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Moreover, the Christianity of which we speak is that which we find realized in the Catholic Church alone; hence, we are not concerned here with those forms which are embodied in the various non-Catholic Christian sects, whether schismatical or heretical.Our documentary sources of knowledge about the origin of Christianity and its earliest developments are chiefly the New Testament Scriptures and various sub-Apostolic writings, the authenticity of which we must to a large extent take for granted here, as the much less grounds we take for granted the authenticity of "Cæsar" when dealing with early Gaul, and of "Tacitus" when studying growth of the Roman Empire. Kenyon "Handbook of the Textual Criticism of the N. We have this further warrant for doing so, that the most mature critical opinions amongst non-Catholics, deserting the wild theories of Baur, Strauss, and Renan, tend, in regard to dates and authorship, to coincide more closely with the Catholic position. He who attentively studies these letters (those i.e. Other points will, of course, be touched on and other results assumed, which are more fully and formally treated under J ESUS C HRIST ; C HURCH ; R EVELATION ; M IRACLES .In order the better to appreciate the meaning of this event, we must first consider the religious influences and tendencies previously at work in the minds of men, both Jews and Gentiles, which prepared the way for the spread of Christianity amongst them.The whole history of the Jews as detailed in the Old Testament is seen, when read in the light of other events, to be a clear though gradual preparation for the preaching of Christianity.
The ancient world was given to Pantheism and creature-worship ; Israel only, not because of its "monotheistic instinct " (Renan), but because of the periodic interposition of God through His prophets, resisted in the main the general tendency to idolatry.
It was to this fact rather than to the wonders He worked in His lifetime that His accredited witnesses always appealed in their teaching.
On the marvel of the Resurrection is based in the counsels of God the faith of Christianity.
Whatever their corruption, these new religions, concentrating worship on a single prominent deity, were monotheistic in effect.
Moreover, many of them were characterized by rites of expiation and sacrifice, which familiarized men's minds with the idea of a mediatorial religion.