While Paul is biggest influence in Christian theology, he isn't the only early influence. He certainly didn't write the entire New Testament
--in fact, is is now generally agreed that many of the epistles
or letters ascribed to him were written by others. It is true that Paul was a major influence on all the Pauline epistles
and on at least one Gospel
, but there are large portions of the Bible, notably Matthew
and the works ascribed to John the Evangelist
, which are basically independent of Paul's work. Furthermore, Paul's two most elevated statements about Jesus, in Philippians 2
and 1 Corinthians 11
, were pre-existing hymns that he included in his letters. And while Paul can be called pharisaical
because of his lists of rules, it is also true that the libertines
of Christianity found their inspiration from the many passages in Paul where he talks about the priority of faith
, even the Mosaic law
to which he was committed.
There are elements of authoritarianism and cult-like thought in Paul's epistles, but these elements appear even more strongly in the Johannine corpus and also appear in non-Pauline works such as Matthew and the Didache.
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