Saint Paul Never Quotes The Gospels?

In my (informal) NT Bible study, I am struck by the fact that Paul (author of over half of the NT) never appears to quote from the Gospels! I may be wrong (please correct me!), but it seems to me that he (Paul) should have ebeen familiar with the synoptic gospels (matthew, Mark, Luke). If one theorizes that Paul’s conversion cameabout no later than say, 50 AD, by then the synoptic gospelsshould have existed in written form. Moreover, Paul was well-aquianted with sveral ofthe apostles (including Peter).
So, why this omission?
Any bible scholors care to comment?:confused:

He may not quote the Gospels, but he does make reference to the “New Covenant” and the “primary doctrine of the Christ.”

Why do you assume that the Gospels would have been written, let alone disseminated?

Paul’s letters were written well before the Gospels were written. Mark, the first one written, was written about 70 CE. John, the last, was written even later than that. Paul wrote about 40CE.

Your answer may be found in the fourth of a five part mailbag answer, in my opinion the best mailbag article(s) ever written.

http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mbible4.html

This conclusion was made by the writers of the staff report from the work: The Historical Figure of Jesus, by E.P. Sanders, Penguin Books, 1993

Give or take a few years, of course. Some people date Mark as early as the mid 50s. It was likely written before the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. But definately after Paul had started writing his letters. Most scholars believe John was written probably between 95 and 115 CE.

Moderator’s Notes:
I don’t think MPSIMS is the best place for this thread, but I’m not really sure what to do with it. I guess, since I doubt you’ll find a factual answer and since it’s of a kinda religious nature, I’ll move it over to GD.

Wel then, since it’s in GD, let me clarify my post.

While I do not know of any instance of Paul quoting a Gospel (for any of the otherwise noted reasons), he was clearly familiar with the life, teachings, and ministry of Jesus. And this shows in certain themes of his letters, such as explaining the New Covenant or the application of OT passages to Christ as in the Letter to the Hebrews.

He speaks about leaving behind the primary doctrine of the Christ and pressing on to maturity.

He was also (apparantly) personally aquainted with Peter (Cephas).

How far would the early Church have advanced if not for Paul? We may never know. But, it’s an interesting thought to ponder.

I completely disagree with NoClueBoy.

Paul shows virtually no biographical knowledge whatever of Jesus, the man. He speaks only of an abstract “Christ” and only in terms of resurrection/salvation. Paul makes no virtually no mention of anything Jesus did or said while alive. He does not mention the Virgin Birth or any of the miracles other than the resurrection. He does not mention the beatitudes or any of the parables. He really does not even quote Jesus except for a few brief words said at the last supper. Even that “quotation” is clearly ritualistic in nature and has more to do with Paul’s mythological “Christ” than with historical Jesus.

Paul was dead before the first Gospel was ever composed so he could not have had access to the stories and quotations contained within them. The fact that he does not demonstrate any knowledge of some of the most crucial aspects of the Jesus depicted within the gospels indicates (imo) that much of the Jesus myth had not yet been constructed at the time of Paul’s ministry.

1 Corinthians 11:22-24.

2 Corinthians 9:10 seems a close parallel to the parable of the sower.

Probably they had a common source, rather than the one being a quote of the other.

And of course, it is widely believed that the same person wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles.

Regards,
Shodan

He likes me ! :smiley:
Granted, it’s open to interpretation, but notice Hebrews 5: 7,8

Also, Phillipians 2: 5-8

Though it proves nothing, Paul does seem to be implying knowledge of Jesus Christ’s attitudes and actions as a human. BEFORE the crucifixtion.

And here is a little tidbit on his birth (though it does not say virgin birth (Galations 4:4):

Was Paul making all this up? Or, did he gain knowledge of it (either from the Apostles or from some other source)?

Yes, I know it’s extremely tenuous, but you can’t say that Paul says nothing about Jesus on Earth as a man. (which you didn’t exactly say, but some may take it as though you did…)

I’ll leave my earlier Hebrews point, because I don’t want to quote an entire book, and besides, it mostly deals with the doctrine (and not the life) of Christ, as DtG says.

You don’t need to, since the Letter to the Hebrews was not written by Paul while it was written after at least one or two of the synoptic Gospels had begun to be disseminated through the Christian community.

The statements found in Philipians and Galatians were very likely part of the growing oral tradition regarding Jesus. They do not actually reflect an acquaintance with the man, Jesus, (which is what one would expect of Paul who would have known of Jesus the preacher only through the conversations of other early Christians without actually knowing either Jesus-as-human (who had departed before Paul joined the Christians) or the Gospels (that were written after Paul died).

The sorta/kinda consensus of New Testament dates that are published by Kümmel (Behm, Feine) (that are, of course, not agreed to by everyone) are:



1 Thessalonians	 50	
2 Thessalonians	 51	
Philippians	 53  56 (If written at Ephesus)	55  58 (If written at Caesurea)
Galatians		 54  55
1 Corinthians	 54  55
Romans		 55  56
2 Corinthians	 55  56
Colossians	 56  58 (If written at Caesurea) 58  60	(If written at Rome)
Philemon		 56  58 (If written at Caesurea) 58  60	(If written at Rome)
Mark		 64  71
Luke		 70  90
John		 80  90
Matthew		 80 100
Acts of the Apostles	 80  90 (100?)
Ephesians	 ?  (80?) (Scholars like to fight a lot about Ephesians)
Hebrews		 80  90
1 John		 90 110
2 John		 90 110
3 John		 90 110
1 Peter		 90  95
Revelation	 93  96
James		Late 1st C.	
Jude		100?
2 Peter		100+?
1 Timothy		100 110
2 Timothy		100 110
Titus		100 110

You don’t need to, since the Letter to the Hebrews was not written by Paul while it was written after at least one or two of the synoptic Gospels had begun to be disseminated through the Christian community.

