Early Christianity: a necessary manifestation of the early Roman imperial period
My answer to the question of whether early Christianity
is a necessary rational truth or a random historical truth goes back to the solution that was favoured during 1,900 years of Christianity. Post-World War I Protestant theology’s concept of a free-floating divinity (God as the “entirely other”) is completely foreign to the Biblical authors. In their view, God is always related to the world and to human history.
Early Christianity saw itself as closely linked to the time when Jesus and his apostles appeared. That is why the Jewish ruler, the Roman governor and the emperor are mentioned by name. That is why the text refers to astronomical phenomena such as the star of Bethlehem (planetary conjunction of 7 BC) and the transition to the new spring sign of the Zodiac.
Early Christians were convinced that God became man, precisely in the early Roman imperial period, in the historical person of Jesus (prologue to John’s Gospel). Theologians are on the wrong track if they try to make Jesus into a myth (Bultmann), the star of Bethlehem into a legend and the new age that began with Jesus and the disciples into a religious fantasy.