Barrie Wilson, PhD

scholar, educator, author, speaker.

How Jesus Became Christian by Barrie Wilson

See what the reviewers are saying

"Wilson's How Jesus Became Christian represents a much needed sea-change in our understanding of how one moves from the historical Jesus to the religion called Christianity. It is beyond doubt one of the most significant works on early Christianity to appear in decades. It is bound to stir controversy but Wilson's sober and carefully documented assessment of the evidence is as challenging as it is compelling. Wilson writes with an engaging style, accessible to the non-specialist, while thoroughly academic in quality.”

- James D. Tabor, Chair, Dept. of Religious Studies, UNC Charlotte
author of The Jesus Dynasty


"Wilson's learned foray into the great debate over Christian origins is to be heartily welcomed. Agree or disagree, the eager reader will be gripped---and at times possibly shocked---by the author's bold investigation of one of the greatest mysteries of all time: how did the Christianity of the earliest Church become the orthodox "churchianity" of the mid-fourth and all succeeding centuries?"

- Tom Harpur, author of The Pagan Christ.


"A groundbreaking and highly controversial work that is sure to provoke considerable attention."

- Patrick Gray, York University &Toronto School of Theology,
author of Leontius of Jerusalem


Here’s What Publishers Weekly Says

How Jesus Became Christian
Barrie A. Wilson. St. Martin's, $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-36278-1
Of the making of Jesus books there appears to be no end. Although Wilson, professor of religious studies at Toronto's York University, treads familiar ground already covered by Geza Vermes in Jesus the Jew and Amy-Jill Levine in The Misunderstood Jew, he provokes new thoughts about Jesus' identity. Taking up where Robert Eisenman left off in James, the Brother of Jesus, Wilson calls his argument the “Jesus Cover-Up Thesis” and claims that the religion of Paul displaced the teachings of Jesus so that Paul's preaching about a divine gentile Christ covered up the human Jewish Jesus. Wilson helpfully surveys the political, social and religious contexts of ancient Palestine, demonstrating that the religion of James, the brother of Jesus, was much closer to the religious practice of Jesus himself, but that the followers of Paul suppressed Jesus' teachings in favor of their own leader. Wilson challenges the veracity of the book of Acts, arguing that the followers of Paul created these tales to sup port the heroic character of their founder in his quest to establish a new religion. Wilson's instructive book introduces important questions about early Christianity for those unfamiliar with the debates about the historical Jesus. (Mar.)