There is a new book just out called How Jesus Became Christian by Professor Barrie Wilson of the Religious Studies Department of York University in Toronto.
According to Professor Wilson Jesus was a prophet, a powerful homilist, a totally devout Jew, who is executed in Jerusalem for being a political revolutionary. His followers carry on with his teachings: Wait for the Kingdom of God to get rid of the wicked, and in the meantime do good for the poor, love your neighbour and so on.
But he and his teachings are highjacked by the religious genius Paul and an elegant writer named Luke the Evangelist – considered one of Paul’s sidekicks – and together they pull off history’s greatest religious cover-up. They repackage a mortal rabbi as the divine son of God in a class mystery religion and shop him big-time around the Roman Empire.
The differences between Paul and Jesus are so great that we have to see two different religions.
Professor Wilson summerizes this way: “Jesus never converted to another religion. Nor did he start one. If he were to return he’d probably be amazed – perhaps bewildered or possibly even angry – at what has been created in his name.”
It is clear that Jesus remained a practising Jew bound by the Torah until his death. Christianity under the aegis of Paul began much later.
So, in your view, is it reasonable to conclude that Jesus was never a Christian?
Could we conclude further that Jesus would recognize little of his teachings in the Christian church today?