Christian Origins

Christian Origins

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Christian Origins

Christian Origins

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Excerpt

The real historical conception of the origin of Christianity is of recent date. So long as the problem was approached with the presupposition of the church belief, it was impossible. If the origin of Christianity consisted in the descent of the second person of the Deity from heaven to earth, in his becoming man in the body of a Jewish virgin, in his bodily resurrection after dying on the cross, and his ascent to heaven, then the origin of Christianity is a complete miracle, incapable of any historical explanation. For, the historical understanding of a phenomenon means comprehending it in its causal connections with the circumstances of a particular time and a particular place of human life. The entrance of a superhuman being into the mundane world would constitute a new beginning absolutely, standing in no causal relation whatever with anything preceding; therefore it could not be grasped by analogy with any other human experience, in short, the phenomenon withdraws from all historical explanation.

Such a Christian origin could only be the object of faith, not of historical knowledge. But this faith, according to the Church doctrine, is based on . . .

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