I think that most who follow me with any regularity here know I am a mythologist. I don;t believe the Jesus of the bible ever existed. The reason is simple: There’s no evidence, until after the supposed desth of Jesus that he was alive. The earliest epigrapher tht we are aware of is Paul, who is credited with some 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament, but in reality probably authored only 7 of those letters. Pauls earliest writings are dated 47-48 CE.
Paul never knew Jesus either but claimed (Galatians) to know Peter and James. There’s also ab entire backstory created for Paul, in Acts. So, the casual Christian would think that yes, Paul is the real deal. There’s your proof, mythologist. Remember that Paul never met this person, Jesus whike he was alive and the only information he could possibly know about Jesus was through one or more of the original disciples.
There are believers that claim to have known someone that knew Paul but as usual, the documentation is scarce and there’s actually no one during that era that directly claims knowledge of him which os strange being that he travelled all over the middle east and stayed in homes of believers all through the eastern Roman Empire and no one of that time, in all of the cities he taught in, not a scratch in concrete or a letter of anyone of any status, confirms that this person, Paul, was actually there and that they knew him.
When I think about it, that’s even worse than the evidence for Jesus. Paul spoke with hundreds (more>) of people in his travels and there’s not a single mention of him during his life. The earliest is some 50 years after his traditional date of death. When we look at history honestly, we have zero evidence for Paul or any of the people he mentioned in any of his letter which leaves us with thw question: Did Paul really exist or is he a character manufactured by the church?
I’ve read some works of the “early church fathers”, dating from the 2nd centiry and few if any discuss Paul with any specificity. Of course, most of these works, letters, essaays, are not complete works, many of them just fragments but it’s curious that if Paul were a real person, he is not someone that was discussed much either during his time or after.