In the 6th-century mosaic in Ravenna Jesus is portrayed as a Greco-Roman priest and king - the Pantokrator enthroned, donning regal Tyrian purple, gesturing a sign of the cross, with a sun cross halo behind his head.  Though depictions of Jesus are culturally important, no undisputed record exists of his actual appearance.
In the 6th-century mosaic in Ravenna Jesus is portrayed as a Greco-Roman priest and king - the Pantokrator enthroned, donning regal Tyrian purple, gesturing a sign of the cross, with a sun cross halo behind his head. Though depictions of Jesus are culturally important, no undisputed record exists of his actual appearance.
A series of articles on

Jesus Christ and Christianity
Names and titles

Non-religious aspects
Greek • Aramaic

Perspectives on Jesus
New Testament view
Christian views
Religious perspectives
Jewish view
Islamic view of his death
Yuz Asaf
Historical Jesus
Jesus Seminar
Jesus as myth

Jesus in culture
Popular culture
Dramatic portrayals

Jesus (8–2 BC/BCE to 29–36 AD/CE),[1] also known as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity. He is commonly referred to as Jesus Christ, where "Christ" is a title derived from the Greek christós, meaning the "Anointed One", which corresponds to the Hebrew-derived "Messiah". The name "Jesus" is an Anglicization of the Greek Iesous, itself believed to be a transliteration of the Hebrew Yehoshua or Aramaic Yeshua, meaning "YHWH is salvation".[2]

The main sources of information regarding Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical Gospels of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Most scholars in the fields of history and biblical studies agree that Jesus was a Jewish teacher from Galilee, who was regarded as a healer, was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on orders of the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate under the accusation of sedition against the Roman Empire.[3][4] A small number of scholars and authors question the historical existence of Jesus, with some arguing for a completely mythological Jesus.[5]

Christian views of Jesus (see also Christology) center on the belief that Jesus is the Messiah whose coming was promised in the Old Testament and that he was resurrected after his crucifixion. Christians predominantly believe that Jesus is God incarnate, who came to provide salvation and reconciliation with God by atoning for the sins of humanity with his death. Nontrinitarian Christians profess various other interpretations regarding his divinity (see below). Other Christian beliefs include Jesus' Virgin Birth, performance of miracles, fulfillment of biblical prophecy, ascension into Heaven, and future Second Coming.

In Islam, Jesus (Arabic: عيسى, commonly transliterated as Isa) is considered one of God's most beloved and important prophets, a bringer of divine scripture, and also the Messiah. Muslims, however, do not share the Christian belief in the crucifixion or divinity of Jesus. Muslims believe that Jesus' crucifixion was a divine illusion and that he ascended bodily to heaven. Most Muslims also believe that he will return to the earth as Messiah in the company of the Mahdi once the earth has become full of sin and injustice.




Suggested years of Jesus'
birth and death based on
Gospel interpretations
c. 8 BC(E) Birth (earliest)
c. 4 BC(E) <Herod's death>
c. 6 AD/CE Birth (latest)
<Quirinius' census>
c. 26/27 <Pilate governor>
c. 27 Death (earliest)
c. 36 Death (latest)
c. 36/37 <Pilate removed>

The most detailed accounts of Jesus' life are contained in the New Testament of the Bible (probably written between 65 and 90 AD/CE)[6], including the Gospel of Luke (probably written between 65 and 100 AD/CE).[7] There is considerable debate about the details of Jesus' birth among even Christian scholars, and few scholars claim to know precisely either the year or the date of his birth or of his death.

The nativity accounts in the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Luke do not mention a date or time of year for the birth of Jesus. In Western Christianity, it has been traditionally celebrated on December 25 as Christmas (in the liturgical season of Christmastide), a date that can be traced as early as 330 among Roman Christians. Before then, and still today in Eastern Christianity, Jesus' birth was generally celebrated on January 6 as part of the feast of Theophany,[8] 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. Some scholars note that Luke's descriptions of shepherds' activities at the time of Jesus' birth suggest a spring or summer date.[9] Scholars speculate that the date of the celebration was moved by the Roman Catholic Church in an attempt to replace the Roman festival of Saturnalia (or more specifically, the birthday of the Roman god Sol Invictus).[8]

In the 248th year during 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 Christ (was) born"), 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"). The system was created in the then current year 532, and almost two centuries later it won acceptance and became the established calendar in Western civilization.

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. Based on a lunar eclipse that the first-century historian Josephus reported shortly before the death of Herod the Great (who plays a major role in Matthew's account), as well as a more accurate understanding of the succession of Roman Emperors, Jesus' birth is likely to have been some time during or before the year 4 BC/BCE. Alternatively, based on the idea that a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction was the Star of Bethlehem reported in the gospels at the time of Jesus' birth, the date could be as early as 7BC/BCE.[10]

The Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew both place Jesus' birth under the reign of Herod the Great. Luke similarly describes the Jesus' birth as occurring during the Roman governorship of Quirinius, and involving the first census of the Roman provinces of Syria and Iudaea. Josephus places the governorship of Quirinius, and a census, in 6 AD/CE, long after the death of Herod the Great in 4 BC/BCE (which Luke refers to in Acts 5:37). Hence, debate has centered over whether or not the sources can be reconciled by asserting a prior governorship of Quirinius in Syria, or if an earlier census was conducted, and if not then which source to consider in error.[11]

The exact date of Jesus' death is also unclear. Many scholars hold that the Gospel of John depicts the crucifixion just before the Passover festival on Friday 14 Nisan (called the Quartodeciman), whereas the synoptic gospels (except for Mark 14:2) describe Jesus' Last Supper, immediately before his arrest, as the Passover meal on Friday 15 Nisan; however, a number of scholars hold that the synoptic account is harmonious with the account in John.[12] 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 AD/CE or April 3, 33 AD/CE.[13]


Life and teachings, as told in the Gospels

Major events in Jesus's life in the Gospels
  • Nativity
  • Baptism
  • Temptation
  • Sermon on the Mount
  • Appointment of the Twelve
  • Miracles
  • Entering Jerusalem
  • Temple incident
  • Great Commandment
  • Anointing
  • Last Supper
  • Promise of the Paraclete
  • Arrest
  • Before the High Priest
  • Before Pilate
  • Death & Resurrection
  • Great Commission
  • Ascension
  • Second Coming Prophecy

As few of the details of Jesus' life can be independently verified, it is difficult to gauge the historical accuracy of the Biblical accounts. The four canonical gospels are the main sources of information for the traditional Christian narrative of Jesus' life.


Genealogy and family

Jesus and Mary: Black Madonna of Częstochowa
Jesus and Mary: Black Madonna of Częstochowa

Of the four gospels, only Matthew and Luke give accounts of Jesus' genealogy. The accounts in the two gospels are substantially different, and various theories have been proposed to explain the discrepancies (see Genealogy of Jesus). Both accounts, however, trace his line back to King David and from there to Abraham. These lists are identical between Abraham and David, but they differ between David and Joseph. Matthew starts with Solomon and proceeds through the kings of Judah to the last king, Jeconiah. After Jeconiah, the line of kings terminated when Babylon conquered Judah. Thus, Matthew shows that Jesus is the legal heir to the throne of Israel. Luke's genealogy is longer than Matthew's; it goes back to Adam and provides more names between David and Jesus.

Joseph appears only in descriptions of Jesus' childhood. With Jesus commending Mary into the care of the beloved disciple during his crucifixion (John 19:25–27), it is likely that Joseph had died by the time of Jesus' ministry.[14] The New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, and Galatians tell of Jesus' relatives, including possible brothers and sisters.[15] The Greek word adelphos in these verses, often translated as brother, can refer to any familial relation, and most Catholics and Eastern Orthodox translate the word as kinsman or cousin in this context (see Perpetual virginity of Mary).


Nativity and early life

Adoration of the Shepherds, Gerard van Honthorst, 17th century
Adoration of the Shepherds, Gerard van Honthorst, 17th century

According to Christian tradition (based on the accounts of Matthew and Luke), Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea to Mary, a virgin, by a miracle of 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 1:26–38). According to Luke, an order of Caesar Augustus had forced Mary and Joseph to leave their homes in Nazareth and come to the home of Joseph's ancestors, the house of David, for the Census of Quirinius.

