Paul's Theology of Christian Apologetics, Part 2
How and Why Paul’s Theology Became Dominant
Paul wrote thirteen epistles (possibly fourteen) that were included in the official church canon or bible, and seven of them were written before the canonical gospels and the rest of the books that were included in the official church canon. That is why even though Paul was not very effective in person, his writings were.
In 180 AD (CE) an influential Christian leader, Bishop Irenaeus, wrote a book favoring the epistles of Paul and the later gospels of Mark, Luke, John and Matthew as the only legitimate gospels, and the book of James was included as a diplomatic gesture because James and his group had been major players in establishing Christianity before the Christian movement became dominated by Paul and his group.
In other words, Bishop Irenaeus decided who the “real Christians” were, and he condemned all the rest of the Christian writings and gospels as "heresies.” That is why so many of the early Christian writer’s works were hidden, like the “Gnostic Gospels,” and the 52 gospels that were discovered in 1945 and are now known as The Nag Hammadi Library.
Since 1945 and particularly during the last ten years, modern scholars have been examining the known Christian writings that were rejected by church patriarchs between the second and fourth centuries. It turns out that some of those 52 gospels of The Nag Hammadi Library were prophetic, understanding why Jesus of Nazareth had said that the true Christians would be persecuted.
One of the texts of those Christians states: "Some who do not understand mystery speak of things which they do not understand, but they will boast that the mystery of truth is theirs alone."
That Christian writer was speaking of imposters who established "empty" churches across the Roman Empire, led by influential and powerful leaders such as Bishop Irenaeus, who accused the Gnostic Christians of being heretics, as did Roman Emperor Theodocius (the second Christian Roman Emperor) and Christian Archbishop Cyril in the fourth century.
One of the Gnostic Christians wrote: "We were hated and persecuted, not only by those who are ignorant, but also by those who think they are advancing the name of Christ, but were unknowingly empty [of the Holy Spirit], not knowing who they are."
In other words, we now know that the historic record shows Paul’s theology became the most influential thirty years after the death of Jesus. It was made even more influential by Bishop Irenaeus one hundred and twenty years later. And by the fourth century, when the Romans under Emperor Constantine accepted Paul's version of Christianity, it made Christianity the most dominant religion throughout the Roman Empire.
The problem with that is that Paul was wrong about many things, as is discussed in several other relevant article. But, even worse that misinterpreting the Old Testament (the Hebrew Torah and Tanakh), Paul was antagonistic to Rabbinic and Talmudic Judaism. And the influence of James, the Jewish Essene Christians and the "Gnostic" Christians had been overshadowed by those who were influenced by and promoted Paul’s theology.
That’s one of the reasons why Christians have been divided and Christianity and Judaism have been at odds ever since. It is what caused the first book burnings in Alexandria. It was a contributing factor in the cause of the bloody Christian Crusades, the cruel Inquisition, and all the “Christian” military industrial imperialism and colonialism that occurred during the last fourteen centuries.
In spite of that, Paul’s theology justifies right-wing “Christian” Theocrats today, who push the idea that they should rule in the name of Christianity. That's why the truth is so very important.