James, Jesus, Peter and Paul–the Battle of the Apostles

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In Galatians Paul refers to “James and Cephas and John” as the “reputed pillars” of the Jesus movement–and assuming Cephas is Peter–which I think highly likely–it is clear that “James,” the brother of Jesus is listed first and presumably “John” is the fisherman–son of Zebedee, brother of James the fisherman. It can get confusing since we have two “James” among the Twelve–plus Jesus’ brother who might be a third. Bottom line–who is in charge of the movement? As Acts 15 & 21 make clear, it is James the Just, brother of Jesus who has the authority to decide for the Jerusalem HQ “Church of the Apostles,” not Peter or Paul. And then there is the question of Paul’s attitude toward these “so-called Pillars,” as he refers to them–with his dismissive line–“What they are means nothing to me; God shows no partiality.” So how do we sort all that out. In my book Paul and Jesus I have a full chapter on this called “The Battle of the Apostles.”

Note: I am continuing to post here on my blog the recent interviews I have done with with Derek Lambert, the dynamic autodidactic  host of MythVision Podcasts--which covers the gambit of religion, philosophy and history. Check it out–Derek has interviewed a “Who’s Who” of academics in my field of Christian Origins (Ehrman, Goodacre, Allison, Pagels, and many more), as well as over 1000 videos covering history, philosophy, science, religion, and culture.

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