Galatians 2:2, Pauline and Petrine Christianity
And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain.
//The self-proclaimed “apostle” Paul writes that he learned about the Way of Jesus through revelation. He is emphatic that he not only received instruction from Jesus directly, but that he never shared that instruction with the Christian church in Jerusalem. He implies that it was fourteen years before he ever met with the other apostles in order to make sure that he was not “running the race in vain” over all those years. As the New Living Translation puts it, Paul wrote that he finally “wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing.”
It is therefore no surprise when scholars of early Christianity recognize differences between Paul’s thinking and those writings which appear more Judaic. Paul’s more universalistic Gentile Christianity presumably centered in Antioch, leaving Jerusalem to the Jews (though there is hardly any scholarly consensus on this). This dichotomy is often described as “Pauline” versus “Petrine” Christianity. I allude to this difference between Gentile and Jewish Christianity in my book about John’s Gospel, while also introducing yet a third flavor: the esoteric, spiritual message of the Johannine community.
Can you guess which of the three is my favorite?