For the past 200 years, after holy writ was placed under the microscope of modern science, an alternative view has espoused Jesus as the figurehead and Paul as Christianity's true founder.
Figurehead is a tricky word, but an accurate one, for if we accept Jesus as the historical figure -- by definition -- he would have been the original man. Yet, in spite of this fact, he was not the actual founder of the religion.
Jesus' ministry was primarily a message to the Jewish people in preparation for a Messianic Kingdom. But it was Paul who targeted a larger Greco-Roman (outside) community after being forced out of synagogue.
Gerd Ludemann states, "Without Paul there would be no church and no Christianity. He's the most decisive person that shaped Christianity as it developed. Without Paul we would have had reformed Judaism... but no Christianity."
See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.
It's always eye-opening when we realize that Jesus was not a Christian...and he did not establish the Christian church, as so many believe. It was Paul who was the actual founder of the religion that has taken Jesus' name, and this was centuries following Jesus' death.
From The Urantia Book:
121:7.7 Paul’s cult of Christianity exhibited its morality as a Jewish birthmark. The Jews viewed history as the providence of God—Yahweh at work. The Greeks brought to the new teaching clearer concepts of the eternal life. Paul’s doctrines were influenced in theology and philosophy not only by Jesus’ teachings but also by Plato and Philo. In ethics he was inspired not only by Christ but also by the Stoics.
121:7.8 The gospel of Jesus, as it was embodied in Paul’s cult of Antioch, Christianity, became blended with the following teachings:
1. The philosophic reasoning of the Greek proselytes to Judaism, including some of their concepts of the eternal life.
2. The appealing teachings of the prevailing mystery cults, especially the Mithraic doctrines of redemption, atonement, and salvation by the sacrifice made by some god.
3. The sturdy morality of the established Jewish religion.
121:7.12 The Mediterranean Roman Empire, the Parthian kingdom, and the adjacent peoples of Jesus’ time all held crude and primitive ideas regarding the geography of the world, astronomy, health, and disease; and naturally they were amazed by the new and startling pronouncements of the carpenter of Nazareth. The ideas of spirit possession, good and bad, applied not merely to human beings, but every rock and tree was viewed by many as being spirit possessed. This was an enchanted age, and everybody believed in miracles as commonplace occurrences.
So, what religion did Jesus live? Read about The religion of Jesus HERE. This religion, which can be practiced by any religionist, depends upon personal spiritual experience