Jesus of Nazareth (c. 5 BC/BCE – c. 30 AD/CE), also known as Jesus Christ or simply Jesus, is the central figure of
Christianity, which views him as the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament, with most Christian denominations believing
him to be the Son of God and God incarnate who was raised from the dead. Islam and the Baha'i Faith consider Jesus a
prophet and also the Messiah. Jesus' teachings were first preached to the Jewish people, but Judaism gives Jesus no special
The principal sources of information regarding Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical gospels, especially the
Synoptic Gospels, though some scholars believe texts such as the Gospel of Thomas are also relevant.
Most critical scholars in biblical studies believe that some parts of the New Testament are useful for reconstructing Jesus'
life, agreeing that Jesus was a Jew who was regarded as a teacher and healer, that he was baptized by John the Baptist,
and was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman Prefect of Judaea, Pontius Pilate, on the charge of sedition
against the Roman Empire. Aside from these few conclusions, academic debate continues regarding the chronology, the
central message of Jesus' preaching, his social class, cultural environment, and religious orientation. Critical scholars have
offered competing descriptions of Jesus as a self-described Messiah, as the leader of an apocalyptic movement, as an
itinerant sage, as a charismatic healer, and as the founder of an independent religious movement. Most contemporary
scholars of the historical Jesus consider him to have been an independent, charismatic founder of a Jewish restoration
movement, anticipating an imminent apocalypse. Other prominent scholars, however, contend that Jesus' "Kingdom of
God" meant radical personal and social transformation instead of a future apocalypse.
Christians predominantly believe that Jesus is the "Son of God" (generally meaning that he is God the Son, the second
person in the Trinity) who came to provide humankind with salvation and reconciliation with God by his death for their
sins.:568-603 Christians traditionally believe that Jesus was born of a virgin,:529-532 performed miracles,:358-359
founded the Church, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven,:616-620 from which he will return.:1091-1109 While
the doctrine of the Trinity is accepted by most Christians, a few groups reject the doctrine of the Trinity, wholly or partly,
as non-scriptural. Most Christian scholars today present Jesus as the awaited Messiah and as God.
Judaism rejects assertions that Jesus was the awaited Messiah, arguing that he did not fulfill the Messianic prophecies in
the Tanakh. In Islam, Jesus (Arabic: عيسى, commonly transliterated as Isa) is considered one of God's important prophets, a
bringer of scripture, the product of a virgin birth, and a worker of miracles. Islam uses the title "Messiah" for Jesus, but
does not teach that he was divine. It also teaches that Jesus ascended bodily to heaven without experiencing death at the
"Jesus" (pronounced /ˈdʒiːzəs/) is a transliteration, occurring in a number of languages and based on the Latin Iesus, of the
Greek Ἰησοῦς (Iēsoûs), itself a Hellenisation of the Hebrew יְהוֹשֻׁעַ (Yĕhōšuă‘, Joshua) or Hebrew-Aramaic יֵשׁוּעַ (Yēšûă‘),
meaning "Yahweh delivers (or rescues)". "Christ" (pronounced /ˈkraɪst/) is a title derived from the Greek Χριστός (Christós),
meaning the "Anointed One", a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Messiah). :274-275 A "Messiah," in this context, is a king
anointed at God's direction or with God's approval, and Christians identify Jesus as the one foretold by Hebrew prophets.
Possible year of birth-
Scholars generally conclude that Jesus was born sometime between 7-2 BC/BCE and died sometime between 26-36 AD/CE.
There is no contemporary historical evidence demonstrating the date of Jesus' birth. The common Gregorian calendar
method for numbering years, in which the current year is 2010, is based on an early medieval attempt to count the years
from a point of reference — namely, Jesus' birth — which Dionysius Exiguus placed, either mistakenly or intentionally,
sometime between 2 BC/BCE and 1 AD/CE. The Gospel of Matthew states Jesus' birth occurred during the reign of Herod
the Great, who died in 4 BC/BCE, but also with the intimation that Jesus may have been as much as two years old when
Herod ordered the Massacre of the Innocents, and therefore that he may have been even older at the time of Herod's
death. The Gospel of Luke similarly points to Jesus' birth as having occurred during the reign of Herod the Great (i.e.,
sometime between 37 and 4 BC/BCE), but the author of Luke also describes the birth as taking place during the first census
of the Roman provinces of Syria and Iudaea, which is generally believed to have occurred in 6 AD/CE. Most scholars
generally assume a date of birth between 6 and 4 BC/BCE. The historical incompatibility of Luke's chronology for the birth
of Jesus, as well as the silence of the Pauline Epistles and the Gospels of Mark and John with respect to the nativity, have
been suggested as evidence that the birth traditions contained in Matthew and Luke are historically unverifiable or even
The earliest evidence of celebration of Jesus' birth on December 25 is found in the year 354 in Rome. It was only later that
the December 25 celebration was adopted in the East, with the exception of Armenia, where his birth is celebrated on
January 6. Indeed, there is no month of the year to which respectable authorities have not assigned his birth.
Jesus' ministry, which according to the Gospel of Luke began when Jesus was "about 30 years of age", followed that of John
the Baptist, whose ministry is said to have begun "in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar",[Lk. 3:1–2] which
would be about 28 or 29 AD/CE. According to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus' ministry lasted approximately one year, whereas
the Gospel of John implies that his ministry may have lasted approximately three years. Thus, the earliest generally
accepted date for the crucifixion is 29 AD/CE (i.e., the 15th year of Tiberius' reign plus one year for Jesus' ministry), and
the latest is 36 AD/CE (i.e., the final year of Pontius Pilate's prefecture).
