Marisa's Reviews > How Jesus Became Christian: The Early Christians and the Transformation of a Jewish Teacher Into the Son of God. Barrie Wilson

How Jesus Became Christian by Barrie Wilson
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I would have given this book more than 3 stars had the tone of it been different and had it been a monograph or essay of about 100 pages.

I read the first half of the book really quickly, as the book, in essence, is non-academic and therefore extremely readable for the everyday audience. However, the author was so bloody repetitive and belabors his points, causing me great ire and frustration at times (especially throughout the second half of the book).

Furthermore, even though I agreed with the author's overall thesis, the fact that he termed the beginning of Christianity as we now it today as a "conspiracy theory" and kept on referencing The DaVinci Code only delegitimized himself in my eyes. Plus his biased agenda permeated the entire reading.

The author used to be Christian and converted to Judaism, as he found Judaism closer to Jesus' actual teachings. I agree with him. But his tone was so bitter, especially with Paul. "Jesus Christ" and Jesus of Nazareth are two different people. Jesus Christ essentially never existed, as Christianity was founded by Paul, not by Christ. But the author bashes Paul quite unfairly, and I don't even like Paul. His tone after awhile merely frustrated me.

Yes, Paul, born into a Jewish family, used this Jewish Messiah and Judaism to create his own religion, while simultaneously delegitimizing Judaism and ignoring the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth (anyone who has studied Christian history knows these basic facts). But I wouldn't call this or the later changings a conspiracy. Maybe Paul believed in what he was doing, to some extent. The way he went about things was wrong, but he filled vacuums that existed, and future leaders, maybe some power-hungry, did the same by altering and combining Hellenistic polytheism and Judaism, while bashing the latter. Paul obviously took advantage of a bad situation, and the Book of Acts, along with other writings in the New Testament, are simply fables, lies, equivocations, at best. Conspiracy? I think not.

I agree that the root cause of anti-Semitism can be found in the history of religion and in the Bible. However, there are many complex reasons for anti-Semitism around the world, and to simply talk about the root psychological reasoning behind anti-Semitism without mentioning in an aside of other complexities throughout history is dishonest.

Wilson blames anti-Semitism for the main reason why the Torah is not followed by Christians and even why the Old Testament God is not loved as much as the New Testament God. I don't disagree with him, but simultaneously, the Old Testament God is sometimes a selfish, vindictive jerk. And maybe Paul and some of his followers, Jewish or not, found that some Torah laws were antiquated or just plain old stupid. But because the author has converted from one monotheism to the other, he doesn't understand that some of his readers will look at these religions and rules and laws as equally ridiculous, regardless of how much we know of their origins.

Read this book because you will learn some interesting things. You can stop reading at about page 150 because you will get the point and save time. I agreed with the author, but he simply annoyed me. Maybe he won't have the same affect on you. Nevertheless, these facts and his thesis won't change anything, for the faithful will still remain faithful, as I guess faith rests not only in illogicality but in simple lies.

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Reading Progress

August 1, 2011 – Started Reading
August 1, 2011 – Finished Reading
August 29, 2011 – Shelved

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