You seem to have forgotten the reason why we were talking about this in the first place. It's got nothing to do with what Jesus actually claimed. We were talking about Lewis' "trilemma" argument, which runs like this: (1) Anyone claiming to be God must be mad, bad, or actually God. (2) Jesus claimed to be God. (3) Jesus was neither mad nor bad. (4) Therefore, Jesus was God. As Bill3000 pointed out, (2) is highly questionable, and this is the premise that most critics attack. I was trying to show that (1) is pretty dubious too, the reason being that we don't know what sort of claims a first-century Galilean might have made about himself without being mad or bad. I do not think that Jesus actually claimed to be God. The point I was trying to make was that if he had claimed to be God, that would not prove that he was God. There is a strong case for thinking that Judaism did have the conceptual resources, in Jesus' day, for the ascription of effective divinity to a human being. And that is enough to destroy (1) irrespective of what Jesus himself actually claimed. The patriarchy was not established until (roughly) the early fourth century, long after the time you're talking about. And I don't see why it's relevant at all. How does having a patriarchy stop them from being Jewish? How, even, does having a church stop them from being Jewish? What do you think "Jewish" even means? In every assertion you make about the relations of ancient Christians and Jews you overlook the fact that ancient Judaism was extremely diverse. Maybe today, with the way we think of "Christian" and "Jew", one could not be both at once. But how do you know this was the case in antiquity? Judaism didn't have anything like a unified structure or hierarchy until the end of the first century CE, when the rabbis at Jamnia set one up and founded rabbinic Judaism. If the Christians had a church and a hierarchy, all that means is that they were not rabbinic Jews. But even after the founding of rabbinic Judaism, Judaism was still very varied - it took a long time for rabbinic Judaism to become the definitive form. Now if you think that Christianity and Judaism were completely distinct from a very early stage, it is up to you to provide an argument to that effect. Just saying that one lot were Christians and the other lot were Jews is not going to cut it. Neither is pointing to the existence of the church. You have to show why having a church was incompatible with being Jews. I'm afraid it hasn't. You said that John knew Matthew and Luke. I take it you mean that the author of the Fourth Gospel had read the First and Third Gospels, rather than that the apostle John knew the apostle Matthew and Luke the physician, since you said first: And then you elaborated on that with: But I can't see any explanation of why you think this is so. How do you know that the author didn't mean for it to be taken literally? A symbol is not the same thing as an allegory. For something to count as an allegory, each element of it must represent (rather transparently) an element in the thing represented. That isn't the case with a simple and visceral symbol such as the Grim Reaper. It seem to me you're taking the term "allegory" too widely. Also, an allegory is overtly fictional. It is not meant to explain anything, merely represent. That is why myth and allegory are mutually exclusive. A myth is supposed to explain, at some level. It explains why the world is the way it is or the way human beings are the way they are. The events in a myth are, in some sense, supposed to have really happened, or to be continually really happening. This is not the case with allegory. This is also why allegory is distinct from typology. In typology, the story describes real events, and the real events themselves are symbolic or otherwise teach a higher truth. In allegory, the story itself is what teaches the higher truth, and the actual events it purports to describe are neither here nor there.