Possible year of death-
According to each of the four canonical New Testament gospels, the death of Jesus occurred during the prefecture of
Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect who governed Judaea from 26 to 36 AD/CE. No known historical records written
contemporaneously with this period record Jesus' execution under Pilate, however, which, when taken in tandem with the
supernatural claims made in the gospels, has led scholars to question the historicity of the Gospel portrayals of Jesus'
death (see Historicity of Jesus). However, the late first century Jewish historian Josephus, writing in The Antiquities of the
Jews (c. 93 AD/CE), and the early second century Roman historian Tacitus, writing in The Annals (c. 116 AD/CE), also state
that Pilate ordered the execution of Jesus, though each writer incorrectly gives him the title of "procurator" instead of
prefect. The authenticity of these two passages, however, is disputed by scholars (see Josephus on Jesus and Tacitus on
Christ). Even if authentic, scholars and historians disagree over whether these passages demonstrate that Josephus and
Tacitus were recording what they knew to be verifiable historical events, or if they were merely recording what had, by
the end of the first century, become popular Christian legends that the authors mistakenly assumed were historical facts.
Writing in the late second century, the early church father Irenaeus records in his Against Heresies (c. 180 AD/CE) that he
believed Jesus lived to be approximately 50 years of age. According to Irenaeus, the author of the Gospel of John implies
that Jesus was close to the age of 50 when the Jews ridiculed him as being too young to have achieved sufficient learning
of the Jewish law:
The Jews then said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham?" (John 8:57)
Irenaeus argued that had the intention of the Jews been to mock Jesus' youth, they would have accused him of being "not
yet forty years old" had he, as Christian tradition held, been only in his early thirties at the time of his ministry, as this
accusation would carry even greater condemnation for his youth. Similarly, the Roman Catholic priest and theologian
Alfred Loisy argued that the author of the Gospel of John implied that Jesus was in his mid-to-late forties during his
ministry. According to Loisy, the author of John's use of allegory to describe Jesus' body as Herod's Temple, which
according to Jesus' Jewish opponents, required 46 years to build,[John 2:19-21] was meant as a symbolic comment on
Jesus' age at the time of his ministry. If accurate, such arguments would place the death of Jesus during the reign of the
Roman Emperor Claudius (41-54 CE). The Roman historian Suetonius records in his Lives of the Twelve Caesars (121 CE)
that Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome for "making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus", which
scholars have interpreted as further evidence of an early tradition that held that Jesus lived to be approximately 50 years
Regardless of the year of Jesus' death, most Christians commemorate the crucifixion on Good Friday and celebrate the
resurrection on Easter Sunday.
The four canonical gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are the main sources for the biography of Jesus' life;
nevertheless, these Gospels were written with the intention of glorifying Jesus and are not strictly biographical in nature.
For example, the Gospels primarily characterize Jesus as the Messiah: he performs miracles and is often described as
having a very close relationship to the Jewish God — the phrase "Son of God" is attributed to Jesus at least once in each
Gospel.[Lk. 1:35][Mt. 16:16][Mk. 1:1][Jn. 3:18] The Gospels (especially Matthew) present Jesus' birth, life, death and
resurrection as fulfillment of prophecies found in the Hebrew Bible (e.g., the virgin birth, the flight into Egypt, Immanuel
from Isaiah 7:14, and the suffering servant). However, critical scholars find historical information about Jesus' life and
ministry in the synoptic gospels, while interpreting the miraculous and theological content in light of what is known of
Jewish beliefs at the time.
Similarities and differences among the Gospels-
Three of the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are known as the synoptic Gospels because they display a high degree
of similarity in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence and paragraph structures. These Gospels are also
considered to share the same point of view.[ The fourth canonical Gospel, John, differs greatly from these three, as do the
According to the two-source hypothesis, Mark was a source for Matthew and Luke, both of whom also independently used a
now lost sayings source called the Q Gospel. Mark defined the sequence of events from Jesus' baptism to the empty tomb
and included parables of the Kingdom of God.
Character of Jesus-
Each gospel portrays Jesus' life and its meaning differently. The gospel of John is not a biography of Jesus but a theological
presentation of him as the divine Logos. One modern scholar writes that to combine these four stories into one story is
tantamount to creating a fifth story, one different from each original.
Mark presents Jesus as a heroic, charismatic man of action and mighty deeds. Matthew portrays him especially as the
fulfillment of Hebrew prophecy and as a greater Moses. Luke emphasizes Jesus' miraculous powers and his support for the
poor, women, and Gentiles. John views Jesus' earthly life as a manifestation of the eternal Word.
The Gospel of John opens with a hymn identifying Jesus as the divine Logos, or Word, that formed the universe.[Jn. 1:1–5]
[1:9–14] The author describes the Logos in relation to God and the created order, declares that he "became flesh", and
identifies him as Jesus Christ.[Jn. 1:17] According to the Fourth Gospel, Jesus Christ is God active in creation, in revelation
(Light), and in redemption (Life). Jesus' earthly life was the Logos incarnate.[Jn. 1:14]
Genealogy and family-
Of the four gospels, only Matthew and Luke give accounts of Jesus' genealogy. The accounts in the two gospels are
substantially different. Several explanations have been suggested and it has been traditional to assume that Luke's
genealogy traces through Mary and Matthew's through Joseph since at least 1490. Some contemporary scholars generally
view the genealogies as theological constructs. More specifically, some have suggested that the author of Matthew wants
to underscore the birth of a Messianic child of royal lineage. (Solomon is included in the list); whereas, in this
interpretation, Luke's genealogy is priestly (e.g., it mentions Levi). Mary is mentioned in passing in the genealogy given by
Matthew, but not in Luke's, while Matthew gives Jacob as Joseph's father and Luke says Joseph was the son of Heli. Both
accounts, when read at face value, trace Jesus' line though his human father Joseph back to King David and from there to
Abraham. These lists are identical between Abraham and David (except for one), but they differ almost completely
between David and Joseph (having only Zerubbabel and Shealtiel in common).
Child Jesus (left) with his cousin John the Baptist, painting by Bartolomé Esteban Perez MurilloJoseph, husband of Mary,
appears in descriptions of Jesus' childhood. No mention, however, is made of Joseph during the ministry of Jesus. The New
Testament books of Matthew, Mark, and Galatians tell of Jesus' relatives, including words sometimes translated as
"brothers" and "sisters". Luke also mentions that Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, was a "cousin" or "relative" of
Mary,[Lk. 1:36] which would make John a distant cousin of Jesus.
Nativity and early life-
Adoration of the Shepherds, illustration by Guido Reni, 17th centuryWhile there are documents outside of the New
Testament which are more or less contemporary with the Historical Jesus, many shed no light on the more biographical
aspects of his life. The main sources of Jesus himself that are available to modern scholars are the gospels.
