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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Q 1
What should this article be named?

A: 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 can not be used as titles for this article per WP:Commonname.

Q 2
Why does this article use the BC/AD format for dates?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: The issue was discussed on the talk page:

  • The term is directly used by the source in the article, and is used per the WP:RS/AC guideline to reflect the academic consensus.
Q 3b
What about asking on the reliability noticeboard?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: Yes, as mentioned in the article, but not in the infobox. 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?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: This article uses the apostrophe-only possessive: Jesus', not Jesus's. Do not change usage within quotes. That was decided in this discussion.

Featured article Jesus 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 trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on December 25, 2013.

Christocentric POV[edit]

This is a revival of a discussion in June archived for inactivity. Jesus' role as prophet, messenger, and Messiah in Islam is given nearly equal prominence to his non-role in Judaism. My good faith edits on Jesus' role as the Messiah in two similarly-sized religions should be reflected per NPOV. The current lede has a "separate but equal" vibe. Plumber (talk) 10:04, 28 August 2017 (UTC)

I agree with plumber's grievances about his edits being reverted. By not including information about Islam and Jesus in the lede, the article has a pretty clear bias towards a Christian perspective. But since those are not the only prevailing perspectives of Jesus, it pretty clearly violates NPOV, in my opinion. --Potato muffin (talk) 17:21, 28 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't mean to be rude, but I can only find two explanations for Potato muffin's comment above, either he doesn't know what "lede" means or he hasn't read it, because there is a whole paragraph in the lead "the section before the table of contents and the first heading" which includes information about Islam and Jesus.Smeat75 (talk) 17:33, 28 August 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for your support Smeat75. As the page you linked clearly states, a good lead should be about 4 paragraphs. The separate but equal status quo is six paragraphs, with my revision much closer to an ideal lead both in this regard and involving NPOV. Plumber (talk) 17:58, 28 August 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Plumber on this as well. The lede feels like it's violating NPOV by devoting equal space to Jesus in Islam and Judaism, when it makes more sense to do so with Jesus in Islam and Christianity given population numbers. ShrimpHeavenNow (talk) 20:08, 28 August 2017 (UTC)
This is a featured article, so if there were some sort of hard and fast rule about the number of paragraphs in the lead, or an obvious POV problem, it would not have achieved that status.Smeat75 (talk) 18:03, 28 August 2017 (UTC)
When I got this article to FA status a few years ago, the lede was only 4 paragraphs (see [1]). But then people kept adding stuff to the lede so it became longer. Take a look at that version. Do you like it better? --FutureTrillionaire (talk) 18:13, 28 August 2017 (UTC)
I must say I'm strongly inclined to agree with the user Plumber above. While Jesus is infinitely important in Christianity, I feel that there needs to be more focus on his role in Islam, in line with Plumber's argument. Stamboliyski (talk) 20:12, 28 August 2017 (UTC)
  • This is not a vote. I'm seeing two accounts registered to comment on this topic and now a user who, after a year of inactivity and no prior edits to a religion article, has decided to come here. Why on Earth would this issue result in behavior that looks like off-site canvassing? No comment on whether Christianity and Islam's views on Jesus should be one paragraph distinct ones, just observing something. Ian.thomson (talk) 20:20, 28 August 2017 (UTC)
Ian.thomson is right. This looks a lot like either canvassing or sockpuppetry. We have two users with brand-new accounts and a third user who has been inactive for over a year suddenly popping up to agree with a user who has strong convictions about the subject. This is definitely quite suspicious. --Katolophyromai (talk) 20:26, 28 August 2017 (UTC)
I agree. There's something very fishy going on here. ShrimpHeavenNow says in his user page that his old account is User:Beanbeanbean, whose contrib history shows that he created Plumber's talk page 10 years ago.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 20:22, 28 August 2017 (UTC)
I've seen (admittedly more malicious) accounts lumped together at SPI on more coincidental evidence than that. Ian.thomson (talk) 20:29, 28 August 2017 (UTC)
So file an SPI as per DUCK, or find a CU. But, quite correct that it doesn’t affect the argument. I still think the article has a biased emphasis. Objective3000 (talk) 00:14, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
Oof, now I feel almost offended. This is indeed not a vote. I hope you'll forgive me for taking an interest in a figure who holds a lot of importance to me, and refrain from unfounded accusations. I haven't been inactive, just dormant. I still take an active interest in topics that matter to me. Stamboliyski (talk) 00:29, 29 August 2017 (UTC)
Whoa, why was I included in this investigation? I haven't commented on this issue in months and yet I also got accused of being part of this sockpuppetry or canvassing effort. I think this looks transparently like a bad faith effort to derail from the issue and dismiss the support Plumber has had. -Hemavati (talk) 03:53, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
As an outside observer, I will comment that the timing of your diff WAS suspicious and in line with confirmed sockpuppetry/canvassing I've seen on other articles. You were absolved of any wrongdoing, so frankly I wouldn't worry about it. Heck, I've been accused of sockpuppetry and this is the only account I've had in 10+ years. Jtrevor99 (talk) 14:49, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
I have also been here for ten years, but this is the first time I have been accused of sockpuppetry. The same user who did so had previously attempted to hide the original discussion, so I am reluctant to give them the benefit of the doubt. Those in favor of making the changes originally were accused by proponents of the status quo of acting in bad faith, subjected to personal attacks ("Muslim sympathizers"), and so on; whenever the subject is brought up there is a concerted effort to derail it by one method or another. Plumber (talk) 14:32, 25 September 2017 (UTC) 14:29, 25 September 2017 (UTC)

