Yes, yes, yes, I am in full rant mode.
Looking over some long ago recorded but never watched television, PBS has a program called Frontline, (which has often seemed to have a grudge against the Church, but this isn't about that.)
From Jesus to Christ, of course, in its very title denies one of the central tenets of Christianity, that Jesus was the Messiah, He, Who was "in the beginning," didn't somehow "become" the Anointed One.
So right off the bat, it is refusing to address the subject of who Jesus is in a way that has any objectivity, even any pretense of even-handedness.
No problem, their showing of some of Fr Barron's documentary on Catholicism is hardly a paragon of neutrality.
But in trying to answer the question of how a small Jewish sect become the Christian church in a stunning triumph, one of their talking heads, a Professor of Judaic Studies makes this claim:
In its first stage, Christianity begins not as a religion, it begins rather
as the movement of people around a single charismatic teacher
It's not, or rather, wasn't "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons" or "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs" or a "body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices," or "the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith" or "something one believes in and follows devotedly"?
Okay, I'll grant you, that last one is using the word "religion" as a metaphor, (like "football is the established religion of the US -- come to think of it, that's not a metaphor either... never mind.)
But how do those other descriptions, each of which is an accepted definition of "religion," NOT apply?
Has the guy not read Acts? did he form his academic opinion on no... here I go again... primary sources?
Here ended the rant.