Portal:Jesus

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Introduction

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Jesus (c. 4 BC – c. AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity, and is widely described as the most influential person in history. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah (Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament.


Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed historically, although the quest for the historical Jesus has produced little agreement on the historical reliability of the Gospels and on how closely the Jesus portrayed in the Bible reflects the historical Jesus. Jesus was a Galilean Jew who was baptized by John the Baptist and began his own ministry. He preached orally and was often referred to as "rabbi". Jesus debated with fellow Jews on how to best follow God, engaged in healings, taught in parables and gathered followers. He was arrested and tried by the Jewish authorities, turned over to the Roman government, and crucified on the order of Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect. After his death, his followers believed he rose from the dead, and the community they formed eventually became the early Church.

Selected general articles

  • This is a bibliography of works with information or interpretations of the life and teachings of Jesus. The list is grouped by date, and sorted within each group (except for the very earliest works) alphabetically by name of author.

    Jesus of Nazareth (/ˈzəs/; 7–2 BC/BCE to 30–36 AD/CE), commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity. Most Christian denominations Read more...
  • 16th-century Italian cycle in fresco with 21 scenes from Annunciation to Resurrection: Top row: Annunciation, Nativity, Visit of the Three Magi, Flight to Egypt, Baptism of Christ, Raising of Lazarus, Entry to Jerusalem, Last Supper. Middle row: Washing of feet, Agony in the Garden, Arrest of Christ, Trial before the Sanhedrin, Trial before Pilate, Flagellation. Bottom row: Ecce homo, Carrying the cross, Christ falls, Crucifixion, Deposition from the cross, Harrowing of Hell, Resurrection.


    The Life of Christ as a narrative cycle in Christian art comprises a number of different subjects narrating the events from the life of Jesus on earth. They are distinguished from the many other subjects in art showing the eternal life of Christ, such as Christ in Majesty, and also many types of portrait or devotional subjects without a narrative element.
    They are often grouped in series or cycles of works in a variety of media, from book illustrations to large cycles of wall paintings, and most of the subjects forming the narrative cycles have also been the subjects of individual works, though with greatly varying frequency. By around 1000, the choice of scenes for the remainder of the Middle Ages became largely settled in the Western and Eastern churches, and was mainly based on the major feasts celebrated in the church calendars. Read more...
  • Depiction of Jesus as a young Jew by Rembrandt

    There are several passages in the Talmud which are believed by some scholars to be references to Jesus. The name used in the Talmud is "Yeshu", the Aramaic vocalization (though not spelling) of the Hebrew name Yeshua.

    The identification of Yeshu as Jesus is problematic. For example, the Talmud mentions Yeshu ben Pandera/ben Stada's stepfather, Pappos ben Yehuda, speaking with Rabbi Akiva, who was executed at the culmination of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 CE. Furthermore, Yeshu the Pharisee student is described as being a student of the second-century BCE nasi Joshua ben Perachiah, as well as being among the exiled Pharisees returning to Israel following their persecution by John Hyrcanus, an event which occurred in 74 BC. Additionally, Yeshu the sorcerer was executed by the royal government which lost legal authority in 63 BC. These events would place the lifetime of either Yeshu decades before or after the birth and death of Jesus. Still, there are numerous other passages pertaining to an individual named "Yeshu" that either don't provide a specific time period or else specify a time where it is reasonable to assume mentioning of Jesus would even be possible (take for example a notable passage, Gittin 57a mentioning the nobleman Onkelos conjuring the tormented spirit of "Yeshu" – Onkelos lived more than a century after Jesus, thus making it possible the Yeshu mentioned could indeed be Jesus, though the likelihood of this is still questionable) still opening the possibility that whichever Yeshu mentioned might be Jesus. Read more...
  • Jesus' ascension to heaven depicted by John Singleton Copley, 1775

    The ascension of Jesus (anglicized from the Vulgate Latin Acts 1:9-11 section title: Ascensio Iesu) is the departure of Christ from Earth into the presence of God.
    The biblical narrative in Chapter 1 of the Acts of the Apostles takes place 40 days after the resurrection: Jesus is taken up from the disciples in their sight, a cloud hides him from view, and two men in white appear to tell them that he will return "in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." In the Christian tradition, reflected in the major Christian creeds and confessional statements, the ascension is connected with the exaltation of Jesus, meaning that through his ascension, Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God: "He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty." In modern times the Ascension is seen less as the climax of the mystery of Christ than as "something of an embarrassment", in the words of McGill University's Douglas Farrow.

