I have a question on your thoughts about Robert Eisenman who says that Paul was a Herodian? He gives evidences that both men in question were named paul/saul , persecuted and killed many , were of Herodian bloodline (Romans 16:11) .. the assertions here are pretty serious and I’d like advice on countering these arguments.


This is the kind of paper that liberal scholars, who do not have a lot else to do, tend to write.  They assume that what Paul or Peter or James or Luke wrote is strongly influenced by one political view or another.  Then they try to support the view that one particular political view over another is the influence that affects them.

The problem with this is that it begins with a false presupposition–which is that these passages are NOT inspired by God.  If we begin with the presupposition (well-supported by massive evidence) that the scriptures, and therefore what Paul, James, Luke and Peter wrote is inspired by God, then we have a much superior explanation of the facts as they exist.  James does NOT contradict Paul.  Paul does NOT contradict Peter.  All Bible writers write from their own personal perspective, yet all Scripture is inspired by God.

Let me be specific.  The reason Paul says that salvation is from God through faith, first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles is because salvation is from God through faith, first to the Jews, then for the Gentiles.  It is not because he is a Herodian. The reason that James says the faith without deeds is dead is because faith without deeds is dead, not because James is influenced by the community at Qumran.  The reason that Paul says that we are saved by grace, through faith, not by works is because we are saved by grace, through faith, not by works.  I could go on….  

So, the research by Mr. Eisenman is interesting research, but his inference is backward.  What he should do is ask which political view is most in line with Paul’s writings, not what Paul’s writings are most in line with.  The inference is backward.  Paul says what he says because his writings are inspired by God–because they are true, not because of his political leanings.  I do not deny that what Bible writers write is not affected in any way whatsoever by their experiences and perspective, but I deny that what they say is therefore not inspired and true in the absolute sense.

In conclusion, because Eisenman’s paper is based on a false premise (that they are Paul’s opinion and not inspired), its conclusions are essentially useless.  That is my point.  Therefore, my advice is not that you try to prove that Paul’s writings are not aligned with Herodian thinking, but that you present the view that Paul’s writings are inspired by God, and, if anything, if what the Herodians thought or did is similar, it is coincidence or a more or less irrelevant fact in trying to prove his thesis.

I hope this makes sense.

John Oakes

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