Jesus was not the founder of Christianity as we know it today. Most of the New Testament doesn't even concern the historical Jesus while the main influence is the Apostle Paul and a Greek convert named John.
Paul never met Jesus in the flesh, he only claimed some strange vision and proceeded to paganize the teachings of Jesus (who preached an enlightened form of Judaism), until he created Pauline Christianity. Because there are no known writings from Jesus, the actual Apostles, or anyone that actually knew Him in the flesh (other then perhaps James), most of what He taught is lost forever.
The beginning of Christianity stands two figures: Jesus and Paul. Jesus is regarded by Christians as the founder of their religion, in that the events of his life comprise the foundation story of Christianity; but Paul is regarded as the great interpreter of Jesus' mission, who explained, in a way that Jesus himself never did, how Jesus' life and death fitted into a cosmic scheme of salvation, stretching from the creation of Adam to the end of time. The doctrines of Christianity come mostly from the teaching or influence of Paul, a Pharisee(?) who rejected his Pharisaic Judaism and converted to Christ. Paul would later be placed over his Jewish-Christian rivals by a Gnostic heretic named Marcion.
PAUL, ST. (died c. A.D. 68), founder of Pauline Christianity. His name was originally Saul. He later claimed that he was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, from a long-established Pharisee family in Tarsus. According to Acts (though not according to Paul himself) he studied in Jerusalem under Gamaliel, the leader of the Pharisees and grandson of Hillel. This account of Paul's youth, however, is subject to doubt, since the tribe of Benjamin had long ceased to exist, and Pharisee families are otherwise unknown in Tarsus. According to Paul's opponents, the Ebionites, he came from a family of recent converts to Judaism. He learnt the trade of tent-making (or perhaps leather-working), by which he made his living.
While still a youth in Jerusalem, Saul became part of the opposition to the newly formed Jerusalem Church (the disciples of Jesus, who, believing that Jesus had been resurrected, continued to hope for his return to complete his messianic mission). Saul was present at the death of Stephen. Soon after, Saul was an active persecutor of the Jerusalem Church, entering its synagogues and arresting its members. Acts represents this as due to Saul's zeal as a Pharisee, but this is doubtful, as the Pharisees, under Gamaliel, were friendly to the Jerusalem Church (see Acts 5).
Moreover, Saul was acting in concert with the high priest (Acts 9:2), who was a Sadducee opponent of the Pharisees. It seems likely that Saul was at this period an employee of the Roman-appointed high priest, playing a police role in suppressing movements regarded as a threat to the Roman occupation. Since Jesus had been crucified on a charge of sedition, his followers were under the same cloud.
The high priest then entrusted Saul with an important mission, which was to travel to Damascus to arrest prominent members of the Jerusalem Church. This must have been a clandestine kidnapping operation, since Damascus was not under Roman rule at the time but was in fact a place of refuge for the persecuted Nazarenes. On the way to Damascus, Paul experienced a vision of Jesus that converted him from persecutor to believer. Paul joined the Christians of Damascus, but soon he had to flee Damascus to escape the officers of King Aretas (II Corinthians 11:32-33), though a later, less authentic, account in Acts 9:22-25 changes his persecutors to "the Jews."
After his vision, according to Paul's own account (Galatians 1:17), he went into the desert of Arabia for a period, seeking no instruction. According to Acts, however, he sought instruction first from Ananias of Damascus and then from the apostles in Jerusalem. These contradictory accounts reflect a change in Paul's status: in his own view, he had received a revelation that put him far higher than the apostles, while in later Church opinion he had experienced a conversion that was only the beginning of his development as a Christian.
Paul's self-assessment is closer to the historical truth, which is that he was the founder of Christianity. Neither Jesus himself nor his disciples had any intention of founding a new religion. The need for a semblance of continuity between Christianity and Judaism, and between Gentile and Jewish Christianity, led to a playing-down of Paul's creative role. The split that took place between Paul and the Jerusalem Church is minimized in the Paulinist book of Acts, which contrasts with Paul's earlier and more authentic account in Galatians 2.
Paul's originality lies in his conception of the death of Jesus as saving mankind from sin. Instead of seeing Jesus as a messiah of the Jewish type human saviour from political bondage he saw him as a salvation-deity whose atoning death by violence was necessary to release his devotees for immortal life. This view of Jesus' death seems to have come to Paul in his Damascus vision. Its roots lie not in Judaism, but in mystery-religion, with which Paul was acquainted in Tarsus. The violent deaths of Osiris, Attis, Adonis, and Dionysus brought divinization to their initiates. Paul, as founder of the new Christian mystery, initiated the Eucharist, echoing the communion meal of the mystery religions. The awkward insertion of eucharistic material based on I Corinthians 11:23-26 into the Last Supper accounts in the Gospels cannot disguise this, especially as the evidence is that the Jerusalem Church did not practise the Eucharist.