The statements found in Philipians and Galatians were very likely part of the growing oral tradition regarding Jesus. They do not actually reflect an acquaintance with the man, Jesus, (which is what one would expect of Paul who would have known of Jesus the preacher only through the conversations of other early Christians without actually knowing either Jesus-as-human (who had departed before Paul joined the Christians) or the Gospels (that were written after Paul died).

The sorta/kinda consensus of New Testament dates that are published by Kümmel (Behm, Feine) (that are, of course, not agreed to by everyone) are:



1 Thessalonians	 50	
2 Thessalonians	 51	
Philippians	 53  56 (If written at Ephesus)	55  58 (If written at Caesurea)
Galatians		 54  55
1 Corinthians	 54  55
Romans		 55  56
2 Corinthians	 55  56
Colossians	 56  58 (If written at Caesurea) 58  60	(If written at Rome)
Philemon		 56  58 (If written at Caesurea) 58  60	(If written at Rome)
Mark		 64  71
Luke		 70  90
John		 80  90
Matthew		 80 100
Acts of the Apostles	 80  90 (100?)
Ephesians	 ?  (80?) (Scholars like to fight a lot about Ephesians)
Hebrews		 80  90
1 John		 90 110
2 John		 90 110
3 John		 90 110
1 Peter		 90  95
Revelation	 93  96
James		Late 1st C.	
Jude		100?
2 Peter		100+?
1 Timothy		100 110
2 Timothy		100 110
Titus		100 110

<<which is what one would expect of Paul who would have known of Jesus the preacher only through the conversations of other early Christians>>

Which is in line with what I posted (albeit in question form):

Or, did he gain knowledge of it (either from the Apostles or from some other source)?

<<The statements found in Philipians and Galatians were very likely part of the growing oral tradition regarding Jesus.>>

I can accept that.

<<since the Letter to the Hebrews was not written by Paul>>

Explain, please.

This shares a quotation of Jesus in common with the gospels but it cannot be a quotation from a gospel because the gospels didn’t exist yet.

As I said, this is a ritualistic utterance and probably an ahistorical one. It does show a very early tradition for a eucharist, though, and the gospels probably drew on that same tradition.

Maybe, maybe not. It’s an obvious enough metaphor for evangelization that it could easily occur independently. No credit is given to Jesus for the metaphor in Corinthians but there was obviously some oral tradition already in circulation and the Parable of the Sower is pretty well established as authentic and original to historical Jesus. It’s no stretch at all that Paul could have known about it but it’s odd that he never explicitly discusses any of Jesus’ parables or really any of the other sayings or anecdotes attributed to him in the gospels.

I’m not sure what the relevance is here. The discussion is about what Paul wrote, not what Luke wrote. Both of Luke’s books were written well after Paul was dead. I know it is traditionally accepted that “Luke” was an associate of Paul’s but there is really no hard evidence for that…or even that Luke was named Luke.

NoClueBoy:

the examples you quote are pretty vague and generic in nature. They don’t really contain any specific information about Jesus’ life, just doctrinal assumptions.

Be that as may, I am not contending that a historical Jesus did not exist or that Paul knew absolutely nothing about him. I’m just pointing out that Paul really says nothing of any substance about him in terms of character, personality, specific teachings or deeds in life. Whatever Paul may have known about historical Jesus, he surely did not seem to show much interest in him. He was really only obsessed with his own theological vision of “Christ” as a redeemer.

NCB:

Hebews is an anonymous work. The author is unknown (although there are many theories) but it’s style is not Paul’s and historical scholarship is virtually unanimous in rejecting it as having been composed by him.

Thanks.

:slight_smile:

G.A. Wells notes precisely the point of the OP, and uses it in his books The Historical Evidence for Jesus, The Jesus of the Early Christians, and Did Jesus Exist?. As the last title suggests, Wells doesn’t think so. He labors to show that Paul not only doesn’t quote the Gospels, but that he doesn’t cite the relevant sayings of Christ even when they would be appropriate to the situation (even if the Gospels hadn’t been written yet, presumably the quotes were already circulating in some form), the sole exception being the consecration of the Eucharist. Paul generally quotes Old Testament sources to make his points.

wells makes some interesting points, and his arguments go beyond the usual “evidence from silence”. Whether or not you buy his bill of goods is up to you.

G.A. Wells notes precisely the point of the OP, and uses it in his books The Historical Evidence for Jesus, The Jesus of the Early Christians, and Did Jesus Exist?. As the last title suggests, Wells doesn’t think so. He labors to show that Paul not only doesn’t quote the Gospels, but that he doesn’t cite the relevant sayings of Christ even when they would be appropriate to the situation (even if the Gospels hadn’t been written yet, presumably the quotes were already circulating in some form), the sole exception being the consecration of the Eucharist. Paul generally quotes Old Testament sources to make his points.

wells makes some interesting points, and his arguments go beyond the usual “evidence from silence”. Whether or not you buy his bill of goods is up to you.

The point of all this,of course, is that these discontinuities and blind spots call into question the notion that the entire NT was written by the same God.