This is not a vote; there doesn't seem to be any disagreement here about this page having a biased POV in favor of the subject's role in one religion of ~1 billion people at the expense of another with ~1 billion people. Plumber (talk) 09:44, 6 September 2017 (UTC)

Despite this consensus, the edits were reverted again without explanation. Plumber (talk) 17:16, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
I wouldn't call this a consensus considering the Sock Puppet accusations. Some of the users that discussed previously probably aren't interested in discussing this again. Best to start an RfC if you want this to move forward.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 17:35, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
File a CU or an SPI (W:DUCK) if you suspect sockpuppetry. I've never engaged in such things on a wiki and I don't plan to anytime soon. No one has raised any objections to the edits themselves. Plumber (talk) 16:50, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
"No one has raised any objections to the edits themselves." Not true, I have,several times, and as FutureTrillionaire says, there is no point in repeating the same thing over and over on a talk page, so I don't need to say I do not agree with your proposed revision more than the at least three times I have already said it. And stop edit-warring.Smeat75 (talk) 18:04, 18 September 2017 (UTC)

Sockpuppet Investigation: Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Plumber --FutureTrillionaire (talk) 20:00, 18 September 2017 (UTC)

  • No socks found. Plumber (talk) 03:17, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment I'm not entirely convinced by the simplistic ~1 billion vs. ~1 billion argument. Not saying it's entirely irrelevant, but nor do I find it to be the only aspect to take into account. There is no denying that Jesus is much more central to religion focused on him, than to one focused on Muhammad. True, Muslims consider Jesus important and hold other beliefs about him than Christians. Keep in mind, though, that Muhammad has been enormously important to the history of Christianity (both by Muslims occupying large previously Christian areas and by Christian and Muslim theological arguments). Christians believe Muhammad was a fraud, yet I would be very reluctant to suggest we give that view equal prominence in the article on Muhammad as the Muslim view. Jesus and Muhammad are, arguably, the two most important people to have lived for their role in shaping the two largest religions, and many people will have many views on them. While recognizing that fact, I still think it makes sense that the article on Jesus gives prominence to the Christian view and the article on Muhammad to the Muslim view (just a I find it logic that Moses should have a mainly Jewish perspective despite being important to both Christians and Muslims.) Jeppiz (talk) 14:24, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
  • I agree with your sentiments, which is why the revised edits still give more prominence to Christianity than Islam. The previous status quo's imbalance is such a violation of NPOV that it nearly equates Jesus' important role in Islam & his absence of a role in Judaism. This also leads to redundancy that hurts readability—instead of one sentence with the commonalities of Christian and Muslim views of Jesus (Messiah, ascension, etc.), these are segregated by paragraph. Plumber (talk) 03:17, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
    • Seems like the crux of the matter is WP:WEIGHT, and there are two opposing viewpoints: 1. NPOV requires equal treatment of Christianity and Islam in the lede due to nearly equal numbers of adherents. 2. NPOV requires greater treatment of Christianity than Islam in the lede due to the relative importance of Jesus in the two religions. NO ONE, thankfully, is arguing that Islam does not belong in the lede at all, as that would be clearly fallacious. Personally, I find 2 the more persuasive, but until editors can come to an agreement on this, this controversy will continue. I suggest a WP:DRN if it cannot be resolved here soon. Jtrevor99 (talk)
    • I agree with you that per WP:WEIGHT 2 (greater preference to Christianity) is preferable to 1 (equal treatment). When these edits were first dicussed months ago, they were more in line with 1, but we reached a compromise. Unfortunately, the compromise was continuously reverted, with those in favor of a change being met with uncivil accusations instead of factual objections. Now, after passions have cooled, there is a clear supermajority in favor of changing the status quo to a 2-based solution, because the status quo is such a severe violation of NPOV. Instead of Christianity having greater weight than Islam, as everyone here seems to agree on, the lede features Islam having slightly greater weight than Judaism (where Jesus is irrelevant entirely.) To me, the issue seems to be largely settled based on the consensus-driven discussions I have been involved with in the past — there is a supermajority in favor of a compromise, with a small minority opposing the changes. Plumber (talk) 14:22, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
    • It seems we have a consensus. Plumber (talk) 19:15, 6 October 2017 (UTC)

The compromise edit as is still seems too Christocentric. I preferred to have all Abrahamic doctrine in one paragraph, but if we keep it to multiple paragraphs as it is now, some sentences on Jesus in Islam could simply be moved up to the lead. Plumber (talk) 08:55, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

