How Jesus Became Christian

How Jesus Became Christian

by Barrie Wilson
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How Jesus Became Christian by Barrie Wilson

“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 issues of the day…But, what happened?  How did Jesus the Jew become a Gentile Christ?”

So begins Barrie Wilson in How Jesus Became Christian where Wilson confronts one of the simplest questions of religious history and yet one that anyone rarely thinks about: 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 recreating 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 Torah.  

Wilson suggests that Paul's movement was not rooted in the teachings and sayings of the historical Jesus, a man Paul actually never met, but solely in Paul's mystical vision of Christ,.  Wilson's persuasively then goes on to show how Paul established the new religion through anti-Semitic propaganda which ultimately crushed the Jesus Movement.  Sure to becontroversial, 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 way millions worship daily: Who was Jesus Christ --a Jew or a Christian?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679314936
Publisher: Random House of Canada, Limited
Publication date: 03/18/2008
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.29(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.99(d)
Age Range: 3 Months

About the Author

BARRIE WILSON is Professor of Humanities & Religious Studies at York University in Toronto. A specialist in early Christian origins, How Jesus Became a Christian is his first book intended for a general audience. Building on contemporary critical scholarship, it addresses some of the major puzzles he has identified in teaching biblical studies over a twenty-year period. An award-winning educator, his previous academic books focused on textual interpretation.

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How Jesus Became Christian 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a highly informative book that really brings to light information discovered in only the last half century in conjunction with what scholars have long known about the origins of Christianity. However, the author seems to repeat himself many times over, thereby making some of the details and support hard to find and remember among the repetition of the thesis. Scholastic endeavor of Christian theology is a passion of mine, but I found this book a bit cumbersome. As I noted above, although the content is excellent and worthy, this book stands a good chance going on a back stack in my library. The author ends with a "what do we do now?" note that really never made a point to me and was more like a synopsis of the entire book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before I write my review please do one thing. Add this book to your shopping cart. Here's why. In 'HOW JESUS BECAME CHRISTIAN' Professor Wilson has written a book that is provocative but in no way is preachy or slanted. In the book he asks unravels one of the most influential cover up stories of all time... How did Jesus who was always a Torah observant Jew become 'rather quickly' the gentile 'Christ' son of g-d and leader of a religion that he would not recognize if he were alive today? The best part about this book in my opinion is that Wilson provides a historical context to set the stage and provides great information on who all the key players are. Paul, however, who never actually met Jesus becomes the real puppet master behind the scenes as he recrafts Jesus' as a person, distorts his beliefs, and ultimately creates a brand new religion that seemed timely and favorable during that time. I highly recommend this book. To be honest, the closest I have came to religious topics is probably The Da Vinci Code. This book presents a cover up story far more real, one rooted in historical information, and one that even the 'curious' reader like myself can digest. HOW JESUS BECAME CHRISTIAN is the best book I have read this year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author writed well. His handling of the subject is excellent but he is pressing his point of view. I tink is conclusions are a little radical. As a Christian I believe there is missing a failure to consider faith as being important. The early church was writing in the books now considered the canon their beliefs. They used the then current style of prose to tell their story. In many cases the exactness was secondary in their theology. In other words the Bible in it's present form is the belief of the author and not the true history.