After Jesus' birth, the couple was forced to use a manger in place of a crib because there was no room for them in the town's inn (Luke 2:1–7). According to Luke, an angel announced Jesus' birth to shepherds who came to see the newborn child and who subsequently publicized what they had witnessed throughout the area (see The First Noël). Matthew also tells of the "Wise Men" or "Magi" who brought gifts to the infant Jesus after following a star which they believed was a sign that the Messiah, or King of the Jews, had been born (Matthew 2:1-12).

Jesus' childhood home is identified in the Bible as the town of Nazareth in Galilee. Except for a flight to Egypt by his family in his infancy to escape Herod's Massacre of the Innocents and a short trip to Tyre and Sidon, the Gospels place all other events in Jesus' life in ancient Israel.[16] According to Matthew, the family remained in Egypt until Herod's death, whereupon they returned to Nazareth to avoid living under the authority of Herod's son and successor Archelaus (Matthew 2:19-23).

Luke's Finding in the Temple (Luke 2:41–52) is the only event between Jesus' infancy and baptism mentioned in any of the canonical Gospels. According to Luke, Jesus was "about thirty years of age" when he was baptized (Luke 3:23). In Mark, Jesus is called a carpenter. Matthew says he was a carpenter's son, suggesting that Jesus may have spent some of his first 30 years practicing carpentry with his father (Mark 6:3, Matthew 13:55).


Baptism and Temptation

Temptation of Christ, Ary Scheffer, 19th c.
Temptation of Christ, Ary Scheffer, 19th c.

The Gospel of Mark begins with the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, which Biblical scholars describe as the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. According to Mark, Jesus came to the Jordan River where John the Baptist had been preaching and baptizing people in the crowd. Matthew describes John's initial hesitance to comply with Jesus' request for John to baptize him, stating that it was Jesus who should baptize him. Jesus persisted by saying, "it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15). After Jesus was baptized and rose from the water, Mark states Jesus "saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven saying: ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’" (Mark 1:10–11).

Following his baptism, according to Matthew, Jesus was led into the desert by God where he fasted for forty days and forty nights. During this time, the devil appeared to him and tempted Jesus three times to demonstrate his supernatural powers as proof of his being the Son of God. Each time, Jesus refused each temptation with a quote of scripture from the Book of Deuteronomy. The synoptic Gospels state that having failed, the devil departed and angels came and brought nourishment to Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11; cf. Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13, Luke 22:28).



Sermon on the Mount, Carl Heinrich Bloch, 19th c.
Sermon on the Mount, Carl Heinrich Bloch, 19th c.

The Gospels state that Jesus, as Messiah, was sent to "give his life as a ransom for many" and "preach the good news of the Kingdom of God."[17] Over the course of his ministry, Jesus is said to have performed various miracles, including healings, exorcisms, walking on water, turning water into wine, and raising several people, such as Lazarus, from the dead (John 11:1–44).

Judæa and Galilee at the time of Jesus
Judæa and Galilee at the time of Jesus

The Gospel of John describes three different passover feasts over the course of Jesus' ministry. This implies that Jesus preached for a period of three years, although some interpretations of the Synoptic Gospels suggest a span of only one year. The focus of his ministry was toward his closest adherents, the Twelve Apostles, though many of his followers were considered disciples. Jesus led what many believe to have been an apocalyptic following. He preached that the end of the current world would come unexpectedly; as such, he called on his followers to be ever alert and faithful. Jesus also taught the necessity of repentance and the danger of damnation (Luke 13:1-5, Luke 12:1-5).

At the height of his ministry, Jesus attracted huge crowds numbering in the thousands, primarily in the areas of Galilee and Perea (in modern-day Israel and Jordan respectively). Some of Jesus' most famous teachings come from the Sermon on the Mount, which contained the Beatitudes and the Lord's Prayer. Jesus often employed parables, such as the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and the Parable of the Sower. His teachings centered around unconditional self-sacrificing God-like love for God and for all people. During his sermons, he preached about service and humility, the forgiveness of sin, faith, turning the other cheek, love for one's enemies as well as friends, and the need to follow the spirit of the law in addition to the letter.[18]

Jesus often met with society's outcasts, such as the publicani (Imperial tax collectors who were despised for extorting money), including the apostle Matthew; when the Pharisees objected to Jesus' meeting with sinners rather than the righteous, Jesus replied that it was the sick who need a physician, not the healthy (Matthew 9:9–13). According to Luke and John, Jesus also made efforts to extend his ministry to the Samaritans, who followed a different form of the Israelite religion. This is reflected in his preaching to the Samaritans of Sychar, resulting in their conversion (John 4:1–42).

According to the synoptic gospels, Jesus led three of his apostles - Peter, John, and James - to the top of a mountain to pray. While there, he was transfigured before them, his face shining like the sun and his clothes brilliant white; Elijah and Moses appeared adjacent to him. A bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the sky said, "This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased."[19] The gospels also state that toward the end of his ministry, Jesus began to warn his disciples of his future death and resurrection (Matthew 16:21-28).


Arrest, trial, and death

Ecce Homo (Behold the Man!), Antonio Ciseri, 19th c.: Pontius Pilate presents a scourged Jesus of Nazareth to onlookers: a very popular motif in Christian art.
Ecce Homo (Behold the Man!), Antonio Ciseri, 19th c.: Pontius Pilate presents a scourged Jesus of Nazareth to onlookers: a very popular motif in Christian art.

According to the Gospels, Jesus came with his followers to Jerusalem during the Passover festival where a large crowd came to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!"[20] Following his triumphal entry, according to the synoptic gospels, Jesus created a disturbance at Herod's Temple by overturning the tables of the moneychangers operating there, claiming that they had made the Temple a "den of robbers." (Mark 11:17). Later that week, according to the synoptic gospels, Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples - subsequently known as the Last Supper - in which he prophesied his future betrayal by one of his apostles and ultimate execution. In this ritual he took bread and wine in hand, saying: "this is my body which is given for you" and "this cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood," and instructed them to "do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:7-20). Following the supper, Jesus and his disciples went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane.

While in the Garden, Jesus was arrested by temple guards on the orders of the Sanhedrin and the high priest, Caiaphas (Luke 22:47-52, Matthew 26:47-56). The arrest took place clandestinely at night to avoid a riot, as Jesus was popular with the people at large (Mark 14:2). According to the synoptics, Judas Iscariot, one of his apostles, betrayed Jesus by identifying him to the guards with a kiss. Another apostle used a sword to attack one of the captors, cutting off his ear, which, according to Luke, Jesus immediately healed.[21] Jesus rebuked the apostle, stating "all they that take the sword shall perish by the sword" (Matthew 26:52). After his arrest, Jesus' apostles went into hiding.

During the Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus, the high priests and elders asked Jesus, "Are you the Son of God?", and upon his reply of "You say that I am", condemned Jesus for blasphemy (Luke 22:70–71). The high priests then turned him over to the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate, based on an accusation of sedition for claiming to be King of the Jews. [22] While before Pilate, Jesus was questioned "Are you the king of the Jews?" to which he replied, "It is as you say." According to the Gospels, Pilate personally felt that Jesus was not guilty of any crime against the Romans, and since there was a custom at Passover for the Roman governor to free a prisoner (a custom not recorded outside the Gospels), Pilate offered the crowd a choice between Jesus of Nazareth and an insurrectionist named Barabbas. The crowd chose to have Barabbas freed and Jesus crucified. Pilate washed his hands to indicate that he was innocent of the injustice of the decision (Matthew 27:11–26).

According to all four Gospels, Jesus died before late afternoon at Calvary, or Golgotha. The wealthy Judean Joseph of Arimathea, according to Mark and Luke a member of the Sanhedrin, received Pilate's permission to take possession of Jesus' body, placing it in a tomb.[23] According to John, Joseph was joined in burying Jesus by Nicodemus, who appears in other parts of John's gospel (John 19:38–42). The three Synoptic Gospels tell of an earthquake and of the darkening of the sky from twelve until three that afternoon.


