So I have been studying early Christianity a bit and noticed that before Christianity really took off after 325 CE, there were a lot of religions. Gnostics teachings , belief in all sorts of different gods from Egypt to Greece . The practice of emperor worship etc. when Christianity took off it was a melding of a lot of these different beliefs , but I'm curious as to why they choose the Jews Torah and its writings as seemingly the foundation of thier beliefs. I mean when you think about it the Jews were a nothing group so again why the Torah? Ideas ?
Why Judaism and the Torah ?
Jesus was Jewish and frequently quoted from the Torah.
Maybe Gnosticism is true, and Jews are really trying to take over the Matrix, and the Torah really is a formula for making slaves in the current system?
Because Jesus was Jewish?
Because Jesus exhibited the same fanatical devotion to the Torah as the Pharisees? -So much so that a very good argument can be made that he was a Pharisee himself?
Because the Apostles were all Jewish?
Because Jesus' disciples were all Jewish?
Because early Christianity as practiced in Jerusalem was simply acceptance of Jesus' teachings fused to a full observance of the Law? --So much so, that the boundary between Christian and Pharisee was permeable?
Because in Pauline theology, which came a little later and eventually supplanted the flavor of Christianity practiced by James, Jesus is still cast as the Messiah as foretold in the Torah?
Because the Ante-Nicene Fathers, for the most part fell in line with Pauline theology and supported it?
--Not trying to be flippant here. How could a religion formed around the Jesus figure not have been an outgrowth of Judaism?
I would say something... but others said it well already.
Interesting question Crazy Guy especially when one considers that the Paulines (who owed their origin to the Apostle Paul) was the group among the early Christianities that won out and became the dominant force in Christianity YET there was in fact an irreparable gulf between Paul and the Jerusalem Church as Paul was teaching his Gentile converts that with the advent and mission of Jesus, there was no longer a requirement to observe Jewish practices such as their dietary constraints whereas men from Jerusalem were telling Paul's Gentile converts that they had to follow the Laws set down by Moses. These men were teaching that as followers of Jesus, Paul's Gentile converts had to be Jews.
So one wonders why the Torah was not scrapped given Paul's differing view point regarding some Torah issues.
It seems to me however, that the reason why the Torah, and by extension, the entire Old Testament (OT), was retained by Christianity, was because of the need to prove that Jesus Christ was the person who fulfilled the OT prophecies regarding the Messiah.
This is however, not the case, since the prophets of old did not speak of a second coming of the Messiah. That the Messiah would come into the world but then have to come again is a New Testament (NT) idea. The NT writers forced the OT to conform to the NT - this is one of the reasons why the NT can be used as a Jewish polemic against Christianity.
Same reason Buddhism took elements from Hinduism and not Mayan religion. So obvious...
Judaism is at the center of even Paul's Hellenized viewpoint inasmuch as it's still a theology about Christ. This includes, but is not limited to the idea that God's earlier dealings with man were via the Law; that the purpose of the Law was to expose sin; that Jesus freed man from that burden by keeping the Law, which sets the stage for his Olive Tree metaphor. The Parousia is almost exclusively a Pauline teaching and as Plevnick, Barclay and many others have pointed out, is a skillful weaving of earlier Jewish motifs with later ideas that suffers without the OT as both a backdrop and foil for Paul's notions.
All of this was water under the bridge by the fourth century and the Council of Nicaea....
Ok let me be a little more clear. Evidence seems to indicate some of the Pauline letters were written before the gospels and don't mention Jesus just the word Christ. The gospels came later in the 2nd century according to most experts. Some people think Jesus was modeled after Apollonius of tyanna and that even Paul was modeled after him. Other think Jesus was modeled after Simon Madgus. Most of the Christian teaching were copies of older Egyptian religious teachings and Jesus as the God seemed to be an algamation of several older Gods like Dionysus and Osiris. Marcion who later was taken down as a heretic wrote that Jesus was the son of another God not the Old Testament God . In Alexandria where it is believed some of the biblical writing came from, Serapis Christ was the primary God being worshipped and pushed. There are also many thoughts written in the New Testament that show Gnosticism made in to the bible. So with this all going on why again did they pick a Jewish guy to be the messiah and elevate the Torah?
From the earliest days Christians missionaries were active, look at Paul's travel
route. At that time, only Buddhism was a missionary religion and its focus was
mainly in the east. All other ancient religions had no interest in spreading.
They were great at selling their religion...