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Template:Otheruses1 Jesus, also known as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus the Nazorean, is the central figure of Christianity, in which context he is known as Jesus Christ (from Greek Ιησούς Χριστός) with "Christ" not being a name but rather a title meaning "Anointed". He is also considered a very important prophet in Islam and a manifestation of God in the Bahá'í Faith.

Many noted critical historians, such as Shaye Cohen, John Dominic Crossan, Paula Fredriksen, John P. Meier, E.P. Sanders, and Geza Vermes argue that Jesus lived from about 8-4 BC/BCE to 29-36 AD/CE. The main sources regarding his life and teachings are the four canonical Gospels from the New Testament, which took written form some decades after his death, although these scholars rely on other contemporary sources about Hellenic Judaism and Roman politics to provide a context for interpreting the Gospels. These scholars generally agree that Jesus was a Jewish Galilean preacher and healer who was at odds with the Jewish religious authorities , and who was crucified outside of Jerusalem during the rule of the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate. After his death numerous followers spread his teachings, and within a few decades Christianity emerged as a religion distinct from Judaism.

Beyond the historical information accepted by most secular scholars, the gospels make various additional claims about Jesus: that Jesus was the Messiah (Matthew 1:1, 26: 64; Mark 1:1; Luke 2: 11; John 1: 41, 20:31); the son of God (Mark 1:1; John 20:31); that his birth by Mary was virginal (Matthew 1: 23; Luke 1: 34); that he was king of the Jews (Matthew 27:11; Mark 15:2) and that after his crucifixion he rose from the dead (Matthew 27:23; John 11: 25), and then ascended into heaven (Mark 16: 6; Luke 24: 51). Most Christians hold that the Gospels also attribute divinity to Jesus; however, others hold that the Gospels are equivocal on the subject. Many Christians and some scholars believe that the accounts in the New Testament are historical facts, though others maintain that different parts have different degrees of accuracy, and a few hold Jesus did not exist at all.

In Islam, Jesus (called Isa) is considered one of God's most beloved and important prophets, a bringer of divine scripture, and also the messiah; although Muslims attach a different meaning to this term than Christians as they do not share the Christian belief in the divinity of Jesus. The Qur'an, Islam's holy book, states that the crucifixion was a divinely-created illusion; that Jesus was not killed, is alive in heaven and will return to the earth in the company of the Mahdi once it has become full of sin and injustice.

Other religions also have different perspectives on Jesus, but do not place significant importance on his life and teachings.


Life and teachings, based upon the Gospels

Main article: New Testament view on Jesus' life



Main article: Chronology of Jesus
The most detailed accounts of Jesus' birth are contained in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. Template:Smref There is considerable debate about the details of Jesus' birth even among Christian scholars, and few scholars claim to know either the year or the date of his birth or of his death.

Based on the accounts in the gospels of the shepherds' activities, the time of year depicted for Jesus' birth could be spring or summer. However, as early as 354, Roman Christians celebrated it following the December solstice in an attempt to replace the Roman festival of Saturnalia. Before then, Jesus' birth was generally celebrated on January 6 as part of the feast of Theophany, also known as Epiphany, which commemorated not only Jesus' birth but also his baptism by John in the Jordan River and possibly additional events in Jesus' life.

In the 248th year of the Diocletian Era (based on Diocletian's ascension to the Roman throne), Dionysius Exiguus attempted to pinpoint the number of years since Jesus' birth, arriving at a figure of 753 years after the founding of Rome. Dionysius then set Jesus' birth as being December 25 1 ACN (for "Ante Christum Natum", or "before the birth of Christ"), and assigned AD 1 to the following year—thereby establishing the system of numbering years from the birth of Jesus: Anno Domini (which translates as "in the year of the Lord"). This system made the then current year 532, and almost two centuries later it won acceptance and became the established calendar in Western civilization due to its championing by the Venerable Bede.

