Good to hear you back at it again; you must have "built your spread" and graduated by now. Still outbacking the outback?
I notice you were reading "Messianic Legacy"; good show!!!
Ironically I was reading that and a mutual acquaintance sent me both the "Da Vinci Code" and "Holy Bold, Holy Grail". HB-HG appears to have been the inspiration for Da Vinci; and Messianic Legacy is the sequel to HB-HG.
I like the early Church history bit of M-L. And how about that Constantine? Comes right in there and does his best to displace Christ; gotta hand it to those Pagans!!!
I can't too much agree that James was a good thing. I have read a bit about him and he seems to have never agreed with Jesus while Jesus was alive. But you are right about the Nazarean PARTY: it was a political movement and was quite controversial. How far Jesus was into it is a good question. It looks like he had to walk a narrow line with the Romans ready to pounce on anything looking like sedition and his neighbors ready to promote him to King (on a stick, when the Romans finish with him).
So, from what I gather, James was convinced with the Resurrection and jumped in and ran the Church @ Jerusalem. But all James was ever going to do was make the Christian movement an offshoot of Judaism that had seen a Messiah; and the Messiah will return to knock off those pesky Romans.
With that in mind, it doesn't seem that James was doing the thing that Jesus had in mind. James was out to set up a dynasty of Jesus' relatives and did so. (Follow the Desposyni; use that as buzzword on the I-net for some interesting items.)
But Jesus had "nailed the Law to the tree", remember? Well, James didn't care for that. (His boys would follow the Gentiles into the "privy" and check to see if they were circumcised or not.)
So, it seems to me that James was the hijacker, while Paul was recruited to put things back in line with what Jesus had started out to do.
I'm not sure why everybody wants to put James so in charge and make him a great and wonderful hero and call Paul the interloper.
While I don't agree with all of the 'Pauline become Roman Catholic Church' business, I think its closer than James' Judaic Nazarean Church. Were we supposed to stay with the Mosaic Law and become "second string Jews"? Was that the plan?
As a Gentile and Protestant, I believe things turned out better than with James in charge.
But those Desposyni sure gives one cause for pause, don't they? The real kicker here is that the WTS can't let out a breath of the real history or they'll get kicked around the block.
And the Eastern or Orthodox Church is still alive and kicking. Another old acquaintance of ours assures me that they will get a lot of attention in the near future. Stay tuned!!!