16 Feb 2015 
#108 Did the early Galilean pillars of the Church of Jerusalem (Peter, John & Jesus' brother James) become Christians?

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There is an abundance of evidence and clues leading to a NO answer, despite the effort by the early Christian authors to show otherwise.

A) Did Paul consider James, Peter, John & Church of Jerusalem members as Christian(s)?
Despite many opportunities in his epistles, Paul never said those were "in the Lord", or "in Christ", or just "brothers". But he used often these expressions to qualify other(s) as "Christian(s)".

B) Did Jesus' disciples believe in the Resurrection and resurrections?
There are many signs, by looking only at Mark's gospel (the first to be written), that NO is the right answer.
Also relevant here: Who wrote the "empty tomb" passage in Mark's gospel? (regardless on who wrote that passage, it shows the disciples were not aware of the Resurrection)

C) Is 1 Corinthians 15:3-11 an interpolation? I have eight arguments in favour of YES.
These verses have been quoted by conservative & liberal Christians and Mythicists in order to prove that, early on, there were either genuine post-mortem visions of Jesus or hallucinations about him.
If 1 Cor 15:3-15 is a late interpolation, it cannot be used to indicate the (or one of the) reason(s) why Peter, the disciples, James, etc. became Christians.
Also relevant here, at chapter 1), section A) (the disciples going all over the known world in order to make converts, right after the alleged resurrection, is a legend which started in the 2nd century. It is also contrary to what shows in 'Acts' and the Pauline epistles).

D) Paul's historical Jesus
How did Paul define HJ in his (7) authentic epistles? from fully human Jewish origin, humble, poor, of no reputation, "servant" to Jews, crucified in "Zion", having brothers, one of them named James (met several times by Paul), determined to be "Son of God" only by his alleged resurrection, etc ...
Consequently the eyewitnesses had no reason to become Christians.
Also relevant here: Were the earliest Christians of Corinth told about Jesus in a worldly manner?
They were.

E) How did "Mark" handle the known "humble" Jesus' testimony conflicting with the later preaching as a divine entity?
Mark's solutions to the "problem" are rather obvious and would explain the so-called messianic secret, among other things.
And of course, that would confirm the presence of a not divine, not extraordinary Jesus behind the embellishment and fiction of the gospel (motivated by the author's agenda).
Also relevant here: Did Jesus walk on water? and Analysis of the miraculous feedings in Mark's gospel

F) Who were the first leaders of the Church of Jerusalem?
There is evidence in the early Christian writings which shows Jesus' disciples and James couldn't have been those who lead the Church at its very beginning.
Also relevant here: What is the historical value of the Pentecost event, as described in Acts 2:1-41? (despite its many flaws, this passage is considered by many as depicting the beginning of the Church of Jerusalem and its leadership by former Jesus' disciples, such as Peter)
So, who did start the Church of Jerusalem? It is all explained in HJ-3b, at section 25: activist/hellenist Jews, who acclaimed Jesus earlier as the soon to be "King".

G) About James, the brother of Jesus
What can we learn about James through the James' epistle?
The letter has very little Christianity in it (mostly two occurrences of "Jesus Christ") and is very much Jewish in character. And the one expected to come soon is not Jesus, but God himself.

H) Hegesippus on James' death
Despite being written in the 2nd century, and greatly embellished with many fictional elements, the story of James' execution reveals a long-lasting tradition about James, the brother of Jesus, not being a Christian: what was heard from James, prior to his execution, is only the "door of Jesus" with Jesus being a savior and nothing more: no Jesus in heaven, no Christ, no Son of God, no King, no other Christian tenets ...

I) Considering Galatians 1-2, did Paul & Peter preached the same message?
Galatians 1-2 does not say the preaching of Paul (to Gentiles) and of the Church of Jerusalem (to Jews) were the same. Only that, at the time of the council of Jerusalem, Paul's early gospel could still be tolerable, which does not mean this will last: it didn't! Because later Paul added on pre-existence, sacrifice for atonement of sins, Son of God, and uselessness of the Law (for Jewish & Gentile converts).

Related to the main topic:
Beliefs of known Jesus' groups then ("Nazarenes" and Jewish & Pauline Christians), according to the evidence presented in my website (Shown in a table format)
and
Here is my understanding (after years of study) on who was the one called "historical Jesus". All of that "in a few words" with links for details and justifications from my website. (How an accidental healer, who was also a poor uneducated Jew, got to be crucified as "king of the Jews")

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {Church of Jerusalem} {early Christianity} {James} {leaders of the Church} {"Nazarenes"} {"Nazarenes" NOT having been Christians} {Peter}
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