However, based on a lunar eclipse that Josephus reports shortly before the death of Herod the Great, the birth of Christ would have been some time before the year 4 BC/BCE. This estimate itself relies on the historicity of the story in the Gospel of Matthew of the Massacre of the Innocents under the orders of Herod — an event mentioned nowhere else in contemporaneous accounts. Having fewer sources and being further removed in time from the authors of the New Testament, establishing a reliable birth date now is particularly difficult.

The exact date of Jesus' death is also unclear. The Gospel of John depicts the crucifixion just before the Passover festival on Friday 14 Nisan, called the Quartodeciman, whereas the synoptic gospels describe the Last Supper, immediately before Jesus' arrest, as the Passover meal on Friday 15 Nisan. Further, the Jews followed a lunisolar calendar with phases of the moon as dates, complicating calculations of any exact date in a solar calendar. According to John P. Meier's A Marginal Jew, allowing for the time of the procuratorship of Pontius Pilate and the dates of the Passover in those years, his death can be placed most probably on April 7, 30 or April 3, 33.

Family and early life

Main articles: NativityChild Jesus & Genealogy of Jesus
The traditional location of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem.

According to the Gospels, Jesus was born in Bethlehem to Mary, a virgin, by the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of Luke gives an account of the angel Gabriel visiting Mary to tell her that she was chosen to bear the son of God (Luke 1:26-28). Catholics call this the Annunciation. Joseph, Mary's betrothed husband, appears only in stories of Jesus' childhood; this is generally taken to mean that he had died by the time of Jesus' ministry. Template:Gospel Jesus

Mark 6:3 (and analogous passages in Matthew and Luke) reports that Jesus was "Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon," and also states that Jesus had sisters. The 1st-century Jewish historian Josephus and the Christian historian Eusebius (who wrote in the 4th century but quoted much earlier sources that are now lost) refer to James the Just as Jesus' brother (See Desposyni). However, Jerome argued that they were Jesus' cousins, which the Greek word for "brother" used in the gospels would allow. This was based on the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox tradition that Mary remained a perpetual virgin, thus having no biological children before or after Jesus. Luke's gospel records that Mary was a relative of Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist (Luke 1:36). The Bible, however, does not reveal exactly how Mary and Elizabeth were related.

Jesus' childhood home is represented as Nazareth in Galilee. Aside from a flight to Egypt in infancy to escape Herod's Massacre of the Innocents and a short trip to Tyre and Sidon, all other events in the Gospels are set in ancient Israel. Only one incident between his infancy and his adult life, the Finding in the Temple, is mentioned in the canonical gospels, although New Testament apocrypha fill in the details of this time, some quite extensively.

For most Christians, only the virgin birth and the Incarnation itself are major articles of faith for this period of time before the beginning of Jesus' ministry. The Muslim religion also espouses a virgin birth through Mary.

Later life

File:Jesus bap.jpg
John the Baptist Baptizing Jesus, by Harry Anderson, 1980?.

According to Christian belief, just after he was baptized by his kinsman John the Baptist Jesus began his public ministry. According to Luke, he was about thirty years old at the time. Jesus used a variety of methods in his teaching, in particular parables and metaphors. He frequently taught, "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand." Some of his most famous teachings are to be found in the Sermon on the Mount, which also contains the beatitudes and the Golden Rule . His most famous parables (or stories with a deep or metaphorical meaning) include the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. Jesus had a number of disciples. His closest followers were the twelve apostles. According to the New Testament, Jesus also performed various miracles in the course of his ministry, including healings, exorcisms, turning water into wine and raising Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus frequently put himself in opposition to the Jewish religious hierarchy of the Pharisees and Sadducees. His teaching castigated the Pharisees primarily for Template:Fact their legalism and Template:Fact hypocrisy, although he also had followers among the religious leaders such as Nicodemus. Jesus was also known as a social reformer.

