Gunnar Heinsohn: Saint Paul Was Real

The lack of non-biblical and/or non-Christian sources on St. Paul of Tarsus/Anatolia (conventionally dated 10-60 CE) and his followers provides revisionists (like Hermann Detering and his school of thought) with the most important reason for deleting a “fabricated Paul” from the history books.

Paul is said to have been invented in the 2nd century and projected back to the 1st century.1

Mainstream scholars may not follow this radical step.

With regard to the sources, however, they cannot contradict the revisionists:

“It might come as a surprise, but outside our New Testament records we have very little additional historical information about Paul other than the valuable [although 300 years later] tradition that Jerome [347-420 CE] preserves for us that he was born in the Galilee.

The early Christian writers of the second century (usually referred to as the “Apostolic Fathers”) mention his name less than a dozen times, holding him up as an example of heroic faith, but nothing of historical interest is related by any of them.“2

The absence of portraits of Paul from his own 1st century CE, as well as through all of Imperial Antiquity (up to the 3rd century), also appears to prove that he never existed.

Accordingly, mainstream academe considers Paul portraits from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages to be pure fantasy.

Paul’s existence is also doubted because his missions have not left behind any church buildings.

Nevertheless, his mission area was already full of Christians around 100 CE.

Pliny the Younger (61-113) wrote to Emperor Trajan (98-117) in 112 CE about his persecution of Anatolian Christians from Bithynia,

“especially because of the number involved. For many persons of every age, every rank, and also of both sexes will be endangered. For the contagion of this superstition has spread not only to the cities but also to the villages and farms.“3

Therefore, nobody understands why no churches were built during Imperial Antiquity.

On the other hand, stratigraphic analysis proves the three epochs –– Imperial Antiquity (1 CE ff.), Late Antiquity (284 ff.), and the Early Middle Ages (700 ff.) –– are simultaneous facets of Roman Civilization.4

Therefore, churches, texts and images pertaining to Saint Paul, that are scattered over these three periods, belong to the same time frame.

The assertion that there are no non-biblical sources regarding Paul and his movement is thus refuted.

With this result Paul research can seriously begin for the first time.

[Click on the image to view to at a larger scale]

The allegedly missing Pauline church buildings of the 1st and 2nd century CE lead us to the four greatest mysteries in the history of High Religion.

(1) The strangest mystery of High Religion, as we know, is that in their first three centuries Christians did not leave behind any distinct church buildings.

Therefore. the church father Tertullian (c. 150-220 CE) is considered a shameless liar.

For he had expressly praised his religion for the “towering buildings”5 they used as places of assembly.

The pagan philosopher Porphyrios (died before 305 CE) is considered equally misleading.

In his book “Against Christians,” he lamented that they erected enormous buildings for their services, although they could pray in their own houses.6

(2) The second greatest mystery is also provided by the Christians because, at the beginning of their church construction in the 4th and 5th centuries, they blandly imitated pagan basilicas of the 1st and 2nd centuries in layout and technology instead of developing their own style and a more modern construction method.

(3) The third greatest mystery is that the Christians of the 8th century, in a kind of renaissance, returned to outdated basilica layouts, but did not opt for the layouts of the 5th but of the 4th century.7

Moreover, they astounded posterity with the fact that they never built their new churches on ruins of earlier ones, but on the same stratigraphic level in other places.

(4) Finally, the fourth greatest mystery is provided by the Christians of the 9th century, who repeated –– again in a kind of renaissance –– outdated church layouts but did not return to the 8th or 4th century, but to layouts of the 5th century.

They too did not build on the sites of former basilicas, but on the same stratigraphic level in other parts of the city.

All these puzzles can be solved if mainstream’s anti-stratigraphic historiography is replaced by a stratigraphic one.

Then it immediately becomes clear that the similarities of basilica floor plans from the 2nd, 5th and 9th centuries result from their simultaneity.

The identical building techniques of the 1st, 4th and 8th centuries do not indicate a miraculous standstill of technological evolution either but are due to the simultaneity of all “three” periods.

[Click on the image to view to at a larger scale]

[Click on the image to view to at a larger scale]

The stratigraphic encouragement to a whole new analysis of the Apostle and his followers in no way invalidates the previous results of text-critical research.10

Whether only seven or six letters come from him cannot be the subject of a stratigraphic examination.

The ‘genuine’ ones, that much is obvious, belong to the period when Jerusalem’s temple was still active, i.e. they were written before 70 CE.