    In Christian art, the ascending Jesus is often shown blessing an earthly group below him, signifying the entire Church. The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, always a Thursday; the Orthodox tradition has a different calendar up to a month later than in the Western tradition, and while the Anglican communion continues to observe the feast, most Protestant churches have abandoned the observance. Read more...
  • The term historical Jesus refers to attempts to reconstruct the life and teachings of Jesus by critical historical methods, in contrast to Christological definitions (the Christ of Christianity) and other Christian accounts of Jesus (the Christ of faith). It also considers the historical and cultural context in which Jesus lived.

    Virtually all scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed. Reconstructions of the historical Jesus are based on the Pauline epistles and the Gospels, while several non-Biblical sources also bear witness to the historical existence of Jesus. Since the 18th century, three separate scholarly quests for the historical Jesus have taken place, each with distinct characteristics and developing new and different research criteria. Read more...
  • Greek icon of Second Coming, c.1700

    The Second Coming (sometimes called the Second Advent or the Parousia) is a Christian and Islamic belief regarding the future (or past) return of Jesus after his ascension to heaven about two thousand years ago. The idea is based on messianic prophecies and is part of most Christian eschatologies.

    Views about the nature of Jesus's Second Coming vary among Christian denominations and among individual Christians. Read more...
  • The Gospel According to Mark (Greek: Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μᾶρκον, translit. Euangélion katà Mârkon) is one of the four canonical gospels and one of the three synoptic gospels. It tells of the ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John the Baptist to his death and burial and the discovery of the empty tomb – there is no genealogy of Jesus or birth narrative, nor, in the original ending at chapter 16, any post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. It portrays Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, a healer, and a miracle worker. Jesus is also the Son of God, but he keeps his identity secret (the Messianic Secret), concealing it in parables so that even most of the disciples fail to understand. All this is in keeping with prophecy, which foretold the fate of the messiah as suffering servant. The gospel ends, in its original version, with the discovery of the empty tomb, a promise to meet again in Galilee, and an unheeded instruction to spread the good news of the resurrection.

    Mark probably dates from AD 66–70. Most scholars reject the tradition which ascribes it to John Mark, the companion of the apostle Peter, and regard it (and the other gospels) as anonymous, the work of an unknown author working with various sources including collections of miracle stories, controversy stories, parables, and a passion narrative. Read more...
  • Gospel originally meant the Christian message itself, but in the 2nd century it came to be used for the books in which the message was set out. The four canonical gospelsMatthew, Mark, Luke and John — were probably written between AD 66 and 110, building on older sources and traditions, and each gospel has its own distinctive understanding of Jesus and his divine role. All four are anonymous (the modern names were added in the 2nd century), and it is almost certain that none were written by an eyewitness. They are the main source of information on the life of Jesus as searched for in the quest for the historical Jesus. Modern scholars are cautious of relying on them unquestioningly, but critical study attempts to distinguish the original ideas of Jesus from those of the later authors. Many non-canonical gospels were also written, all later than the four, and all, like them, advocating the particular theological views of their authors. Read more...
  • The Maestà by Duccio, (1310) depicting the life of Christ, with 26 central scenes devoted to the Passion and Resurrection.

    The four canonical gospels of the New Testament are the primary sources of information for the narrative of the life of Jesus. However, other parts of the New Testament, such as the Pauline epistles which were likely written within 20–30 years of each other, also include references to key episodes in his life such as the Last Supper. And the Acts of the Apostles (1:1–11) says more about the Ascension episode than the canonical gospels. Read more...
  • The religious perspectives on Jesus vary among world religions. Jesus' teachings and the retelling of his life story have significantly influenced the course of human history, and have directly or indirectly affected the lives of billions of people, even non-Christians. He is considered to be the most influential person to have ever lived by many, finding a significant place in numerous cultural contexts.