Resurrection and Ascension

Christ en majesté, Matthias Grünewald, 16th c.: Resurrection of Jesus
Christ en majesté, Matthias Grünewald, 16th c.: Resurrection of Jesus

According to the Gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion.[24] The Gospel of Matthew states that an angel appeared near the tomb of Jesus and announced his resurrection to the women who had arrived to anoint the body (Matthew 28:1-10). According to Luke it was two angels (Luke 24:4), and according to Mark it was a youth dressed in white (Mark 16:5). Mark states that on the morning of his resurrection, Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9). John 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 until he spoke her name (John 20:11-18).

The Acts of the Apostles state that Jesus appeared to various people in various places over the next forty days. Hours after his resurrection, he appeared to two travelers on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). To his assembled disciples he showed himself on the evening after his resurrection (John 20:19). Although his own ministry had been specifically to Jews, Jesus is said to have sent his apostles to the Gentiles with the Great Commission and ascended to heaven while a cloud concealed him from their sight. According to Acts, Paul of Tarsus also saw Jesus during his Road to Damascus experience. Jesus promised to come again to fulfill the remainder of Messianic prophecy.[25]



Scholars use the historical method to develop probable reconstructions of Jesus' life. This is to be distinguished from the Biblical Jesus, which derives from a theological reading of the Gospel texts. Some scholars dispute the historicity of Jesus.[5]


Reconstructing a historical Jesus

Secular historians generally describe Jesus as an itinerant preacher and leader of a religious movement within Judaism.[26] Most scholars agree the Gospels were written shortly before or after the destruction of the Jewish Temple in the year 70 by the Romans. Examining the New Testament account of Jesus in light of historical knowledge about the time when Jesus was purported to live, as well as historical knowledge about the time during which the New Testament was written, has led several scholars to reinterpret many elements of the New Testament accounts. Many have sought to reconstruct Jesus' life in terms of contemporaneous political, cultural, and religious currents in Israel, including differences between Galilee and Judea; between different sects such the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Zealots;[27] and in terms of conflicts among Jews in the context of Roman occupation.


Ties to religious groups

The Gospels record that Jesus was a Nazarene, but the meaning of this word is vague.[28] Some scholars assert that Jesus was himself a Pharisee.[29] In Jesus' day, the two main schools of thought among the Pharisees were the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai. Jesus' assertion of hypocrisy may have been directed against the stricter members of the House of Shammai, although he also agreed with their teachings on divorce (Mark 10:1–12).[30] Jesus also commented on the House of Hillel's teachings (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a) concerning the greatest commandment (Mark 12:28–34) and the Golden Rule (Matt 7:12).

Other scholars assert that Jesus was an Essene, a sect of Judaism not mentioned in the New Testament.[31] Still other scholars assert that Jesus led a new apocalyptic sect, possibly related to John the Baptist,[32] which became Early Christianity after the Great Commission spread his teachings to the Gentiles.[33] This is distinct from an earlier commission Jesus gave to the twelve Apostles, during his lifetime, limited to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" and specifically excluding the Gentiles or Samaritans (Matt 10).


Names and titles

According to most critical historians, Jesus probably lived in Galilee for most of his life and he probably spoke Aramaic and Hebrew. The name "Jesus" is an English transliteration of the Latin (Iēsus) which in turn comes from the Greek name Iesous (Ιησους). Since most scholars hold that Jesus was an Aramaic-speaking Jew living in Galilee around 30 AD/CE, it is highly improbable that he had a Greek personal name. Further examination of the Septuagint finds that the Greek, in turn, is a transliteration of the Hebrew/Aramaic Yeshua (ישוע) (Yeshua - he will save) a contraction of Hebrew name Yehoshua (יהושוע Yeho - Yahweh [is] shua` - help/salvation, usually Romanized as Joshua). As a result, scholars believe that one of these was most likely the name that Jesus was known by during his lifetime by his peers.[34]

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". Historians have debated what this title might have meant at the time Jesus lived; some historians have suggested that other titles applied to Jesus in the New Testament (e.g. Lord, Son of Man, and Son of God) had meanings in the first century quite different from those meanings ascribed today: see Names and titles of Jesus.


Sources on Jesus' life

See also: Historicity of Jesus

Most modern Biblical 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 wrote that he only saw Jesus in visions, but that they were divine revelations and hence authoritative (Gal 1:11–12). 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 other early Christian texts detail events in Jesus' life and teachings, though they were not included when the Bible was canonised due to a belief that they were pseudepigraphical, not inspired, or written too long after his death, while others were suppressed because they contradicted Christian orthodoxy. It took several centuries before the list of what was and was not part of the Bible became finally fixed, and for much of the early period the Book of Revelation was not included while works like The Shepherd of Hermas were.

Books that were not included are known as the New Testament apocrypha. These include the Gospel of Thomas, a collection of logia - phrases and sayings attributed to Jesus without a narrative framework, only rediscovered in the 20th century. Other important apocryphal works that had a heavy influence in forming traditional Christian beliefs include the Apocalypse of Peter, Protevangelium of James, Infancy Gospel of Thomas, and Acts of Peter. 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.


Possible earlier texts

Some texts with even earlier historical or mythological information on Jesus are speculated to have existed prior to the Gospels,[35] though none have been found. Based on the unusual similarities and differences (see synoptic problem) between the Synoptic Gospels — Matthew, 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)[36] 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.[36]

There are also early noncanonical gospels which may predate the canonical Gospels, although few surviving fragments have been found. Among these are the Unknown Berlin Gospel, the Oxyrhynchus Gospels, the Egerton Gospel, the Fayyum Fragment, the Dialogue of the Saviour, the Gospel of the Ebionites, the Gospel of the Hebrews, and the Gospel of the Nazarenes. While the earliest surviving manuscripts and fragments of these texts are dated later than the earliest surviving manuscripts and fragments of the canonical Gospels, they are probably copies of earlier manuscripts whose precise dates are unknown.


Questions of reliability

As a result of the likely several-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.[citation needed] 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. 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.[citation needed]

The Age of Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution brought skepticism regarding the historical accuracy of these texts. Although some critical scholars, including archaeologists, continue to use them as points of reference in the study of ancient Near Eastern history,[37] others have come to view the texts as cultural and literary documents, generally regarding them as part of the genre of literature called hagiography, an account of a holy person regarded as representing a moral and divine ideal. Hagiography has a principal aim of the glorification of the religion itself and of the example set by the perfect holy person represented as its central focus.

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, while others point to the lack of any non-Christian sources until Josephus in the year 93.[citation needed] Those who have a naturalistic view of history generally 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, or the fleeing of Jesus' followers after his arrest) would likely not have been included if those accounts were fictional.


Possible external influence

See also: Historicity of Jesus, Historical Jesus, and Cultural and historical background of Jesus
Vatican mosaic (3rd c.): Sol Invictus
Vatican mosaic (3rd c.): Sol Invictus

Some scholars believe that the gospel accounts of Jesus have little or no historical basis. At least in part, this is because they see many similarities between stories about Jesus and older myths of pagan god-men such as Mithras, Attis 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.[citation needed] A small minority, such as Earl Doherty, carry this further and propose that the gospels are actually a reworking of non-Abrahamic myths and not based on a historical figure. 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 Greek myth, where men sired by gods were well-known. Some Christian authors, such as Justin Martyr and C.S. Lewis, account for this with the belief that the myths were created by ancient pagans with vague and imprecise foreknowledge of the Biblical texts; in other words the pagans gave prophetic attributes of the Messiah as thought in the Pentateuch and Prophets to their particular deity. Lewis wrote that Christianity would be less believable if it did not have themes in common with said pagan myths.

