“The road from Jesus to the Christian religion that finally emerged in the fourth century, with its myth of Jesus as the son of God solidly in place, is a very long and twisty path. Christianity was not born of an immaculate conception. It was the product of myriad moments of intellectual labor and negotiated social agreements by the people investing in the experiment.
This discovery has been difficult for many Christians to accept. That is because the traditional picture of Christian beginnings starts with a Jesus who knows in advance what is required of him and his disciples in order to establish the Christian religion.”
From Who Wrote the New Testament, by Burton L. Mack, p 45. Mack is an author and scholar of early Christian history and the New Testament. He is John Wesley Professor emeritus in early Christianity at the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California.