sounds like good reasoning.
I would submit that the story of the trip to the East - as possibly based on midrash - was included in the "life" of the fictional composite "Paul" because it was a tale told about Apollonius of Tyana and/or Pythagoras, etc.
As we can see, the biblical tales are based demonstrably on pre-Christian mythology, legends and midrash.
It's good to see other people thinking in this manner.
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Jake <email@example.com>
Sent: Saturday, January 5, 2013 10:06 AM
Subject: [JesusMysteries] Paul in Damascus?
In Galatians, we read of Paul's alleged trip to Damascus.
We should not imagaine that a historical Paul ever did such a thing. Paul's alleged trip to Damscus is midrash on Elijah's attempts to purge the enemies of the "true" faith, the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). The "Arabia" and "Damascus" details explain what has puzzled scholars who look for history in Galatians.
Paul and Elijah both set out to purge the enemies of the "true" faith, the prophets of Baal for Elijah (1 Kings 18) and the church for Paul (Gal 1:13,23).
Elijah is turned aside (1 Kings 19:3) as is Paul when he encounters the risen Christ (Acts 9). Now here is the key part; Elijah immediately goes to Horeb, the mountain of God (1 Kings 19:8). Likewise, Paul turns aside into Arabia (Gal 1:17), where Mount Sinai is supposed to be located (Gal 4:25). It is on the Mount that Paul would naturally receive his alleged divine revelation, Gal. 1:12.
After that, both Elijah (1 Kings 19:15) and Paul (Gal. 1:17) go to Damascus. That is the source of Paul's alleged association with Damascus, "midrash" (loosely defined). It is very much of the same thing that was used to create the fictional life of Jesus.
It is evident that Galatians 1 was written after Acts 9 because Gal 1:17 states Paul returned to Damascus. Returned? Galatians doesn't mention Damascus before this. It was mentioned in Acts 9:3. These texts evolved "in conversation" with each other. This is supported by the fact that the so-called biographical details of Acts 9 and Galatians 1 in conjunction were derived from Elijah in 1 Kings 18 and 19. See message 42280.
2 Cor. 11:32 contains the story of Paul escaping from Damascus. The "lowering in a basket" has all the elements of a folk tale based on the motif of the hero being lowered to escape his enemies.
In the archives, a strong case was presented by Sid Green and Dennis that 2 Cor. 11:32 is an interpolation. I have trouble with the idea that Damascus was under control of Aretas in 38/39 CE. And that is explicitly what 2 Corinthians 11:32 states.
Nabataean control of Damascus by Aretas IV has never been established from any external sources. Instead, defenders of the biblical text twist all historical facts to try to save the accuracy of this, one of the very few historical anchors in the Pauline Corpus.
The only King Aretas who was documented to have had such authority in Damascus was Aretas III. In 84 BCE he conquered Damascus (BJ 1.4.
and in 65 BCE besieged Jerusalem. But he broke off when the Romans appeared (BJ 1.6.3). The redactor of 2 Corinthinas has conflated Aretas III and Aretas IV from Josephus. It wouldn't be the first time a New Testament writer misread Josephus. In any case, another one of the key anchors to date Paul is yet shown unreliable.
Jake Jones IV