Other scholars, such as Michael Grant, do not see significant similarity between the pagan myths and Christianity. Grant states in Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels that "Judaism was a milieu to which doctrines of the deaths and rebirths, of mythical gods seemed so entirely foreign that the emergence of such a fabrication from its midst is very hard to credit."[38]


Religious perspectives


Christian views

Part of a series of articles on

The Lord Jesus Christ
The Blessed Trinity (Father Son Holy Spirit)
Holy Bible · Christian Theology
New Covenant · Supersessionism
Apostles · Church · Kingdom · Gospel
History of Christianity · Timeline

Holy Bible
Old Testament · New Testament
Decalogue · Sermon on the Mount
Birth · Resurrection · Great Commission
Inspiration · Books · Canon · Apocrypha
Hermeneutics · LXX · English Translation

Christian Theology
History of Theology · Apologetics
Creation · Fall of Man · Covenant · Law
Grace · Faith · Justification · Salvation
Sanctification · Theosis · Worship
Church · Sacraments · Future

History and Traditions
Ecumenical Councils · Creeds · Missions
Great Schism · Crusades · Reformation

Eastern Christianity
Eastern Orthodoxy · Oriental Orthodoxy
Syriac · Assyrian · Eastern Catholicism

Western Christianity
Western Catholicism · Protestantism
Thomism · Anabaptism · Lutheranism
Anglicanism · Calvinism · Arminianism
Baptist · Evangelicalism · Restorationism
Liberalism · Fundamentalism · Pentecostal

Denominations · Movements · Ecumenism
Preaching · Prayer · Music
Liturgy · Calendar · Symbols · Art

Important Figures
Apostle Paul · Church Fathers
Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine
Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe
Luther · Calvin · Wesley · Carey · Barth
Graham · John Paul II · Bartholomew I

Though Christian views of Jesus vary, it is possible to describe a general majority Christian view by examining the similarities between Catholic, Orthodox, and certain Protestant doctrines found in their catechetical or confessional texts.[39] This view, given below as the Principal view, does not encompass all groups which describe themselves as Christian, with other views immediately following.


Principal view

Jesus Carrying the Cross, El Greco, 1580.
Jesus Carrying the Cross, El Greco, 1580.

Christians predominately profess that Jesus is the Messiah (Greek: Christos; English: Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament,[40] who, through his life, death, and resurrection, restored man's communion with God in the blood of the New Covenant. His death on a cross is understood as the redemptive sacrifice: the source of mankind's salvation and the atonement for sin,[41] which had entered human history through the sin of Adam.[42]

They profess Jesus to be the only Son of God, the Lord, [43] and the eternal Word (which is a translation of the Greek Logos),[44] who became man in the incarnation,[45] so that those who believe in him might have eternal life.[46] They further hold that he was born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit in an event described as the miraculous virgin birth.[47] In his life Jesus proclaimed the "good news" (Middle English: gospel; Greek: euangelion) that the coming Kingdom of Heaven was at hand,[48] and established the Christian Church, which is the seed of the kingdom, into which Christ calls the poor in spirit.[49] Jesus' actions at the Last Supper, where he instituted the Eucharist, are understood as central to communion with God and remembrance of Jesus' sacrifice.[50]

These groups profess that Jesus suffered death by crucifixion,[51] descended into Hell,[52] and rose bodily from the dead in the definitive miracle that foreshadows the resurrection of mankind at the end of time,[53] when Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead, resulting in election to Heaven or damnation to Hell.[54]

The nature of Jesus was theologically articulated and refined by a series of seven ecumenical councils, between 325 and 681 (see Christology). These councils described Jesus as one of the three divine hypostases or persons of the Holy Trinity: the Son is defined as constituting, together with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, the single substance of the One God.[55] Furthermore, Jesus is defined to be one person with a fully human and a fully divine nature, a doctrine known as the Hypostatic union[56] (an articulation not accepted by Oriental Orthodoxy, see Nestorianism, Monophysitism and Miaphysitism). In defense of Jesus' divinity, some apologists argue that there is a trilemma, or three possibilities, resulting from Jesus' reported claims that he is the one God of Israel:[57] either he is truly God, a liar, or a lunatic — the latter two dismissed on the basis of Jesus's coherence.[58]


Alternative views

Current religious groups that do not accept the doctrine of the Trinity include the Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and Jehovah's Witnesses. Non-Trinitarian groups from history included Unitarians, and from antiquity, Arians.

Latter-day Saints theology maintains that the Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate and distinct beings, though all eternal and equally divine, who together constitute the Godhead. Though described as "one God in purpose", each play different roles: the Holy Ghost is a spirit without a physical body, the Father and Son possess distinct, perfected, bodies of flesh and bone. The Book of Mormon records that the resurrected Jesus visited and taught some of the inhabitants of the early Americas after he appeared to his apostles in Jerusalem.[59] Mormons also believe that an apostasy occurred after the death of Christ and his apostles. They believe that Christ and the Heavenly Father appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820 as part of a series of heavenly visits to restore the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They believe Jesus (not the Father) is the same as Jehovah or Yahweh of the Old Testament. See Jesus in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe Jesus to be God's (or Jehovah's) son, but rather than being God himself, Jehovah's Witnesses believe he was the same divine creature as Michael the Archangel, and that he became a perfect human to come down to earth.[60] They view the term "Son of God" as an indication of Jesus' importance to the creator and his status as God's "only-begotten (unique) Son",[61] the "firstborn of all creation",[62] the one "of whom, and through whom, and to whom, are all things".[63] Lastly, they believe that Jesus died on a single-piece torture stake, not a cross.[64]

Others believe that the one God, who revealed himself in the Old Testament as Jehovah, came to earth, taking on the human form of Jesus Christ. They believe Jesus is Jehovah, is the Holy Spirit, and is the one Person who is God. Examples of such churches today are Oneness Pentecostals and the New Church.


Other early views

Various early Christian groups and theologians held differing views of Jesus.

The Ebionites, an early Jewish Christian community, believed that Jesus was the last of the prophets and the Messiah. They believed that Jesus was the natural-born son of Mary and Joseph, and thus they rejected the Virgin Birth. The Ebionites were adoptionists, believing that Jesus was not divine, but became the son of God at his baptism. They rejected the Epistles of Paul, believing that Jesus kept the Mosaic Law perfectly and wanted his followers to do the same. However, they felt that Jesus' crucifixion was the ultimate sacrifice, and thus animal sacrifices were no longer necessary. Therefore, some Ebionites were vegetarian and considered both Jesus and John the Baptist to have been vegetarians.[65]

In Gnosticism, Jesus is said to have brought the secret knowledge (gnosis) of the spiritual world necessary for salvation.[66] Their secret teachings were paths to gnosis, and not gnosis itself. While some Gnostics were docetics, other Gnostics believed that Jesus was a human who became possessed by the spirit of Christ during his baptism.[67] Many Gnostics believed that Christ was an Aeon sent by a higher deity than the evil demiurge who created the material world. Some Gnostics believed that Christ had a syzygy named Sophia. The Gnostics tended to interpret the books that were included in the New Testament as allegory, and some Gnostics interpreted Jesus himself as an allegory. The Gnostics also used a number of other texts that did not become part of the New Testament canon.

Marcionites were 2nd century Gentile followers of the Christian theologian Marcion of Sinope. They believed that Jesus rejected the Jewish Scriptures, or at least the parts that were incompatible with his teachings.[68] Seeing a stark contrast between the vengeful God of the Old Testament and the loving God of Jesus, Marcion came to the conclusion that the Jewish God and Jesus were two separate deities. Like some Gnostics, Marcionites saw the Jewish God as the evil creator of the world, and Jesus as the savior from the material world. They also believed Jesus was not human, but instead a completely divine spiritual being whose material body, and thus his crucifixion and death, were divine illusions. Marcion was the first known early Christian to have created a canon, which consisted of ten Pauline epistles, and a version of the Gospel of Luke (possibly without the first two chapters that are in modern versions, and without Jewish references),[69] and his treatise on the Antithesis between the Old and New Testaments. Marcionism was declared a heresy by proto-orthodox Christianity.

Montanists in the 2nd century and Sabellius in the 3rd century taught that the Trinity represented not three persons but a single person in three "modes."