Paul's missionary campaign began c.44 in Antioch. He journeyed to Cyprus, where he converted Sergius Paulus, the governor of the island. It was probably at this point that he changed his name from Saul to Paul, in honor of his distinguished convert. After journeys in Asia Minor where he made many converts, Paul returned to Antioch. His second missionary tour (51-53) took him as far as Corinth; and his third (54-58) led to a three-year stay in Ephesus. It was during these missionary periods that he wrote his Epistles.
Paul's new religion had the advantage over other salvation-cults of being attached to the Hebrew Scriptures, which Paul now reinterpreted as forecasting the salvation-death of Jesus. This gave Pauline Christianity an awesome authority that proved attractive to Gentiles thirsting for salvation. Paul's new doctrine, however, met with disapproval from the Jewish-Christians of the Jerusalem Church, who regarded the substitution of Jesus' atoning death for the observance of the Torah as a lapse into paganism.
Flavius Valerius Constantinus was born in Naissus, in the province of Moesia Superior, present-day Serbia. Constantine's mother, Helena, was a barmaid, and his father a military officer named Constantius. His father would rise to become the Emperor Constantius I (Constantius Chlorus) and Constantine's mother would canonized as St. Helena. She was thought to have found a portion of the cross of Jesus. By the time Constantius became governor of Dalmatia, he required a wife of pedigree and found one in Theodora, a daughter of Emperor Maximian. Constantine and Helena were shuffled off to the eastern emperor, Diocletian, in Nicomedia.
Upon the death of his father on July 25, 306 A.D., Constantine's troops proclaimed him Caesar. Constantine wasn't the only claimant. In 285, Emperor Diocletian had established the Tetrarchy, which gave four men rule over a quadrant each of the Roman Empire.
There were two senior emperors and two non-hereditary juniors. Constantius had been one of the senior emperors. Constantine's most powerful rivals for his father's position were Maximian and his son Maxentius, who had assumed power in Italy, controlling Africa, Sardinia, and Corsica, as well.
Constantine raised an army from Britain that included Germans and Celts as well—Zosimus says it amounted to 90,000-foot soldiers and 8,000 cavalry.
Maxentius raised his army of 170,000-foot soldiers and 18,000 horsemen. (The figures tend to be inflated, but they show relative strength.)
On October 28, 312 A.D., Constantine marched on Rome and met Maxentius at the Milvian BridgeThe story goes that Constantine had a vision of the words "in hoc signo vinces" ("In this sign you will conquer") upon a cross, and he swore that, should he triumph on that day, he would pledge himself to Christianity. (Constantine actually resisted baptism until he was on his deathbed.) Wearing a sign of a cross, Constantine indeed won. The following year, he made Christianity legal throughout the Empire (the Edict of Milan).
After the defeat of Maxentius, Constantine and his brother-in-law Licinius split the empire between them. Constantine ruled the West, Licinius the East. The two remained rivals for a decade of uneasy truces before the animosity boiled over and culminated in the Battle of Chrysopolis, in 324 A.D. Licinius was routed and Constantine became the sole Emperor of Rome.
To celebrate his victory, Constantine created Constantinople on the site of Byzantium, which had been Licinius' stronghold. He enlarged the city, added fortifications, a vast hippodrome for chariot racing, a number of temples, and more.
He also established a second Senate. When Rome fell, the capital of Constantinople became the de facto seat of the empire.
Constantine and Christianity
Much controversy exists over the relationship between Constantine, paganism, and Christianity. Some historians argue that he was never a Christian, but rather, an opportunist; others maintain that he was a Christian before the death of his father. But his work for the faith of Jesus was many and enduring. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem was built on his orders; it became the holiest site in Christendom. For centuries, the Catholic Pope traced his power to a so-called Donation of Constantine (it was later proven a fake). Eastern Orthodox Christians, Anglicans, and Byzantine Catholics venerate him as a saint. His convocation of the First Council at Nicaea produced the Nicene Creed, article of faith among Christians the world over.
Death of Constantine
By 336, Constantine, ruling from his capital, had reclaimed most of the long-lost province of Dacia, lost to Rome in 271. He planned a great campaign against the Sassanid rulers of Persia but fell ill in 337. Unable to complete his dream of being baptized in the Jordan River, as was Jesus, he was baptized by Eusebius of Nicomedia on his deathbed. He had ruled for 31 years, longer than any emperor since Augustus.
KING JAMES VI
Black King James of England
King James VI & IKing James was a King of Great Britain France and Ireland. King James was a Black man and the King James Bible is named after King James I of England, who lived from June 19, 1566 to March 27, 1625. The Established Church was divided during this era.
