Spiritual depth and genius, however, are perhaps not the most obvious explanations for Paul's "impenetrability". After all, as it's clear from his own writings, the apostle was a cantankerous old coot. Perhaps he was just incoherent, much like a fickle politician on the hustings, making up policy according to whim. It certainly has been suggested.
Or perhaps there was method in his madness, though not of a particularly flattering variety. Enter Gerd Lüdemann.
We encounter in Paul a tremendous degree of self-consciousness and self-importance; his emphatic statement that he was superior to many of his contemporaries in observing the law is not only a reflection of his Pharisaic sense of superiority, but also has a basis in his character...
It comes as no surprise that Paul dominated his communities by insisting on his wishes and authority and requiring the compliance of others. His claims of apostolic authority reinforced his sense of infallibility and often led him to bully any who disagreed. As one would expect, he thus gained devoted followers among docile members but also repelled many who were not easily swayed.Ouch!
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