Hey! What a great question! Those with big claims of huge love for Jesus should at least try to understand some of the cultural context from which his teaching emerged. In this post, I’m going to point out a few useful resources. Gnotruth!
1. Cultural Context
Before you go ask the Christian Apologists, go to Philip Harland. He’s a professor from York University who has generously provided us with a bunch of great information on the religions of the ancient Mediterranean. Check out his podcast. He’s also published some stuff. I’m a really big fan of the podcast, tho.
If you’ve got some cash, you should go get every thing written by Elaine Pagels. She has quite the knack for explaining the twists and turns of the early church. Why does the Church put forward the positions that it does today? How were those decisions made? Elaine will help you see some things.
3. Nag Hammadi Collection
If you haven’t dug through the Nag Hammadi Collection… you gotta. A good place to do that is at http://gnosis.org. Although, some years ago I began making youtube videos of readings of the collection and the administrator of this site threatened to sue me! HAHHA! The information deserves to be free and available in all formats that people can digest it.
There is a popular story about the homogeneity of the early church. The story says that the early church was uniform in belief about who Jesus was and why he was important. This story is a blatant lie concocted by early church propagandists. The truth is available to all who seek it. There have been diverse views contesting for the attention of the masses. The winners, today’s common forms of Christianity, are not accurate representations of earliest Christianity.