By G. A. Wells, George A. Wells

Professor Wells argues that there has been no old Jesus, and in therefore arguing he bargains with the numerous fresh writers who've interpreted the historic Jesus as a few type of political determine within the fight opposed to Rome, and calls in proof the numerous modern theologians who believe a few of his arguments approximately early Christianity. The query at factor is what all of the facts provides as much as. Does it identify that Jesus did or didn't exist? Professor Wells concludes that the latter is the much more likely speculation. This problem to bought considering through either Christians and non-Christians is supported via a lot documentary proof, and Professor Wells rigorously examines all of the suitable difficulties and solutions the entire appropriate questions. He intentionally avoids polemic and hypothesis, and sticks as far as attainable to the identified proof and to rational inferences from the evidence.

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On the other hand it is itself used in (and therefore earlier than) Polycarp’s letter. The persecuted Christians addressed in 1 Peter must expect to be ‘reproached for the name of Christ’ (4:14) and vilified as wrongdoers (2:12), but there is no suggestion that they are facing the death penalty. It is implied (4:15 — 6) that, like thieves, they may be sentenced by pagan courts. The reference here seems to be not to provincial governors but to local magistrates, before whom Christians might well be brought on a charge of fomenting disorder (because they confidently proclaimed that the world was coming to a prompt and catastrophic end).

But if the presence of the spirit was a sign that the first-fruits of the harvest of the endtime had already been gathered, then the resurrection must also be nigh. It may well have been partly on this basis that early Christians came to believe that Christ is risen, that the resurrection had, to this extent, already begun; and that a pledge had thus been given that a general resurrection of mankind would shortly follow. (ii) Paul’s Christian Predecessors and Contemporaries Paul’s writings are the earliest extant Christian documents, but there were still earlier Christians whom he persecuted prior to his conversion.

The stories of appearances did not form the basis for the resurrection faith, but resulted from it (403, p 165). Faith in Christ’s resurrection was able to become a cardinal tenet of the early Christians for the reason that it guaranteed the resurrection of all believers. Christ raised from the dead is ‘the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep’ (1 Cor. 15:20), and will thus necessarily be followed by the resurrection of all who belong to him. And the idea that the Messiah would die and be resurrected is understandable as a synthesis of originally independent Jewish ideas about the end-time (see below, p 113).

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