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Dear Nancy,

By coincidence I was trapped in my local public library recently, and found Wills's book on the shelf.  A brief skimming confirmed my earlier thoughts (which were based only on what little I know of Wills in general).  His scholarship is solid, in the critical middle-of-the-road.  In other words, his book is an example of very responsible and reliable haute vulgarisationIt represents the consensus of critical scholars on the authenticity of the various writings attributed to Paul.

Jerry


From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, November 8, 2012 2:13 PM
Subject: Re: E's Religion: OT Pauline authenticity

Dear Jerome,
 
I misspelled the author; it's Garry Wills (two r's). But I thought this might interest you.
Best,
Nancy

Book Description

Release Date: November 2, 2006 | ISBN-10: 0670037931 | ISBN-13: 978-0670037933
A brilliant synthesis of the Apostle Paul’s thought and influence, written by a "foremost Catholic intellectual" (Chicago Tribune)

All through history, Christians have debated Paul’s influence on the church. Though revered, Paul has also been a stone on which many stumble. Apocryphal writings by Peter and James charge Paul, in the second century, with being a tool of Satan. In later centuries Paul became a target of ridicule for writers such as Thomas Jefferson ("the first corruptor "), George Bernard Shaw ("a monstrous imposition"), and Nietzsche ("the Dysangelist"). However, as Garry Wills argues eloquently in this masterly analysis, what Paul meant was not something contrary to what Jesus meant. Rather, the best way to know Jesus is to discover Paul. Unlike the Gospel writers, who carefully shaped their narratives many decades after Jesus’ life, Paul wrote in the heat of the moment, managing controversy, and sometimes contradicting himself, but at the same time offering the best reflection of those early times.
What Paul Meant is a stellar interpretation of Paul’s writing, examining his tremendous influence on the first explosion of Christian belief and chronicling the controversy surrounding Paul through the centuries. Wills’s many readers and those interested in the Christian tradition will warmly welcome this penetrating discussion of perhaps the most fascinating church father.

>>> Jerome Walsh 11/08/12 2:05 PM >>>
Nancy,
 
I have not read Wills on Paul, but from the middle-of-the-road critical position, it is generally held that only about half of the letters attributed to Paul in the NT are by him.  To wit: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians (generally thought to be a hodge-podge of fragments from several documents), Philippians, Galatians, Philemon, and 1 Thessalonians.  2 Thessalonians is thought authentic by about half of the scholars I'm familiar with; Colossians by fewer, Ephesians by still fewer, and the Pastorals (1-2 Timothy, Titus) by very few indeed.
 
That is not to say, however, that everything in the "authentic" epistles is unarguably Paul.  Even there, glosses and other sorts of interpolations are not impossible.  The notorious 1 Cor 14:33b-36, for instance, is often thought to be a later polemical insertion, particularly in view of the smoothness with which 14:32-33a leads into 14:37, and because seems to contradict what Paul said earlier about the proper demeanor to be manifested by a person, man or woman, who prophesies in the congregation (11:4-5). 
 
Jerry

From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, November 8, 2012 12:41 PM
Subject: Re: E's Religion

Dear Tim and All,
 
I think this is fascinating--and not surprising if he preferred Paul--but it seems to me one more in a long line of mixed and contradictory messages. Eliot also said that the Incarnation "divided the world" or something like that. In any case, the "Ariel Poems" are largely about both doubt and recognition of Jesus. So I doubt there was any consistent and single belief.
 
If Gary Wills is right that much attributed to Paul is really later interpolation, we have another late irony.
Nancy

>>> "Materer, Timothy J." 11/08/12 12:12 PM >>>
The TLS review is not available on line, but in looking I came across Adam Kirsch's review of V. 3.
http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/culture/2012/06/letters-t-s-eliot-volume-iii-1926-27-review

Below is an excerpt with some acute remarks about Eliot's religion. I too had been struck by what he wrote to Aldington and also  his review of Murry's book on Jesus.  Is Kirsch on the right track? For me, it rather fits with one of Eliot's key ideas from Bradley, "degrees of truth."

But there is a remarkable admission, so quick you could easily miss it, in another letter to Aldington. “I agree with you about Christ and I do not disagree with anything else,” Eliot writes. The editors supply what Aldington had written: “Moreover, I don’t really like the gospels, and I don’t much like Christ. I really think Paul was more interesting. He appears to have been a man; I have suspected that . . . Christ is an invention.” Just at the time Eliot is about to enter the Church, we find him apparently saying that he does not believe Christ existed and in any case that he doesn’t “like” Him.
Add to this what Eliot tells John Middleton Murry, an intellectual sparring partner who was one of his few real confidants: “You assume that truth changes – you accept as inevitable what appears to me to be within our own power. I am, in a way, a much more thoroughgoing pragmatist – but so thoroughgoing that I am sure there is nothing for it but to assume that there are fixed meanings, and that truth is always the same.” Eliot, a product of the Harvard of William James, suggests that he is drawn to Christianity as a pragmatist – that is, because it “works” for him, not because he is convinced of its truth as a proposition. 

On Nov 7, 2012, at 10:47 PM, Chokh Raj wrote:

Oops, I'm so sorry for the typo, it's Gabriel Josipovici. -- CR

From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 11:27 PM
Subject: TLS-LIVE-EDITION ... 02/11/12

There's a review in the Nov 2 Times Literary Supplement of The Letters of TS Eliot, Vol. 3 by Gabriel Josopovici. Here's a link to the Contents page:

http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/multimedia/archive/00303/Contents_31_02_12__303256a.pdf 

Thought this might interest you.

Regards,
 CR