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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Q 1: What should this article be named?
To balance all religious denominations this was discussed on this talk page and it was accepted as early as 2004 that Jesus, rather than Jesus Christ, is acceptable as the article title. The title Christ for Jesus is used by Christians, but not by Jews and Muslims. Hence it should not be used in this general, overview article. Similarly in English usage the Arabic Isa and Hebrew Yeshua are less general than Jesus, and cannot be used as titles for this article per WP:Commonname.
Q 2: Why does this article use the BC/AD format for dates?
The use of AD, CE or AD/CE was discussed on the article talk page for a few years. The article started out with BC/AD but the combined format AD/CE was then used for some time as a compromise, but was the subject of ongoing discussion, e.g. see the 2008 discussion, the 2011 discussion and the 2012 discussion, among others. In April 2013 a formal request for comment was issued and a number of users commented. In May 2013 the discussion ended and the consensus of the request for comment was to use the BC/AD format.
Q 3: Did Jesus exist?
Based on a preponderance of sources, this article is generally written as if he did. A more thorough discussion of the evidence establishing Jesus' historicity can be found at Historicity of Jesus and detailed criticism of the non-historicity position can be found at Christ myth theory. See the policy on the issue for more information.
Q 3a: Is "virtually all scholars" a term that can be used in Wikipedia?
The issue was discussed on the talk page:
Q 3b: What about asking on the reliability noticeboard?
Yes, people involved in the page can discuss matters, but an independent opinion from the reliable source noticeboard can further clarify and confirm the sources. An outside opinion was requested on the noticeboard. The outside opinion there (by user:DGG) stated that the issue has been discussed there many times and that the statement in the article (that virtually all scholars of antiquity hold that Jesus existed) represents the academic consensus.
Q 3c: What about the books that claim Jesus never existed?
The internet includes some such lists, and they have been discussed at length on the talk page, e.g. a list of over 20 such books was addressed in this talk page discussion. The list came from a non-WP:RS website and once it was analyzed it became clear that:
  • Most of the authors on the list were not scholars in the field, and included an attorney, an accountant, a land surveyor, a film-maker, as well as a number of amateurs whose actual profession was less than clear, whose books were self-published and failed the WP:RS requirements. Some of the non-self-published authors on the list were found to just write popular books, have no academic position and not scholars, e.g. Christopher Hitchens.
  • Some of the books on the list did not even deny the existence of Jesus, e.g. Burton Mack (who is a scholar) holds that Jesus existed but his death was not due to his challenge to Jewish authority, etc. Finkelstein and Silberman's work is about the Old Testament and not really related to Jesus. Tom Harpur holds that Jesus existed but mythical stories were later added to the gospel narratives about him.
The analysis of the list thus indirectly shed light on the scarcity of scholars who deny the existence of Jesus.
Q 3d: Do we have to survey the scholars ourselves?
The formal Wikipedia guidelines require us not to do our own survey. The Wikipedia guideline WP:RS/AC specifically states: "The statement that all or most scientists or scholars hold a certain view requires reliable sourcing that directly says that all or most scientists or scholars hold that view." Given that the guideline then states: "statement in Wikipedia that academic consensus exists on a topic must be sourced rather than being based on the opinion or assessment of editors." we should not rely on our own surveys but quote a scholar who states the "academic consensus".
Q 3e: Why even mention the existence of Jesus in the article lead?
A: This was discussed on the talk page. Although scholars at large see existence as a given, there are some self-published, non-scholarly books which question it, and hence non-scholars who read this article need to to have that issue clarified. And note that the statements regarding existence and other attributes need to be kept separate and stating that "Virtually all scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus was from Galilee" would not be accurate, because scholarly agreement on existence is much stronger than on other items.
Q 4: Are the scholars who study Jesus all Christian?
No. According to Bart D. Ehrman in How Jesus Became God (ISBN: 978-0-06-177818-6, page 187), "most New Testament scholars are themselves Christian". However, scholars of many faiths have studied Jesus. There are 3 aspects to this question:
  • Some of the most respected late 20th century scholars involved in the study of the historical Jesus, e.g. Amy-Jill Levine, Geza Vermes, Paula Fredriksen, etc. are Jewish. This trend is discussed in the 2012 book Soundings in the Religion of Jesus: Perspectives and Methods in Jewish and Christian Scholarship by Bruce Chilton Anthony Le Donne and Jacob Neusner (ISBN 0800698010 page 132). While much of the older research in the 1950-1970 time frame may have involved Christian scholars (mostly in Europe) the 1980s saw an international effect and since then Jewish scholars have brought their knowledge of the field and made significant contributions. And one should note that the book is coauthored by the likes of Chilton and Neusner with quite different backgrounds. Similarly one of the main books in the field "The Historical Jesus in Context by Amy-Jill Levine, Dale C. Allison Jr., John Dominic Crossan 2006 ISBN 0691009929" is jointly edited by scholars with quite different backgrounds. In the late 20th and the 21st century Jewish, Christian and secular agnostic scholars have widely cooperated in research. The Muslim Reza Aslan wrote the #1 Bestseller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.