    Christianity teaches that Jesus is the Messiah (Christ) foretold in the Old Testament and the Son of God. Christians believe that through his death and resurrection, humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life. These teachings emphasize that as the willing Lamb of God, Jesus chose to suffer in Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of his Father, as an "agent and servant of God". Christians view Jesus as a role model, whose God-focused life believers are encouraged to imitate. Read more...
  • The Gospel of John (Greek: Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Ἰωάννην, translit. Euangélion katà Iōánnēn) is the fourth of the canonical gospels. The work is anonymous, although it identifies an unnamed "disciple whom Jesus loved" as the source of its traditions. It is closely related in style and content to the three Johannine epistles, and most scholars treat the four books, along with the Book of Revelation, as a single corpus of Johannine literature, albeit not from the same author.

    The discourses contained in this gospel seem to be concerned with issues of the church–synagogue debate at the time of composition. It is notable that in John, the community appears to define itself primarily in contrast to Judaism, rather than as part of a wider Christian community. Though Christianity started as a movement within Judaism, it gradually separated from Judaism because of mutual opposition between the two religions. Read more...
  • A page from a 1466 copy of Antiquities of the Jews

    The extant manuscripts of the writings of the first-century Romano-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus include references to Jesus and the origins of Christianity. Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, written around 93–94 AD, includes two references to the biblical Jesus Christ in Books 18 and 20 and a reference to John the Baptist in Book 18. Scholarly opinion varies on the total or partial authenticity of the reference in Book 18, Chapter 3, 3 of the Antiquities, a passage that states that Jesus the Messiah was a wise teacher who was crucified by Pilate, usually called the Testimonium Flavianum. The general scholarly view is that while the Testimonium Flavianum is most likely not authentic in its entirety, it is broadly agreed upon that it originally consisted of an authentic nucleus, which was then subject to Christian interpolation and/or alteration. Although the exact nature and extent of the Christian redaction remains unclear, broad consensus exists as to what the original text of the Testimonium by Josephus would have looked like.

    Modern scholarship has largely acknowledged the authenticity of the reference in Book 20, Chapter 9, 1 of the Antiquities to "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" and considers it as having the highest level of authenticity among the references of Josephus to Christianity. Almost all modern scholars consider the reference in Book 18, Chapter 5, 2 of the Antiquities to the imprisonment and death of John the Baptist also to be authentic and not a Christian interpolation. The references found in Antiquities have no parallel texts in the other work by Josephus such as The Jewish War, written 20 years earlier, but some scholars have provided explanations for their absence. A number of variations exist between the statements by Josephus regarding the deaths of James and John the Baptist and the New Testament accounts. Scholars generally view these variations as indications that the Josephus passages are not interpolations, for a Christian interpolator would have made them correspond to the New Testament accounts, not differ from them. Read more...
  • Part of the early Byzantine Madaba Map showing Bethabara (Βέθαβαρά) on the Jordan River

    The New Testament narrative of the life of Jesus refers to a number of locations in the Holy Land and a Flight into Egypt. In these accounts the principal locations for the ministry of Jesus were Galilee and Judea, with activities also taking place in surrounding areas such as Perea and Samaria.

    Other places of interest to scholars include locations such as Caesarea Maritima where in 1961 the Pilate Stone was discovered as the only archaeological item that mentions the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, by whose order Jesus was crucified. Read more...
  • Jesus about to be struck in front of the High Priest Annas, during his Sanhedrin trial, depicted by Madrazo, 1803.

    The Humiliation of Christ is a Protestant Christian doctrine that consists of the rejection and suffering that Jesus received and accepted, according to Christian belief. Within it are included his incarnation, suffering, death, burial, and sometimes descent into hell. Read more...

