Audio Recording of Bernard Brandon Scott in Melbourne

BRANDON SCOTT is a leading international New Testament scholar, writer and teacher. He is the author and editor of many books, including Hear Then the Parable, The Trouble with Resurrection, and Reimagine the World. His new book Rediscovering the Apostle Paul will be released shortly.

A charter Fellow of the Jesus Seminar, he is chair of Westar’s newly established Christianity Seminar. He served as chair of the Bible in Ancient and Modern Media Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, as well as a member of several SBL Seminars, including the Parable Seminar and Historical Jesus Seminar. Brandon was for many years until his recent retirement the Darbeth Distinguished Professor of New Testament at the Phillips Theological Seminary, University of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In September 2014 he returned to Australia to deliver a series of lectures. His Melbourne lecture entitled Understanding the New Paul is now available at the PCNV Download Store. Click here to go to the store.

2 comments:

  1. SAINT PAUL: AN ALTERNATIVE OPINION -

    Why did Saint Paul believe that the Messiah would be a god-man? Where on earth did he get such an idea? I wish to contend that Saint Paul’s beliefs were influenced by the Hellenized Zoroastrian religion of the Armenian Empire....

    In the traditional form of Zoroastrianism, the Messiah was believed to be a human born from a maiden who at some future date would bath in Lake Kasaoya (Lake Hamun on the present-day Iran/Afghanistan border) and be impregnated by the seed of Zoroaster therein. This human Messiah will lead, it is believed, the divine forces of goodness in a final battle to defeat the forces of evil. This will be a great honour for humanity as a whole to have played such a vital role in universal salvation....
    So what happened? Why did Zoroastrianism’s human Messiah get elevated to god status? The answer seems to be that it was a part of the process of Hellenization which followed the conquests of Alexander the Great and the development of the Hellenic empires. Kings were elevated to divine status; so too, therefore, was their Messiah....
    Where was Saint Paul born? He was born in Tarsus in Cilicia in south eastern Anatolia. Until a couple of generations before Paul’s birth, prior to its conquest by the Roman Empire, this area had been a part of the Armenian Empire. On the Mediterranean coast the Armenian Empire stretched from Cilicia to Ituraea, bordering Judaea. The Caspian Sea was its north eastern border....

    When the Parthian Empire (250 BC approx - AD 224) finally defeated the Seleucid Empire at Mesopotamia in 141 BC, Parthia’s westward push was deflected by the revolts within its eastern border area near the Indus Valley. So Parthia’s ally, Armenia, occupied that western area up to the Mediterranean seaboard. But it did not attempt to conquer the Judeans, as they had already aggressively fought for semi-independence from the Seleucids....
    The Parthian and Armenian Empires shared a religion, Zoroastrianism. Although it was their state religion it was not imposed. Theirs was a Hellenized version of Zoroastrianism. Adherents could choose whether to revere the chief deity as either the Zoroastrian Mazda or the Greek Zeus. And, in Hellenistic fashion, the god/man divide was breached. Which meant, in contradistinction to the status of the emperors in the earlier Persian Empire, the monarchs of the Parthian Empire were therefore considered to be divine. So, as a consequence, their Messiah had also come to be viewed as divine. He would be a god; and this god was Mithra, the Son within the Zoroastrian Trinity....

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  2. SAINT PAUL (Part two) -

    Let’s backtrack: Within the traditional Zoroastrianism of the ancient Persian Empire (549 – 331 BC) the Messiah would be a “Son of Man”, a human being who would lead the powers of goodness into a victorious battle against the powers of universal evil, both earthly and heavenly. And his victory would be a great honour for humankind, who were created to be the guardians of the earth, as well as soldiers in the battle to defeat evil....
    A Zoroastrian Trinity? How did this come about? The Persian Emperor, Artaxerxes ll, reigned from 404 to 358 BC. His empire extended from the borders of Greece to the Indus Valley, bordering India. During his reign a Trinity was formed. The Holy Family: Mazda, the Father; Anahita, the Mother; Mithra, the Son. (Some scholars claim that it was Artaxerxes II who had sent Ezra the Scribe to Judaea in 398 BC, rather than his grandfather, Artaxerxes l, sixty years earlier)....

    Is it possible that the legend which vitally influenced Saint Paul was one from within the Hellenized Zoroastrianism of the Armenian Empire? In their legend, Mithra, the Son in their Trinity intends to incarnate to become the Messiah. A star will lead the Magi (Zoroastrian priests) to a cave in which the starlight strikes a rock and Mithra will manifest as a toddler....
    We know the Gospel version of this story as the legend of the Three Wise Men. Later, when Christianity became the Roman Empire’s religion, they became the Three Wise Kings. The Christians were originally a tiny minority within a small province, Judaea, on the Eastern fringe of the Roman Empire. Yet they “borrowed” this legend which belonged to the vast Parthian Empire. Why the Gospel narrative writers incorporated this legend into their tale is anyone’s guess....

    Despite Saint Paul’s Pharisaic upbringing, it would have been highly unlikely that he had not been influenced by his Hellenistic surroundings, even unconsciously. The Zoroastrians would have been waiting for their Son of God to become their Messiah by incarnating as a human. Although the Judaic Messiah was to be a human warrior anointed by their God to reclaim their Promised Land, nevertheless, in my opinion, Saint Paul could not help but be affected by this Hellenic expectation and to have translated it into his own Judaic longings.

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