Saint Paul is a well-known figure in Christian history.
Paul of Tarsus supposedly taught a student named Theudas. Theudas taught a man named Valentinus, which brings us to this post and hopefully the relevance of the matter at hand.
Valentinus taught Ptolemy, a Gnostic exegete, who wrote a letter to his follower, Flora.
Look at the way Ptolemy, a Hellenized Jewish Gnostic Christian, interfaces with “the Law (Torah),” the sacred writing of his tradition, and tell me if you see any similarities with approaches to Buddhadharma and Buddhavacana. In particular, the threefold sources he lays out: from God, from Moses, from the elders. I would say perhaps there is a parallel in Buddhism: from the Buddha, from the students near the Buddha (the arhats/saints), from the community of monastic (and lay) practitioners (over time).
The entire Law contained in the Pentateuch of Moses was not ordained by one legislator - I mean, not by God alone, some commandments are Moses’, and some were given by other men. The words of the Savior teach us this triple division. The first part must be attributed to God alone, and his legislation; the second to Moses - not in the sense that God legislates through him, but in the sense that Moses gave some legislation under the influence of his own ideas; and the third to the elders of the people, who seem to have ordained some commandments of their own at the beginning. You will now learn how the truth of this theory is proved by the words of the Savior.
In some discussion with those who dispute with the Savior about divorce, which was permitted in the Law, he said Because of your hard-heartedness Moses permitted a man to divorce his wife; from the beginning it was not so; for God made this marriage, and what the Lord joined together, man must not seperate. [Matt 19:8] In this way he shows there is a Law of God, which prohibits the divorce of a wife from a husband, and another law, that of Moses, which permits the breaking of this yoke because of hard-heartedness. In fact, Moses lays down legislation contrary to that of God; for joining is contrary to not joining.
But if we examine the intention of Moses in giving this legislation, it will be seen that he did not give it arbitrarily or of his own accord, but by the necessity because of the weakness of those for whom the legislation was given. Since they were unable to keep the intention of God, according to which it was not lawful for them to reject their wives, with whom some of them disliked to live, and therefore were in the danger of turning to greater injustice and thence to destruction, Moses wanted to remove the cause of dislike, which was placing them in jeopardy of destruction. Therefore because of the critical circumstances, choosing a lesser evil in place of a greater, he ordained, on his own accord, a second law, that of divorce, so that if they could not observe the first, they might keep this and not turn to unjust and evil actions, through which complete destruction would be the result for them. This was his intention when he gave legislation contrary to that of God. Therefore it is indisputeable that here the law of Moses is different from the Law of God, even if we have demonstrated the fact from only one example.
The Savior also makes plain the fact that there are some traditions of the elders interwoven in the Law. For God, he says, said, Honour your father and your mother, that it may be well with you, But you, he says addressing the elders, have declared as a gift to God, that by which you have nullified the Law of God through the tradition of your elders. Isaiah also proclaimed this, saying, This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, teaching precepts which are the commandments of men. [Matt 15:4-9].
Therefore it is obvious that the whole Law is divided into three parts; we find in it the legislation of Moses, of the elders, and of God himself. This division of the entire Law, as made by us, has brought to light what is true in it.
(Ptolemy, Letter to Flora , ~100 A.D.)