Jesus' preachings included the forgiveness of sin, life after death, and resurrection of the body. Jesus also preached the imminent end of the current era of history, or even the literal end of the world and in this sense he was an apocalyptic preacher. Some interpretations of the Gospels, particularly amongst Protestants, suggest that Jesus opposed stringent interpretations of Jewish law, supporting the spirit more than the letter of the law.

It is commonly thought that Jesus preached for a period of three years, but this is never mentioned explicitly in any of the four gospels, and some interpretations of the Synoptic Gospels suggest a span of only one year. The generally believed view remains three years however.

Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the end of his ministry is usually associated with the Passover Feast, as stated in the New Testament, which indicates that the waving of palm fronds and other greetings from the crowd were intended to hail Christ as the Messiah (John 12:13).

Arrest, trial and execution

Christian belief holds that Jesus came with his followers to Jerusalem during the Passover festival, and created a disturbance at the Temple by overturning the tables of the moneychangers there. He was subsequently arrested on the orders of the Sanhedrin and the high priest, Joseph Caiaphas for blasphemy, because he claimed to be "God's son". He was identified to the guards by one of his apostles, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus by a kiss in the Garden of Gethsemane, after which another apostle, Peter, used a sword to attack one of the captors. After his arrest, Jesus' apostles went into hiding.

Ecce Homo ("Behold the Man!"), Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Pontius Pilate presenting a scourged Jesus of Nazareth to the people of Jerusalem

Jesus was condemned for blasphemy by the Sanhedrin and turned over to the Romans for execution, on the charge of sedition for claiming to be King of the Jews. The usual penalty for sedition was a humiliating death by crucifixion, but according to the gospels, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate ruled that Jesus was not guilty of any such civil crime. The gospel accounts say it was a custom at Passover for the Roman governor to free a prisoner, and that Pilate offered the crowd a choice between Jesus of Nazareth and an insurrectionist named Jesus Barabbas. According to the gospels, the crowd chose to free Barabbas, and Pilate washed his hands to display that he himself was innocent of the injustice of the decision. All four gospels say Pilate then ordered Jesus to be crucified with a charge placed atop the cross (called the titulus crucis) which read "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews". (The titulus crucis is often written as INRI, the Latin acronym.)

The gospels further state that after Jesus died on the cross, his followers were allowed to take his body down and place it in a tomb.

Resurrection and Ascension

Main articles: Resurrection of Jesus & Ascension

In accordance with the four canonical gospel accounts Christians believe that Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. This article of faith is referred to in Christian terminology as the Resurrection of Jesus Christ; and each year at Easter (on a Sunday) it is commemorated and celebrated by most Christians groups apart from a few groups such as the Jehovah's Witnesses .

No one was a witness to the resurrection. However, the women who had witnessed the entombment and the closure of the tomb with a great stone, found it empty when they arrived on the third day to anoint the body. The synoptic gospel accounts further state that an angel was waiting at the tomb to explain to them that Jesus had been resurrected, though the Gospel according to John makes no mention of this encounter. The sight of the same angel had apparently left the guards unconscious (cf. Matt 28:2–4) that, according to Matthew 27:62–66, the high priests and Pharisees, with Pilate's permission, had posted in front of the tomb to prevent the body from being stolen by Jesus' disciples. Mark 16:9 says that Mary Magdalene was the first to whom Jesus appeared very early that morning. John 20:11–18 states that when Mary looked into the tomb, two angels asked her why she was crying; and as she turned round she initially failed to recognize Jesus—even by his voice—until he called her by her name. The Gospel accounts and the Acts of the Apostles tell of several appearances of Jesus to various people in various places over a period of forty days before he ascended into heaven. Just hours after his resurrection he appeared to two travelers on the road to Emmaus. To his assembled disciples he showed himself on the evening after his resurrection, but Thomas was absent, though he was present when Jesus repeated his visit to them a week later. Thereafter he went to Galilee and showed himself to several of his disciples by the lake and on the mountain; and they were present when he returned to Bethany and was lifted up to heaven and a cloud concealed him from their sight.

