The Three Pauls


In God & Empire, Dominic Crossan distinguishes between three Pauls. There is the "radical Paul" who wrote the seven epistles that are known to have been written by the apostle: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Then there is the "liberal Paul", representing the author or authors who wrote three highly suspect epistles that scholars doubt that the apostle wrote: 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, and Ephesians; in these epistles, Paul's original radicalism is sanitized and toned down. And there is the "conservative/reactionary Paul", associated with the three epistles attributed to the apostle that are known by scholarly consensus not to have been written by him: 1 and 2 Timoty and Titus.

Of the three Pauls, Crossan likes the radical Paul the best. I agree with him.