That would fit Paul’s conventional date of 10 to 60 CE.

[Click on the image to view to at a larger scale]

If Paul’s defenders admit that non-Christian sources are completely absent, they speak only of the 1st and 2nd centuries, however.

They would never look at anything known about Paul or his followers dated to the Early Middle Ages (719 CE ff.) that are dated some 700 years after the saint‘s 1st century CE.

After all, these 700 years of 1st millennium chronology are even more holy to them than the Apostle himself.

Since the eliminators of Paul worship the anti-stratigraphic chronology of the first millennium as dogmatically as their opponents, the stalemate –– yes Paul, no Paul –– can can go on indefinitely.

The enigmatic Paulicians of the 8th century saw the Pauline epistles as the most important message of their faith.

They advocated an egalitarian, anti-slavery way of life with equal rights for women.

They respected Jesus as a prophet, but rejected a God-equality.

A regular memorization of a crucifixion or even a theology of the cross played no role in their faith.

Idol worship was fought with determination.

Nothing is known of a cult of Mary.

All this fits –– like the Pauline epistles themselves –– into the time before the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE.

Due to Constantinople’s high taxes on their anti-establishment towns and villages, the Paulicians became militant.

Because of their resistance to the authorities they eventually suffered mass executions11, reminiscent of the Roman mass murders of Jews after 70 CE as well as in the 2nd century.

Researchers are at a loss to say why 8th century Paulicians did not know the New Testament, but followed the Pauline epistles, whose historical context belonged before 70 CE (destruction of the temple).

The Christian Bible is believed to have been canonized in 367 CE.12

Therefore, the pre-canonization Paulicians seem to have been active, some 300 years earlier, in the time of Paul himself.

Chronologically this seems absolutely impossible.

Stratigraphically, however, 1st millennium Constantinople has archaeological layers with residential quarters with latrines only in Late Antiquity (4th-6th century), above which directly follow the humble buildings of the 10th/11th century.

From the 1st to 3rd century (Imperial Antiquity) and also in the early Middle Ages (8th-10th centuty) there are no such layers.

Rome and Jerusalem also only have archaeological layers with residential quarters and latrines in one of the three epochs of the first millennium.

Their remains dated to Imperial Antiquity (1st-3rd c.) is stratigraphically on par with Constantinople’s Late Antiquity (4th-6th c.).

Both epochs are immediately succeded by archaeological layers dated to the 10th century CE.

The archaeological period of Paul (Imperial Antiquity) is therefore simultaneous with the period of the Paulicians (Early Middle Ages).

Stratigraphically, Roman imperial civilization does not belong between 1 and the 230s, but between approx. 700 and the 930s CE.

However, the simultaneity of Paul and Paulicians is not only confirmed by their stratigraphic parallelism.

The architecture and construction technology of Imperial Antiquity and Early Middle Ages is also the same.

This is illustrated here with examples from Cologne and Ingelheim in Germany.

Not Ingelheim must be dated 700 years older, but Cologne must be dated 700 years younger to match stratigraphy.

The simultaneity of Imperial Antiquity and Early Middle Ages can be found not only in the north of the Paulician territories but also in the south of their main areas of influence.

As examples we choose very technologically sophisticated glass bowls in millefiori technology.

Here too, there are striking similarities, which are best explained by simultaneity.13

Samarra, where the second millefiori bowl was found, has a stratigraphy like Ingelheim.

This means that layers of approx. 1-700 CE are missing.

This once again confirms that the civilization of Rome‘s imperial period does not have to be dated approx. 1-230s CE, but approx. 700-930s CE.

The author’s stratigraphic approach only deletes time, but not history, therefore, it can reunite sources artificially separated by up to 700 years, so that understandable narratives come back to life.

[Click on the image to view to at a larger scale]

The twisted idea that someone invented Paul in the 2nd century, and composed his letters in the style of the 1st century in order to create a Paulinist movement that did not exist until then and to deceive the world between Jerusalem and Rome to believe in this man, can be discarded.

This also applies to the even more bizarre idea that successors of this assumed faker would have encouraged people to paint portraits of Paul in the catacombs 200 years later, so that people would fall for this fictional figure forever.

From the stratigraphic, i.e. parallel view of Paul and Paulicians, we can learn that they have by no means gone unnoticed.

The secular authorities observed this bold missionary and his political impact closely.

Eventually, they brutally persecuted him and his followers.

Archaeologically, this happened in the 8th and 9th centuries CE.