According to Matthew and Luke, Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea to Mary, a virgin, by a miracle of the Holy Spirit.
In Luke, the angel Gabriel visits Mary to tell her that she was chosen to bear the Son of God.[Lk. 1:26–38] 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.[Lk. 2:1-5] After Jesus' birth, the couple was forced to use a manger in
place of a crib because of a shortage of accommodation.[Lk. 2:1–7] An angel announced Jesus' birth to shepherds who left
their flocks to see the newborn child and who subsequently publicized what they had witnessed throughout the area (see
The First Noël).[Lk. 2:8-18]
In Matthew, the "Wise Men" or "Magi" bring gifts to the young Jesus after following a star which they believe was a sign that
the King of the Jews had been born.[Mt. 2:1–12] King Herod hears of Jesus' birth from the Wise Men and tries to kill him by
massacring all the male children in Bethlehem under the age of two (the "massacre of the innocents").[Mt. 2:16-17] The
family flees to Egypt and remains there until Herod's death, whereupon they settle in Nazareth to avoid living under the
authority of Herod's son and successor Archelaus.[Mt. 2:19–23]
Jesus' childhood home is identified as the town of Nazareth in Galilee.[Mt. 2:23] Except for Matthew's "flight into Egypt",
and a short trip to Tyre and Sidon (in what is now Lebanon), the Gospels place all other events in Jesus' life in ancient
Israel. However, infancy gospels began to appear around the beginning of the second century. According to Luke, Jesus was
"about thirty years of age" when he was baptized.[Lk. 3:23] In Mark, Jesus is called a tekton, usually understood to mean
carpenter. Matthew says he was the son of a tekton.[Mk. 6:3][Mt. 13:55]:170 However, the Greek word used in the Gospels
means "builder", which could refer to a stonemason or some other type of artisan.
Baptism and temptation-
Christ baptized by John the Baptist by Francesco Trevisani. All three synoptic Gospels describe the Baptism of Jesus by
John the Baptist, an event which Biblical scholars describe as the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. According to these
accounts, Jesus came to the Jordan River where John the Baptist had been preaching and baptizing people in the crowd.
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'".[Mk.
Mark starts his narration with Jesus' baptism, specifying that it is a token of repentance and for forgiveness of sins.
Matthew omits this reference, emphasizing Jesus' superiority to John. Matthew describes John as initially hesitant to
comply with Jesus' request for John to baptize him, stating that it was Jesus who should baptize him. Jesus persisted, "It is
proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness".[Mt. 3:15] In Matthew, God's public dedication informs the reader that
Jesus has become God's anointed ("Christ").
Following his baptism, Jesus was led into the desert by God where he fasted for forty days and forty nights.[Mt. 4:1–2]
During this time, the Devil appeared to him and tempted Jesus three times. Each time, Jesus refused temptation with a
quotation of scripture from the Book of Deuteronomy. The Devil departed and angels came and brought nourishment to
The Gospel of John does not describe Jesus' baptism, or the subsequent Temptation, but it does attest that Jesus is the
very one about whom John had been preaching — the Son of God. The Baptist twice declares Jesus to be the "Lamb of God",
a term found nowhere else in the Gospels. John also emphasizes Jesus' superiority over John. In John, Jesus leads a
program of baptism in Judea, and his disciples baptize more people than John.[Jn. 3:22–23][4:1–3]
Jesus has a ministry of teaching and miracles, at least part of which is in Galilee. In the synoptics, Jesus speaks in parables
and aphorisms, exorcises demons, champions the poor and oppressed, and teaches mainly about the Kingdom of God. In
John, Jesus speaks in long discourses, with himself as the theme of his teaching.
Jesus said of his purpose, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."[Jn. 10:10]
Mark says that Jesus came to "give his life as a ransom for many";[Mk. 10:45] Luke, that Jesus was sent to "preach the good
news of the Kingdom of God";[Lk. 4:43] and John, that Jesus came so that "those who believed in him would have eternal
Duration and location-
Judæa and Galilee at the time of JesusJohn describes three different Passover feasts over the course of Jesus' ministry,
implying that Jesus preached for at least "two years plus a month or two". The Synoptic Gospels suggest a span of only one
year. In the synoptics, Jesus' ministry takes place mainly in Galilee, until he travels to Jerusalem, where he cleanses the
Temple and is executed. In John, his ministry in and around Jerusalem is more prominently described, cleansing the temple
at his ministry's beginning.
In the synoptic Gospels, Jesus calls some Jewish men to be his Twelve Apostles. None of them seems to have been a
peasant (an agricultural worker). At least four are described as fishermen and another as a tax collector. Three of them
are presented as being chosen to accompany Jesus on certain special occasions, such as the transfiguration of Jesus, the
raising of the daughter of Jairus, and the Agony in the Garden. Jesus speaks of the demands of discipleship, telling a rich
man to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor. He states that his message divides family members against
In Mark, the disciples are strangely obtuse, failing to understand Jesus' deeds and parables. In Matthew, Jesus directs the
apostles' mission only to those of the house of Israel,[Mt. 15:24][10:1–6] Luke places a special emphasis on the women who
followed Jesus, such as Mary Magdalene.
Teachings and preachings-
In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus speaks primarily about the Kingdom of God (or Heaven). In Matthew and Luke, he speaks
further about morality and prayer. In John, he speaks at length about himself and his divine role.
At the height of his ministry, Jesus is said to have 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 contains the Beatitudes and the Lord's
Prayer. It is one of five collections of teachings in Matthew.
In the Synoptics, Jesus often employs parables, such as the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke) and the Parable of the Sower
His moral teachings in Matthew and Luke encourage 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.
In the Synoptics, Jesus relays an apocalyptic vision of the end of days. He preaches that the end of the current world will
come unexpectedly, and that he will return to judge the world, especially according to how they treated the vulnerable.
He calls on his followers to be ever alert and faithful. In Mark, the Kingdom of God is a divine government that will appear
by force within the lifetimes of his followers. Matthew describes false Messiahs, disasters, tribulations, and signs in the
heavens that will portend Jesus' return, which is also described as unexpected.
