Paul teaches "the transcendent conception of Jesus as divine Redeemer" and in doing so Paul is "quite unconscious of introducing anything new; indeed he expressly calls attention to the harmony of his proclamation with that of the intimate friends of Jesus." John Gresham Machen, The Origin of Paul's Religion (New York, Macmillan 1921) at page 136.
I agree with Machen, that "the heavenly Christ of Paul was also the Christ of those who had lived with Jesus of Nazareth. They had seen Jesus subject to all the petty limitations of human life; they had seen Him hungry and thirsty and weary; they had toiled with Him over the hills of Galilee; yet they gave the right hand of fellowship to one [St. Paul] who regarded Him as the divine Redeemer seated on the throne of all being, and they were quite unconscious of any conflict between their view and his." The Origin of Paul's Religion, at 136.
Now, where do you go if you want to learn more about this 'Jesus and Paul' issue? In addition to this book by Machen which I have been quoting from here, I suggest Larry Hurtado's book, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Eerdmans 2003), and especially the section beginning at page 156 where Hurtado describes Paul's efforts to maintain links between his churches and the mother church in Jerusalem (Eerdmans 2003). The upshot is that Paul was teaching nothing new, and he had the support of the church leaders who were eyewitnesses of the earthly Jesus.
The next two posts (thanks to Machen) will refer to NT texts which support this approach, that Paul's teaching is closely connected to the earthly Jesus of Nazareth as he was known to and described by the eyewitnesses. But I am going to Ohio to visit my son, Joe, in Ohio and it may be a few days before I get to this. On Saturday I am going to the Cleveland, Ohio Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Now that is a subject which would be better tackled by Ben Witherington, who writes on the Bible and Culture here, but I might take a shot at it next week.