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Pauls Conversion from Judaism to Christianity: Conversion Does not Entail Foundation - Essay Example

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The New International Version of the Bible gives account to an executioner who is a zealous Jew, a Pharisee (Gager, 2002) and a Roman citizen who is called Saul…
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Pauls Conversion from Judaism to Christianity: Conversion Does not Entail Foundation

Download file to see previous pages... The New International Version of the Bible gives account to an executioner who is a zealous Jew, a Pharisee (Gager, 2002) and a Roman citizen who is called Saul. Saul admitted to having killed men and women and others who professed to believe in a resurrected Jesus, as well as Jesus’ growing discipleship. Saul, in a mission travel, was met by an overwhelming bright light, and heard the voice, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me.” Saul was then temporarily blinded and led to a house that was awaiting for his arrival, and after listening to the accounts of the house owner, came to believe of the man called Jesus.
Saul was adamant at first but with the miraculous things that happened to him, have come to accept his calling and thus, the conversion. From his old name Saul, he embraced the name Paul and accepted the task of spreading the good news to the “Gentiles” from Rome to Italy and elsewhere.
Early Contention
Friedrich Nietzsche (as quoted by Gager, 2002) expressed a typical hatred and sentiments that contrasted Paul to Jesus, as “The glad tidings of Jesus were followed closely by the absolutely worst tidings – those of St. Paul. Paul is the incarnation of a type which is the reverse of that of the Saviour, he is the genius in hatred, in the standpoint of hatred, and in the relentless logic of hatred. And alas what did this dysevangelist not sacrifice to his hatred… He did more: he once more falsified the history of Israel, so as to make it appear as a prologue to his mission.”
Here, another kind of Paul is revealed to the common reader which is a farfetched image as that in the NIV Bible that helped propagate early Christianity, which, then at that time, was neither called Christianity nor whatever else.
Modern Contention
Gager (2002) wrote that "Paul has long been regarded as the source for Christian hatred of Jews and Judaism. Second, among Jews he has been the most hatred of all Christians. And third, the issue of Paul's conversion - for Nietzsche, his hallucination - lies at the center of all debates about the apostle. Little wonder that Paul has raised vexing questions across almost twenty centuries. How did this zealous Jew, Saul the Pharisee, who by his own admission had been an active persecutor, a hater, of the early Jesus-movement, suddenly emerge as a fervent follower of the risen Jesus How are we to understand his role as the apostle of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles in relation to this dramatic transformation" Gager (2002) would like to be ascertained as to how we would label him as a convert: from what to what
And the most probable answer as based on the Bible itself is from Judaism to Christianity, although Christianity as we all know may not be very apparent at that time at all. The next questioned posed by Gager (2002) is that, "Did the apostle to the Gentiles turn his back on his former life as a Jew and become the spokesman for early Christian anti-Judaism Did he carry forward his hatred and transfer it to his former faith"
These questions were already answered as Paul wrote and spoke about the "divine" love that Jesus made apparent to us all through his (Jesus') death and resurrection. Although more profound is Jesus' own definition of what love is as that which transcends love for the self and God towards the "neighbor" and enemy.
Paul, as any other "human" writer of the Bible did not preach "perfect" teachings that went near to Jesus' own, although much of his writings were included in the Christian Bible and much emphasis was actually given to his "interpretations" of Jesus' own teachings. This may be one of the flaws of the Bible as it is already an open knowledge that much of the Bible's "teachings" as well as perceived flaws were "human" in nature, so, there permits a "divine inspiration" as "written by humans".
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