  • Regarding the existence of a historical Jesus, the article lead quotes Ehrman who is an agnostic and Price who is an atheist. Moreover, G. A. Wells who was widely accepted as the leader of the non-existence movement in the 20th century, abandoned that position and now accepts that the Q source refers to "a preacher" on whom parts of the gospels were based - although he believes that the supernatural claims were just stories that were then attributed to that preacher. That is reflected in his 2004 book "Can we Trust the New Testament", pages 49-50. While scholars continue to debate the historicity of specific gospel narratives, the agreement on the existence of Jesus is quite global.
  • Finally, Wikipedia policies do not prohibit Buddhist scholars as sources on the history of Buddhism, Jewish scholars on Judaism, or Muslim scholars as sources on the history of Islam provided they are respected scholars whose works meet the general WP:RS requirements in terms of publisher reputation, etc.
Q 5: Why are some historical facts stated to be less certain than others?
The difference is "historically certain" versus "historically probable" and "historically plausible". There are a number of subtle issues and this is a somewhat complicated topic, although it may seem simple at first:
  • Hardly any scholars dispute the existence of Jesus or his crucifixion.
  • A large majority of scholars agree that he debated the authorities and had "followers" - some scholars say there was a hierarchy among the followers, a few think it was a flat organization.
  • More scholars think he performed some healings (given that Rabbinic sources criticize him for that etc., among other reasons) than those who say he never did, but less agreement on than the debates with authorities, etc.
As the article states Amy-Jill Levine summarized the situation by stating: "Most scholars agree that Jesus was baptized by John, debated with fellow Jews on how best to live according to God's will, engaged in healings and exorcisms, taught in parables, gathered male and female followers in Galilee, went to Jerusalem, and was crucified by Roman soldiers during the governorship of Pontius Pilate." In that statement Levine chose her words very carefully. If she had said "disciples" instead of followers there would have been serious objections from other scholars, if she had said "called" instead of "gathered", there would have also been objections in that some scholars hold that Jesus preached equally to all, never imposed a hierarchy among his followers, etc. Scholars have very specific positions and the strength of the consensus among them can vary by changing just one word, e.g. follower to disciple or apostle, etc.
Q 6: Why is the info box so brief?
The infobox is intended to give a summary of the essential pieces of information, and not be a place to discuss issues in any detail. So it has been kept brief, and to the point, based on the issues discussed below.
Q 6a: Was Jesus Jewish?
Yes, as mentioned in the article, but not in the infobox. pump (policy)/Archive 126#RfC: Religion in biographical infoboxes An RfC at the Village Pump says to include religion in the infobox only if it's directly related to the subject's notability and there's consensus. Some editors want to include his religion in the infobox and others do not. With no consensus, the default is to leave the religion out of the box.
Q 6b: Why is the birthplace not mentioned in the infobox?
The question came up in this discussion and there is no solid scholarly agreement on Bethlehem, so the infobox does not address that.
Q 7: Why is there no discussion of the legacy/impact of Jesus?
That issue is inherently controversial, and has been discussed on the talk page for many years, e.g. see the 2006 discussion, the June 2010 discussion, the Nov 2010 discussion, etc. One user commented that it would turn out to be a discussion of the "impact of Christianity" in the end; because all impact was through the spread of Christianity in any case. So it has been left out due to those discussions.
Q 8: Why is there no discussion of Christian denominational differences?
Christianity includes a large number of denominations, and their differences can be diverse. Some denominations do not have a central teaching office and it is quite hard to characterize and categorize these issues without a long discussion that will exceed the length limits imposed by WP:Length on articles. The discussion of the theological variations among the multitude of Christian denominations is beyond the scope of this article, as in this talk page discussion. Hence the majority and common views are briefly sketched and hyper-links are provided to other articles that deal with the theological differences among Christians.
Q 9: What is the correct possessive of Jesus?
This article uses the apostrophe-only possessive: Jesus', not Jesus's. Do not change usage within quotes. That was decided in this discussion.
Featured articleJesus is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophyThis article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on December 25, 2013.
Article milestones
January 17, 2004Featured article candidateNot promoted
June 2, 2004Featured article candidateNot promoted
August 3, 2004Featured article candidateNot promoted
November 2, 2004Featured article candidateNot promoted
May 3, 2005Articles for deletionKept
October 6, 2005Peer reviewReviewed
December 15, 2005Featured article candidateNot promoted
April 14, 2006Peer reviewReviewed
November 27, 2006Peer reviewReviewed
April 21, 2007Featured article candidateNot promoted
August 21, 2007WikiProject A-class reviewApproved
July 12, 2009Good article reassessmentDelisted
May 5, 2013Good article nomineeListed
May 28, 2013Guild of Copy EditorsCopyedited
August 15, 2013Featured article candidatePromoted
Current status: Featured article