That's not a compromise edit. That's just the edit you've been trying to make for months. Much of the changes in the edit (e.g. changes to the 4th and 5th paragraph) were never discussed. Stop trying to claim there is consensus and compromise when there is none.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 13:26, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
There is a wide consensus here, which you do not support. This does not mean you can unilaterally revert the new consensus. I would welcome a further discussion on the actual points of debate, however. Plumber (talk) 14:09, 29 October 2017 (UTC)
Please provide evidence that a consensus exists above. I do not see one. Although this is not a vote, my brief (and possibly inaccurate) count shows 5 in favor of changes, 6 against, and 1 neutral. For: Plumber, Potato muffin, ShrimpHeavenNow, Stamboliyski, Objective3000. Against: Smeat75, FutureTrillionaire, Ian.thomson, Katolophyromai, Jtrevor99, Jeppiz. Neutral: Hemavati. Obviously I may be biased because it's my preferred position, but I would give greater weight to the established editors of this article. That said, I think it's the degree of changes that is under debate, and the approach you're taking. With something as sensitive as this article, it's best to draft the changes here, and come to a consensus on the actual wording/changes, rather than to just make them. THAT I would be in favor of. Jtrevor99 (talk) 19:48, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
I'm not neutral, I was on Plumber's side about the issue, I just hadn't been involved in this conversation for a couple of months so I found it odd that I was included. But I definitely agree with Plumber's take on how the lede should include the importance for Islam. --Hemavati (talk) 05:56, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
I wasn't aware we were including users who also wanted a change to the lede for being too Christocentric, but if we are: in addition to the 6 users on record of opposing the current revision in this section, Lipsquid, User:Isambard Kingdom, Erp, Eperoton, Alexis Ivanov, and Cookie Monster have also recently sought to change the first paragraph to include a mention of Jesus' role as a Messiah, prophet, and messenger in Islam. Plumber (talk) 06:41, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
I agree with you that drafting changes here would be a good idea. The principle is the lede is in violating of WEIGHT by giving nearly as much presence to Jesus in Islam as Judaism. The first paragraph doesn't mention Islam as all. A previous suggestion by FutureTrillionaire to combine doctrinal aspects of Christianity and Islam (Messiah, virgin birth, etc.) was a good one; unfortunately he reverted the compromise in the beginning of a pattern of goal-post shifting. In my view, only you have opposed properly (with Smeat75 & FutureTrillionaire using ad-hominem attacks both now and in the archived discussion, instead of commenting on the merit of the changes), with 6 others supporting aside from the neutral Ian.thomson and Katolophryomai (whose objections to the process have been resolved.) Plumber (talk) 06:55, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
"with Smeat75...using ad-hominem attacks both now and in the archived discussion, instead of commenting on the merit of the changes". I strongly object to that statement and would like to know what you are talking about. See WP:NPA - " Accusing someone of making personal attacks without providing a justification for your accusation is also considered a form of personal attack."Smeat75 (talk) 15:15, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
