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How Did Jesus Become Christian?

8 Apr

For Immediate Release

How Jesus Became Christian " beyond doubt one of the most significant works on early Christianity to appear in decades."
James Tabor (Chair, Religious Studies, UNC Charlotte)

NEW YORK, NY -- How Jesus Became Christian (St. Martin's Press NY) answers questions many people have asked about early Christianity. How did this new religion emerge out of Judaism? How did Jesus, a Jewish teacher, rapidly become the Son of God, a divine-human being?

What's a Messiah and what's he supposed to do? Why did early Christianity drop Judaism's central observance, following the Torah (Law)?

As Barrie Wilson, Professor of Religious Studies at Toronto's York University, says, "These are really good questions. I wrote the book to answer them in terms the general reader can understand."

Building upon contemporary scholarship, Wilson recreates a colorful portrait of the different movements and expectations within Judaism and the Roman world of the 1st century. Jesus is situated within these cultural battles, leading a Kingdom of God movement versus the Romans' Pax Romana touted as their greatest gift to civilization. The teachings of Jesus continued on after his death in "the Jesus Movement," under Jesus' brother James in Jerusalem. "Jesus," says Wilson, "through his Kingdom of God message, proclaimed the greatest coup of all times, the overthrow of all world governments."

Despite this powerful message, a new and separate religion arose shortly after the death of Jesus, led by Paul. This religion - "The Christ Movement" - differs significantly from that of Jesus in terms of origins, beliefs and practices. Wilson notes that Paul never met the Jesus of history, rarely refers to him or quotes him. Paul never mentions the parables, the Sermon on the Mount or even the Lord's Prayer. Paul also avoids Jesus' original followers in Jerusalem. How the two differing religions became merged is part of Wilson's careful detective work as early Christianity moved on to the world stage.

Wilson also discloses the real basis for anti-Semitism as the new religion turned on its rival with a nasty vengeance, attacking Jewish leadership, scriptures and covenant.

How Jesus Became Christian is available at all major booksellers or online at or It's ideal for study groups, book clubs, adult Jewish or Christian education groups, or by individuals interested in exploring the exciting world of early Christianity.

"Wilson...offers a point-by-point rebuttal to Paul's reading of Jewish scripture as accommodating a divine Christ." Boston Globe

"...a significant and sensational work of scholarship. And it is truly religious dynamite." Globe and Mail, Toronto

"The book is certainly controversial." The Times, London

For more information, please consult the author's website:

For Immediate Release
Media Contact:

Ms. Colleen Schwartz, Publicist,
St. Martin's Press, NY
phone: 646.307.5563


The organizations and/or individuals who submit materials for distribution by Religion News Service are solely responsible for the facts in and accuracy of their materials. Religion News Service will correct any errors brought to its attention.

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