Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jesus Christ


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Jesus of Nazareth
Half-length portrait of younger man with shoulder-length hair and beard, with right hand raised over what appears to be a red flame. The upper background is gold. Around his head is a golden halo containing an equal-armed cross with three arms visible; the arms are decorated with ovals and squares.
20th-century stained glass work of Jesus at St. John the Baptist's Church in Ashfield, Australia.
Born c. 5 BC/BCE[1]
Bethlehem, Judea, Roman Empire (traditional); Nazareth, Galilee (modern critical scholarship)[2]
Died c. 30 AD/CE (aged 33-35)[3][4]
Calvary, Judea, Roman Empire (according to the New Testament, he rose on the third day after his death.)
Cause of death Crucifixion
Resting place Traditionally and temporarily, a garden tomb in Jerusalem[5]
Nationality Israelite
Ethnicity Jewish
Home town Nazareth, Galilee, Roman Empire
Parents Father: (Christian view) God through virginal conception;
(Islamic view) virginal conception; Mother: Mary;
Adoptive father: Joseph
Jesus of Nazareth (c. 5 BC/BCE – c. 30 AD/CE),[3] commonly known as Jesus Christ or simply Jesus, is the central figure of Christianity. Christians view him as the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament and as the Son of God,[6] who provided salvation and reconciliation with God to humankind by dying for their sins, then rising from the dead.[7][8]
The principal sources of information regarding Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical gospels, especially the Synoptic Gospels,[9][10] though some scholars believe apocryphal texts such as the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel according to the Hebrews are also relevant.[11] Most critical scholars in biblical studies believe that other parts of the New Testament are also useful for reconstructing Jesus' life,[12][13][14][15] 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.[16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26]
Critical Biblical scholars and historians 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.[27] Other prominent scholars, however, contend that Jesus' "Kingdom of God" meant radical personal and social transformation instead of a future apocalypse.[27]
Christians traditionally believe that Jesus was born of a virgin,[7]:529-532 performed miracles,[7]:358-359 founded the Church, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven,[7]:616-620 from which he will return.[7]:1091-1109 Most Christian scholars today present Jesus as the awaited Messiah and as God,[28] arguing that he fulfilled many Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament.[29] The majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son, of the divine Trinity. A few Christian groups, however, reject Trinitarianism, wholly or partly, believing it to be non-scriptural.[30][31][32]
Judaism rejects assertions that Jesus was the awaited Messiah, arguing that he did not fulfill the Messianic prophecies in the Tanakh.[33] In Islam, Jesus (Arabic: عيسى‎, commonly transliterated as Isa) is considered one of God's important prophets,[34][35] a bringer of scripture, and the product of a virgin birth; but did not experience a crucifixion.[36] Islam and the Baha'i Faith use the title "Messiah" for Jesus,[37][38] but do not teach that he was God incarnate.


"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)".[39][40][41] "Christ" (pronounced /ˈkraɪst/) is a title derived from the Greek Χριστός (Christós), meaning the "Anointed One", a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Messiah).[42][43]: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.


Mary and Child Jesus, La vierge aux raisins by Pierre Mignard, 1640

Possible year of birth

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.[44] The Gospel of Matthew states Jesus' birth occurred during the reign of Herod the Great, who died in 4 BC/BCE,[45] 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.[46] Most scholars generally assume a date of birth between 6 and 4 BC/BCE.[47] Other scholars assume that Jesus was born sometime between 7—2 BC/BCE and died sometime between 26—36 AD/CE.[48][49]
Christmas or Christmas Day is a holiday observed mostly on December 25 to commemorate the birth of Jesus. 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.[50] Indeed, there is no month of the year to which respectable authorities have not assigned his birth.[50]


Jesus' ministry, which according to the Gospel of Luke began when Jesus was "about 30 years of age",[Lk 3:23] followed that of John the Baptist,[51] 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.[52] 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.[53] 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

All four canonical Gospels report that Jesus was crucified during the prefecture of Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect who governed Judaea from 26 to 36 AD/CE. The late 1st century Jewish historian Josephus,[54] writing in The Antiquities of the Jews (c. 93 AD/CE), and the early 2nd century Roman historian Tacitus,[55] 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.[56]
Most Christians commemorate the crucifixion on Good Friday and celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Life and teachings as told in the Gospels

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.[57] 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).[58] 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.[59]

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.[60] The fourth canonical Gospel, John, differs greatly from these three, as do the Apocryphal gospels.
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.[61]

Character of Jesus

Each gospel portrays Jesus' life and its meaning with different emphasis.[62][63] The gospel of John is not a biography of Jesus but a theological presentation of him as the divine Logos.[64] 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.[63] Numerous scholars see the gospels as blending together to give a comprehensive picture of Jesus teaching and ministry.