I sincerely apologize for the mistake! I somehow confused Smeat75 with How embarrassing! x.x Plumber (talk) 06:41, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: This thread and its intention and precise request(s) seems unclear. Unless someone can state clearly what they want (with suggested precise text changes provided), and why, and unless there is substantial agreement to that, this thread seems to have no consensus for change. Softlavender (talk) 20:35, 30 October 2017 (UTC)
My edit recently reverted is a good place to start, although I think it can be improved by further discussion. Plumber (talk) 06:54, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
    • If you are responding to me, you should indent your post to indicate that. Also, since you have not provided the requested suggested precise text changes, nor supplied a specific WP:DIFF, the matter is still unclear and there is certainly no consensus for change. I suggest we all consider this matter stale and unsupported and move on. Softlavender (talk) 08:05, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: There was no consensus to change the lede when Plumber suggested it back in June, and there's still no consensus now. If you really don't want to drop the issue, Plumber, you should start an RfC. StAnselm (talk) 10:09, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Going back to the roots of the debate, I feel a simple addition such as this one was the right place to start. My preferred compromise (left) attempted to resolve the earlier discussion over the word Messiah by clarifying that they mean different things in Christianity and Islam. It also included FutureTrillionaire's past suggestion of merging common Christian and Islamic doctrine. Figuring out the wording of the changes seems to be the main obstacle ahead to a clean revision, since there have been at least 12 users (Lipsquid, User:Isambard Kingdom, Erp, Eperoton, Alexis Ivanov, Cookie Monster, Plumber, Potato muffin, ShrimpHeavenNow, Stamboliyski, Objective3000) over the past few months to find the lede to be biased in favor of Christianity, with three (StAnselm, Smeat75 and Jtrevor) in current legitimate disagreement over what appeared to be a consensus to include more information on Jesus' role in Islam in the lead. I said there seems to be a consensus above, and no one objected for over a week or two; in the previous months a RfC ultimately had the same lack of response. The discussion is making great progress and I feel this revision by David Eppstein is a fine replacement of the status quo. I would prefer to combine the doctrinal paragraphs into one paragraph per W:LEAD, but am open to suggestions here. Plumber (talk) 06:41, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
There may be some misunderstanding/miscommunication over the word "lead". In WP:LEAD, it means the whole section, but I think some people have been using the word to refer to the the lead paragraph. StAnselm (talk) 20:55, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
Plumber, I can't find the RfC you refer to; could you provide a link, please? StAnselm (talk) 21:01, 1 November 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────All, I would suggest a WP:DRN at this point. The discussion has been continuing for two months without completion. WP:DRN is an appropriate venue for civil discussions where well-intentioned authors cannot come to a consensus, which I believe describes the present situation. Meanwhile, I thank everyone for continuing to be civil and WP:HERE. Jtrevor99 (talk) 14:01, 2 November 2017 (UTC)