Most Christians—even those who do not hold to the literal truth of everything in the canonical gospel accounts—accept the New Testament presentation of the Resurrection as a historical account of an actual event central to faith. Belief in the resurrection is one of the most distinctive elements of Christian faith; and defending the historicity of the resurrection is usually a central issue of Christian apologetics. Some liberal Christians do not accept that Jesus was raised bodily from the dead, or that he still lives bodily (e.g., John Shelby Spong, Tom Harpur).


According to most Christian interpretations of the Bible, the theme of Jesus' preaching was that of repentance, forgiveness of sin, grace, and the coming of the kingdom of God.

During his public ministry Jesus extensively trained twelve disciples to continue after his departure his leadership of the many who had begun to follow him mainly in the towns and villages throughout Galilee, Samaria, and the Decapolis. Most Christians hold that the apostles also gained the power to perform miracles and healings after they had been empowered by the Holy Spirit of Truth (to pneuma tēs alētheias, John 14:17, 26; Luke 24:49, Acts 1:8, 2:4) that Jesus had promised the Father would send them after his departure—a promise that according to Acts 2:4 was fulfilled at Pentecost. From the works of Jesus' followers came the foundation of Christianity and its churches.

For some the legacy of Jesus was a long history of Christian anti-Semitism (of course, always with exceptions), although in the wake of the Holocaust many Christian groups have gone to considerable lengths to reconcile with Jews and to promote inter-faith dialogue and mutual respect.

Religious perspectives

Main article: Religious perspectives on Jesus

Jesus has an important role in the two world religions, Christianity and Islam. Most other religions, however, do not consider Jesus to have been a supernatural or holy being. Some of these religions, like Buddhism, do not take any official stance on Jesus' life. The religion Jesus himself practiced his whole life, Judaism, rejects claims of Christian claims of his life, beleiving they are mostly made up. Judaism also rejects the possible that he can be the Messiah because he does fit the qualifications of being Messiah according to Jewish tradisition.

Christian views

File:Ushakov Nerukotvorniy.jpg
Simon Ushakov's 1658 depiction of Saviour Not Made by Hands, the most popular iconography of Jesus in Eastern Orthodoxy.

Christians believe in and follow what they believe to be the teachings of Jesus. However, Christianity quite naturally has a more specific and involved meaning, as most Christians hold similar beliefs regarding Jesus and his life that are largely rejected by non-Christians. Generally speaking, most Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, part of a trinity of three persons of God, and the Messiah, who came to earth to save mankind from sin and death through his proxy sacrifice. Most believe Jesus lived a perfect life and that his death on a cross, called the crucifixion, was the ultimate sacrifice. According to Christian tradition the disobeying of God's command by the first man Adam caused all mankind to suffer the consequences of sin entering the world. Scriptures often refer to death as "separation from God", and to sin as being something that God the Father cannot tolerate. In this view those who believe in Jesus are saved and may have eternal life. Most Christians also believe that after Jesus's death, he rose from the grave on the third day and forty days after that ascended to Heaven. There are many differing views within Christian groups as to whether or not Jesus ever claimed divinity. The majority of Christian laypeople, theologians, and clergy hold that the Bible clearly states Jesus both to be divine and to claim divinity in many passages. Most also believe that Jesus's resurrection is additional proof that he is God. However Jehovah's Witnesses maintain that there are passages in the New Testament that clearly have Jesus stating that he was not equal with God, and that other passages are ambiguous about such claims. They view the term "son of God" as more symbolic of Jesus' importance to the creator rather then as a literal "son".

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints maintains that Jesus is the very same as Jehovah or Yahweh of the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible but is distinct from God the Father.

