604: THE JESUS MOVEMENT vs THE CHRIST MOVEMENT

This is a new take on the St James vs St Paul issue that Zingcreed has tackled before. Christians have to choose whose side they’re on. In most cases they side with Paul by default because that’s what the church has preached for nearly 2000 years. Today in the light of new evidence and new research there is a chance to go back to Jesus and start over again, i.e. get it right this time.

As Zingcreed’s motto says: “More Jesus, less ‘Christ’, No God”.

Unfortunately I can’t make a table with 2 columns on WordPress, so I’ll just put the Christ Movement (CM) in italics to distinguish it from the Jesus Movement (JM).

Founder
The Jesus Movement was founded by Jesus
The Christ Movement was founded by Paul

Alternative name
The church in Jerusalem/the Ebionites
Proto-orthodoxy

Leaders
After Jesus’ death his brother James till 62 C.E., then Simeon
Paul, then, in time, Rome

Did the leaders know Jesus?
Yes the Jesus Movement was run by his family and disciples
No, Paul never met him or read the gospels, which weren’t written till after his death

Origins
The teachings and practices of Jesus
The thoughts and visions of Paul

Recruits
The JM was almost entirely made up of Jews
The CM was mostly Gentiles and Jews in the Diaspora

Teachings about Jesus
The Jesus Movement taught the teachings of the human Jesus, eg the Sermon on the Mount
The CM taught about ‘Christ’ the divine Saviour

Beliefs
(JM) Jesus as inspired teacher, resurrected, expected to return to complete the job of Messiah, kingdom of God
(CM) Christ as cosmic figure, a divine being who has come into the world to save humanity by dying and rising, the faithful can share in his suffering, dying and rising

Starting a new religion?
No, they all stayed Jews
Yes, they broke away from Judaism and became Christians

Lasted how long?
The JM died out within a century or so
Paul’s CM became the church we know today

Attitude toward Jews
They were Jews and observed the Torah laws, which were  demanding
Hostile to Jews and the Torah, became a breakaway religion with easier rules, e.g. no dietary restrictions

Infrastructure
Weak and limited, inflexible, unwelcoming to outsiders
Good communications: a network of bishops all over the known world, produced many texts, attacked ‘heretics’

The Book of Acts makes it seem that the JM and the CM were all part of the same enterprise. The CM is given authenticity by being portrayed as having its roots in the activities of Jesus’ disciples. There was a mutual agreement to target different groups: the Jews (JM) and the Gentiles (CM). Not so. This propaganda is an example of the victor writing the history books. Acts was written years after James and Paul were dead.  In it two separate religions are ‘converged’. It is highly influential fiction.

Source:

Wilson, Barrie “How Jesus became Christian” St Martin’s Griffin (2008)

Related Zingcreed posts:

508: How Paul and Luke rewrote history to marginalise James’ early church.

 

 

 

 

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