Outreach to outsiders-
Jesus with children, early 1900s Bible illustrationTable fellowship is central to Jesus' ministry in the Gospels. He and his
disciples eat with sinners (who neglect purity rules) and tax collectors (imperial publicani, despised as extortionists). The
apostle Matthew is a tax collector. When the Pharisees object to Jesus eating with sinners and tax collectors, Jesus replies
that it is the sick who need a physician, not the healthy.[Mt. 9:9–13] Jesus also defends his disciples against charges that
they do not follow purity laws when eating. The Pharisees accused Jesus himself of being a drunk and a glutton. Jesus'
miracles and teachings often involve food and feasting. He instructs his missionaries to eat with the people that they
preach to and heal. In the Synoptics, Jesus institutes a new covenant with a ritual meal before he is crucified.
Jesus' outreach to outsiders includes the Samaritans, who followed a different form of the Israelite religion, as reflected in
his preaching to the Samaritans of Sychar[Jn. 4:1–42] and in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.[Lk. 10:25-37]
At various times, Jesus makes a point of welcoming sinners, children, women, the poor, Samaritans, and foreigners.
Transfiguration and Jesus' divine role-
In the synoptic gospels, Jesus leads three select disciples: Peter, John, and James to the top of a mountain. While there,
he is transfigured before them, his face shining like the sun and his clothes brilliant white; Elijah and Moses appear
adjacent to him. A bright cloud overshadows them, and a voice from the sky says, "This is my beloved son, with whom I am
well pleased". The Transfiguration is a turning point in Jesus ministry. Just before it and thereafter, Jesus warns that he is
to suffer, die and rise again.
In Mark, Jesus' identity as the Messiah is obscured (see Messianic secret). Mark states that "this generation" will be given no
sign, while Matthew and Luke say they will be given no sign but the sign of Jonah. In John, and not in the synoptics, Jesus
is outspoken about his divine identity and mission. Here he punctuates his ministry with several miraculous signs of his
In John, Jesus declares that belief in the Son brings eternal life, that the Father has committed powers of judgment and
forgiveness to the Son, and that He is the bread of life, the light of the world, the door of the sheep, the good shepherd,
the resurrection and the life, the way, the truth, and the life, and the real vine. Here Jesus uses the phrase "I am" in
talking of himself[Jn. 8:58] in ways that designate God in the Hebrew Bible,[Ex. 3:14] a statement taken by some writers
as claiming identity with God.
Arrest, trial, and death-
According to the Synoptics, 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!"
Following his triumphal entry, Jesus created a disturbance at Herod's Temple by overturning the tables of the
moneychangers who set up shop there, and claiming that they had made the Temple a "den of robbers".[Mk. 11:17] Later
that week, Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples — an event subsequently known as the Last Supper — in
which he prophesied that he would be betrayed by one of his disciples, and would then be executed. 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."[Lk. 22:7–20] Following the supper, Jesus
and his disciples went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In Mark and Matthew, Jesus is anguished in the face of his fate. He prays and accepts God's will, but his chosen disciples
repeatedly fall asleep on the watch. In Luke, Jesus prays briefly at the Mount of Olives, and his disciples fall asleep out of
In John, Jesus has already cleansed the temple a few years before and has been preaching in Jerusalem. He raises Lazarus
on the Sabbath, the act that finally gets Jewish leaders to plan his death. At the Last Supper, Jesus washes the disciples'
feet and there is no new covenant of bread and wine. Jesus gives the farewell discourses, discussing the persecution of his
followers, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and more. He says a long final prayer with his disciples before heading to a garden
where he knows Judas will show up.
Betrayal and arrest-
While in the Garden, Jesus is arrested by temple guards on the orders of the Sanhedrin and the high priest, Caiaphas. The
arrest takes place clandestinely at night to avoid a riot, as Jesus is popular with the people at large.[Mk. 14:2] Judas
Iscariot, one of his apostles, betrays Jesus by identifying him to the guards with a kiss.[Mt. 26:49-50] Simon Peter, another
one of Jesus' apostles, uses a sword to attack one of Jesus' captors, cutting off his ear, which, according to Luke, Jesus
immediately heals miraculously. Jesus rebukes the apostle, stating "all they that take the sword shall perish by the
sword".[Mt. 26:52] After his arrest, Jesus' apostles go into hiding; Judas, distraught by his betrayal of Jesus, commits
suicide shortly after.[Mt. 27:5]
Trials before the Sanhedrin and Pilate-
[Mk. 14:53–65] the only time in the Gospel that he makes such a claim. The Jewish leaders turn him over to Pilate for
execution, but Pilate is reluctant to execute Jesus. In an attempt to spare Jesus' life, Pilate offers the mob a chance to
free him, but they choose Barabbas instead, so that the responsibility for Jesus' execution falls on the mob of Jews that
the Pharisees have incited, rather than on the Romans, as expressed in the Gospel of Matthew by the Jewish crowd's
proclamation, “His blood be upon us and on our children.”[Mt. 27:24–25] Matthew adds the details that Pilate's wife,
tormented by a dream, urges Pilate not to have anything to do with Jesus, and Pilate washes his hands of responsibility.
[Mt. 27:11–26] Luke adds the detail that Pilate sends Jesus to Herod Antipas, who has authority over Galileans, but that
Herod, like Pilate, finds him guilty of nothing treasonous.[Luke 23:6-16] In John, Jesus makes no claim to be the Son of
God or the Messiah to the Sanhedrin or to Pilate, even though this gospel proclaims Jesus' divinity from the beginning.
