Glimpsing origins of Christianity

Category: , , , , By freshouttatime

First long weekend in Boston, its nice to be back.

I'm taking a course called from Jesus to Christ the origins of Christianity, primarily to see what data exists on the man and the movement that bears his likeness and has the largest constituency in the world. I'm working through "From Jesus to Christ" by Paula Fredriksen.

So far, I'm only at the introductory sections of all my readings, we haven't discussed the life of Jesus yet. More so we're focusing on how we know what we do about him through the Christian lens.


There was an emergence of the first Gospel in 70CE approx 40 years after the death of the man in question. The book I'm reading refers to the anonymous man who compiled this as a "creative editor" combining oral traditions both in Greek and Aramaic along with source "q" the earliest known source of narrations of Jesus. This thing is known as the Gospel of Mark.

Next we delve into the Gospels of Matthew and Luke both of which take into account Mark, the Hebrew Bible and local traditions.

John is markedly different from the first three in content, and its supposed that this Gospel was produced from a different set of traditions.

I'm assuming you can infer the story i want to be said about Christianity. If not I'll paint it clear here: Our earliest sources of Jesus, the 4 gospels have been compiled by writers who combined oral traditions perhaps containing or not containing true sayings of Jesus. Other gospels were then put together incorporating local traditions and beliefs, and especially done so when the Holy Roman Empire adopted Christianity as its official religion.

I dont think that everything produced is inaccurate about Jesus, I'm sure that some of the stories we attribute to him are genuine.

But keeping in light of theuniversality of religion, and what God had ordained through Prophecy, certain doctrines of Christianity are incongruous with the other monotheistic faiths. Notion of Original Sin, Salvation through Christ, and of course the Trinity.

Almost everyone agrees that Jesus was a Hebrew, preaching more so about character reform and the way we treat our fellow man. This is seemingly the true nature of religion, as i learned in turkey, through observing Muslims and  Christian relics of the past. Religion is more so harmony and establishing good, Godfearing communities.

I haven't said anything profound yet, basically reemphasizing my beliefs about the sanctity of the Unity and Uniqueness of God, and that it appears to me Christian doctrines violate that.

What doesn't sit well with me is the nature in which the sources of Christianity were compiled, in another book i'm reading "Introduction to Christianity" by Mary Jo Weaver, she explicitly states that Christian doctrine and beliefs tended to form an amalgam (who thought we'd see this word after the illadvised DC-Marvel Comics mashup of the 1990s?) of regional religions with core principles of Christianity. The book went on to say that the notion of a Savior dying and resurrecting is prevalent in older pagan religions.

I bring this up because Jewish and subsequently Islamic theology did not incorporate these notions into their belief systems. Both promoted a notion of Uniqueness and unity and accountability of the self towards God.

I remember last year that a friend of mine, who was a Minister, remarked something along the lines that Christianity is not the only religion to have incorporated indigenous religious systems into their beliefs. He brought up that Islam was also allocates room for PreIslamic Animistic Arab rituals. I thought of the Hajj and how people prior to Islam circumambulated around the Kaaba and the existence of the Black stone as an integral piece of the house. Yet when it came to core doctrine, the Monotheistic stance Israelites took against Pharaoh distinguished them from Idol worshippers, Muslims differed from the other Arabs because of their emphasis on the only one God and discarding other idols and deities.

This idea of one God is integral to the other part of religion (the other part being the harmony of the community) and while you and I can testify to the success of Christianity in promoting a cohesive community structure, my questions lie in the doctrine of God and the role of Jesus.

When Jesus came with Clear Signs, he said: "Now have I come to you with Wisdom, and in order to make clear to you some of the (points) on which ye dispute: therefore fear Allah and obey me.

"For Allah, He is my Lord and your Lord: so worship ye Him: this is a Straight Way." 43:63-4