DRN filed. Hopefully we can get this resolved soon. Jtrevor99 (talk) 14:10, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
NOTE: The DRN request was obviously closed as unfeasible and unwarranted. That said, there doesn't seem to be any cause for an RfC either, as there is only one editor pushing for a change and said change(s) has been rejected by numerous neutral experienced editors. If the editor who wants the change wants to open a clear, precise, brief, neutral WP:RFC, let that be their choice and their action. As it is, this lengthy thread appears to simply be a case of WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT on the part of that editor. Softlavender (talk) 22:17, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Good advice. My apologies for the premature DRN but I was unaware of the RfC option. Jtrevor99 (talk) 23:06, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
Softlavender, at least 12 people so far vs. 4 editors are pushing for changing the first paragraph to include Islam rather than keeping it in a Christocentric POV. ShrimpHeavenNow (talk) 04:26, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
Except for Stamboliyski, no editor with any article-space edits has agreed with Plumber in this thread. Softlavender (talk) 04:48, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

Just going to chime in to this discussion to mention that a reasonable compromise to this dispute would be to implement the David Eppstein revision shared above. Potato muffin (talk) 09:18, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

No consensus for that. Softlavender (talk) 10:03, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
And The only change David Eppstein made there was to replace the words "A majority of": [2], which is no longer even applicable in the current neutral and accurate sentence he added that to. Softlavender (talk) 12:25, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
12/16 participants in the discussion expressing displeasure in alleged bias of the lead seems to be a consensus; WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT. I have yet to see any opposition to the David Eppstein revision on the basis of content — what exactly makes the current lead not a NPOV violation compared to that revision? Plumber (talk) 11:44, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
Except for Stamboliyski, no editor with any article-space edits has agreed with your changes to the article. And please for heaven's sake learn to provide WP:DIFFs. The only change David Eppstein made there was to replace the words "A majority of": [3], which is no longer even applicable in the current neutral and accurate sentence he added that to. -- Softlavender (talk) 12:25, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Sources on "life and teachings" only cited with reference to details on his life?[edit]

@Softlavender: With reference to this edit, I don't think you fully understood my rationale. The canonical gospels are the only substantial sources for Jesus's biography, but in reality most of the biographical information scholars take from John, M and L is simply corroboratory of material whose best attestation is in either Mark or the non-Marcan common tradition behind both Matthew and Luke, and the letters of Paul do provide a significant corroboratory source for Jesus's teachings, arguably more so than the canonical gospels in some ways. The same goes for the Gospel of Thomas -- most scholars take it to be the oldest Christian writing or very nearly the oldest outside the New Testament, and probably older than a lot of the later material in the New Testament (the Petrine and Pastoral epistles), and the only reason it isn't considered a good source for the historical Jesus is that it doesn't give any biographical details. But scholars still treat it as a good independent witness to verify material about Jesus's teachings. The two minutes or so after this point addresses this all pretty succinctly, and this example was in my head when I made the edit.

The paragraph in question neglects to mention any of this, because with the exception of the two-word phrase that I excised and you restored, it has nothing to do with his teachings specifically and is focused entirely on his biography. I think if you really want to say that the canonical gospels are the best sources for the life and teachings of Jesus, you need to nuance it by explaining that the letters of Paul are better (earlier, more authoritative) sources for some aspects of his message (that he was against divorce in some fashion) and that the gospels are not all equally valuable from this point of view (Matthew and Luke, when they agree with Mark more than each other, are essentially useless as independent witnesses; John is useless when he disagrees with the other three; Thomas is about as good when it comes to Jesus's teachings, if not his biographical details, as John).

Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:19, 27 September 2017 (UTC)

