In the period between AD 30 and AD 70, many historians claim that there was an Early Jerusalem Church active and preaching in Palestine. The mainstream historical narrative can be found in this pdf. I am curious how the accepted story withstands skeptical scrutiny.
The Jerusalem Church was supposedly active for only a few decades, and qualitatively different from the contemporary Pauline Church, which took over after the last Jewish revolt in 135AD. Most of the documents related to the teaching of this church or its existence are contained in Pauline documents. These Pauline documents serve as religious texts too, as proselyzing tools, so I don't trust them as historical sources. For all I know, Paul just made up all his correspondence with the Jerusalem church so as to justify various positions. The only time the Jerusalem church comes up is when he has a debate with somebody on church policy, and then he sends off a letter to Jerusalem, and then Jerusalem tells him he was right. Modern religious leaders seem to have no compunctions about fabricating even more outrageous things, so I don't want anything reliant on Paul's testimony.
The reason I doubt this church, is because the Christian faith has Gnostic and Pagan components which are significant. I hesitate to say "Pagan", because I don't mean it negatively, I think these are important teachings, you find them in Gnostic texts. One of the Pagan things seems to be Plato's realm of the spirit, where forms and souls have eternal life, and which is can be seen as a precurser to the very distinctive Christian concept of eternal life. This idea does not have a Jewish source that I can see. Ecclesiastes, which is one of the latest Jewish texts in the old testament, while showing Greek influence, denies the afterlife, although it talks about it, so the idea must have been floating around. Job too.
I am curious whether there was an actual Jerusalem church. This question is inspired by the question about the historical Jesus: Did Jesus live? . I guess you can phrase it as "Was there a historical Peter?".
So was there a major church in Jerusalem in AD 30-130? Like unfabricated archeological evidence: church buildings, grave-markers, documentary evidence from people other than Paul about figures other than James the Just or John the Baptist, both of whom are well documented, but not clearly affiliated with an organized Christian Church.
The number and type of each church is significant evidence, so that if the Church spread out from Jerusalem, you expect to find churches spreading radially from there, and to find other Jerusalem-style church communities elsewhere after 135AD, etc.
Was there a Jerusalem Church? What was its size and composition?