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][65] 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).[66] Jesus' earthly life was the Logos incarnate.[Jn. 1:14][65]

Genealogy and family

Of the four gospels, only Matthew and Luke give accounts of Jesus' genealogy.[67][68] The accounts in the two gospels are substantially different.[69] Several explanations have been suggested (see Genealogy of Jesus). The earliest recorded explanation is in the 3rd century by Africanus, who argued that the discrepancy arose from a levirate marriage in Jesus' ancentry. Such a marriage could have resulted in one ancestor having two "fathers", one legal and the other physical, and so making two branches in the genealogy.[70] However, it has been traditional to assume that Luke's genealogy traces through Mary and Matthew's through Joseph since at least 1490.[71]
Some contemporary scholars generally view the genealogies as theological constructs.[72] 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 Murillo
Joseph, 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".[73][74][75] 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 century
While 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.[76] The main sources of Jesus himself that are available to modern scholars are the gospels.[77]
The angel Gabriel visited Mary to tell her that she was chosen to bear the Son of God.[Lk 1:26–38] Of the four Gospels, the Nativity (birth) is mentioned only in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. Both support the doctrine of the Virgin Birth in which Jesus was miraculously conceived in his mother's womb by the Holy Spirit, when his mother was still a virgin. According to these accounts, Jesus was born as Joseph and Mary, his betrothed, were visiting Bethlehem from their native Nazareth.
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").[78][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.[79] However, infancy gospels began to appear around the beginning of the 2nd century.[80]
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][43]:170 However, the Greek word used in the Gospels means "builder", which could refer to a stonemason or some other type of artisan.[81]

Baptism and temptation

Christ baptized by John the Baptist by Francesco Trevisani
All the gospels report that he had become known as a religious teacher by the time he had reached his 30's. Luke says Jesus was "about thirty years of age" when he was baptized.[Lk 3:23] 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 being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.'"[Mk 1:10–11]
Mark starts his narration with Jesus' baptism, specifying that it is a token of repentance and for forgiveness of sins.[62] Matthew omits this reference, emphasizing Jesus' superiority to John.[62][82] 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").[62]
Temptation of Christ, illustration by Ary Scheffer, 19th c.
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 Jesus.[83]
The Gospel of John does not describe Jesus' baptism,[10][84] or the subsequent Temptation, but it does attest that Jesus is the very one about whom John the Baptist 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 the Baptist.[62] 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]


In the synoptics as well as in John, Jesus has a ministry of teaching and miracles, at least part of which is in Galilee.[85] In the synoptics, Jesus speaks in parables and aphorisms, exorcises demons, champions the poor and oppressed, and teaches mainly about the Kingdom of God.[12] In John, Jesus speaks in long discourses, with himself as the theme of his teaching.[12]

Jesus' purpose

Jesus said of his purpose, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."[Jn. 10:10]
In the book of Matthew, Jesus says, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." [Mt 9:13] 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 life".[Jn. 3:16]

Duration and location

Judæa and Galilee at the time of Jesus
John 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".[86] The Synoptic Gospels suggest a span of only one year.[87][88] In the synoptics, Jesus' ministry takes place mainly in Galilee, until he travels to Jerusalem, where he cleanses the Temple and is executed.[89] In John, his ministry in and around Jerusalem is more prominently described, cleansing the temple at his ministry's beginning.[89]


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 each other.[90]
In Mark, the disciples are strangely obtuse, failing to understand Jesus' deeds and parables.[91] 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.[92]

