The Origins of Christianity
By: Thomas Whittaker (1856-1935)
The full title of this book is The Origins of Christianity with an Outline of Van Manen’s Analysis of The Pauline Literature. Willem Christiaan van Manen (1842-1905) was a Dutch theologian. The vast majority of van Manen’s radical criticism of the New Testament and Christian origins has never been translated into English.
In this book, Thomas Whittaker outlines the arguments of van Manen for an English-speaking audience. Van Manen’s work is not now generally known, but his views obtained notoriety by the articles and books that he wrote, in which he maintained that none of the Epistles that bear the Apostle Paul’s name were in fact written by him. From van Manen’s conclusions, Whittaker goes further and relegates the whole body of the New Testament to the second century, and even places the beginning of the Christian movement until after the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70. Of Paul himself very little is certain, though Whittaker maintains that there may have been an itinerant preacher of that name. Whittaker comes to the conclusion that Jesus of Nazareth is entirely a mythical personage, but holds that what afterwards became Christianity or Paulinism had its origin in a Jewish-Messianic movement.