If Paul the Confessor (+350 CE), the great writer of many but supposedly completely lost letters, proves to be an alter ego of Saint Paul, we might even have his mummy.14

So scholars now have much more material and geographical context (e.g., Paul’s Anatolia) to start research on the apostle from scratch.

For this noble endeavour, erudite deniers of the saint –– like Hermann Detering or Robert M. Price –– and his equally learned but so far helpless defenders could transform their fierce feud into a fruitful cooperation.


1. H. Detering, H. (2018),
The Fabricated Paul: Early Christianity in the Twilight, 1st German ed. 1995,
Detering: Radikalkritik;

See also

R. M. Price (2011),
The Amazing Colossal Apostle: The Search for the Historical Paul,
Salt Lake Cuty/UT: Signature Books.

2. See J. Tabor (2014),
“ The Quest for the Historical Paul“, Bible History Daily, 14-08-2014;

3. Pliny’s letter to Trajan of “112“ CE:

4. See the contributions in , 2013-2018.

See also

5. Tertullian, Adversus Valentinum 2:3.

6. Porphyrios, Adversus Christianos, fragment 76 (quoting Makarius Apocriticus IV: 21).

7. This observation was first published by Richard Krautheimer (1897-1994), the most important researcher of Roman basilicas of the first millennium.

See R. Krautheimer (1942),
“The Carolingian revival of Early Christian architecture“, in The Art Bulletin, vol. 24, 1-38

8. R. Krautheimer (1988),
“Die karolingische Wiederbelebung der frühchristlichen Architektur“ [1942],
in R. Krautheimer, Ausgewählte Aufsätze zur Europäischen Kunstgeschichte, Köln: DuMont, 198-276 / illu. 54: a, h, i, f; illu. 62.

9. R. Krautheimer (1988),
“Die karolingische Wiederbelebung der frühchristlichen Architektur“ [1942],
in R. Krautheimer, Ausgewählte Aufsätze zur Europäischen Kunstgeschichte, Köln: DuMont, 198-276 / illu. 54: l, m, p, r, s.

10. See, e.g., J. Becker (1998), Paulus: Apostel der Völker, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

11. R. J. Hoffmann (1983),
“The Paulician heresy: a reappraisal,” Patristic and Byzantine Review, vol. 2, no. 2-3, 251-263.

12. G. Davis (2010), “ The Development of the Canon of the New Testament“;

13. For more similarities over 700 years see G. Heinsohn (2018), “How did so many 1st-3rd century AD Roman elements make it into the 8th-10th century Viking age?“, The Truso lecture;

14. ; reference Jan Beaufort.

Editorial Assistance

Thanks to Clark Whelton (New York/NY) and Tim Cullen (Malaga/Spain).

This essay is an excerpt from the manuscript “Wie lange währte das Erste Jahrtausend” (How long lasted the first millennium CE?, October 2017: available on request from the author).

Gallery | This entry was posted in Guest Authors, History. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Gunnar Heinsohn: Saint Paul Was Real

  1. melitamegalithic says:

    A small observation: Re “They too did not build on the sites of former basilicas, but on the same stratigraphic level in other parts of the city.” It is known that many churches were built specifically on former places of ‘pagan’ worship ( easy for locals to assimilate the newcomer god; for believers it is the ‘holiness’ of the place that matters not the name of the resident deity, the latter were there on rent basis). Two examples here: and

    Both were plundered by the same person; C Verres.

    In lower image of cathedral plans it occurred to me some time ago that layout always followed a particular form. A long possibly narrow aisle, with a narrow portal at one end and an apse at the other; plus two side areas. The form is not that of a cross but more like that of a megalithic temple/calendar. That is in fact an actual development at Tas-Silg in second link above. (The plundering of that historically important place by Verres is what eventually made Cicero’s career).

    • John Miller says:

      Well, it would be VERY easy for people who were already praying to Jupiter/Zeus, Bacchus/Dionysus, or Ceres/Demeter to instead pray to God, Jesus or Mary.

      After all, the rituals, rites etc. were virtually identical. The ‘pagan’ Demeter and the Christian Mother of God share enormous similarities. as do the ‘pagan’ Jove and the Christian Jehovah.

      Even the ‘pagan demigods’ are far more like Christian Saints than anything else.

      The Churches were not ‘built on the pagan places of worship’. In fact, what are now interpreted as being the ‘pagan temples’ WERE the early Christian Churches.