Christ en majesté, Resurrection of Jesus, illustration by Matthias Grünewald, 16th c.In Mark, Jesus is stripped, flogged,
mocked, and crowned with thorns. He is crucified between two thieves, and his cross states that he is being executed for
aspiring to be the king of the Jews. He begins to recite Psalm 22, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me." He utters
a loud cry and dies. According to all four Gospels, Jesus died before late afternoon at Calvary, which was also called
Golgotha. In Luke, Jesus faces his crucifixion stolidly. He asks God to forgive those who are crucifying him, possibly the
Romans and possibly the Jews. One of the thieves states that Jesus has done nothing wrong and asks Jesus to remember
him in the Kingdom, and Jesus replies that the thief will be with him in Paradise. The Synoptic Gospels tell of the
darkening of the sky from twelve until three that afternoon; Matthew also mentions an earthquake,[Mt. 27:51] "At that
moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split." Mathew also says
many dead saints were resurrected and went into the city to appear before other people.[Mt. 27:52-53] John omits the
phenomena accompanying Jesus' death. The tearing of the temple parokhet, upon the death of Jesus, is referenced by
Matthew, Mark and Luke.
Resurrection and ascension-
The Gospels state that Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday. All the Gospels portray Jesus' empty tomb. In Matthew, an
angel appears near the tomb of Jesus and announces his resurrection to Mary Magdalene and "another Mary" who had
arrived to anoint the body.[Mt. 28:1–10] Jewish elders bribe the soldiers who had guarded the tomb to spread the rumor
that Jesus' disciples took his body. In Luke, there are two angels[Lk. 24:4] and in Mark the angel appears as a youth
dressed in white.[Mk. 16:5] The "longer ending" to Mark, which is known as the Markan Appendix and which did not form
part of the original manuscripts, states that on the morning of his resurrection, Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene.
[Mk. 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.[Jn. 20:11–18]
The Gospels all record appearances by Jesus, including an appearance to the eleven apostles. In Mark, Jesus appears to
Mary Magdalene, to two disciples in the country, and to the eleven, at which point Jesus commissions them to announce
the gospel, baptize, and work miracles. In Matthew, Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene and to the eleven on a mountain, at
which point he commissions them to enlist followers, baptize, and teach what Jesus taught. Although his own mission and
his disciples' missions had been to the Jews,[Mt. 15:24] here he sends the eleven to the whole world (see Great
Commission). In Luke, he appears to two disciples in the country and to the eleven. He proves to them that he has a body,
opens their minds to understand the scripture about the Messiah, and directs them to wait in Jerusalem until they are
invested with power. In John, Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene and to the eleven. He demonstrates his physical reality to
doubting Thomas. Later he appears to seven disciples who are fishing, and finally talks with Peter, foretelling Peter's death
and assigning him the principal role as shepherd of the new community.
In Mark and Luke, Jesus ascends to the heavens;[Mk. 16:19][Lk. 24:5] after these appearances. In Luke, Jesus ascends on
Easter Sunday evening when he is with his disciples. In Mark, Jesus' Ascension to heaven, where he sits at God's right hand,
is said to have taken place but not described as a visible event. John implies that Jesus will return to his Father[Jn. 20:17]
but doesn't describe an Ascension.
Names and titles in the New Testament-
Jesus lived in Galilee for most of his life and spoke Aramaic and possibly Hebrew and some Greek. The name "Jesus" comes
from an alternate spelling of the Latin (Iēsus) which in turn comes from the Greek name Iesous (Ιησους). In the Septuagint,
Ιησους is used as the Greek version of the Hebrew name Yehoshua (יהושוע, "God delivers" from Yeho — Yahweh [is] shua` —
deliverance/rescue) in the Biblical book of the same name, usually Romanized as Joshua. Some scholars believe that one of
these was likely the name that Jesus was known by during his lifetime by his peers. Thus, the name has been translated
into English as "Joshua".
Christ (which started as a title, and has often been used as a name for Jesus) is an Anglicization of the Greek term χριστός,
christos. In the Septuagint, this term is used as the translation of the Hebrew: מָשִׁיחַ, Modern Mašíaḥ Tiberian Māšîªḥ,
"Anointed One" in reference to priests, and kings and King Cyrus.[Isaiah 45:1] In Isaiah and Jeremiah the word began to be
applied to a future ideal king. The New Testament has some 500 uses of the word χριστός applied to Jesus, used either
generically or in an absolute sense, namely as the Anointed One (the Messiah, the Christ). The Gospel of Mark has as its
central point of its narrative Peter's confession of Jesus as the Messiah.[Mk. 8:29]
1 Corinthians 15:3 indicates that the strong belief that Jesus was the Messiah predates the letters of Paul the Apostle.
These letters also show that the Messiah title was already beginning to be used as a name.
Some have suggested that other titles applied to Jesus in the New Testament had meanings in the first century quite
different from those meanings ascribed today. Géza Vermes has argued that "Son of man" was not a title but rather the
polite way in which people referred to themselves, i.e. a pronominal phrase.
Many New Testament scholars state that Jesus claimed to be God through his frequent use of "I am" (e.g. Before Abraham
was, I am),[Jn. 8:58] his act of forgiving sins which gave Jews an impression of blasphemy,[Lk. 5:20–21] and his statement
that "I and the Father are one."[Jn. 10:30] However, a number of New Testament scholars argue that Jesus himself made
no claims to being God. Most Christians identified Jesus as divine from a very early period, although holding a variety of
views as to what exactly this implied.
Other names and titles-
"Son of David" is found elsewhere in Jewish tradition to refer to the heir to the throne. "Son of God" was often used to
designate a person as especially righteous.
"Emmanuel" or "Immanuel" derives from the Hebrew name Immanu-El, which translates as "God (is) with us" and is based on
a Messianic interpretation of a verse in the Hebrew Bible,Isaiah 7:14, "They shall call his name Immanuel."
Biblical scholars have used the historical method to develop probable reconstructions of Jesus' life. Over the past two
hundred years, their image of Jesus has thus come to be very different from the common one based on the gospels.
Scholars of historical Jesus distinguish their subject from the "Jesus Christ" of Christianity, while others hold that the figure
presented in the gospels is the real Jesus and that his life and influence only make sense if the gospel stories are accurate.
The principal sources of information regarding Jesus' life and teachings are the Gospels, especially the Synoptic Gospels:
Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Including the Gospels, there are no surviving historical accounts of Jesus written during his life
or within three decades of his death. A great majority of biblical scholars accept the historical existence of Jesus.
