Nevertheless, I think the pendulum has swung too far when I hear people denying Christ was Christian in any significant sense at all; that Paul was behind it all. At such times I can only say, ah, that’s just moving the problem sideways – Paul was a Jew too. In fact all the first Christians were.
In ancient Christianity, being a Jew and being a Christian was not mutually exclusive. It could be a both/and situation. Christian conversion did not require a “rejection” of Jewish practice and teaching but more of a “recentering”, whereby messianic testimony and imitation shifted to the centre of religious life and Mosaic ritual and law became more peripheral.
This understanding of Christ as central to Christianity, whatever form it takes, guides my assessment of the alternative Christologies that are sometimes offered by Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and the Western Mystery Traditions. Many like to assert that Christians don’t have a monopoly on Christ, and to some extent I have to agree this is true. Christ transcends Christianity.
But none of their alternate Christologies centre on Christ in the way Christianity does. They may find a place for Christ in their philosophy, but it is always in a more peripheral, less authoritative capacity. He is not received as Christ, as Messiah. He is often not even accepted as monotheistic. How unJewish is that?