by Ferdinand Bardamu
The quintessential Middle Eastern religion
Christianity is, first and foremost, the invention of mostly illiterate 1st century Palestinian Jews, among whom Saul of Tarsus was the most influential. He later changed his name to Paul. He was the prototypical “ugly little Jew” of the ancient world. Even Paul was forced to admit that he was often denigrated by his opponents as “weak” or “unimpressive” in person. A 2nd century extra-canonical source reinforces this impression, describing the apostle as short, bald, “bandy-legged,” with long unibrow and hooked nose. He was the living embodiment of the stereotypical Jew. If Paul was merely a caricature, he would have been right at home with the Jews of Streicher’s Der Stürmer. Paul was the first to spread Christianity across the Mediterranean, imbuing the new missionary religion with a thoroughly expansionist character. He laid the groundwork of Christian theology, serving as the original catalyst for the “syphilitic” infection that has now ruined Europe.
Christianity is the quintessential Middle Eastern religion. Just because the language of the New Testament is koine Greek does not make this religion any less of a Semitic invention. To claim otherwise would be like translating the Analects of Confucius into English and then claiming that Confucianism is a Western religion because the medium used for its transmission is the English language. Even the few pagan elements in the religion, such as the Johannine prologue’s use of the Stoic Logos, is filtered through the lens of Old Testament Judaism. The Gospel narratives are Jewish legends based on Jewish ideas of Messiah, resurrection, kingdom of god and so on. Not only is Christianity thoroughly Jewish in origin, but the major theological doctrines of the New Testament are derived from the Old Testament and the intertestamental Judaism of the Greek and Hasmonean periods. The spread of Christianity across the Mediterranean was the work of enterprising, itinerant Jews.
As Christianity developed an established institutional framework within the empire, theologians began to find themselves in dialogue with Jews and pagans who were hostile to the new religion. These discussions necessitated the borrowing of Greek and Latin philosophical terminology to better express orthodox teaching with greater precision and clarity. This was done not only for apologetical purposes, but to win over cultured pagans by applying a thin veneer of intellectual respectability to the Semitic doctrines of primitive Christianity. Despite these cultural borrowings, Christianity remains a fundamentally Semitic religion.