Islamic views

In Islam, Jesus (known as Isa in Arabic, Arabic: عيسى), is considered one of God's most-beloved and important prophets and the Messiah.[70] Like Christian writings, the seventh-century Qur'an holds that Jesus was born without a biological father to the virgin Mary, by the will of God (in Arabic, Allah) and for this reason is referred to as Isa ibn Maryam (English: Jesus son of Mary), a matronymic (since he had no biological father). (Qur'an 3:45, 19:21, 19:35, 21:91) 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 from sin.[71] Most Muslims believe that Jesus abstained from alcohol, and many believe that he also abstained from eating animal flesh. Similarly, Islamic belief also holds that Jesus could perform miracles, but only by the will of God. [72] However, Muslims do not believe Jesus to have divine nature as God nor as the Son of God. Islam greatly separates the status of creatures from the status of the creator and warns against believing that Jesus was divine (Qu'ran 3:59, 4:171, 5:116-117). Muslims believe that Jesus received a gospel from God called the Injil in Arabic that corresponds to the Christian New Testament, but that parts of it have been misinterpreted over time so that they no longer accurately represent God's message (See Tahrif).[73]

Muslims also do not believe in Jesus' sacrificial role. They generally, but not universally, believe that Jesus did not die on the cross. In fact, Islam does not accept any human sacrifice for sin (See Islamic conceptions of atonement for sin for further information). Regarding the crucifixion, the Qur'an against the Jews who claimed "we slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God", categorically states that "yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them." (Qur'an 4:157-158) [74] The Muslim tradition completes the statement of the Qur'an: Some traditions say Christ was replaced by a double, and according to others it was Simon of Cyrene or one of the Apostles (Judas). [74] However certain Islamic philosophers and some Ismaili commentators have interpreted the relevant verse differently: "the Jews intended to destroy the person of Jesus completely; in fact, they crucified only his nasut, his lahut remained alive." [74] See Muslim and Christian interpretation of death of Jesus for a comparison between the further religous interpretations of the death of Jesus. Based on the quotes attributed to Muhammad, some Muslims believe that Jesus will return to the world in the flesh following Imam Mahdi to defeat the Dajjal (an Antichrist-like figure, translated as "Deceiver"). [75] Muslims believe he will descend at Damascus, presently in Syria, once the world has become filled with sin, deception, and injustice; he will then live out the rest of his natural life. Sunni Muslims believe that after his death, Jesus will be buried alongside Muhammad in Medina, presently in Saudi Arabia. [76] However, the sects of Sunni and Shi'ite Islam are divided over this issue. Some Islamic scholars like Javed Ahmed Ghamidi and Amin Ahsan Islahi question quotes attributed to Muhammad regarding a second coming of Jesus, as they believe it is against different verses of the Qur'an.[77][78][79][80]

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Movement (a very small percentage of Muslims) believes that Jesus survived the crucifixion and travelled to Kashmir, where he died as a prophet under the name of Yuz Asaf (whose grave they identify in Srinagar).[81] Mainstream Muslims, however, consider these views heretical. Even then, the tomb of Jesus has been suggested to be found in Srinagar, Kashmir India. [82]


Judaism's view

Judaism holds the idea of Jesus being God, or part of a Trinity, or a mediator to God, to be heresy.(Emunoth ve-Deoth, II:5) Judaism also holds that Jesus is not the Messiah, arguing that he had not fulfilled the Messianic prophecies in the Tanakh nor embodied the personal qualifications of the Messiah.[83]

The Mishneh Torah (an authoritative work of Jewish law) states:

Even Jesus the Nazarene who imagined that he would be Messiah and was killed by the court, was already prophesied by Daniel. So that it was said, “And the members of the outlaws of your nation would be carried to make a (prophetic) vision stand. And they stumbled” (Daniel 11.14). Because, is there a greater stumbling-block than this one? So that all of the prophets spoke that the Messiah redeems Israel, and saves them, and gathers their banished ones, and strengthens their commandments. And this one caused (nations) to destroy Israel by sword, and to scatter their remnant, and to humiliate them, and to exchange the Torah, and to make the majority of the world err to serve a divinity besides God. However, the thoughts of the Creator of the world — there is no force in a human to attain them because our ways are not God's ways, and our thoughts not God's thoughts. And all these things of Jesus the Nazarene, and of (Muhammad) the Ishmaelite who stood after him — there is no (purpose) but to straighten out the way for the King Messiah, and to restore all the world to serve God together. So that it is said, “Because then I will turn toward the nations (giving them) a clear lip, to call all of them in the name of God and to serve God (shoulder to shoulder as) one shoulder” (Zephaniah 3.9). Look how all the world already becomes full of the things of the Messiah, and the things of the Torah, and the things of the commandments! And these things spread among the far islands and among the many nations uncircumcised of heart. (Hilkhot Melakhim 11:10–12)[84]

Reform Judaism, the modern progressive movement, states For us in the Jewish community anyone who claims that Jesus is their savior is no longer a Jew and is an apostate. (Contemporary American Reform Responsa, #68).[85]

According to Jewish tradition, there were no more prophets after 420 BC/BCE, Malachi being the last prophet, who lived centuries before Jesus. Judaism states that Jesus did not fulfill the requirements set by the Torah to prove that he was a prophet. Even if Jesus had produced such a sign that Judaism recognized, Judaism states that no prophet or dreamer can contradict the laws already stated in the Torah, which Judaism states Jesus did. (Devarim 13:1–5)[86]


Buddhist views

Further information: Christianity and Buddhism

Buddhists' views of Jesus differ, due to Jesus not being mentioned in any Buddhist text. Some Buddhists, including Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama[87] regard Jesus as a bodhisattva who dedicated his life to the welfare of human beings. Some Buddhist scholars have noted parallels between the teachings of Jesus and Gautama Buddha both in terms of preaching a doctrine of love and compassion and of occupying a similar position with respect to the existing religious orthodoxy of their day of which they were both critical. Both advocated radical alterations in the common religious practices of the day. There are occasional similarities in language, such as the use of the common metaphor of a line of blind men to refer to religious authorities they disagreed with (DN 13.15, Matthew 15:14). Some believe there is a particularly close affinity between Buddhism (or Eastern spiritual thought generally) and the doctrine of Gnostic texts such as The Gospel of Thomas [88]


Hindu views

Hindu beliefs about Jesus vary. Some believe that Jesus was a normal man. Many Hindus see Jesus as a wise guru or yogi who was not God. Many in the Surat Shabd Yoga tradition regard Jesus as a Satguru. Swami Vivekananda has praised Jesus and cited him as a source of strength and the epitome of perfection.[89] Paramahansa Yogananda taught that Jesus was the reincarnation of Elisha and a student of John the Baptist, the reincarnation of Elijah.[90] Mahatma Gandhi considered Jesus one of his main teachers and inspirations for Nonviolent Resistance, saying "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."[91]

Yuz Asaf, regarded as Jesus by the minority Ahmadiyya Muslim Movement, is seen also as a holy man by some Hindus and Buddhists.


Other views of Jesus

The Bahá'í Faith considers Jesus, along with Muhammad, the Buddha, and others, to be "Manifestations" (or prophets) of God, with both human and divine stations. While some Bahá'í views of Jesus agree with Christian views, Christians do not accept the Bahá'í view of Jesus.[92]

Mandaeanism regards Jesus as a deceiving prophet (mšiha kdaba) of the false Jewish god of the Old Testament, Adonai, [93] and an opponent of the good prophet John the Baptist. Even so, they believe that John baptized Jesus.

The New Age movement entertains a wide variety of views on Jesus, often recognizing him as a "great teacher" (or Ascended Master") similar to Buddha. Some (such as A Course In Miracles) claim to go so far as to trance-channel his spirit. Although the New Age movement generally teaches that Christhood is something that all may attain. 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."

There are many non-religious people who emphasize Jesus' moral teachings. Garry Wills argues that Jesus' ethics are distinct from those usually taught by Christianity.[94] The Jesus Seminar[95] portrays Jesus as an itinerant preacher (Matt 4:23), who taught peace (Matt 5:9) and love (Matt 5:44), rights for women (Luke 10:42) and respect for children (Matt 19:14), and who spoke out against the hypocrisy of religious leaders (Luke 13:15) and the rich (Matt 19:24). Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers that many consider to have been a deist, created a "Jefferson Bible" for the Indians entitled "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth" that included only Jesus' ethical teachings.

Philosopher Bertrand Russell saw Jesus' teachings and values as surpassed by other philosophers; Russell writes 'I cannot myself feel that either in the matter of wisdom or in the matter of virtue Christ stands quite as high as some other people known to History. I think I should put Buddha and Socrates above Him in those respects.'[1] Nietzsche regarded the character of Jesus as being worthy only of contempt, and saw nothing worthwhile in his teachings.[citation needed]

In his book, "Jesus the Pharisee" [2], Hyam Maccoby argues, using critical literary analysis of the text of the New Testament, that despite New Testament's description of "Jesus as a strong opponent of the Pharisees, [...] the appearance is deceptive, being due to late additions to the New Testament, which, however, contains strong traces of an earlier pro-Pharisee attitude, for example, the portrayal of Gamaliel. Jesus, the book argues, was not only friendly to the Pharisees, but was actually a member of their movement. Evidence is brought from the rabbinic writings to show a strong affinity between Jesus and the Pharisees."