      • melitamegalithic says:

        Quote “After all, the rituals, rites etc. were virtually identical.” More likely, they were one and the same. That fact was made clear by St Augustine, quoted by FM Muller “What is now called the Christian religion, has existed among the ancients, and was not absent from the beginning of the human race, — etc ” (August retr 1, 13.) in ‘Selected Essays, on Language, Mythology and Religion’. Pg 5 Google ebook.

        The Dionysos/Demeter myth knows a much earlier beginning (as text in Mesopotamia; elsewhere as artifact figurines -the Divine Triad -, dating to before 3000bce). In Homs from ~500bce to 300ce the male deity was known as Adonis. The ‘Fields of Adonis’ were small plates of sprouted corn/wheat as ‘thanks’ for the new harvest. Corn/wheat was still used to decorate the Christmas crib, although nowadays seeds of vetch are used instead (link: ). As a young child grandpa corrected me about this, insisting on corn, meaning that the pagan tradition was still well known up to early 50’s last century.

        The above does not mean there are added centuries to history, because all are somehow accounted for since Zero CE. In fact a Byzantine early chapel remains were uncovered (under my watch) that was dated 6th to 8th century CE. Link:
        However there is evidence that knowledge of the ancient cult persisted to very late. (But trust peasants to see through obfuscations, and generally to ignore. To the peasant Nature rules)

        Re “— the ‘pagan temples’ WERE the early Christian Churches.”. That is impossible since these pre-date Christianity by several millennia. That besides the fact that the early temples were really functional calendars of mathematical design. See second link of my prev post.

      • John Miller says:

        To be brutally frank, I believe you are using circular reasoning.

        They only ‘predate Christianity by several millennia’ according to the chronology you have absolute faith in. Using actual physical evidence, rather than the textbook chronology, we see this is not the case.

        HOW was the Byzantine chapel dated to “6th to 8th century”? The people who dated it ALREADY had their conventional chronology, and then made their findings conform to the conventional chronology.

        That is the whole point of this. Using the actual physical evidence as it exists, and trying to work out the actual passage of time from the genuine findings. Instead of going in with blind faith in the chronology, and then trying to make the physical evidence fit the pre-existing timeframe.

  2. melitamegalithic says:

    Quote ” To be brutally frank,—“. I sincerely hope it is frank, truthfully frank. This discussion is not restricted by peer pressure -at least I hope so -, and it deals with matter way outside the establishment tether. So! Let’s clarify.

    There are two issues:
    1 ” ‘predate Christianity by several millennia’”. This refers to megalithic structures, one of which is known to have become a phoenician > roman >byzantine cult ‘temple’. My dating here does not follow anybody’s estimate or whatever. It is based on comparing proxies that, as I found, corroborate the evidence, and in the early period provided the early dates (different dates than ‘speculated’ ones). This pic here explains better: see Calendar viewing angle; that and the matter of orientation are new arguments and not yet accepted. Yet all the tell-tales are there. This is all way before christianity.

    2. In same link at bottom there is the variation from IntCal 13 on C14 dates versus dendrochronology. The ‘hiccups’ in C14 corroborate early dates in point 1. Going on to the last two millennia the trend-line does not allow for tinkering by inserting additional or removal of sections. The hiccups in C14 over the last 2000yrs (not shown in pic) seem to point to something, since there appears to be some correlation to the highs and lows of the Eddy cycle (see link: ), but still too early to make out the devil’s lair. Evidence as mentioned in previous post is rare, but not absent. Documentary wise it is lacking and what there is, is a source of ‘heated’ debate. But it is not a total void. Plus the ‘little’ archaeological evidence is the work of centuries not decades.

    One important point to keep in mind. The world changed with the advent of steam power, and changed abruptly with the rise of the Machine. But before that there was near stasis, with rudimentary inventions labelled the devil’s handiwork. One sees that best in weaponry.

  3. melitamegalithic says:

    An additional piece that one may find interesting here. In recent reading I have come across an interesting piece, namely the “Donation of Constantine”. A tangled web when seen holistically, requiring centuries for the convoluted events to unfold, unlikely in years. Wiki has info but this link has better detail:

  4. melitamegalithic says:

    Another interesting link that ties in with the subject:

    Section quote: ““Apparently, one of the religious phenomena associated with the rise of Early Christianity in the Near East — the transformation of a pagan cultic place into a sacred, Biblical location — had taken place at Jabal Haroun. The Byzantine monastic center which incorporated the earlier Nabataean remains, —-; — The church and the chapel underwent several phases of re-modelling, following episodes of destruction, probably of seismic nature. The ecclesiastical occupation of the church ended by the late 8th century and the chapel by the 9th —— “.

