There are three interesting articles on Christianity at the Spectator, obviously occasioned by Easter.
If we can pass over the pagan aspects of the fertility rite to the Christian/Passover, today is clearly the one upon which the entire faith rests. Historians don’t seriously question the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth but they do fall out over the arising.
For the people of the time, the arising is certainly the clincher but not the only phenomenon deeply impressing itself on the Galilean mind, there were those miracles – or party tricks if you’re an atheist – to take into account.
The reaction of the authorities added its own authenticity and the more widely attested Roman suppression, the gnostic threat and others certainly showed this Christianity to have become a substantial problem by the 2nd century. You can call it a superstition but it’s one which grew and grew and grew and as some of the finest minds of the time fell for it, it impressed more and more.…