The mutation of Christianity

Diarmaid MacCulloch examines a faith that has repeatedly shown a remarkable capacity for change

The Holy Face by Andrei Rublev. Tempera on wood, 14th century. Moscow, Russia. (Photo by VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images)

This article was first published in the November 2009 issue of BBC History Magazine 

Christianity is, at root, a personality cult. Its central message is the story of a person, Jesus, whom Christians name also as the Christ (from a Greek word meaning ‘Anointed One’): an aspect of the God who was, is and ever shall be, yet who is also a human being, set in historic time. They believe that they can still meet this human being in a fashion comparable to the disciples who walked with him in Galilee and saw him die on the cross. In a BBC TV series, starting this month, I am trying to tell their stories.

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