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Origin of Christianity • The 10 Episodes

1 • Jesus after Jesus

Around the year 30, Jesus was crucified by the Romans in Jerusalem. Three and a half centuries later, Christianity became the official religion of the Empire. How long did it take for Jesus to become Jesus Christ, the Son of God, a God-made man? Did Jesus create the Church? After his death, was it Peter, the chief disciple, who replaced him as the head of the community?

2 • James, Jesus' brother

In the first years, why did James, referred to as the “brother of the Lord,” appear to be the veritable successor to Jesus? Did Jesus have brothers? Why do some of the Gospels proclaim the virginity of Mary, Jesus’s mother? Why did his family believe that Jesus was “crazy?” Were his mother and his brother opposed to the group of twelve disciples?

3 • A Kingdom that does not come

Instead of hiding or escaping to Galilee, Jesus’s disciples gathered in Jerusalem. Why did they take such a risk? What did the disciples expect from Jesus while he was living? What was it that they hoped for after their Master’s Death? Was the kingdom he had announced to them a present kingdom or a future one? Was it the kingdom of Israel or a celestial kingdom? Will a resurrected Jesus return? And when?

4 • Family Quarrel

In Jerusalem, the community got organized while awaiting the End of Time. What conflict tore apart the group and pitted Hebrews against Hellenists? Who was Stephen, the first martyr to die after Jesus? Why did his execution provoke such a decisive rupture inside the movement and instigate its expansion outside the frontiers of Judea?

5 • Paul, the Apostate

According to Acts, Paul participated in the death of Stephen, then in the persecution of the first Christian Jews. Did Paul convert on the road to Damascus? Who was the apostle Paul, the only character in the New Testament to both author a Gospel that carries his name and to figure as the hero of the Book of Acts? Why does he refer to himself as “the lowest of the low?”

6 • Council of Jerusalem

The movement of Jesus’s partisans spread across the Jewish diaspora after the year 40. At Antioch, as elsewhere, a community assembled of Jews, but also of pagans. Were they able to live together? In 49 or 50, an assembly was held in Jerusalem to resolve the crucial question: Must one be Jewish to become a Christian? That is, must men be circumcised? Why did Paul oppose Peter, who was the spokesperson of the disciples, and James, Jesus’s brother?

7 • Days of Wrath

In 50 or 51, Paul sent his instructions from Corinth to the Christian community in Thessalonki. This is the most ancient text in the New Testament. Why did Paul denounce Jews as “the enemy of all men?” Is he the instigator of Christian anti-Semitism? Could the apostle have been the author of these sentences?

8 • The Book of the Origins

At the end of the first century, the author of the Gospel according to Luke wrote a second book, the Acts of the Apostles, which recounted the birth of the Christian movement. Is the narrative of Acts an archival document, or is it a heroic epic, revised and edited by a clever theologian? Whom did he wish to convince? The Jews? Those who feared God? The Roman elite?

9 • Breaking with Judaism

As the propagandist of faith in Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul passes for the founder of Christianity. Did he betray Jesus? Did he provoke the rupture with Judaism? In the years 50 to 60, did his Epistles resonate as they would later? Why is it that the part played by Paul in the history of Christianity owes so much to Marcion, a heretic of the eleventh century?

10 • Verus Israel

In 70, Jerusalem was captured by the Roman legions. The Temple was destroyed. In 135, the Jewish nation was crushed. What were the consequences of the failure of two Jewish revolts? Why did Judaism proclaim the exclusion of Christians? And why was it that Christians refused to create a separate religion? Why, in the year 150, did Christianity declare itself to be “versus Israel?” What were the consequences for the Jews?