Who founded Christianity? July 8, 2005Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, church, faith, God, Jesus, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
The obvious answer is Christ. However, it is important to note that Jesus did not write one word of his teachings. In addition, most scholars believe the gospels were written after 70 AD. On the other hand, the epistles attributed to Paul are dated in the 50’s and 60’s. Paul’s death is dated around 67 AD. It seems to be a consensus that Paul wrote prior to the gospel authors.
It is also important to note that Paul never once quotes the gospels, mentions the miracles of Jesus, or the virgin birth. He never mentions John the Baptist who is an important figure in showing that Jesus is the Messiah. Paul even boasted in the fact that he was a Pharisee obviously ignorant of the bad reputation Pharisees were given in the gospels.
Another important point to mention is that Paul probably would have been an adult during the life of Christ but was not familiar with Jesus until his vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus. As a Pharisee and an enforcer of the law, surely he would have known of the controversy surrounding the life and teachings of Christ?
This brings me back to my original question, who founded Christianity? What a fascinating question.
Here’s a response from Michael Turton:
Who founded Christianity? I can’t tell. Let’s look at competing views…
1. Conventional Big Bang: Jesus ministers in Palestine, gets killed, followers start the religion. Gnostics are heretical offshoots from main branch. Big Bang many variations, from Jesus as prophet, to Jesus as Jewish Revolutionary. See Kirby’s historical Jesus theories page.
2. Mythicist 1: Christianity evolves out of pre-existing Jewish matrix in Jewish diaspora, projects itself back into Palestine. By the time we get first glimpse, we are seeing maturing cult, so no access to early history. Gnostics are part of many varieties of the cult. See Ellegaard, GS Mead.
3. Mythicist 2: Christianity is Roman project to destroy Judaism. See Atwill’s Caesar’s Messiah, old Piso theory. Gnostics are second century heretics.
4. Dutch Radicals: Christianity is second century or late first century in origin, but created history for itself in conflicts between various Christian cults. All early documents are forgeries of second century.
5. Hellenistic mystery cult: Christianity began as Christ Cult, historicized itself in stages. Gnostics are spin-off/holdover from early Christ Cults. Jesus of History unknown until invented/evolved in Gospels/second century. See Earl Doherty (The Jesus Puzzle).