul was claiming the Law had been surpassed by the death and resurrection of the Christ, Jews were blind to their own scripture, God had rejected them, and that Jews were cursed. Paul died a martyr to his faith, but it was his reinvention of a Jewish narrative that took root in a Gentile world shaped by a hellenistic perspective and seeking deliverance from fear and insecurity. His language fueled attitudes of superiority and provided fodder for centuries of discrimination and anti-Semitism.
Dr. Littleton is available for lectures and book discussions. 828-776-2860 email@example.com www.haroldlittleton.com www.haroldlittleton.blogspot.com Harold E. Littleton, Jr. (b. May 4, 1941) grew up in Hartsville, South Carolina. Older of two children (sister Penny), his parents imbued in him a commitment to public service and social responsibility through their careers of education and health care. An eager involvement in Scouting, becoming an Eagle Scout at age 14 and serving on summer camp staffs for ten years, he developed a deep love and appreciation for the natural environment and the value of its preservation. Encouraged by his grandfather and mother, he began a lifetime passion for baseball and fanatic support of the Brooklyn Dodgers until they moved to the west coast. High school baseball was his sport, first base his position. After graduating from Clemson College in 1963 with a major in English, he married his high school sweetheart, Stella Price, and entered Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary when it was still a good school--fostered academic freedom and intellectual integrity. Building on the social inconsistencies and racial discrimination he witnessed growing up in a small southern town, he participated in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, befriended Harvey Gantt in the desegregation of Clemson, and marched in Memphis. While earning a MA and PhD from Vanderbilt University, he studied with Leander Keck, now retired Dean of Divinity School at Yale and Robert Funk, founder of Weststar and the Jesus Seminar. Littleton's teaching career includes appointments at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, UNC-Charlotte, Mars Hill College, Gardner-Webb University, and Western Carolina University. He is currently Adjunct Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy at UNC-Asheville. Volunteering in a variety of community non-profit organizations, interfaith discussion and study, reading, hiking, camping, occasional flyfishing, and time with grandchildren are some of the ways he spends his time. Two daughters (and two sons-in-law) and four grandchildren (Zachary, Aidan, Isabel, and Samuel) are deeply prized treasures!