There's no reason, and no consensus, to remove the words "and message" from that sentence. If you want to add other, less substantial sources for his message (as listed, for instance, in the citation provided [4]), you could do that. Obviously Jesus's teachings are more significant than the details of his life (except possibly for the crucifixion), so this article has to mention the teachings and where they are presumably found, since he was an oral teacher and did not write anything down. Softlavender (talk) 11:35, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
Obviously Jesus's teachings are more significant than the details of his life (except possibly for the crucifixion) Depends who is reading, I guess. I'm not a Christian, but love history and am always trying to work out what can be said about this or that obscure historical figure (and Jesus of Nazareth is an obscure historical figure, even if later people elevated him to divinity status) and what the sources for this information are (I wasn't quite seething with rage when I saw my unfinished "Sources" subsection here get misinterpreted as an awkward attempt to fill out our own coverage of that biography, but I was close).
By the way -- if the most important thing about Jesus's life really is his teachings, then why does this article not even use the word "divorce" once? I mean, it's literally the best-attested facet of his teaching, being in Mark, Q and Paul, and is actually used (in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, mind) as a piece of evidence that he couldn't have been married himself.[5] I never really thought about it, but that is a serious, frickin' oversight; enough that it kinda makes me wonder why no one brought it up in the (extremely short, given the prominence of the topic) FAC back in 2013 and whether the article should be delisted. (I've wondered about this before, but for different reasons, mainly that the lead obviously has nothing more than an accidental connection to the body, as they were written based on separate sources.)
Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:58, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
This article is not about his teachings (there are other articles on that), it is about Jesus, but the most important thing about Jesus is his teachings, so the article has to mention the fact of his teachings and where they are presumably found. Softlavender (talk) 12:09, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
I didn't check until now since it's completely peripheral to my main point (no idea why SL honed in on it), but the word "divorce" doesn't appear in Ministry of Jesus (to which Teachings of Jesus redirects), Historical Jesus, or Historicity of Jesus (which everyone told me back in 2014 is not just about whether he existed or not but also about the historical reliability of our sources on him and what they can tell us about his life and teachings). If you want to argue that a peripheral detail like this doesn't belong in the central "hub" article ... well, I would say you're wrong to say it's peripheral. But where does it belong? Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:39, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
Softlavender, if you were already planning on reverting my edit, why did you encourage me to make it? I seriously don't understand what the game is here -- we have to mention both his life and his message in the opening sentence of the section, but we must go completely out of our way not to mention any aspect of his "message" throughout the rest of the section? I removed the word "message" from the lead sentence because I had noticed the odd neglect of his message in the rest of the section, and had decided to go with the path of least resistance on what I knew was a controversial article, then you told me above that you would be more amenable to the path that I had initially avoided because it was a more substantial change (If you want to add other, less substantial sources for his message [...], you could do that), but when I tried that you reverted it with the claim that I had "no cause" to add that content, having previously stated that I had "no reason" to remove the other content. What about the hundreds of words of reasoning I've already provided here? Did you even read it? Your claim that the best-attested teaching of the historical Jesus (as demonstrated by me above) is "one minor[,] supposed teaching from Jesus" (emphasis and punctuation to clarify that the emphasis is on two separate points mine) would appear to indicate so. Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:37, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
By the way: Could you stop making reverts that consist entirely of "no consensus -- please discuss" or "no reason". Demanding discussion from a party wishing to make an edit for which they have already provided a reason, when you are not willing to explain why you disagree is really unhelpful, and saying "no reason" when a reason has been given in the form of an edit summary and sometimes also a talk comment is even less helpful. You need to provide a counter-reason that isn't just "no consensus"; even "I personally don't like that edit" would be more helpful. Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:46, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
Please see my edit summary: "no cause to highlight one minor supposed teaching from Jesus; this article not about Jesus's teachings". The Pauline epistles are also already mentioned in the previous sentence. In addition, the citation is non-RS, it has no author and no identifying factors other than it is from "Open Yale Courses", is called "Introduction to New Testament", and was recorded in 2009. It's not a good idea to cherry-pick one divisive and certainly non-canonical supposed teaching, sourced to a non-RS, and place it in the paragraph about the major sources for his life events. Softlavender (talk) 12:57, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