Pietà, Michelangelo, 16th c.: Jesus' mother Mary holds the body of her dead son
Pietà, Michelangelo, 16th c.: Jesus' mother Mary holds the body of her dead son
Further information: Images of Jesus, Cultural depictions of Jesus, and Anno Domini

According to most Christian interpretations of the Bible, the theme of Jesus' preachings was that of repentance, forgiveness of sin, grace, and the coming of the Kingdom of God.[96] Jesus extensively trained disciples who, after his death, spread his teachings. Within a few decades his followers comprised a religion clearly distinct from Judaism. Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire under a version known as Nicene Christianity and became the state religion under Constantine the Great. Over the centuries, it spread to most of Europe, and around the world.

Jesus has been drawn, painted, sculpted, and portrayed on stage and in films in many different ways, both serious and humorous. In fact most medieval art and literature, and many since, were centered around the figure of Jesus. A number of popular novels, such as The Da Vinci Code, have also portrayed various ideas about Jesus, and a number of films, such as The Passion of the Christ, have portrayed his life, death, and resurrection. Many of the sayings attributed to Jesus have become part of the culture of Western civilization. There are many items purported to be relics of Jesus, of which the most famous are the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo.

Other legacies include a view of God as more fatherly, merciful, and more forgiving, and the growth of a belief in a blissful afterlife and in the resurrection of the dead. His teaching promoted the value of those who had commonly been regarded as inferior: women, the poor, ethnic outsiders, children, prostitutes, the sick, prisoners, etc. For over a thousand years, countless hospitals, orphanages, and schools have been founded explicitly in Jesus' name. Jesus and his message have been interpreted, 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. Thomas Jefferson considered Jesus' teaching to be "the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man."[97]

For some Jews, the legacy of Jesus has been a history of Christian anti-Semitism,[98] , although in the wake of the Holocaust many Christian groups have gone to considerable lengths to reconcile with Jews and to promote interfaith dialog and mutual respect. For others, Christianity has often been linked to Atlantic slave trade and European colonialism (see British Empire, Portuguese Empire, Spanish Empire, French colonial empire, Dutch colonial empire).[99] Conversely, some have argued that through Bartolomé de las Casas defense of the indigenous inhabitants of Spain's New World empire, one of the legacies of Jesus has been the notion of universal human rights.


See also

  • General topics
    • The Bible
    • YHWH
    • God
    • Christianity
    • Anno Domini and Common Era (which show how Jesus' birth has influenced the modern day calendar)
    • INRI
    • Nazarene
    • List of books about Jesus
    • Prayer
  • Jesus and history
    • Christian apologetics
    • Apostolic Succession of Jesus
    • Genealogy of Jesus
    • Historical Jesus
    • Name of Jesus in the Old Testament
    • New Testament view on Jesus' life
    • Historicity of Jesus
    • Jesus as myth
    • Jesus Seminar
  • Environment of Jesus
    • Cultural background of Jesus
    • Race of Jesus
    • Biblical Jesus
  • New Testament Jesus
    • Miracles of Jesus
    • Death and Resurrection of Jesus
    • Sermon on the Mount
  • Views on Jesus
    • Religious perspectives on Jesus
    • Non-Christian views of Jesus
    • Islamic view of Jesus
    • Pauline Christianity
    • Apocrypha
  • Related topics
    • List of founders of major religions
    • List of people who have been considered deities
    • List of people who have claimed to be Jesus
    • List of messiah claimants