Islamic views

Template:Main article In Islam, Jesus (known as Isa), is considered one of God's most-beloved and important prophets. Like Christian writings, the Qur'an holds that Jesus was born without a biological father by the will of God and for this reason is consistently termed "Isa ibn Maryam", a matronymic (since he had no biological father). Similarly Islamic belief also holds that he could perform miracles, and that he will one day return to the world to rid it of evil. However, unlike Christians, Muslims do not consider Jesus to have been the son of God, and do not believe that he died on the cross. Instead, the Qur'an states that his death was only an illusion (done by God) to deceive his enemies, and that Jesus ascended bodily to heaven. Muslims believe he will return to the world in the flesh following Imam Mahdi to defeat the Dajjal (Antichrist-like figure, translated as "Deceiver") once the world has become filled with sin, deception and injustice, and then live out the rest of his natural life.

Muslims also believe that Jesus received a gospel from God (called the Injil) that corresponds to the Christian New Testament, but that it and the Old Testament have both been changed by mankind over time as such that they no longer accurately represent God's original message to mankind. In Muslim traditions, Jesus lived a perfect life of nonviolence, showing kindness to humans and animals (similar to the other Islamic prophets), without material possessions and abstaining totally from alcohol and from the flesh of animals.

The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam believes that Jesus survived the crucifixion and later travelled to India, where he lived and died as a prophet under the name of Yuz Asaf.

Jewish views

Main article: Jewish view of Jesus

Followers of Judaism reject both the Christian belief that Jesus was the Messiah as he didn't fit the traditional qualifications and the Muslim belief that he was a true prophet. Judaism consider him one of the false prophets that the Hebrew Bible warns in Deuteronomy 13 [1], in beleif of the word of that chapter that God is testing us. Judaism states that there were no prophets after the prophet Malachi, and still awaits the coming of the Mashiach. Template:Fact Jewish belief does not completely reject all of the historical information contained in Gospels, but does reject all of the confessions by early Christian adherents, especially Paul. Judaism also condisers him a Mamzir, which disallows him to do many thing in the Jewish society, e.g. get married to anyone else besides another Mamzir.

Eastern religions

Hindu beliefs in Jesus vary from those who consider him to have been just a normal man, or even purely a fable, to those who believe that he was an avatar of God. A large number of Hindus consider Jesus to have been a wise guru or yogi, some even suggesting that he spent his "lost years" learning various Hindu beliefs in India. The Hindutva historian P.N. Oak has even claimed that Jesus was in fact Krishna, and that Christianity originated as a form of his worship. Many in the Surat Shabd Yoga tradition regard Jesus as a Satguru. Mahatma Gandhi considered Jesus one of his main teachers and inspirations for Nonviolent Resistance.

Although Buddhism in general attributes no spiritual significance to Jesus, some Buddhists believe that Jesus may have been a Bodhisattva, one who has dedicated his or her future to the happiness of all beings. Some Buddhists also interpret Jesus through Zen Buddhism, sometimes basing their perspective on the Gospel of Thomas.

The Bahá'í Faith considers Jesus to be one of many "Manifestations" (or prophets) of God, with both human and divine stations.

Negative views

Some religions consider Jesus to be a false prophet. Mandaeanism regards Jesus as a deceiving prophet of the false Jewish god, who they call Adunay (possibly a corruption of Adonai,) or Yurba. They believed that Jesus was an opponent of the good prophet John the Baptist—whom they nonetheless believe to have baptized Jesus. Some Satanists consider Jesus to have been the son or a follower of Satan, or Satan himself, but most do not hold any spiritual beliefs regarding Jesus.

Other Views

The Ebionites believed that Jesus was a great prophet and the Messiah, but not divine. They rejected the Epistles of Paul, and asserted that Jesus did not consider the Biblical laws to be abrogated, but instead wanted his followers to abide by them, except for animal sacrifices, for which they believe he proclaimed an end. The Ebionites claimed the leadership of Saint James, often referred to as the brother of Jesus, but no historical connection between James and the sect has been substantiated. The real name of "James" was Yaakob, and he was the leader of all Christians, whether called Ebionites or not, who did not follow Paul.

