AP: The group of Jesus' followers who founded the Christian movement did not stand idly by, praying and waiting for the end of the world with the return of Jesus from heaven to usher in the kingdom of God. Instead they, like the Essenes of Qumran (the authors and compilers of the Dead Sea Scrolls) were completely committed to dive into the Scriptures to look for the key that would explain what had just happened.
This means that Christian theology is only born after the death of Jesus. And one can only talk about the founding of Christianity, because it cannot be traced back to a single founder. My book also explains how any reinterpretation of a person and their ideas is by default plural, because there are always many who attempt such a task. The book also clarifies how this rethinking and reinterpreting of the mission of Jesus is a deification of him, which very soon after is rejected by the majority of the Jewish people, though accepted by many of the Gentiles. For the Gentiles, this deification was not a problem at all; for the Jews, however, it was a serious problem.
The task of interpreting Jesus based on Scripture, especially the Psalms and the Prophets, is essentially allegorical. That is, Jesus is found in the Old Testament through allegorical or spiritual interpretations of different texts.
The Christian theology of Paul and other christianities were born in a Jewish environment, yes, but they were deeply Hellenized. All of this is based on viewing the Bible as an allegory of what was to come in Jesus Christ. Interpreting texts in such a way began in the Greek city of Alexandria long before Christianity. The art of hermeneutics was developed there with the Homeric texts, which were the foundation of Greek literature. People considered them sacred from as far back as the third century B.C. The study of The Iliad and The Odyssey, which were literary and religious treasures, represent the first glorious period of Alexandrian hermeneutics. The followers of Jesus do much the same when they interpret the Hebrew Bible.
The art of deciphering what is written can only happen once a set of texts has been established whose evidence is not immediately recognized. In this case, Christians needed to make sense of certain passages in the Old Testament, if what happened to Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, should considered the divine fulfillment of the Old Covenant.
Assuming this is what produced Christian theology as a truly exegetical phenomenon, from an interpretation of rethinking and reinventing Jesus, I try to take the reader back to the 2nd century and explain several important matters, such as:
1. How these christianities thought theologically all the way to the Councils of Nicea and Chalcedon/Constantinople, and there was a large variety of interpretations of Jesus and the Church within a certain degree of unity.
2. How, within that diversity, there existed a group from the very beginning, formed around the theology of Paul of Tarsus, which is the most compact and numerous of all; how this group managed to convince more Gentiles than of the other groups to become disciples of Jesus; how their interpretation of the person and mission of Jesus of Nazareth gradually brought an end to the other interpretations.
3. What it means for this majority group to win absolute power out of all the competing christianities, namely:
- The absolute control of the social community, with its leaders being considered the successors of the apostles, especially Paul.
- The ideological control of the believing community, which is considered to have received the "deposit" of right doctrine. The concept of heresy becomes a reality. Those who does not think like the majority group are massa damnata, people destined to damnation.
The book offers a synthesis, hopefully a clear one, of the main defeated christianities that disappear until the 12th century. I've tried synthesize the main ideas of these christianities: Manicheans, Arians, Nestorians, Priscillianists, Pelagians, Bogomils, Cathars, etc. so that the reader can save themselves from reading bukoos of books on each group. This book has everything most people need to know about each of these groups.
- The control over how the Jewish Scriptures should be interpreted.