The English title of Albert Schweitzer's 1906 book, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, is a label for the post-Enlightenment
effort to describe Jesus using critical historical methods. Since the end of the 18th century, scholars have examined the
gospels and tried to formulate historical biographies of Jesus. Contemporary efforts benefit from a better understanding of
1st-century Judaism, renewed Roman Catholic biblical scholarship, broad acceptance of critical historical methods,
sociological insights, and literary analysis of Jesus' sayings.
Constructing a historical view-
Historians of Christianity analyze the gospels to try to discern the historical man on whom these stories are based. They
compare what the gospels say to historical events relevant to the times and places where the gospels were written. They
try to answer historical questions about Jesus, such as why he was crucified.
Most Biblical scholars agree the Gospel of Mark was written about the time of the destruction of the Jewish Temple by the
Romans under Titus in the year 70 AD/CE, and that the other gospels were written between 70 and 100 AD/CE. The
historical outlook on Jesus relies on critical analysis of the Bible, especially the gospels. Many Biblical scholars have sought
to reconstruct Jesus' life in terms of the political, cultural, and religious crises and movements in late Second Temple
Judaism and in Roman-occupied Palestine, including differences between Galilee and Judea, and between different sects
such as the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Zealots, and in terms of conflicts among Jews in the context of Roman
Historians of Christianity generally describe Jesus as a healer who preached the restoration of God's kingdom and agree he
was baptized by John the Baptist and crucified by the Romans.
Baptism by John the Baptist-
John the Baptist led a large apocalyptic movement. He demanded repentance and baptism. Jesus was baptized and later
began his ministry. After John was executed, some of his followers apparently took Jesus as their new leader. Historians
are nearly unanimous in accepting Jesus' baptism as a historical event.
Jewish focus - Jesus taught among fellow Jews. Geza Vermes concludes that Jesus' message was exclusively for the Jews,
while Gerd Theissen asserts that Jesus' message included themes related to the Gentiles being welcomed into the coming
Arrival of the Kingdom - Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God. He said that the age of the Kingdom had in some sense
arrived, starting with the activity of John the Baptist.
Apocalyptic vision - Most scholars hold that the movement Jesus led was apocalyptic, expecting God to intervene
imminently to restore Israel. John the Baptist's movement was apocalyptic, and Jesus began his public career as one of his
students. Scholars commonly surmise that Jesus' eschatology was apocalyptic, like John's.
Parables - Jesus taught in pithy parables and with striking images. His teaching was marked by hyperbole and unusual
twists of phrase. Jesus likened the Kingdom of Heaven to small and lowly things, such as yeast or a mustard seed, that
have great effects. Significantly, he never described the Kingdom in military terms. He used his sayings to elicit responses
from the audience, engaging them in discussion.
The family of God - Jesus repeatedly set himself at odds with traditional family duties in order to emphasize that the true
family of a believer was God's family, forming a community of believers as children of God.
God as a loving father - Jesus placed a special emphasis on God as one's heavenly father. This teaching contrasts with the
more common practice of depicting God as a king or lord.
Virtue of being childlike - Jesus was remarkable in stating that one must become like a child to enter the Kingdom of God.
Importance of faith and prayer - Jesus identified faith or trust in God as a primary spiritual virtue. Associated with this
main theme, Jesus taught that one should rely on prayer and expect prayer to be effective.
Healing and exorcism - Jesus taught that his healings and exorcisms indicated that a new eschatological age had arrived or
Jewish and Roman authorities in Jerusalem were wary of Galilean patriots, many of whom advocated or launched violent
resistance to Roman rule. The gospels demonstrate that Jesus, a charismatic leader regarded as a potential troublemaker,
was executed on political charges. Jesus' criticism of the Temple, disturbance he caused there, and refusal to renounce
claims of kingship convinced the Jewish high priest to allow Jesus to be transferred into Roman custody.
The Gospels report that Jesus foretold his own Passion, but the actions of the disciples suggest that it came as a surprise to
them. Historically, it's more probable that Jesus did not foretell his own crucifixion.
Scholars refer to the religious background of the early 1st century to better reconstruct Jesus' life. Some scholars identify
him with one or another group.
Pharisees were a powerful force in 1st-century Judea. Early Christians shared several beliefs of the Pharisees, such as
resurrection, retribution in the next world, angels, human freedom, and Divine Providence. After the fall of the Temple,
the Pharisee outlook was established in Rabbinic Judaism. Some scholars speculate that Jesus was himself a Pharisee. In
Jesus' day, the two main schools of thought among the Pharisees were the House of Hillel, which had been founded by the
eminent Tanna, Hillel the Elder, 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.[Mk. 10:1–12]
Jesus also commented on the House of Hillel's teachings (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a) concerning the greatest
commandment[Mk. 12:28–34] and the Golden Rule.[Mt. 7:12] Historians do not know whether there were Pharisees in
Galilee during Jesus' life, or what they would have been like.
Sadducees was particularly powerful in Jerusalem. They accepted the written Law only, rejecting the traditional
interpretations accepted by the Pharisees, such as belief in retribution in an afterlife, resurrection of the body, angels, and
spirits. After Jesus caused a disturbance at the Temple, it was to have been the Sadducees who had him arrested and
turned over to the Romans for execution. After the fall of Jerusalem, they disappeared from history.
Essenes were apocalyptic ascetics, one of the three (or four) major Jewish schools of the time, though they were not
mentioned in the New Testament. Some scholars theorize that Jesus was an Essene, or close to them. Among these
scholars is Pope Benedict XVI, who supposes in his book on Jesus that "it appears that not only John the Baptist, but
possibly Jesus and his family as well, were close to the Qumran community."
Zealots were a revolutionary party opposed to Roman rule, one of those parties that, according to Josephus inspired the
fanatical stand in Jerusalem that led to its destruction in the year 70 AD/CE. Luke identifies Simon, a disciple, as a
"zealot", which might mean a member of the Zealot party (which would therefore have been already in existence in the
lifetime of Jesus) or a zealous person. The notion that Jesus himself was a Zealot does not do justice to the earliest
Synoptic material describing him.
Christian scripture as historical texts-
Historians of Christianity examine scripture for clues about the historical Jesus. They sort out sayings and events that are
more likely to be genuine and use those to construct their portraits of Jesus. The Gospel tradition has certainly preserved
several authentic fragments of Jesus' teaching.
