MacCoby, Hyam
The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity icon

This book, by a Jewish scholar, theorizes that Jesus never intended to create a church/religion and if it wasn’t for Paul, we wouldn’t have a New Testament or Christianity on the face of the earth today. This book read in conjunction with books like Burton Mack's book gives one a much better idea (compared to what you hear in Sunday School) of what actually went on during the first couple of centuries AD. There are many interesting theories presented in this book that directly contradict what is commonly believed/taught in Christian churches today. Some are probably mere speculation, but many are backed up by more evidence than exists for the traditional beliefs. Some of these include: Paul not being a Pharisee (and the Pharisees not persecuting Jesus), Paul inventing the last supper (instead of Jesus), and Paul being in direct opposition to the apostles that may have actual known Jesus during his lifetime. After reading this book, and others like it, the New Testament begins to finally make sense.

Those interested in the topic should also see the From Jesus to Christ Website.