  1. Some of the historians and Biblical scholars who place the birth and death of Jesus within this range include D. A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo and Leon Morris. An Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992, 54, 56; Michael Grant, Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels, Scribner's, 1977, p. 71; John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew, Doubleday, 1991-, vol. 1:214; E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, Penguin Books, 1993, pp. 10-11, and Ben Witherington III, "Primary Sources," Christian History 17 (1998) No. 3:12-20.
  2. "Origin of the Name of Jesus Christ". Catholic Encyclopedia. Accessed December 21, 2006.
  3. Raymond E. Brown, The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave (New York: Doubleday, Anchor Bible Reference Library 1994), p. 964; D. A. Carson, et al., p. 50-56; Shaye J.D. Cohen, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, Westminster Press, 1987, p. 78, 93, 105, 108; John Dominic Crossan, The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, HarperCollins, 1991, p. xi-xiii; Michael Grant, p. 34-35, 78, 166, 200; Paula Fredriksen, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, Alfred A. Knopf, 1999, p. 6-7, 105-110, 232-234, 266; John P. Meier, vol. 1:68, 146, 199, 278, 386, 2:726; E.P. Sanders, pp. 12-13; Geza Vermes, Jesus the Jew (Philadelphia: Fortress Press 1973), p. 37.; Paul L. Maier, In the Fullness of Time, Kregel, 1991, pp. 1, 99, 121, 171; N. T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions, HarperCollins, 1998, pp. 32, 83, 100-102, 222; Ben Witherington III, pp. 12-20.
  4. Though many historians may have certain reservations about the use of the Gospels for writing history, "even the most hesitant, however, will concede that we are probably on safe historical footing" concerning certain basic facts about the life of Jesus; Jo Ann H. Moran Cruz and Richard Gerberding, Medieval Worlds: An Introduction to European History Houghton Mifflin Company 2004, pp. 44-45
  5. 5.0 5.1 Thomas L. Thompson The Messiah Myth: The Near Eastern Roots of Jesus and David (Jonathan Cape, Publisher, 2006); Bruno Bauer; Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy. The Jesus Mysteries: Was the 'Original Jesus' a Pagan God? London: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999, pp. 133, 158; Michael Martin, The Case Against Christianity (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991), 36-72; John Mackinnon Robertson; G.A. Wells. The Jesus Legend, Chicago: Open Court, 1996, p xii.
  6. Darrell L. Bock, Jesus According to Scripture, pp. 29-30, gives a c. 60-70 date; L. Michael White, From Jesus to Christianity, p. 244, gives c. 80-90.
  7. Bock, ibid., p. 38, gives c. 62-70; White, ibid., p. 252, gives c. 90-100.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Erwin Fahlbusch and Geoffrey William Bromiley, The Encyclopedia of Christianity [Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans; Brill, 1999–2003], 1:454–55
  9. Porterm J. R. Jesus Christ: The Jesus of History, the Christ of Faith. Oxford University Press, 1999. Pg. 70 ISBN 0-19-521429-3
  10. Speculations on Christ's Birth, About: Astrology
  11. Josephus, Antiquities 17.342-4
  12. See Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, Revised, pp. 284-295, for a discussion of several alternate theories with references.
  13. Meier, p.1:402
  14. Easton, Matthew Gallego.Joseph (the foster father of Jesus Christ). Accessed June 26, 2006
  15. Matthew 13:55–56, Mark 6:3, and Galatians 1:19
  16. For Egypt: Matt 2:13–23; For Tyre and sometimes Sidon:Matt 15:21–28 and Mark 7:24–30
  17. Mark 10:45, Luke 4:43, John 20:31.
  18. Sermon on the Mount: Matt 5–7; Prodigal Son: Luke 15:11–32; Parable of the Sower: Matt 13:1–9; Agape: Matt 22:34–40.
  19. Matthew 17:1-6, Mark 9:1-8, Luke 9:28-36
  20. The crowd was quoting Psalms 118:26; found in John 12:13–16.
  21. The apostle is identified as Simon Peter in John 18:10; the healing of the ear is found in Luke 22:51.
  22. Matt 27:11; Mark 15:12.
  23. Mark 15:42–46; Luke 23:50–56.
  24. Matthew 28:5-10; Mark 16:9; Luke 24:12–16; John 20:10–17; Acts 2:24; 1Cor 6:14
  25. Ministering to Israel: Matthew 15:24; ascension: Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51Acts 1:6–11.; Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus: Acts 9:1–19., 22:1-22; 26:9-24; Second coming: Matthew 24:36–44
  26. Harrison, John B. and Richard E. Sullivan. A short history of Western civilization. New York: Knopf. 1975.
  27. For a comparison of the Jesus movement to the Zealots, see S. G. F. Brandon, Jesus and the Zealots: a study of the political factor in primitive Christianity, Manchester University Press (1967) ISBN 0-684-31010-4
  28. For a general comparison of Jesus' teachings to other schools of first century Judaism, see John P. Meier, Companions and Competitors (A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume 3) Anchor Bible, 2001. ISBN 0-385-46993-4.
  29. Based on a comparison of the Gospels with the Talmud and other Jewish literature. Maccoby, Hyam Jesus the Pharisee, Scm Press, 2003. ISBN 0-334-02914-7; Falk, Harvey Jesus the Pharisee: A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus, Wipf & Stock Publishers (2003). ISBN 1-59244-313-3.
  30. Neusner, Jacob A Rabbi Talks With Jesus, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-7735-2046-5. Rabbi Neusner contends that Jesus' teachings were closer to the House of Shammai than the House of Hillel.
  31. Based on a comparison of the Gospels with the Dead Sea Scrolls, especially the Teacher of Righteousness and Pierced Messiah. Eisenman, Robert James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Penguin (Non-Classics), 1998. ISBN 0-14-025773-X; Stegemann, Hartmut The Library of Qumran: On the Essenes, Qumran, John the Baptist, and Jesus. Grand Rapids MI, 1998. See also Broshi, Magen, "What Jesus Learned from the Essenes," Biblical Archaeology Review, 30:1, pg. 32-37, 64. Magen notes similarities between Jesus' teachings on the virtue of poverty and divorce, and Essene teachings as related in Josephus' The Jewish Wars and in the Damascus Document of the Dead Sea Scrolls, respectively.
  32. The Gospel accounts show both John the Baptist and Jesus teaching repentance and the coming Kingdom of God. Some scholars have argued that Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet; see Schwietzer, Albert The Quest of the Historical Jesus: A Critical Study of its Progress from Reimarus to Wrede, pgs. 370–371, 402. Scribner (1968), ISBN 0-02-089240-3; Ehrman, Bart Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, Oxford University Press USA, 1999. ISBN 0-19-512474-X. Crossan, however, makes a distinction between John's apocalyptic ministry and Jesus' ethical ministry. See Crossan, John Dominic, The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus, pgs. 305-344. Harper Collins, 1998. ISBN 0-06-061659-8.
  33. This includes the belief that Jesus was the Messiah. Brown, Michael L. Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Messianic Prophecy Objections Baker Books, 2003. ISBN 0-8010-6423-6. Brown shows how the Christian concept of Messiah relates to ideas current in late Second Temple period Judaism. See also Klausner, Joseph, The Messianic Idea in Israel: From its Beginning to the Completion of the Mishnah, Macmillan 1955; Patai, Raphael, Messiah Texts, Wayne State University Press, 1989. ISBN 0-8143-1850-9; Crossan, John Dominic, The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus, pg. 461. Harper Collins, 1998. ISBN 0-06-061659-8. Patai and Klausner state that one interpretation of the prophecies reveal either two Messiahs, Messiah ben Yosef (the dying Messiah) and Messiah ben David (the Davidic King), or one Messiah who comes twice. Crossan cites the Essene teachings about the twin Messiahs. Compare to the Christian doctrine of the Second Coming.
  34. Durant, Will. Caesar and Christ. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1944. p. 558; John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew. New York: Doubleday, 1991 vol. 1:205-7;
  35. Henry Bettenson, Chris Maunder, Documents of the Christian Church (3rd edition), Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-19-288071-3
  36. 36.0 36.1 Daniel Gaztambide, "The Synoptic Problem: Two-Source Hypothesis and Q",, accessed August 19, 2006.
  37. Craig S. Hawkins, "The Book of Acts and Archaeology", Apologetics Information Ministry, accessed March 14, 2006.
  38. Michael Grant, Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels, Scribner, 1995 p. 199. ISBN 0-684-81867-1
  39. This section draws on a number of sources to determine the doctrines of these groups, especially the early Creeds, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, certain theological works, and various Confessions drafted during the Reformation including the Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England, works contained in the Book of Concord, and others.
  40. Catechism of the Catholic Church §436-40; Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England, article 2; Irenaeus Adversus Haereses in Patrologia Graeca ed. J. P. Migne (Paris, 1857-1866) 7/1, 93; Luke 2:11; Matthew 16:16
  41. Catechism of the Catholic Church §606-618; Council of Trent (1547) in Denzinger-Schönmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum (1965) §1529;John 14:2-3
  42. Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England, article 9; Augsburg Confession, article 2; Second Helvetic Confession, chapter 8; Rom 5:12–21; 1 Cor 15:21–22.
  43. Apostle's Creed; Nicene Creed; Catechism of the Catholic Church §441-451; Augsburg Confession, article 3; Luther, Small Catechism commentary on Apostle's Creed; Matthew 16:16-17; 1 Corinthians 2:8
  44. Augsburg Confession, article 3; John 1:1
  45. Apostle's Creed; Nicene Creed; Catechism of the Catholic Church §461-463;Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England, article 2; Luther, Small Catechism commentary on Apostle's Creed; John 1:14, 16; Hebrews 10:5-7
  46. Catechism of the Catholic Church §456-460; Gregory of Nyssa, Orat. catech. 15 in Patrologia Graeca ed. J. P. Migne (Paris, 1857-1866) 45, 48B; St. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses 3.19.1 in ibid. 7/1, 939; St. Athanasius, De inc., 54.3 in ibid. 25, 192B. St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. in ibid. 57: 1-4; Galatians 4:4-5
