My current thread on the blog is less like a thread and more like a tapestry. Ultimately it is all related to the book I’m now working on, The Triumph of Christianity, which is interested in the question of how the Christian movement that started with just a couple of dozen people after Jesus’ death (i.e., those who almost right away, soon thereafter, came to believe he had been raised from the dead) came to be a prominent religion by the early fourth century and the official religion of the Roman state by the end of the fourth century. Good questions! I just hope I can give some good answers!
Scholars have long worked on the problem, of course, and there are many parts to the overall picture. Which is why this thread is a tapestry. At present (on the blog) I am wrestling with the importance of the apostle Paul, and am ruminating on his significance for the early Christian movement. And the first thing that I noted about him is that before he himself came to believe in the resurrection of Jesus, he was an avid and violent persecutor of the church. And so my two questions (which I think I asked maybe two weeks ago!): Why was he persecuting the church? And how was he doing so?
I have long had a strong opinion about the first question and only some vague ideas about the second. So, briefly, why was Paul so miffed about what the followers of Jesus were saying about him.
The first thing to stress is that it would not have been…
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