Was Jesus a Christian?

Was Jesus a Christian in his lifetime?

Very interesting book review in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper yesterday. Link Here

A new book: How Jesus Became Christian, by Canadian author Barry Wilson, 2008, Random House Canada, says: “Jesus was preaching as a Jew, a rabbi, and championed the Torah, prayed in synagogue and urged his followers to adhere strictly to Jewish law.”

Wilson says that Jesus did not want to abolish Jewish religion and life; he wanted to improve it. His followers began to think of him as a Messiah, and after his death his brother James and followers waited for him to return to create the “Kingdom of God”

After the death of James the Jesus Movement was in decline until Paul of Tarsus hijacked the cause. Paul did not know Jesus, but linked his writings, in an oblique way, to the long dead Messiah. Paul says that he received the Gospel not from man, but by “the revelation of Jesus Christ” on the road to Damascus, thru a “beam of light.” I think I saw one of Paul’s relatives on Hollywood Blvd. one day in the 1960’s.

Wilson terms “Paulinity” – “a Hellenized religion about a Gentile Christ, a cosmic redeemer” – rather than the Jewish-inspired religion of Jesus, which was embraced by the Gentiles of the Roman world in the period from the second to the fourth centuries.”

Paul is second most prolific writer in the New Testament. Authorship of 13 or 14 letters, or Pauline Epistles have been credited to him, some of which he actually wrote himself. His influence on Christianity and the New Testament has been highly underrated. Some think he invented Christianity, as we know it today.

Paul himself is very unwilling to talk about the character of his conversion, though in Galatians he uses it as authority for his independence from the apostles: Here

Paul removes his theology from Jesus’ apostles; he writes his own.

In the academic field (other than evangelicals, who insist that the bible was always the same, inerrant in all ways), there is not much doubt that the Christian writings have been changed significantly since the earliest days.

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