The New Age movement entertains a wide variety of views on Jesus. with some representatives (such as A Course In Miracles) going so far as to trance-channel him. Many recognize him as a "great teacher" (or "Ascended Master") similar to Buddha, and teach that Christhood is something that all may attain. At the same time, many New Age teachings, such as reincarnation, appear to reflect a certain discomfort with traditional Christianity. Numerous New Age subgroups claim Jesus as a supporter, often incorporating contrasts with or protests against the Christian mainstream. Thus, for example, Theosophy and its offshoots have Jesus studying esotericism in the Himalayas or Egypt during his "lost years".

Many Humanists, Atheists and Agnostics, whilst rejecting the concept of God, and therefore of the divinity of Christ, nevertheless respect and admire the humanity of Christ's teachings and have empathy with the moral principles articulated in (for example) the Sermon on the mount.


File:Christ pantocrator daphne1090-1100.jpg
This 11th-century Greek image of Jesus is one of many in which a sun cross halo is used. Such depictions are characteristic of Eastern Orthodox iconography.
Main articles: Historicity of JesusHistorical Jesus & Jesus-Myth

Most modern scholars hold that the works describing Jesus were initially communicated by oral tradition, and were not committed to writing until several decades after Jesus' crucifixion. The earliest extant texts which refer to Jesus are Paul's letters, which are usually dated from the mid-1st century. Paul saw Jesus only in visions, but he claimed that they were divine revelations and hence authoritative (1 Galatians 11-12). The earliest extant texts describing Jesus in any detail were the four New Testament Gospels. These texts, being part of the Biblical canon, have received much more analysis and acceptance from Christian sources than other possible sources for information on Jesus.

Many apocryphal texts have also surfaced detailing events in Jesus' life and teachings, chief among them the Gospel of Thomas, a "sayings gospel" or logia consisting primarily of phrases attributed to Jesus. Other New Testament apocrypha, generally considered less important, include the Gospel of the Hebrews, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, the Infancy Gospels, the Gospel of Peter, the Unknown Berlin Gospel, the Naassene Fragment, the Secret Gospel of Mark, the Egerton Gospel, the Oxyrhynchus Gospels and the Fayyum Fragment. A number of Christian traditions (such as Veronica's veil and the Assumption of Mary) are found not in the canonical gospels, but in these and other apocryphal works, such as the Acts of Pilate.

Earlier texts?

Some texts with even earlier historical or mythological information on Jesus are speculated to have existed prior to the Gospels, though none are extant. Based on the unusual similarities and differences (see synoptic problem) between the Synoptic GospelsMatthew, Mark and Luke, the first three canonical gospels—many Biblical scholars have suggested that oral tradition and logia (such as the Gospel of Thomas and the theoretical Q document) probably played a strong role in initially passing down stories of Jesus, and may have inspired some of the Synoptic Gospels.

Specifically, many scholars believe that the Q document and the Gospel of Mark were the two sources used for the gospels of Matthew and Luke; however, other theories, such as the older Augustinian hypothesis, continue to hold sway with some Biblical scholars. Another theoretical document is the Signs Gospel, believed to have been a source for the Gospel of John.Template:Smref There is little consensus concerning how and when any of these documents were circulated, if they were at all.

The ecumenical council meetings in the 4th century that discussed which works should and should not be included in the canon were largely unconcerned with modern historical sensibilities, utilizing few techniques of objective textual analysis. Instead, their discussions generally tended to center upon theology, rather than upon historicity. However, noted scholars F.F. Bruce, Bruce Metzger and others argue that some historical details were taken into consideration regarding the New Testament canon. It may be surmised that the early church leaders took for granted that historicity was not an issue to be debated, any more than debating the historicity of the Articles of Confederation or the Constitution would be major issues today. Template:SmrefTemplate:SmrefTemplate:Smref In addition, Bible scholar Bruce Metzger wrote regarding the formation of the canonical New Testament:

