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Granted that the historical Jesus existed and was confessed as Christ and Lord, what might have changed earliest Christianity utterly or even stopped it completely? I propose four events which would have altered Christianity beyond at least my capacity to imagine. What if all of earliest Christianity had stayed among the small hamlets of rural Galilee rather than some of it moving immediately to great cities like Jerusalem, Damascus, and Antioch? What if earliest Christianity had not accepted pagans alongside Jews within the new eschatological community of God? What if three revolts within seventy years, inside and outside the Jewish homeland, had not brought down upon it the destructive vengeance of the Roman empire? What if that same empire had not adopted a "don't ask, don't tell" attitude towards earliest Christianity but made it immediately a forbidden superstition?

In: Biblical Interpretation
In: Numen
In: Novum Testamentum


I am grateful to both those preceding scholars for their articles and for allowing me the privilege of a reply. It is also a special pleasure to recall their hospitality and generosity at the University of South Africa during the seminar on which these papers mere first presented. My reply takes up those topics in my title, the first two from Pieter Craffert, the latter two from Johan Strijdom.

In: Religion and Theology
In: PB Handbook for the Study of the Historical Jesus (4 vols)
In: The Gospel of John as Literature