The commissioning of the King James Bible took place in 1604 at the Hampton Court Conference outside of London. The first edition appeared in 1611. The King James version remains one of the greatest landmarks in the English tongue. It has decidedly affected our language and thought categories, and although produced in England for English churches, it played a unique role in the historical development of America. Even today, many consider the King James Bible the ultimate translation in English and will allow none other for use in church or personal devotions. However, the story behind the creation of this Bible translation is little known and reveals an amazing interplay of faith and politics, church and state. To understand what happened, we need to go back to the world of the early 17th century.
Try to imagine what it was like to live in the England of 1604. Theirs was not a world like ours where speed, change, and innovation are consciously cultivated and thoughtlessly celebrated. Their world moved at a much slower pace and continuity was prized over change. In their world, the crowning of a new monarch was a grand event that deeply affected the life and identity of the nation. The monarch would rule for life. There was no continuous cycle of election campaigns in their world as there is in ours.
The Puritans Miscalculate
Consider the mood that must have prevailed at the time of Queen Elizabeth's death. Her rule had provided a great sense of security and stability for her country.
The Puritans were eager to continue the work of the Reformation, and the death of Elizabeth seemed their opportune moment. Scotland's James VI succeeded her, thus becoming James I of England. Because James had been raised under Presbyterian influences, the Puritans had reason to expect that James would champion their cause. They were gravely mistaken.
James was acquainted with many of their kind in Scotland, and he did not like them. However, they were a sizeable minority, serious, well educated, highly motivated, and convinced of the righteousness of their convictions. Regardless of personal antipathy, James did not consider it politically wise to ignore them.
James wanted unity and stability in the church and state, but was well aware that the diversity of his constituents had to be considered. There were the Papists (as they were called then) who longed for the English church to return to the Roman fold. There were also the Puritans, loyal to the crown but wanting even more distance from Rome. They insisted that England's Reformation did not go far enough, because it still retained too many Catholic elements. They had no trouble agreeing with John Knox's description of Elizabeth as "neither good Protestant nor yet resolute papist."
The Presbyterians wanted to do away with the hierarchical structure of powerful bishops. They advanced what they believed was the New Testament model of church administration under elders or presbyters.
The Nonconformists and Separatists, some of whom would later become America's Pilgrims, wanted the state out of church affairs altogether. They were not seen as a potent force at the time, but their movement was slowly developing.
Then there was Parliament -- eager to expand its power beyond the role it had at the time. There was a significant Puritan influence and representation in the Parliament.
To keep our alliteration, let’s refer to the next group as the "Prayer Book" establishment or the Bishops and the hierarchy of the English church. They were a genuine elite, holding exceptional power, privilege, and wealth. To them, Puritan agitation was far more than an intellectual abstraction to be debated at Oxford and Cambridge. If the Puritans were to prevail, this hierarchy had much to lose.
James Comes to the Throne
As James prepared to take the throne, strong stirrings of discontent caused him grave concern. Elizabeth died on March 24, 1603, after ruling 45 years. James received word of his cousin Elizabeth's death and his appointment to the throne, and on April 5, he began his journey from Edinburgh to London for his coronation.
James' journey south was marked by an important interruption. A delegation of Puritans presented James a petition that outlined their grievances and the reforms they desired. The document was known as the Millenary Petition and had over 1,000 clergy signatures, representing about ten percent of England's clergy. This petition was the catalyst for the Hampton Court Conference. From the beginning the petition sought to allay suspicions regarding loyalty to the crown. It treated four areas: church service, church ministers, church livings and maintenance, and church discipline. It also set forth objections that perhaps sound rather frivolous to us today, but were serious matters to the Puritans. Among the things they objected to were the use of the wedding ring, the sign of the cross and the wearing of certain liturgical clothing. However, the Millenary Petition contains no mention at all of a new Bible translation.
James took the petition seriously enough to call for a conference. In a royal proclamation in October 1603, the king announced a meeting to take place at the Hampton Court Palace, a luxurious 1,000-room estate just outside of London, built by Cardinal Wolsey.
The participants in the conference were the king, his Privy Council of advisors, nine bishops and deans. There were also four moderate representatives of the Puritan cause, the most prominent being Dr. John Reynolds, head of Corpus Christi College. It was clear the deck was stacked against the Puritans, but at least they were given a voice.
King James Sets the Tone
Like Constantine at the opening of the Council of Nicea, James delivered the opening address. He immediately set the tone and gave clear cues of what to expect. The doctrine and polity of the state church was not up for evaluation and reconsideration.