Teachings and preachings

Sermon on the Mount,
illustration by Carl Heinrich Bloch, 19th c.
In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus speaks primarily about the Kingdom of God (or heaven).[87] In Matthew and Luke, he speaks further about morality and prayer. In John, he speaks at length about himself and his divine role.[87]
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).[93]
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.[78]
In the Synoptics, Jesus often employs parables, such as the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke) and the Parable of the Sower (all Synoptics).
His moral teachings in Matthew and Luke encourage unconditional self-sacrificing God-like love for God and for all people.[94] 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.[95]
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.[91] Matthew describes false Messiahs, disasters, tribulations, and signs in the heavens that will portend Jesus' return, which is also described as unexpected.[78]

Outreach to outsiders

Jesus with children, early 1900s Bible illustration
Table fellowship is central to Jesus' ministry in the Gospels.[14] He and his disciples eat with sinners (who neglect purity rules)[89] 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][89] 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.[89] Jesus' miracles and teachings often involve food and feasting.[14] He instructs his missionaries to eat with the people that they preach to and heal.[14] 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.[91] 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".[96] The Transfiguration is a turning point in Jesus ministry.[97] Just before it and thereafter, Jesus warns that he is to suffer, die and rise again.[97]
In Mark, Jesus' identity as the Messiah is obscured (see Messianic secret).[98] 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.[99] In John, and not in the synoptics, Jesus is outspoken about his divine identity and mission.[85] Here he punctuates his ministry with several miraculous signs of his authority.
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.[100] 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.[101]

Arrest, trial, and death

Christ Driving the Moneychangers from the Temple, illustration by Rembrandt, 1626.

In Jerusalem

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!"[102] Following his triumphal entry,[103] 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.[97][104] He prays and accepts God's will, but his chosen disciples repeatedly fall asleep on the watch.[97][104] In Luke, Jesus prays briefly at the Mount of Olives, and his disciples fall asleep out of grief.[105]
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.[65] At the Last Supper, Jesus washes the disciples' feet and there is no new covenant of bread and wine.[65] Jesus gives the farewell discourses, discussing the persecution of his followers, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and more.[65] He says a long final prayer with his disciples before heading to a garden where he knows Judas will show up.[106]
Ecce Homo (Behold the Man!) Pontius Pilate presents a scourged Jesus of Nazareth to onlookers. Illustration by Antonio Ciseri, 19th c.

Betrayal and arrest

While in the Garden, Jesus is arrested by temple guards on the orders of the Sanhedrin and the high priest, Caiaphas.[107] 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.[108] 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

[improper synthesis?]
Crucifixion, painting by D. Velázquez, 17th c.
Jesus affirms that he is the Messiah before the Sanhedrin,[Mk 14:53–65]. The Jewish leaders turn him over to Pilate for execution, but Pilate is reluctant to execute Jesus.[91] 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[91] as expressed in the Gospel of Matthew by the Jewish crowd's proclamation, “[h]is blood be upon us and on our children.”[Mt 27:24–25] Outside of the gospel, historical documentation does not corroborate this as a customary practice among the Romans or the Jewish people of Israel. 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][78] 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.[92][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.[65]


Pietà, Jesus' mother Mary holds the body of her dead son, illustration by Michelangelo, 16th c.
Christ after death,painting at Church of the Holy Sepulchre,Jerusalam
In Mark, Jesus is stripped, flogged, mocked, and crowned with thorns.[91] He is crucified between two thieves, and his cross states that he is being executed for aspiring to be the king of the Jews.[91] He begins to recite Psalm 22, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me."[91] He utters a loud cry and dies.[91] According to all four Gospels, Jesus died before late afternoon at Calvary, which was also called Golgotha. In Luke, Jesus faces his crucifixion stolidly.[109] He asks God to forgive those who are crucifying him, possibly the Romans and possibly the Jews.[92] 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.[92] 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.[65] The tearing of the temple parokhet, upon the death of Jesus, is referenced by Matthew, Mark and Luke.[110]

Resurrection and ascension

Christ en majesté, Resurrection of Jesus, illustration by Matthias Grünewald, 16th c.
The Gospels state that Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday.[111] 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.[112] 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,[113][114] 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.[115] 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.[113] 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.[113] 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.[113] 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.[113] In John, Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene and to the eleven. He demonstrates his physical reality to doubting Thomas.[62][113] Later he appears to seven disciples who are fishing, and finally talks with Peter, foretelling Peter's death[113] and assigning him the principal role as shepherd of the new community.[113][116]
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.[113] 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.[113] John implies that Jesus will return to his Father[Jn. 20:17] but doesn't describe an Ascension.[113]