I didn't cherry-pick it. Dale Martin did. And it's in all three synoptics and the letters of Paul, so I can't for the life of me figure out what is "non-canonical" or "supposed" about it. Martin's lectures, published on Yale University's official YouTube channel, are definitely an RS, and you are outing the fact that you didn't actually click it at all. Also, you still aren't getting my main point, despite having reverted both my attempts at compromise. Hijiri 88 (やや) 20:41, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
I clicked, listened, watched, and made every effort I personally could think of to determine the professor, and found no indication anywhere of who is speaking. This is in addition to the fact that this is cherry-picking a divisive and explosive and certainly not-agreed-upon tenet and trying to highlight it in an article which is not about Jesus's teachings. Softlavender (talk) 07:21, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
Well, he's not going to introduce himself in lecture 13, but the name of the playlist is "New Testamenf History and Literature with Dale B. Martin". Sorry for not linking in the playlist: I was assuming that you understood that a lecture by a Yale professor is a reliable source and would not wikilawyer over my not having told you the name of said professor, and prioritized linking the exact moments he says what I cite him as saying. If you want something more clickable and "Ctrl+F"-friendly, there are transcripts of every lecture in the series here. Anyway, he's a fairly well known professor of New Testament at one of the most prestigious universities in North America, so if he "cherry-picks" a "controversial" and "certainly non-canonical" teaching, it's not unreasonable for Wikipedia too to cherry-pick the same. As FT says below, Paul does not provide direct attestation to a whole lot of Jesus's teachings -- if you can find another one that has been noted in a reliable secondary source, I'd be happy to accept that one instead.
Please also note that I'm not a Christian, nor an opponent of Christianity, nor an opponent or defender of divorce, so I have absolutely no dog in this fight -- if you were implying above that by "cherry-picking" a "divisive and explosive" teaching I was trying to push some kind of political, social or religious agenda, I would ask you to stop implying that. I was trying to make the text of our article make sense, and you were the one who told me to make the edit you are now calling "divisive and explosive". I already told you that my preferred version would simply not say "sources for ... his message". It was your idea to instead say somethinf about said message. Or at least, I was assuming your first reply was a compromise proposal -- I guess it's possible you were just wasting my time with a comment that had nothing to do with improving the article, in the hopes I would give up and go away.
Anyway, what does "non-canonical" mean when you use it as you did above? Jesus having forbidden divorce in one form or another is in at least three of the canonical gospels, as well as one of the canonical letters of Paul. I may personally like the Gospel of Thomas and other apocryphal texts, but what that has to do with this discussion is beyond me. For that matter, what does "certainly-not-agreed-upon" mean? You've been questioning the reliability of a Yale professor throughout this "discussion" (gonna ping User:MjolnirPants at this point, since he can vouch for Martin's reliability having been already established, or rather accepted as a given, in previous discussions), while refusing to cite a single source in support of your own highly-dubious (I'd go so far as to call them nonsensical) claims, such as that passages accepted as part of the gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and 1 Corinthians by every major Christian denomination are somehow "non-canonical". Yes, if you're a Christian but you hold a modern view of marriage and divorce, you're perfectly free to believe Jesus never said the things attributed to him in these texts (unless you hold to inerrancy), and I fully support your believing this (I'm pretty sure this is what my mom believes). You're also free to be a Christian, believe Jesus did say the things attributed to him, but believe that he was addressing a particular cultural context that is no longer relevant. But that doesn't justify your referring to the content of texts that are canonical for pretty much all Christians as "non-canonical", nor insinuating that your fellow Wikipedians are pushing some kind of opposite agenda when they have clearly outlined a policy/RS-based rationale for their edits.
And you still have not justified your proposing a compromise above, then changing your mind once I implemented said compromising and reverting a second time. This looks very much like tendentious edit-warring.
On a completely unrelated note, Martin goes into some detail on his views on marriage and the nuclear family, though only by implication also divorce, in this video. Sorry, I've only watched it once and that was almost a year ago, so I don't remember exactly where, but I think it was in an audience Q&A near the end. I'm still torn on whether that material belongs in our article on him, let alone a completely unrelated article like this one, but I don't feel comfortable elaborating on the personal views of someone I've never met, and thought a link to a primary source might be better, since you seem to be (?) somewhat interested in that topic.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:30, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
