48 Schonfield, Those Incredible Christians, pp. 98, 257.

49 Ibid., p. 155.

50 Oscar Cullmann, The Christology of the New Testament, transl. by Shirley Guthrie and Charles Hall (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963), pp. 311–312.

51 Ibid., pp. 312–313; Raymond E. Brown, Jesus: God and Man(Milwaukee: Bruce, 1967), pp. 20–22.

52 Schonfield, Those Incredible Christians, p. 252.

53 Cullmann, Christology, p. 311.

54 A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6 vols. (Nashville: Broadman, 1931), vol. 4, p. 491.

55 Cullmann, Christology, pp. 235, 311–312.

4.Jesus’ claim to deity

Fourth, even if a divine messiah was not what first century Jews were looking for, there is a good reason why Jesus may still have made this very claim, as the evidence indicates he did. If he was truly deity, then he may have been attempting to correct the first century Jewish understanding of the messiah. And if he was, in fact, raised from the dead, this at least raises the possibility that his claims were verified. Again, any verification of Jesus’ teachings is beyond the scope of this book, but if the resurrection is demonstrated as history, then claims in this area can no longer be disregarded.^56 Schonfield might then have to face his thesis in reverse.

At any rate, Schonfield’s thesis (as well as others who claim that Jesus’ teachings were changed) is invalid. This is especially so when the Gospels have been rejected, for there is then no basis for this conclusion. It is thereby circular to assume that Jesus’ views did not differ from first century Jews, for this is the very point to be demonstrated. But then the presumed plot of the Christians at Rome also fails because there is no evidence that Jesus did not teach his own deity. In fact, there is much evidence in the Gospels that he did teach this.