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.[117] 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 YehoYahweh [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.[118] Thus, the name has been translated into English as "Joshua".[119]
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,[120] and kings[121] 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.[122]
Some have suggested that other titles applied to Jesus in the New Testament had meanings in the 1st century quite different from those meanings ascribed today.[123] 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.[123]
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][124] However, a number of New Testament scholars argue that Jesus himself made no claims to being God.[125] Most Christians identified Jesus as divine from a very early period, although holding a variety of views as to what exactly this implied.[126]

Other names and titles

"Son of David" is found elsewhere in Jewish tradition to refer to the heir to the throne.[123] "Son of God" was often used to designate a person as especially righteous.[123]
"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."

Historical views

A series of articles on
Biblical scholars have used the historical method to develop plausible reconstructions of Jesus' life.[127][128][129] Over the past two hundred years, these scholars have constructed a Jesus different in ways from the common image[vague] found in the gospels.[130][Need quotation to verify] Scholars of the "historical Jesus" distinguish their concept from the "Jesus Christ" of Christianity.[131] Other scholars, however, 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.[132][133][134]
The principal sources of information regarding Jesus' life and teachings are the four gospels. Scholars conclude the authors of the gospels wrote a few decades after Jesus' crucifixion (between 60-100AD), in some cases using sources (the author of Luke-Acts references this explicitly). A great majority of biblical scholars accept the historical existence of Jesus.[135][136][137][138][139]
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.[140] Since the end of the 18th century, scholars have examined the gospels and tried to formulate historical biographies of Jesus.[127] 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.[140]

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.[141] 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 2nd 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,[142][143] and in terms of conflicts among Jews in the context of Roman occupation.


Historians of Christianity generally describe Jesus as a healer who preached the restoration of God's kingdom[144][145][146][147][148][149][150] 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.[151][152][153] Historians are nearly unanimous in accepting Jesus' baptism as a historical event.[151]


Jewish focus - Jesus taught among fellow Jews.[154] Geza Vermes concludes that Jesus' message was exclusively for the Jews,[154] while Gerd Theissen asserts that Jesus' message included themes related to the Gentiles being welcomed into the coming Kingdom.[155]
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.[154] He consistently presented himself as Messiah/Christ - i.e. God's anointed king.
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.[156] Scholars commonly surmise that Jesus' eschatology was apocalyptic, like John's.[157]
Parables - Jesus taught in pithy parables and with striking images.[158] His teaching was marked by hyperbole and unusual twists of phrase.[154] Jesus likened the Kingdom of Heaven to small and lowly things, such as yeast or a mustard seed,[159] that have great effects. Significantly, he never described the Kingdom in military terms.[154] He used his sayings to elicit responses from the audience, engaging them in discussion.[14]
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.[154]
God as a loving father - Jesus placed a special emphasis on God as one's heavenly father.[154][158] This teaching contrasts with the more common practice of depicting God as a king or lord.[154]
Virtue of being childlike - Jesus was remarkable in stating that one must become like a child to enter the Kingdom of God.[154]
Importance of faith and prayer - Jesus identified faith or trust in God as a primary spiritual virtue.[154] Associated with this main theme, Jesus taught that one should rely on prayer and expect prayer to be effective.[154]
Healing and exorcism - Jesus taught that his healings and exorcisms indicated that a new eschatological age had arrived or was arriving.[154]


Jewish and Roman authorities in Jerusalem were wary of Galilean patriots, many of whom advocated or launched violent resistance to Roman rule.[13] The gospels demonstrate that Jesus, a charismatic leader regarded as a potential troublemaker, was executed on political charges.[13] 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.[160][161]
The Gospels report that Jesus foretold his own Passion, but the actions of the disciples suggest[dubious ] that it came as a surprise to them.[154] Vermes doubts that Jesus foretold his own crucifixion.,[154] although other scholars, such as Craig Blomberg, F. F. Bruce and Gregory Boyd, disagree.[162][163][164]

Religious groups

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.[165] After the fall of the Temple, the Pharisee outlook was established in Rabbinic Judaism. Some scholars speculate that Jesus was himself a Pharisee.[166] 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][167] 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.[89]
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.[168]
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.[169] 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."[170]
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.[171] 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.[171] The notion that Jesus himself was a Zealot does not do justice to the earliest Synoptic material describing him.[172]