  47. Apostle's Creed; Nicene Creed; Catechism of the Catholic Church §484-489, 494-507; Luther, Small Catechism commentary on Apostle's Creed
  48. Catechism of the Catholic Church §541-546
  49. Apostle's Creed; Catechism of the Catholic Church §551-553; Augsburg Confession, article 8; Luther, Small Catechism commentary on Apostle's Creed; Second Helvetic Confession, chapter 9; Leo the Great, Sermo 4.3 in Patrologia Latina ed. J. P. Migne (Paris, 1841-1855); Matthew 16:18
  50. Catechism of the Catholic Church §1322-1419; Luther, Augsburg Confession, article 10; Small Catechism: the Sacrament of the Altar
  51. Apostle's Creed; Nicene Creed; Luther, Small Catechism commentary on Apostle's Creed; Second Helvetic Confession, chapter 9
  52. Apostle's Creed; Catechism of the Catholic Church §632-635; Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England, article 3; Augsburg Confession, article 3; Council of Rome (745) in Denzinger-Schönmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum (1965) §587; Benedict XII, Cum dudum (1341) in ibid. §1011; Clement VI, Super quibusdam (1351) in ibid. §1077; Council of Toledo IV (625) in ibid. §485; Matthew 27:52-53
  53. Catechism of the Catholic Church §638-655; Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion of Easter; Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England, article 4 and 17; Augsburg Confession, article 3; Second Helvetic Confession, chapter 9; See also, and
  54. Apostle's Creed; Nicene Creed Catechism of the Catholic Church §668-675, 678-679; Luther, Small Catechism commentary on Apostle's Creed; Mt 25:32-46
  55. Nicene Creed; Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England, article 1; Augsburg Confession, article 1; Second Helvetic Confession, chapter 3; Council of Nicaea I (325) in Denzinger-Schönmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum (1965) §126; Council of Constantinople II (553) in ibid. §424 and 424; Council of Ephesus in ibid. §255; John 1:1; 8:58; 10:30
  56. Catechism of the Catholic Church §464-469; Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England, article 2 and 3 Second Helvetic Confession, chapter 9; Council of Ephesus (431) in Denzinger-Schönmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum (1965) §250; Council of Ephesus in ibid. §251; Council of Chalcedon (451) in ibid. §301 and 302; Hebrews 4:15
  57. John 8:58
  58. e.g. C.S. Lewis and Peter Kreeft (1988): "The Divinity of Jesus Christ" from Fundamentals of the Faith. Ignatius Press.
  59. 3 Nephi 11:8
  60. "Jesus The Ruler Whose Origin Is From Early Times", The Watchtower (15 June 1998) p. 22.
  61. John 3:16
  62. Col 1:15
  63. Rom 11:36
  64. See the Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site, c.f. Galatians 3:13 and Acts 5:30
  65. Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Christianities, Oxford, 2003, p. 102.
  66. McManners, John, ed., The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990, pp. 26-31.
  67. Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Christianities, Oxford, 2003, p. 124-125.
  68. Wace, Henry, Commentary on Marcion
  69. Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Christianities, Oxford, 2003, p. 103, p. 104-105, p.108
  70. Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro, "What is Islam? Jesus",, accessed March 15, 2006.
  71. III&E, "Prophethood in Islam", Accessed March 19, 2006
  72. "The Islamic and Christian views of Jesus: a comparison", ISoundvision, accessed March 15, 2006.
  73. Abdullah Ibrahim, "The History of the Quran and the Injil", Arabic Bible Outreach Ministry, accessed March 15, 2006.
  74. 74.0 74.1 74.2 Encyclopedia of Islam, Jesus article
  75. Mufti A.H. Elias, "Jesus (Isa) A.S. in Islam, and his Second Coming",, accessed March 15,2006.
  76. Mufti A.H. Elias, "Jesus (Isa) A.S. in Islam, and his Second Coming", Network, accessed May 10, 2006.
  77. Geoffrey Parrinder, Jesus in the Quran, p.121, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1996. ISBN 1-85168-094-2
  78. Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, Qur'anic Verse regarding Second Coming of Jesus.
  79. The Second Coming of Jesus, Renaissance - Monthly Islamic Journal, 14(9), September 2004.
  80. Islahi, Amin. Tadabbur-i-Qur’an, 1st, Lahore: Faran Foundation. OCLC 60341215. vol.2, p.243
  81. M. M. Ahmad, "The Lost Tribes of Israel: The Travels of Jesus", Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Accessed March 16, 2006.
  82. Günter Grönbold, Jesus In Indien, München: Kösel 1985, ISBN 3466202701. Norbert Klatt, Lebte Jesus in Indien?, Göttingen: Wallstein 1988.
  83. Rabbi Shraga Simmons, "Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus", accessed March 14, 2006; "Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus", Ohr Samayach - Ask the Rabbi, accessed March 14, 2006; "Why don't Jews believe that Jesus was the messiah?",, accessed March 14, 2006.
  84. "Hilchot Malachim (laws concerning kings) (Hebrew)",, accessed March 14, 2006.
  85. "Question 18.3.4: Reform's Position On...What is unacceptable practice?",, accessed March 14, 2006.
  86. Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, "Parashat Re'eh 5764-2004: Identifying a True Prophet", National Jewish Outreach Program, accessed March 14, 2006; Tracey Rich, "Prophets and Prophecy", Judaism 101, accessed March 14, 2006; Rabbi Pinchas Frankel, "Covenant of History: A Fools Prophecy", Orthodox Union of Jewish Congregations of America, accessed March 14, 2006;Laurence Edwards, "Torat Hayim - Living Torah: No Rest(s) for the Wicked", Union of American Hebrew Congregations, accessed March 14, 2006.
  87. Beverley, James A. (2001-06-11). Hollywood's Idol. Christianity Today. Retrieved on 2006-10-23. “"Jesus Christ also lived previous lives," he said. "So, you see, he reached a high state, either as a Bodhisattva, or an enlightened person, through Buddhist practice or something like that."”
  88. Gospel of Thomas:The Buddhist Jesus? accessed April 10, 2006.
  89. name=vivekananda>Christ the Messenger. Accessed April 10, 2006.
  90. Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi, 2nd ed., Crystal Clarity Publishers, 2005. ISBN 1-56589-212-7.
  91. wikiquote:Mahatma Gandhi; Gandhi vs. Christ. Both accessed on April 10, 2006.
  92. The Bahá'í Position on Christianity Jesus Christ was a "Manifestation" of God. Both accessed April 10, 2006.
  93. Mandaean Scriptures and Fragments: The Haran Gawaitha
  94. Wills, Garry, What Jesus Meant (2006) ISBN 0-670-03496-7
  95. John Dominic Crossan, The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, HarperSanFrancisco (1993), ISBN 0-06-061629-6; Robert Funk, The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? The Search for the AUTHENTIC Words of Jesus, Harper San Francisco (1997), ISBN 0-06-063040-X; Robert Funk, The Acts of Jesus: What Did Jesus Really Do?, The Jesus Seminar, Harper San Francisco (1998), ISBN 0-06-062978-9; The Jesus Seminar, The Gospel of Jesus: According to the Jesus Seminar, Robert Walter Funk (Editor), Polebridge Press (1999), ISBN 0-944344-74-7
  96. Book Review by John Sniegocki of Xavier University, review of Joseph GRASSI, "Peace on Earth: Roots and Practices from Luke's Gospel", Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2004 (repentance, forgiveness); "Major Themes of Jesus' life", Darrell L. Bock (coming of the Kingdom of God); Book review by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat of "If Grace Is So Amazing, Why Don't We Like It?", Donald McCullough (grace); "Grace and Truth", F. A. Hughes, STEM publishing 1972 (grace)
  97. The Jefferson Bible
  98. "Christian Antisemitism: A History of Hate" by William Nicholls, 1993. Published by Jason Aronson Inc., 1995; "Mature Christianity: The Recognition and Repudiation of the Anti-Jewish Polemic in the New Testament" Norman A. Beck, Susquehanna Univ. Press, 1985; "The Satanizing of the Jews: Origin and development of mystical anti-Semitism" Joel Carmichael, Fromm, 1993; "The Origins of Anti-Semitism: Attitudes Toward Judaism in Pagan and Christian Antiquity" John G. Gager, Oxford Univ. Press, 1983; "What Did They Think of the Jews?" Edited by Allan Gould, Jason Aronson Inc., 1991; "The New Testament's Anti-Jewish Slander and Conventions of Ancient Polemic", Luke Johnson, Journal of Biblical Literature, Volume 3, 1989; "Three Popes and the Jews" Pinchas E. Lapide, Hawthorne Books, 1967; "National Socialism and the Roman Catholic Church" Nathaniel Micklem, Oxford Univ. Press, 1939; Theological Anti-Semitism in the New Testament", Rosemary Radford Ruether, Christian Century, Feb. 1968, Vol. 85; "John Chrysostom and the Jews" Robert L. Wilken, Univ. of California Press, Berkeley, 1983
  99. Of Revelation and Revolution, Volume 1: Christianity, Colonialism, and Consciousness in South Africa by Jean Comaroff, John L. Comaroff 1991 University of Chicago Press; A Violent Evangelism: The Political and Religious Conquest of the Americas by Luis Rivera Pagan 1992 Westminster Press; The Americas in the Spanish World Order: The Justification for Conquest in the 17th Century by James Muldoon 1994 University of Pennsylvania Press; An Empire Divided: Religion, Republicanism, and the Making of French Colonialism, 1880-1914 by J.P. Daughton 2006 Oxford University Press; Contracting Colonialism: Translations and Christian Conversion in Tagalog Society Under Early Spanish Rule by Vicente L. Rafael 1988 Cornell University Press; Christians and Missionaries in India: Cross-Cultural Communication Since 1500; With Special Reference to Caste, Conversion, and Colonialism (Studies in the History of Christian Missions) edited by Robert Eric Frykenberg and Alaine Low 2003 Wm. B. Eerdmans


v. 1, The Roots of the Problem and the Person, 1991. ISBN 0-385-26425-9
v. 2, Mentor, Message, and Miracles, 1994. ISBN 0-385-46992-6
v. 3, Companions and Competitors, 2001. ISBN 0-385-46993-4

External links

Historical and skeptical views
Jesus Christ (honorific); Jesus of Nazareth (traditional); יֵשׁ֣וּעַ (Hebrew); Yeshua (transliteration); Isa (Islam)
Religious figure, founded Christianity
c. 4 BC
Bethlehem, Iudaea Province (traditionally)
c. 30
Jerusalem, Iudaea Province

bxr:Иисус Христос

Retrieved from "http://localhost../../art/h/o.html"

This text comes from Wikipedia the free encyclopedia. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for a given article, visit the corresponding entry on the English Wikipedia and click on "History" . For more details about the license of an image, visit the corresponding entry on the English Wikipedia and click on the picture.