I listened to Ehrman's audio for the Teaching Company with EArly Christianity to Constantine and discovered some new things. We only have Paul's letters. Unfortunately, we do not have the letters from James and Peter to Paul. I've read a lot in this area on an amateur basis. My feeling was always that enormous friction existed. James, Jesus' brother and Peter, his rock were present through Jesus' life. They are the major participants in the gospels. Clearly, Jesus died a Jew. The early Christians considered themselves good Jews. Nice Jewish boys.
Paul went on missions. I don't believe they travelled far from Galilee or Jersualem. Sadly, almost everyone accepts Paul's vision because it was able to survive for a host of reasons. Another matter I notice very clearly is that Paul doth protest too much about being an apostle. James and Peter were the gold standard for apostles. If Paul had true legitimacy as an apostle, he would not have to assert it at every moment. Peter had no need to do so.
I don't see how it was one happy Jewish/Christian community. The implications for Christology are too huge. I wish we would not accept Paul's word as the last word only because his works survived. The Christians gathered in Jerusalem must have been so frightened and angry with Paul. Does anyone here truly believe that Paul announces his vision on the road to Damascus, a vision and auditory experience only Paul had among his party, and instantly, James and Peter see the error of their ways and embrace him. Yes, they were Christian but they were also human and had many Christian humans to protect from Saul.
If Osama Bin Laden announced to the world that he received a vision and was now a born-again Christian while he spits on a Koran, and enters DC in triumph to lead his tent revival in America, would NYers and Pentagon employees rush out to embrace him? I've seen instant forgiveness in that genre of Christian film during the 1940s and 1950s.
Paul triumphed. Maybe he was correct. We don't know with the available evidence.
After 9/11, I flinched violently every time a military plane (the only planes) flew overhead. I flinched before my mind consciously registered there was a plane overhead. Others found the military planes reassuring. Months later I had to drive pass an airport to move. The planes were minding their own business but my mind was certain they were falling out of the sky directly to me. I came very close to an accident. Al-Qaeda thoroughly terrorized me. I might force myself to do things to spite them but they had me terrified out of my wits. Paul was al-Qaeda. Maybe Ghandi could embrace him readily. Perhaps Jesus or Mother Theresa. James and Peter had to protect everyone as leaders. Your mind might say forgive but your body gives you powerful signals not to forgive.
Why doesn't Acts report of a meeting between Paul and the families of the victims of Saul? It had to happen. Did no relative step forward and say this is not good idea. Think of parole and pardon hearings.
I loved the Last Temptation of Christ and thought Cecil B. DeMille hokey. This post shows my feelings about Jesus and real life.