Higher criticism and Christian scripture

Contemporary historians of Christianity use the historical-critical method (or higher criticism) to 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. They use standard historical methods to discern who wrote each book, where and when they were written, what sources the authors used, what the authors' agendas were.[173]
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. The books of the New Testament had mostly been written by 100 AD/CE, making them, at least the synoptic gospels, historically relevant.[174] The Gospel tradition certainly preserves several fragments of Jesus' teaching.[175] The Gospel of Mark is believed to have been written c. 70 AD/CE.[176][177][178] Matthew is placed at being sometime after this date and Luke is thought to have been written between 70 and 100 AD/CE.[179][180] According to the majority viewpoint, the gospels were written not by the evangelists identified by tradition but by non-eyewitnesses who worked with second-hand sources and who modified their accounts to suit their religious agendas.[173]
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.[181] 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".[182] Short, memorable parables and aphorisms capable of being transmitted orally are also thought more likely to be authentic.[182]
The earliest extant texts which refer to Jesus are Paul's letters (mid-1st century), which affirm Jesus' crucifixion. Keulman and Gregory hold that the Gospel of Thomas, a collection of 114 sayings of Jesus, predates the four orthodox gospels, and believe it may have been composed around mid-1st century.[183][184]
A minority of prominent scholars, such as J. A. T. Robinson, have maintained that the writers of the gospels of Matthew, Mark and John were either apostles and eyewitness to Jesus' ministry and death, or were close to those who had been.[162][163][164][164]

Textual criticism

Scholars use textual criticism to determine which variants among manuscripts is original and how much they may have changed.
Contemporary textual critic Bart D. Ehrman cites numerous places where he maintains that the gospels, and other New Testament books, were apparently altered by Christian scribes.[63]
Craig Blomberg, F. F. Bruce and Gregory Boyd view the evidence as conclusive that very few alterations were made by Christian scribes, while none of them (three or four in total) were important (see Textual Criticism).[162][163][164] According to Normal Geisler and William Nix, "The New Testament, then, has not only survived in more manuscripts than any other book from antiquity, but it has survived in a purer form than any other great book─a form that is 99.5% pure"[164]:p.367

Mythical view

Although the historicity of Jesus is accepted by almost all Biblical scholars and classical historians,[185][186][187][188][189] 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.[190]
More recently, arguments for non-historicity have been discussed by authors such as George Albert Wells and Robert M. Price, Earl Doherty, Timothy Freke, and Peter Gandy.
Classicist Michael Grant stated that standard historical criteria prevent one from rejecting the existence of a historical Jesus.[191] Professor of Divinity James Dunn describes the mythical Jesus theory as a 'thoroughly dead thesis'.[192][193][194]

Religious perspectives

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 accounts.

Christian views

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Though Christian views of Jesus vary, it is possible to describe a general majority Christian view by examining the similarities between specific Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and many Protestant doctrines found in their catechetical or confessional texts.[195] Almost all Chistian groups regard Jesus as the "Savior and Redeemer", as the Messiah (Greek: Christos; English: Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament,[196] 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,[197] which had entered human history through the sin of Adam.[198] Christians profess that Jesus suffered death by crucifixion,[199] and rose bodily from the dead in the definitive miracle that foreshadows the resurrection of humanity at the end of time,[200] when Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead,[201] resulting in either entrance into heaven or damnation.[202]
Christians profess Jesus to be the only Son of God, the Lord,[203] and the eternal Word (which is a translation of the Greek Logos),[204] who became man in the incarnation,[205] so that those who believe in him might have eternal life.[206] 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 incarnation.[207]
A nearly universal belief within Christianity is that the Godhead is triune ("Trinity"). As the ancient Athanasian Creed is worded, the Trinity is "one God" and "three persons... and yet they are not three Gods, but one God." The doctrine of the Trinity has been rejected by many non-Christians throughout its history. They teach that Jesus is a separate and distinct being from God the Father and the Holy Spirit, and that Biblical references to the Father and the Son being one do not indicate a unity of being. While most of these groups refer to themselves as Christian, they are not generally accepted by Mainline Protestants and more conservative denominations because of the extra-biblical and unorthodox teachings of these groups. Some religious groups that do not accept the doctrine of the Trinity include The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Unitarianism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals, Sabbatarian Churches of God and the Christadelphians.[208] (See also Nontrinitarianism)
Benedict XVI, in his book, Jesus of Nazareth, readily and gratefully acknowledges that, thanks to historical-critical scholarship, we know much more, today, about the different literary genres of the Bible; about the ways in which a Gospel writer's intent affected his portrait of Jesus; about the theological struggles within early Christianity that shaped a particular Christian community's memory of its Lord. The difficulty, according to Benedict XVI, is that, "amidst all the knowledge gained in the biblical dissecting room, the Jesus of the Gospels has tended to disappear, to be replaced by a given scholar's reconstruction from the bits and pieces left on the dissecting room floor."[209] And that makes what Benedict calls "intimate friendship with Jesus" much more difficult, not just for scholars, but for everyone.