  5. Pingback: Gunnar Heinsohn: Diocletian: Ingenious or Insane? | MalagaBay

  6. Jan Beaufort says:

    As the author quoted by Heinsohn for the recognition of the apostle Paul in the late antique Paul the Confessor, I would like to add another observation for the identity of both. It can be found in the Ecclesiastical History of Sozomenos (died around 480). As the two church historians Socrates Scholastikos and Theodoret who are conspicuously similar to him, he writes a continuation of Euseb’s church history.
    In Book VII Sozomenos reports on the transfer of the bones of Paul the Confessor to Constantinople. Theodosius the Great is emperor at this time and in traditional view already Catholic. It is also the time of Diodor of Tarsus, who is mentioned several times. With Diodor’s consent, the emperor appointed Nectarius bishop of Constantinople, although he was never baptized (which Diodor did not know).
    At the Council of Constantinople convened by Theodosius (381, with Heinsohn 97 A.D.), the bishop of Constantinople, the New Rome, was given the second rank behind the bishop of Old Rome. According to the resolution of the Council, the churches should be everywhere in the hands of Trinitarians from now on (“… the churches everywhere should be placed in the hands of those who acknowledged one and the same Godhead in the hypostasis of three Persons of equal honor and of equal power; namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”) Diodor of Tarsus and Gregor of Nyssa are mentioned by name among others.
    In the same year the emperor decides that the bones of Paul should be transferred to Constantinople. They are enclosed in a church which was built by Paul’s Arian arch-enemy Macedonius, himself two times bishop of Constantinople, and since then has been called Paul’s Church.
    And then Sozomenos makes that difference between his own, allegedly better knowledge and the misconception of ordinary people, which from the point of view of the Heinsohn thesis would be questionable again. For only because the church has long been called Paul’s Church, he writes in Chapter X, would many people who have difficulty with the facts, especially women and the masses of the people, believe that the Apostle Paul lies buried there:
    “The Emperor Theodosius, on being informed of various events connected with Paul, formerly bishop of Constantinople, caused his body to be removed to the church erected by Macedonius, his enemy, and buried there. This temple is a spacious and most distinguished edifice, and is still named after Paul. Hence many persons who are ignorant of the facts of the case, particularly women and the mass of the people, imagine that Paul, the apostle, is interred therein.”

  7. Jan Beaufort says:

    Unfortunately I have to add a correction right now, because I have to rectify an inaccuracy in my previous comment. I wrote there: “At the Council of Constantinople convened by Theodosius (381, with Heinsohn 97 A.D.), the bishop of Constantinople, the New Rome, was given the second rank behind the bishop of Old Rome.” But that’s only partly true. After all, the Council’s decision in the original Greek reads as follows: Τὸν μέν μέν τοι Κωνσταντινουπόλεως ἐπίσκοπον ἐπίσκοπον ἔχειν τὰ πρεσβεῖα πρεσβεῖα τῆς τιμῆς μετὰ τὸν τῆς ῾Ρώμης εἶναι εἶναι, διὰ τὸ ῾Ρώμην εἶναι αὐτὴν νέαν ῾Ρώμην (Constantinopolitanus episcopus habeat priores honores post Romanum episcopum, eo quod sit ipsa nova Roma). Properly translated into English this means: “The bishop of Constantinople shall have the first place of honour after the bishop of Rome, because it (Constantinople) is a new Rome”.

    This formulation is ambiguous, as e. g. the Australian historian John R. Melville-Jones explains in his excellent article “Constantinople as ‘New Rome'” ( ). For it can be understood as I did in my commentary. But the Greek μετὰ, like the Roman ‘post’ and the English ‘after’, can also be read in a temporal sense. And then Constantinople no longer ranks second behind Rome, but takes the lead after Old Rome has lost its significance.

    Melville-Jones also makes it clear that the name New Rome has by no means been an official name for Constantinople since Constantine the Great. Rather, it has its origin in a religious context, in the very Council of the year 381 convened by Theodosius, which took the above decision.

    In the light of the Heinsohn thesis we find here a possible motive for the new chronological order of Imperial Rome and Late Antique Constantinople: Rome could have been backdated and set before Constantinople in an attempt to establish the church primacy for Constantinople under the terms of Justinian Caesaropapism.

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