The name[edit]

(non-admin closure) no change to content is being proposed, no RS have been brought to support the (nonexistent) content proposal. WP:NOTFORUM Jytdog (talk) 23:44, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Among English-speaking Christians, the name "Jesus" is often used to refer to God, which is to say the spirit of Christ, or the union of both God and Jesus, as such as there is the one represents for the other. Presumably its the same with the use of the name Jesus in other languages. -Inowen (nlfte) 07:23, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

@Inowen: Regardless of how the name "Jesus" is colloquially used in some present-day Christian circles, in traditional, orthodox Christian theology, Jesus has always been regarded as separate and distinct from God the Father. There were multiple controversies regarding the exact relationship between Jesus and God the Father in the second, third, fourth, and fifth centuries. The view that sees Jesus and God the Father as the same is known as Modalistic Monarchianism and was declared to be heretical. A main argument against it is the fact that, throughout the New Testament, Jesus prays to God the Father, so, if Jesus and God the Father are the same, who is he praying to? Himself? Jesus also frequently refers to God the Father in the gospels in ways that clearly seem to imply that He is a separate entity. Another problem is that Modalistic Monarchianism inherently implies Patripassianism, which is a rather disturbing implication that most Christians, especially in antiquity, were rather eager to circumvent. --Katolophyromai (talk) 04:56, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
Honoring the basic fact as you state that God the Father is God, and Jesus his Son is a separate being, "I and the Father speak as one" has theological meaning, where the Son represents for the Father, and the Father for the Son. This is an old Jewish custom when there is business to be conducted. -Inowen (nlfte) 22:56, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
@Inowen: All Wikipedia does is cite, summarize, and paraphrase professionally-published mainstream academic or journalistic sources, without commentary. We don't use original research. Ian.thomson (talk) 22:59, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
This is not original research. This is basic Christian theology. God himself is a 'man from another place' and has a quantum body which is not human, made Jesus through parthenogenisis to prove his existence, and then Father and Son together represent for each other to bring Man to a realization of the Truth, and to a new age where love and harmony reign on Earth. -Inowen (nlfte) 23:06, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
Uh-huh. Professionally-published mainstream academic or journalistic sources that summarize Christian doctrine (that is, the stated beliefs of a plurality of Christians or Christian groups; not "the truth") that way? Ian.thomson (talk) 23:13, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) @Inowen: I do not know exactly what you are trying to get at. If you are trying to argue for a new conception of the relationship between God the Father and Jesus, then, as Ian.thomson has correctly pointed out, I must remind you that Wikipedia is not a theological journal; we are an encyclopedia and we do not publish original ideas. If, however, you are merely confused about what the traditional Christian teaching is on this matter and asking for clarification, then I have posted a diagram illustrating it at right. Hopefully that will adequately explain what most Christians have historically believed and what many continue to believe. Most Christians generally regard Jesus as the human incarnation of God the Son, who is conceived as one of three hypostases within the Godhead, alongside God the Father and the Holy Spirit. --Katolophyromai (talk) 23:16, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
No, its just that the usage of the name "Jesus" has a Trinitarian meaning, meaning not exactly just Jesus himself. -Inowen (nlfte) 23:36, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
That seriously reminds me of something I read where someone argued that the works of William Shakespeare were not written by William Shakespeare, but by someone named William Shakespeare. Ian.thomson (talk) 23:38, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) @Inowen: The name "Jesus" refers to the person Jesus. It can also sometimes be used to refer to God the Son, although the correctness of that usage is debatable. It certainly does not apply to the entire Godhead. In any case, I think we are clearly verging off into WP:OR territory here. --Katolophyromai (talk) 23:47, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

This close of discussion while discussion is ongoing is improper. -Inowen (nlfte) 03:48, 12 September 2018 (UTC)

Read the closing summary: no, it's not. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 04:09, 12 September 2018 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 5 October 2018[edit]

Change Birthdate to 0Ad Dipper6603 (talk) 21:32, 5 October 2018 (UTC)

  • Why? Drmies (talk) 21:33, 5 October 2018 (UTC)
  • There was no 0AD. O3000 (talk) 21:36, 5 October 2018 (UTC)
BTW, if you are interested in the concept (or non-concept) of zero in various ancient cultures, or the history of calendars, feel free to investigate. The answers lay therein. O3000 (talk) 01:36, 6 October 2018 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 11 October 2018[edit]

