How Jesus Became Christian

St Martin's Press

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'"Jesus was thoroughly Jewish. Mary, his mother, was Jewish and Judaism was the religion he practiced throughout his life. Jesus' teachings focused on the important Jewish of the day... But what happened? How did Jesus the Jew become a Gentile Christ?"'

So begins How Jesus Became Christian, as Barrie Wilson confronts one of the simplest questions of religious history and yet one that hardly anyone thinks about it: How did a young, well-respected rabbi become the head of a cult that bears his name, espouses a philosophy that he wouldn't wholly understand, and possesses a clear streak of anti-Semitism that has sparked hatred against the generations of Jews who followed him? Colorfully re-creating the Hellenistic world into which Jesus was born -- a theologically cacophonous world filled with a panoply of Greek philosophies, Oriental religions such as Mithraism, and the Egyptian cults of Isis and Osiris -- Wilson brings the answer to life by looking at the rivalry between the "Jesus Movement," led by James, informed by the teachings of Matthew, and adhering to Torah worship, and the "Christ Movement," headed by Paul, which shunned the Torah.

Wilson suggests that Paul's movement was not rooted in the teachings and sayings of the historical Jesus, a man Paul never actually met, but solely in Paul's mystical vision of Christ. Wilson then goes on to show how Paul established the new religion through anti-Semitic propaganda that ultimately crushed the Jesus Movement.

Sure to be controversial, this is an exciting, well-written, popular religious history that cuts to the heart of the differences between Christianity and Judaism. How Jesus Became Christian looks at how one of the world's great religions prospered and grew at the cost of another and focuses on one of the fundamental questions that goes to the heart of why millions worship daily: Who was Jesus Christ -- a Jew or a Christian?


Condition: Pre-loved book. First edition. Minor yellowing of pages; book jacket slightly torn.

Format: Hardcover
Year published: 2008

Pages: 317
Religion; non-fiction
Imprint: St Martin's Press

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