The New Testament was at least substantially complete by 100 AD/CE, making its books, especially the synoptic gospels,
historically relevant. The Gospel tradition certainly preserves several fragments of Jesus' teaching. The Gospel of Mark is
believed to have been written c. 70 AD/CE. Matthew is placed at being sometime after this date and Luke is thought to
have been written between 70 and 100 AD/CE.
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. After the original oral stories were written down in
Greek, they were transcribed, and later translated into other languages. Contemporary textual critic Bart D. Ehrman cites
numerous places where he maintains that the gospels, and other New Testament books, were apparently altered by
Critical scholars consider scriptural accounts more likely when they are attested in multiple texts, plausible in Jesus'
historical environment, and potentially embarrassing to the author's Christian community. The "criterion of
embarrassment" holds that stories about events with aspects embarrassing to Christians (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. Sayings attributed to Jesus are deemed more likely to reflect his character when they are distinctive, vivid,
paradoxical, surprising, and contrary to social and religious expectations, such as "Blessed are the poor". Short, memorable
parables and aphorisms capable of being transmitted orally are also thought more likely to be authentic.
The earliest extant texts which refer to Jesus are Paul's letters (mid-1st century), which affirm Jesus' crucifixion. Some
scholars hold that the Gospel of Thomas, a collection of 114 sayings of Jesus, predates the four orthodox gospels, and was
composed around mid-first century.
Although the historicity of Jesus is accepted by almost all Biblical scholars and classical historians, a few scholars have
questioned the existence of Jesus as an actual historical figure. Among the proponents of non-historicity was Bruno Bauer
in the 19th century. Non-historicity was somewhat influential in biblical studies during the early 20th century. The views of
scholars who entirely rejected Jesus' historicity then were based on a suggested lack of eyewitnesses, a lack of direct
archaeological evidence, the failure of certain ancient works to mention Jesus, and similarities early Christianity shared
with then-contemporary religion and mythology.
More recently, arguments for non-historicity have been discussed by authors such as George Albert Wells and Robert M.
Price. Additionally, The Jesus Puzzle and The Jesus Mysteries are examples of works presenting the non-historical
Classicist Michael Grant stated that standard historical criteria prevent one from rejecting the existence of an historical
Jesus. The New Testament scholar, James Dunn describes the mythical Jesus theory as a 'thoroughly dead thesis'.
By and large, the Jews of Jesus' day rejected his claim to be the Messiah, as do Jews today. For their part, Christian Church
Fathers, Ecumenical Councils, Reformers, and others have written extensively about Jesus over the centuries. Christian
sects and schisms have often been defined or characterized by competing descriptions of Jesus. Meanwhile, Gnostics,
Mandaeans, Manichaeans, Muslims, Baha'is, and others have found prominent places for Jesus in their own religious
Though Christian views of Jesus vary, it is possible to describe a general majority Christian view by examining the
similarities between specific Western Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and many Protestant doctrines found in their
catechetical or confessional texts. Almost all Chistian groups regard Jesus as the "Savior and Redeemer", as the Messiah
(Greek: Christos; English: Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament, who, through his life, death, and resurrection, restored
humanity'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 humanity's salvation and the atonement for sin, which had entered human history through the sin
of Adam. Christians profess that Jesus suffered death by crucifixion, and rose bodily from the dead in the definitive miracle
that foreshadows the resurrection of humanity at the end of time, when Christ will come again to judge the living and the
dead, resulting in either entrance into heaven or damnation.
Christians profess Jesus to be the only Son of God, the Lord, and the eternal Word (which is a translation of the Greek
Logos), who became man in the incarnation, so that those who believe in him might have eternal life. 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 or
Current religious groups that do not accept the doctrine of the Trinity include the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints (Mormons), Jehovah's Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals, Sabbatarian Churches of God and the Christadelphians. (See
Mainstream Islam denies that Jesus was God or the son of God, stating that he was an ordinary man who, like other
prophets, had been divinely chosen to spread God's message. Islamic texts forbid the association of partners with God
(shirk), emphasizing the notion of God's divine oneness (tawhīd). As such, Jesus is referred to in the Qur'an frequently as
the "son of Mary" ("Ibn Maryam"). Jesus is seen in Islam as a precursor to Muhammad, and is believed by Muslims to have
foretold the latter's coming. According to the Qur'an, believed by Muslims to be God's final revelation, Jesus was born to
Mary (Arabic: Maryam) as the result of virginal conception, and was given the ability to perform miracles. However, Islam
rejects historians assertions that Jesus was crucified by the Romans, instead claiming that he had been raised alive up to
heaven. Islamic traditions narrate that he will return to earth near the day of judgement to restore justice and defeat al-
Masīḥ ad-Dajjāl (lit. "the false Messiah", also known as the Antichrist) and the enemies of Islam. As a just ruler, Jesus will
Similar to Islamic views, the Ahmadiyya Movement consider Jesus was a mortal man, but go a step further to describe
Jesus as a mortal man who died a natural death – as opposed to having been raised up alive to Heaven. According to the
early 20th century writings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement), Jesus survived his ordeal on
the cross, and after his apparent death and resurrection, he fled Palestine and migrated eastwards to further teach the
gospels. They claim Jesus eventually died a natural death of old age in India – Kashmir and is believed to be buried at Roza
Although the view of Jesus having migrated to India has also been researched in the publications of independent historians
with no affiliation to the movement, the Ahmadiyya Movement are the only religious organization to adopt these views as
a characteristic of their faith. The general notion of Jesus in India is older than the foundation of the movement, and is
discussed at length by Grönbold and Klatt.
The movement also interprets the second coming of Christ prophesied in various religious texts would be that of a person
"similar to Jesus" (mathīl-i ʿIsā). Thus, Ahmadi's consider that the founder of the movement and his prophetical character
and teachings were representative of Jesus and subsequently a fulfillment of this prophecy.