"Although the fringes of the emerging canon remained unsettled for generations, a high degree of unanimity concerning the greater part of the New Testament was attained among the very diverse and scattered congregations of believers not only throughout the Mediterranean world, but also over an area extending from Britain to Mesopotamia." Template:Smref

Questions of reliability

As a result of the many-decade time gap between the writing of the Gospels and the events they describe the accuracy of all early texts claiming the existence of Jesus or details of Jesus' life have been disputed by various parties. The authors of the gospels are traditionally thought to have been witnesses to the events included. After the original oral stories were written down, they were transcribed, and later translated into other languages. However, several Biblical historians have responded to claims of the unreliability of the gospel accounts by pointing out that historical documentation is often biased and second-hand, and frequently dates from several decades after the events described.

Even among those who believe that Jesus existed, however, there are still numerous divisions over the historical accuracy of the canonical gospels. Some say that the Gospel accounts are neither objective nor accurate, since they were written or compiled by his followers and seem to exclusively portray a positive, idealized view of Jesus. Those who have a naturalistic view of history, as a general rule, do not believe in divine intervention or miracles, such as the resurrection of Jesus mentioned by the Gospels. One method used to estimate the factual accuracy of stories in the gospels is known as the "criterion of embarrassment", which holds that stories about events with embarrassing aspects (such as the denial of Jesus by Peter) would likely not have been included if not true.

External influences on gospel development

A minority of scholars believe that the gospel accounts of Jesus have little or no historical basis. At least in part, this is because there are many similarities between stories about Jesus and contemporary myths of pagan godmen such as Mithras, Apollo, Attis, Horus and Osiris-Dionysus, leading to conjectures that the pagan myths were adopted by some authors of early accounts of Jesus to form a syncretism with Christianity. Some Christian authors, such as C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, believed that such myths were created by ancient pagans with vague and imprecise foreknowledge of the Gospels. While these connections are disputed by many, it is nevertheless true that many elements of Jesus' story as told in the Gospels have parallels in pagan mythology, where miracles such as virgin birth were well-known.

Scholars such as A. N. Sherwin-White, FF Bruce, John Wenham, Gary Habermas and others argue for a high degree of historical reliability of the key New Testament events or the New Testament as a whole (see: Resurrection of Jesus for details). Template:SmrefTemplate:SmrefTemplate:Smref Prominent liberal scholar John A.T. Robinson argued for early dates of the entire New Testament and ascribed many of the key New Testament texts to their traditional authors. Template:Smref


  1. ^  The Gospels of the Bible,
  2. ^  Daniel Gaztambide (2005), "So Sayeth The Lord... According to Who?".
  3. ^  Stephen Voorwinde, "The formation of the New Testament", Patornet. Accessed October 25, 2005.
  4. ^  F. F. Bruce, New Testament Documents: Are they reliable?, "Chapter 3: The Canon of the New Testament" (June, 1982), ISBN 087784691X, Inter-Varsity Press.
  5. ^  Coey Keating (December 11, 2005), "Criteria for development of the New Testament canon in the first four centuries of the Christian Church", Fuller Theological Seminary.
  6. ^  Bruce Metzger (1987), The New Testament Canon, page 254.
  7. ^  Josh McDowell (1992), "Evidence for the Resurrection".
  8. ^  F.F. Bruce (1959), "THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS Are they Reliable?".
  9. ^  Gary Habermas (2001), "Why I Believe The New Testament Is Historically Reliable".
  10. ^  John Robinson

Other topics pertaining to Jesus

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Template:Wikisource Background

Jesus probably lived in Israel for most of his life and he probably spoke Aramaic and Hebrew. Israel in the 1st century, when Jesus lived, was the center of Jewish culture. Jewish society had different religious sects such the Pharisees and Sadducees, and it had different peoples such as beggars, lepers, blind, and crippled. At this time the Jewish state was occupied by Rome. Most scholars agree the Gospels were written after the destruction of the Jewish Temple by the Romans. See Cultural and historical background of Jesus and Aramaic of Jesus for more about Israel in Jesus' day and what he spoke.