  • A gospel harmony is an attempt to compile the canonical gospels of the Christian New Testament into a single account. This may take the form either of a single, merged narrative, or a tabular format with one column for each gospel, technically known as a synopsis, although the word harmony is often used for both.

    Harmonies are constructed for a variety of purposes: to provide a straightforward devotional text for parishioners, to create a readable and accessible piece of literature for the general public, to establish a scholarly chronology of events in the life of Jesus as depicted in the canonical gospels, or to better understand how the accounts relate to each other. Read more...
  • Jesus the Splendour, Adam and Eve

    Jesus the Splendour is the pre-existent aspect of Jesus in Manichaeism. He brings knowledge about the secrets of the past, the present and the future on one hand, and the ability to differentiate between good and evil towards humanity, on the other. Accordingly, it is also Jesus who frees Adam and advises him to eat from the Tree of knowledge to escape the prison of the Prince of Darkness. Read more...
  • The Gospel According to Matthew (Greek: Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μαθθαῖον, translit. Euangélion katà Maththaîon; also called the Gospel of Matthew or simply, Matthew) is the first book of the New Testament and one of the three synoptic gospels. It tells how the promised Messiah, Jesus, rejected by Israel, finally sends the disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world. Most scholars believe it was composed between AD 80 and 90, with a range of possibility between AD 70 to 110 (a pre-70 date remains a minority view). The anonymous author was probably a male Jew, standing on the margin between traditional and non-traditional Jewish values, and familiar with technical legal aspects of scripture being debated in his time. Writing in a polished Semitic "synagogue Greek", he drew on three main sources: the Gospel of Mark, the hypothetical collection of sayings known as the Q source, and material unique to his own community, called the M source or "Special Matthew".

    The divine nature of Jesus was a major issue for the Matthaean community, the crucial element separating the early Christians from their Jewish neighbors; while Mark begins with Jesus' baptism and temptations, Matthew goes back to Jesus' origins, showing him as the Son of God from his birth, the fulfillment of Old Testament messianic prophecies. The title Son of David identifies Jesus as the healing and miracle-working Messiah of Israel (it is used exclusively in relation to miracles), sent to Israel alone. As Son of Man he will return to judge the world, an expectation which his disciples recognise but of which his enemies are unaware. As Son of God he is God revealing himself through his son, and Jesus proving his sonship through his obedience and example. Read more...



  • The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Palestine, most likely between AD 30 and 33. Jesus' crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in the New Testament epistles, attested to by other ancient sources, and is established as a historical event confirmed by non-Christian sources, although there is no consensus among historians on the exact details.

    According to the canonical gospels, Jesus was arrested and tried by the Sanhedrin, and then sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally crucified by the Romans. Jesus was stripped of his clothing and offered wine mixed with myrrh or gall to drink after saying I am thirsty. He was then hung between two convicted thieves and, according to the Gospel of Mark, died some six hours later. During this time, the soldiers affixed a sign to the top of the cross stating "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" which, according to the Gospel of John, was written in three languages. They then divided his garments among themselves and cast lots for his seamless robe, according to the Gospel of John. According to the Gospel of John after Jesus' death, one soldier pierced his side with a spear to be certain that he had died, then blood and water gushed from the wound. The Bible describes seven statements that Jesus made while he was on the cross, as well as several supernatural events that occurred. Read more...
  • Gospel originally meant the Christian message itself, but in the 2nd century it came to be used for the books in which the message was set out. The four canonical gospelsMatthew, Mark, Luke and John — were probably written between AD 66 and 110, building on older sources and traditions, and each gospel has its own distinctive understanding of Jesus and his divine role. All four are anonymous (the modern names were added in the 2nd century), and it is almost certain that none were written by an eyewitness. They are the main source of information on the life of Jesus as searched for in the quest for the historical Jesus. Modern scholars are cautious of relying on them unquestioningly, but critical study attempts to distinguish the original ideas of Jesus from those of the later authors. Many non-canonical gospels were also written, all later than the four, and all, like them, advocating the particular theological views of their authors. Read more...
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