James immediately proceeded to hint that he found a great deal of security in the structure and hierarchy of the English church, in contrast to the Presbyterian model he witnessed in Scotland. He made no effort to hide his previous frustration in Scotland.
The Puritans were not allowed to attend the first day of the conference. On the second day, the four Puritans were allowed to join the meeting. John Reynolds took the lead on their behalf and raised the question of church government. However, any chance of his being heard was lost by one inopportune and, no doubt, unintended reference.
He asked if a more collegial approach to church administration might be in order. In other words, "Let's broaden the decision-making base." Reynolds posed his question this way: "Why shouldn't the bishops govern jointly with a presbyterie of their brethren, the pastors and ministers of the Church."
The word presbyterie was like waving a red flag before a bull. The king exploded in reply: "If you aim at a Scots Presbyterie, it agreeth as well with monarchy as God and the devil! Then Jack, and Tom, and Will, and Dick shall meet and censure me and my council." He then uttered what can be considered his defining motto and summary: "No bishop, no King!"
At this point, he warned Reynolds: "If this be all your party hath to say, I will make them conform themselves, or else I will harrie them out of the land, or else do worse!"
While Reynolds' unfortunate use of the term presbyterie damaged the Puritan case, he does get credit for proposing the most significant achievement of the conference. Reynolds "moved his majesty that there might be a new translation of the Bible, because those which were allowed in the reign of King Henry VIII and King Edward VI were corrupt and not answerable to the truth of the original." James warmed to a new translation because he despised the then popular Geneva Bible. He was bothered more by its sometimes borderline revolutionary marginal notes than by the actual quality of the translation.
Get to Work!
So James ordered a new translation. It was to be accurate and true to the originals. He appointed fifty of the nation's finest language scholars and approved rules for carefully checking the results.
James also wanted a popular translation. He insisted that the translation use old familiar terms and names and be readable in the idiom of the day.
It was made clear that James wanted no biased notes affixed to the translation, as in the Geneva Bible. Rule #6 stated: "No Marginal Notes at all to be affixed, but only for the explanation of the Hebrew or Greek Words." Also, James was looking for a single translation that the whole nation could rely on "To be read in the whole Church," as he phrased it.
He decreed that special pains be "taken for an uniform translation, which should be done by the best learned men in both Universities, then reviewed by the Bishops, presented to the Privy Council, lastly ratified by the Royal authority...."
1offensive, informal A stupid person (used as a general term of abuse).
dated A person who is physically deformed and has learning difficulties because of congenital thyroid deficiency.
Late 18th century: from French crétin, from Swiss French crestin ‘Christian’ (from Latin Christianus), here used to mean ‘human being’, apparently as a reminder that, though deformed, cretins were human and not beasts.
ALSO the letter J wasn't invented until 1600'S...
The letter J is, as you mentioned, relatively recent, and originated as a variant of the letter I. Why that happens is a little complicated, and requires unpacking some assumptions in your question.
In the original languages (Latin, Greek, Hebrew) which provide us with the names Jesus, Joseph, Justinian, etc., the sound which we write as J was pronounced as the English letter Y. (Just to make things confusing for English speakers, the phonetic symbol for this sound is [j].) In Latin, the letter for this was I/i, in Greek it was Ι/ι (iota), and in Hebrew it was י (yod). Thus, the Greek spelling for "Jesus" was Ιησους, pronounced something like "Yeh-SOOS", and the Latin likewise was Iesus.
Subsequently, in the Latin alphabet the letter J was developed as a variant of I, and this distinction was later used to distinguish the consonantal "y" sound [j] from the vocalic "i" sound [i]. However, at about the same time there was a sound change in many of the languages of Western Europe, such that the "y" sound changed into a "j" sound ([dʒ], or sometimes [ʒ]). So we have it that in English, the letter J now represents a consonant [dʒ] which is not obviously similar to the vowel [i], despite the fact that they descend from the same letter and the same sound. (English also has many [dʒ] sounds spelled with J which come from native Germanic roots.)
You can see this history worked out differently in the spelling systems of German and many of the Slavic languages of Eastern Europe, where the letter J spells the "y" sound [j], and the letter Y, if used at all, is primarily used as a vowel.
FALSE TEACHINGS OF PAUL THE APOSTLE
THE COUNCILTHAT CREATED JESUS CHRIST
The Roman Emperor Constantine (c. 280 - 337 A.D.) was one of the most influential personages in ancient history. By adopting Christianity as the religion of the vast Roman Empire, he elevated a once illegal cult to the law of the land. At the Council of Nicea, Constantine settled Christian doctrine for the ages. And by establishing a capital at Byzantium, later Constantinople, he set into motion a series of events that would break the empire, split the Christian church and impact European history for a thousand years.