Paul, who is credited with changing the message from the story from Jesus to the story about Jesus, existed. Pauline Christianity,
Exactly, Paul created "the Christ". Even Dawkins, in the "God delusion" stated that Jesus did most likely exist although an argument, not widely supported has been engaged of the denial of his life". Historicity v "the Historical Jesus" are two different arguments and Ive always favored the "So what of he did exist" attitude, because someone had to manufacture a legend and a mythos about the man although an argument can be made that even PAul didn't feel that Jesus was divine. The gospel of John was really the first writing to proclaim divinity for the boy. The tricks he did in luke were just that, tricks written a hundred years after the fact and an attempt at dressing up the mans legend after PAul.
When Paul began his Acts, there were but a hundred or less followers of the Jesus cult in Nabathaea. The Jesus club was competing with a bunch of other cults, like Isis, who was even celebrated by Calligula. Yet, qbout 300 years after Paul, Christianity, a full blown religion with all its initial pomp and a status boost for Jesus where he was finally claimed to be divine and sent from a God to be a "savior" separate from the Jews immortal , god /leader. 300 years after Paul, Jesus is now the majority religion of the EMpire.
Pauls big contribution IMHO, was to transform Christianity, as a spinoff from jewish monotheism , from an ETHNIC centered religion to a universal one.
Im stickin to that