Jesus' sayings according to the Christian Bible

Many of the sayings attributed to Jesus have become part of the culture of Western civilization. No small selection of sayings that would fit in this article would fairly represent his sayings. See wikiquote:Jesus and Jesus' sayings according to the Christian Bible for more. Template:Jesus

Names and titles

Jesus is the Greek version of the Hebrew name rendered Joshua in English. It literally means "God saves". Christ (which is a title and not a part of his name) is an Anglicization of the Greek term for Messiah, and literally means "anointed one". Jesus is referred to by many titles and names: see Names and titles of Jesus. Before the J written glyph was invented (16th century), Jesus was written as Iesus in English, as seen in the [1611 KJV Bible]

Artistic and dramatic portrayals

Jesus has been drawn, painted, sculpted, and portrayed on stage in many different ways. See Dramatic portrayals of Jesus and Images of Jesus for more about these differing portrayals.

Relics of Jesus

There are many items which are purported to be authentic relics of Jesus. The most famous of these are the Shroud of Turin, the Sudarium of Oviedo, and the Holy Grail. Many modern Christians do not accept any of these as true relics. See Relics of Jesus for more about these and other possible relics.

Interpretations of Jesus by influential leaders

Jesus has been explained and understood by many people. Jesus has been explained notably by Paul of Tarsus, Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, and more recently by C.S. Lewis.

See also

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  • Cohen, Shaye J.D. 1988 From the Maccabees to the Mishnah ISBN 0-664-25017-3
  • Cohen, Shaye J.D. The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties 2001 ISBN 0-520-22693-3
  • Crossan, John Dominic 1991 The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, ISBN 0060616296
  • Ehrman, Bart The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, ISBN 0195154622
  • Fredriksen, Paula Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity ISBN 0679767460
  • Fredriksen, Paula 1988 From Jesus to Christ ISBN 0-300-04864-5
  • Sanders, E.P. The historical figure of Jesus, Penguin, 1996, ISBN 0140144994
  • Sanders, E.P. Jesus and Judaism, Fortress Press, 1987, ISBN 0800620615
  • Vermes, Geza Jesus the Jew: A Historian's Reading of the Gospels ISBN 0800614437
  • Vermes, Geza, The Religion of Jesus the Jew ISBN 0800627970
  • Vermes, Geza, Jesus in his Jewish context ISBN 0800636236

External links

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Historical and skeptical views

Template:Col-endaf:Jesus Christus ar:يسوع المسيح bg:Исус Христос bn:যীশূ ca:Jesucrist cs:Ježíš Kristus cy:Iesu Grist da:Jesus af Nazareth de:Jesus von Nazaret <span class="FA" id="de" style="display:none;" />

el:Ιησούς Χριστός eo:Jesuo Kristo es:Jesús de Nazaret et:Jeesus Kristus fr:Jésus-Christ ga:Íosa Críost he:ישו hr:Isus hu:Jézus ia:Jesus Christo id:Yesus Kristus is:Jesús it:Gesù ka:ქრისტე kn:ಯೇಸು ಕ್ರಿಸ್ತ ko:예수 그리스도 ku:Îsa kw:Yesu Krist li:Zjezus Christus lt:Jėzus Kristus mk:Исус Христос ms:Yesus Kristus nds:Jesus Chistus nl:Jezus Christus ja:イエス・キリスト nn:Jesus no:Jesus Kristus pl:Jezus Chrystus pt:Jesus ro:Isus Cristos ru:Иисус Христос scn:Gghiesù Cristu simple:Jesus sk:Ježiš sl:Jezus Kristus sr:Исус Христос fi:Jeesus sv:Jesus Kristus tl:Jesús ta:இயேசு th:เยซู คริสต์ tpi:Jisas tt:Ğaysa vi:Giê-xu zh:耶穌基督

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