Did Paul think that Jesus’s appearance was merely an epiphany-like revelation (exclusively non-visual and in his heart/mind)?

  • Question

    Paul proclaimed that Jesus “appeared” to him, but in doing so, did Paul mean that Jesus in some sense appeared to him non-physically—in an ecstatic or revelatory way that was close to being an epiphany, insofar as it was purely intra-mental and non-visual?

“No, after all…
  • [A feeling would not convert Paul]

    [Brackets] mean forthcoming.

    But no...

    • Paul was psychologically prepared to convert.
  • “Ophthe” implies visuality, vision or not

    A painter paints a painting, with the greek letters spelling out the Greek word ophthe.

    The word translated "appeared" (ōphthē) is the passive form of ὁράω, and indicates that there was something to be seen.

    See full page here (documenting the fact that most experts agree).

    This is relevant because Paul used this word to describe Jesus's appearance to him,1 and if there was a visual component associated with Jesus appearing (being seen), then it was not simply an epiphany-like revelation or merely auditory experience.

    1. 1 Cor 15:8 — ἔσχατον δὲ πάντων ὡσπερεὶ τῷ ἐκτρώματι ὤφθη κἀμοί.
“Yes, after all…
  • Gal 1:12 (“revelation”) = intra-mental

    Galatians 1:12 (“I received it [the gospel] through a revelation”) indicates that Paul believed the “appearance” of Jesus was an intra-mental revelation at his conversion.

    This full page debates two arguments:

    This is relevant because Paul is an authority on what he experienced here, and if it is instrumental then it is not physical.

    But no…

    • The author of Acts accurately represents Paul.
    • “Revelation” sounds non-visual, but Paul had a visual experience.
  • Gal 1:16 “His Son in me” = intra-mentally

    A man has a image of a glorified Jesus on or inside his chest.

    In Galatians 1:16, when Paul says that God “revealed His son in me,” is Paul intending to communicate that the Jesus appearance he received was mystical, ecstatic, or vision-like (perhaps even psychological).

    • Gal 1:16 says “IN me,” not “TO me”

    This is relevant because if Paul felt Jesus only was revealed intra-mentally during the appearance, then he would not have simultaneously thought it was a physical appearance.

    But so what?

    • “in me” sounds non-visual, but Paul had a visual experience.
  • Paul’d detail what he saw in 1 Cor 15

    If Paul’s experience were extra-mental, then he would’ve outlined what precisely he saw in 1 Corinthians 15. [Forthcoming]