Islamic views

In Islam, Jesus (Arabic: عيسى عليه السلام‎, Nabi Isa) is considered to be a Messenger of God who was sent to guide the People of Israel (banī isrā'īl) with a new scripture, the Injīl or Gospel. He is the Messiah. He is a word from Allah and a spirit from Him. He is considered honored in this world and in the Hereafter, and he is one of those brought nearest to God.
As a result, Islam teaches Muslims to love Jesus, honour him, and believe in him. In fact, no Muslim can be a Muslim unless he or she believes in Jesus.
The Qur'an, considered by Muslims to be God's final and authoritative revelation to humankind, mentions Jesus twenty-five times. It states that Jesus was born to Mary (Arabic: Maryam) as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous event which occurred by the decree of God (Arabic: Allah). To aid in his ministry to the Jewish people, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles, all by the permission of God rather than of his own power. According to the Qur'an (Koran), Jesus was neither killed nor crucified, but rather he was ascended to heaven. Islamic tradition and commentaries states that he will return to earth near the day of judgment to restore justice and defeat al-Masīḥ ad-Dajjāl ("the false messiah", also known as the Antichrist).
Mainstream Islam considers Jesus a mortal human being and a great Prophet of God, 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").[210][211] Jesus is seen in Islam as a precursor to Muhammad, and is believed by Muslims to have foretold the latter's coming.[210][212] According to the Qur'an, Jesus was born to Mary (Arabic: Maryam) as the result of virginal conception, and was given the ability to perform miracles. However, Islam rejects the Christian belief that Jesus was crucified, instead affirming the Qur'anic view 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 God. As a just ruler, Jesus will eventually die a natural death.[210]

Ahmadiyya views

The Ahmadiyya Movement considers Jesus a mortal man who died a natural death. According to the early 20th century writings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement) ,[213] 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. Jesus eventually died a natural death of old age in India – Kashmir - and is believed to be buried at Roza Bal.[214]
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,[215] 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,[216] and is discussed at length by Grönbold[217] and Klatt.[218]
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's view

Judaism holds the view 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 did.[219][clarification needed]
The Babylonian Talmud and Toledot Yeshu include stories of Yeshu יֵשׁוּ. This name is etymologically unconnected to the Hebrew or Aramaic words for Joshua, and many religious Jews read it as the acronym for Yimakh sh'mo u'shem zikhro יִּמַח שְׁמוֹ וּשֵם זִכְרוֹ (meaning "be his name and memory erased"), an expression used to describe deceased enemies.[220][221][222][223] Historians agree that these narratives do not refer to a historical Jesus. Historians disagree as to whether these stories represent a Jewish comment on and reaction against the Christian Jesus, or refer to someone unconnected to 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".
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."[Dan. 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."[Zeph. 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.[224]
According to Conservative Judaism, Jews who believe Jesus is the Messiah have "crossed the line out of the Jewish community".[225] 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".[226]

Bahá'í views

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.[227]
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",[John 10:30] 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",[John 5:36-37] 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".[Rev 3:12] and a different, or expanded purpose. Bahá'ís believe that Bahá'u'lláh is, in both respects, the return of Jesus.

Buddhist views

Buddhists' views of Jesus differ. Some Buddhists, including Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama[228] 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.[229]

Other views

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,[230] and likewise rejects Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad.
Manichaeism accepted Jesus as a prophet, along with Gautama Buddha and Zoroaster.[231]
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.[232] 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.[233] 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.

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