Judaism rejects the idea of Jesus being God, or a person of a Trinity, or a mediator to God. 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. According to Jewish tradition, there were no more prophets after Malachi, who lived
centuries before Jesus and delivered his prophesies about 420 BC/BCE. 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 Jesus
The Mishneh Torah (an authoritative work of Jewish law) states in Hilkhot Melakhim 11:10–12 that Jesus is a "stumbling
block" who makes "the majority of the world err to serve a divinity besides God". According to Conservative Judaism, Jews
who believe Jesus is the Messiah have "crossed the line out of the Jewish community". 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".
The Bahá'í Faith, founded in 19th-century Persia, considers Jesus, along with Muhammad, the Buddha, Krishna, and
Zoroaster, and other messengers of the great religions of the world to be Manifestations of God (or prophets), with both
human and divine stations.
God is one and has manifested himself to humanity through several historic Messengers. Bahá'ís refer to this concept as
Progressive Revelation, which means that God's will is revealed to mankind progressively as mankind matures and is better
able to comprehend the purpose of God in creating humanity. In this view, God's word is revealed through a series of
messengers: Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Bahá'u'lláh (the founder of the Bahá'í Faith) among them. In the Book of Certitude,
Bahá'u'lláh claims that these messengers have a two natures: divine and human. Examining their divine nature, they are
more or less the same being. However, when examining their human nature, they are individual, with distinct personality.
For example, when Jesus says "I and my Father are one", Bahá'ís take this quite literally, but specifically with respect to
his nature as a Manifestation. When Jesus conversely stated "...And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne
witness of me", Bahá'ís see this as a simple reference to the individuality of Jesus. This divine nature, according to
Bahá'u'lláh, means that any Manifestation of God can be said to be the return of a previous Manifestation, though Bahá'ís
also believe that some Manifestations with specific missions return with a "new name" and a different, or expanded
purpose. Bahá'ís believe that Bahá'u'lláh is, in both respects, the return of Jesus.
Buddhists' views of Jesus differ. Some Buddhists, including Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama regard Jesus as a
bodhisattva who dedicated his life to the welfare of human beings. The 14th century Zen master Gasan Jōseki indicated
that the sayings of Jesus in the Gospels were written by an enlightened man.
Mandaeanism, a very small Mideastern, Gnostic sect that reveres John the Baptist as God's greatest prophet, regards Jesus
as a false prophet of the false Jewish god of the Old Testament, Adonai, and likewise rejects Abraham, Moses, and
Manichaeism accepted Jesus as a prophet, along with Gautama Buddha and Zoroaster.
The New Age movement entertains a wide variety of views on Jesus. The creators of A Course In Miracles claim to trance-
channel his spirit. However, the New Age movement generally teaches that Christhood is something that all may attain.
Theosophists, from whom many New Age teachings originated (a Theosophist named Alice A. Bailey invented the term New
Age), refer to Jesus of Nazareth as the Master Jesus and believe he had previous incarnations.
Many writers emphasize Jesus' moral teachings. Garry Wills argues that Jesus' ethics are distinct from those usually taught
by Christianity. The Jesus Seminar portrays Jesus as an itinerant preacher who taught peace and love, rights for women
and respect for children, and who spoke out against the hypocrisy of religious leaders and the rich. Thomas Jefferson, one
of the Founding Fathers of the United States and a deist, created the Jefferson Bible entitled "The Life and Morals of Jesus
of Nazareth" that included only Jesus' ethical teachings because he did not believe in Jesus' divinity or any of the other
supernatural aspects of the Bible.
Shroud of Turin which some believe shows the face of Jesus at the time of his burialFurther information: Images of Jesus,
Cultural depictions of Jesus, and Anno Domini
This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Please improve this section if you can. (February
According to Christian interpretations of the Bible, the theme of Jesus' teachings was that of repentance, unconditional
love,[Jn. 13:34–35] forgiveness of sin, grace, and the coming of the Kingdom of God. Starting as a small Jewish sect,
Christianity developed into a religion clearly distinct from Judaism several decades after Jesus' death. Christianity spread
throughout the Roman Empire under a version known as Nicene Christianity and became the state religion under Theodosius
I. Over the centuries, it spread to most of Europe, and around the world.
His teachings 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. Thomas Jefferson considered Jesus' teachings to be "the most sublime
and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man".
Concept of God-
Jesus presented a view of God as more lovingly parental, merciful, and more forgiving, and the growth of a belief in a
blissful afterlife and in the resurrection of the dead.
The Church Fathers of the early centuries further defined Jesus' identity as fully divine, as god incarnate. Ancient and
medieval thinkers, such as Augustine of Hippo, further defined Jesus' divine and human natures. Enlightenment and
Reformation theologians concerned themselves less with defining Jesus' identity as with understanding his work in
In the 1800s, German scholars questioned Jesus' miracles and some, such as David Strauss, portrayed him as merely a man,
hence incapable of providing one's eternal salvation. C. S. Lewis and Pope John Paul II have defended the Jesus of faith
against historical critics.
Salvation and damnation-
Paul of Tarsus, in his influential epistles, which were the earliest writings of the New Testament, espoused that salvation
was based on Jesus alone, acknowledging the positive value of the Jewish Law but considering it unnecessary to salvation.
Jesus' followers developed a belief in eternal damnation not found in Judaism.
Art and literature-
Jesus has been a popular subject in drawing, painting, and sculpture. He is popularly depicted as having long brown hair
and a full beard, wearing robes. He is often portrayed crucified and wearing a crown of thorns, such as on a crucifix.
Pictures of the resurrected Jesus has the wounds he suffered on the cross. He appears as the Christ Child in Christmas
nativity scenes. He has been portrayed on stage and in films in many different ways, both serious and humorous.
The figure of Jesus features prominently in art and literature. A number of popular novels, such as The Da Vinci Code, have
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 a few items purported to be relics of Jesus, of which the most famous are the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium
Although Jesus was a Jew as were the first Christians, some anti-Judaic attitudes started to develop even before the end of
the first century. For some Jews, the legacy of Jesus has been a history of Christian antisemitism, even though there is
evidence of continued Jewish-Christian interaction since the early Church, although in the wake of the Holocaust many
Christian groups have gone to considerable lengths to reconcile with Jews and to promote interfaith dialogue and mutual
Christianity has often been linked to European colonialism. Others have argued that through Bartolomé de las Casas's
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.