For the article on Jesus "The Nicene Creed asserts that Jesus will judge the living and the dead[33] either before or after their bodily resurrection,[34][35][36] an event tied to the Second Coming of Jesus in Christian eschatology.[37]"

Request that the preceding sentence be altered to "and the dead before and/or after" etc. Some denominations do not hold this view, but Roman Catholics believe that there are 2 judgments; the particular judgment immediately after a person's death, and the general judgment at the second coming when resurrection of the body would occur. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:548:c101:edbb:5c22:a9e2:439d:ff4e (talk) 19:55, 11 October 2018‎

Not done This needs a reliable source showing that some Christians believe in two judgements. If you find one, feel free to post again and I'll happily make the change. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 20:21, 11 October 2018 (UTC)

Update to introduction[edit]

I think that the introduction paragraph should be updated to include the fact that Muslims believe that Jesus is a Prophet/messenger of God. This seems appropriate as the introduction paragraph states the Christian view on Jesus, but does not explain the Muslim view of him. Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? Best, Snowsky Mountain (talk) 19:11, 25 October 2018 (UTC)

It already is. Read the final paragraph of the lede (the text before the table of contents). ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:42, 25 October 2018 (UTC)
What I'm proposing is adding it to the end of the first paragraph. The way it is right now, the introduction solely focuses on the Christian view of Jesus, and just leaves non-Christian views of him to the last paragraph of the introduction. In my opinion, adding this information to the end of the first paragraph would balance out the introduction a bit more. (For example, maybe something like, ",while Muslims believe he is a prophet of God" could be added to the end of the first sentence.) Snowsky Mountain (talk) 12:43, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
I agree. But, it's not going to happen. O3000 (talk) 12:47, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
The way it is right now, the introduction solely focuses on the Christian view of Jesus Well, considering that Jesus is a minor figure at best in other religions, but THE central figure of Christianity (which is even named after him), that's to be expected. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:39, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
He is arguably a major figure in Islam as well -- there's even a Wikipedia page dedicated to that (Jesus in Islam). Snowsky Mountain (talk) 13:46, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Okay, but is he the central figure in Islam? ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:48, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
They consider him the penultimate prophet. O3000 (talk) 13:50, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Right, but what I'm asking is if he is as prominent and important in Islam as in Christianity. Because if not, then it makes more sense to introduce him in the context of Christianity. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:59, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Well, our article says Jesus is the most mentioned person in the Quran by reference. They revere him as a messenger of Allah. But, there are many revered folk in the Bible and Quran, starting with Abraham. And there are Christians that do not believe Jesus is godlike. I also think that the Quran's early and later chapters change in nature, much like the old and new testaments, due to the appearance of Jesus. But, that's OR. I have no dog in this fight as I’m nontheist. I'm just uncomfortable with one religion claiming "ownership" over one religious figure revered by multiple religions. O3000 (talk) 14:22, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
What I'm getting at is that Jesus is most closely associated with Christianity and most important to Christianity. So introducing him in the context of Christianity makes sense.
That being said, I wouldn't object to something like "Jesus is the central figure of Christianity and a major or minor figure in other Abrahamic religions." which then goes on to only talk about Christianity for the rest of the paragraph, then moves on to the existing second-through-last paragraphs. So I'm okay with a passing mention, but I think trying to emphasize his role in other religions is highly undue for the lede. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 14:46, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
What other Abrahamic religion than Islam (and Christian offshoots) is he important to, though? He isn't covered by Judaism. Not taking a stand here, just questioning the wording. FunkMonk (talk) 14:56, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Ahh, as far as Judiasm goes, there’s Jews for Jesus. They have a building not one mile from me. There are so many variations on religion. O3000 (talk) 15:06, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
We both live in a majority Christian country. So, it certainly appears to us that Jesus is most closely associated with Christianity. And perhaps that’s true. I wonder what someone living in a majority Muslim, Rastafari or Bahá'í area thinks. Rastafarians believe Haile Selassie is Jesus. But, I’m OK with your wording. O3000 (talk) 15:02, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
This has been discussed before and decided that the role of Jesus in Islam should be discussed in the last paragraph of the lead, not the first.Smeat75 (talk) 15:05, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
That's why I started by saying it's not going to happen. These discussions don't work in this article. O3000 (talk) 15:08, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
I actually used to work in a predominantly Muslim country, and from what little discussion of Jesus there was, he was associated with Christianity and Americans. The same way we associate Abraham with Judaism, even though he plays a role in Christianity, as well. I gotta be honest though, we never much talked about religion. It was just not a smart idea for anyone to get real theological at that time. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:15, 26 October 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, in ten minutes, I can walk to churches, a mosque, Jewish temples, a Shinto shrine, a Buddhist temple, and the Kabbalah Centre. Another 15 minutes to a Scientology church. But, NYers don’t talk about religion. O3000 (talk) 15:30, 26 October 2018 (UTC)