I never told you to make that edit. Softlavender (talk) 10:49, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
You're making it really obvious you are not reading my comments. It's inconceivable that you clicked on this page, read through a 780-word comment (let alone clicked any of the ELs), decided in a fair and reasoned manner that the only part that merited a response was the bit I happened to write in boldface, and penned your response, in a mere 19 minutes.
You said in your first comment in this thread: If you want to add other, less substantial sources for his message[...], you could do that. Now, I interpreted this to mean "include the material about his message that comes from less substantial sources than the synoptics, as opposed to removing the word message from the opening sentence".
I guess (now that you have directly claimed you didn't mean that) you probably meant "list more NT and extracanonical sources that aren't already mentioned", but for me to assume off the bat that you meant that would have been an AGF-violation, since the only way you could mean that would be if you were deliberately making off-topic comments while ignoring what I was actually talking about.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:58, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
The letters of Paul don't contain that much information on Jesus' teachings. In fact, they contain any of Jesus' parables. The gospels are still the best source for Jesus' teachings. Regarding Thomas, most scholars date it to the 2nd century (I added sources to the article to support this, sources that have counted the scholarship opinion), and agree that Thomas cites material from the canonical gospels. Bart Ehrman says that Thomas was written after the gospels [6]. --FutureTrillionaire (talk) 17:36, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
If "message" is too vague, we can change it to "teachings".--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 18:08, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
Ehrman and Martin both date Thomas to the early second century, earlier than any of the other apocryphal gospels and not much later than the canonical gospels (which, with the exception of Mark, they date to between 80 and 100), and consider it to be independent from them (Martin explicitly says in the above-linked lecture that "some scholars" believe Thomas may have known the other gospels, but if he meant "most" why would he say "some"?). I would like to see a source that says most scholars [...] agree that Thomas cites material from the canonical gospels and do not date it significantly earlier than "the rest of the gnostic gospels" (scare-quotes because classifying the work as gnostic is controversial). I can't see page 56 in the GBooks preview of Keener. The GBooks preview of Evans 2008 doesn't have page numbers, and while it does date the gospel of Thomas no earlier than the end of the second century, but I can't find a "most scholars" reference, and even if I could it might be worth noting that Evans is or was a member of the Ehrman Project, a group of very conservative evangelical scholars, and Baker is an evangelical publisher, so "most scholars" when used in that book could very possibly refer to "most scholars if we include everyone of our theological persuasion who holds a PhD in a relevant field, plus famous critical scholars who teach at the best universities in North America, but not critical scholars who are not famous". Eerdmans' website, unlike that of Baker, doesn't say "we are an evangelical publishing house", but Keener does teach in an evangelical theological seminary. I don't have time at the moment, but I'll check Ehrman's NT introduction textbook later to see if he agrees with what you quote Keener and Craig as saying. Hijiri 88 (やや) 20:38, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
Regarding the original edit (removal of "and message" from "The only substantial sources for the life and message of Jesus are the Gospels of the New Testament"), I'm not against this edit. Sanders does say this in the Britannica article (and I think he's right), but the rest of the paragraph does only talk about the life of Jesus. Ultimately, it doesn't really make much of a difference.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 15:20, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
@FutureTrillionaire: Thank you for clarifying, but unfortunately now that that edit has been reverted, saying that you are "not against" the edit doesn't really solve anything. I agree that it doesn't really make much of a difference (unlike adding discussion of Jesus's teachings to the rest of the section), but I just think it looks really silly the way we have it at present. If Softlavender were willing to explain exactly what she found so objectionable about the original (arguably minor and stylistic) edit beyond "it's in the title", perhaps I could address her concerns, but I'm finding the above back-and-forth somewhat inscrutable. Hijiri 88 (やや) 22:21, 28 September 2017 (UTC)
  • I've only skimmed over this discussion, so I can't weigh in with any detail. I can say the following: I didn't find this edit to be controversial in any way; Jesus's Q&A about divorce does appear in Mark, Luke, M and Q according to scholars and my best recollection (I've been reading mostly fiction the past few months); and Dale Martin is widely considered to be a highly qualified expert, and is, in fact, the person giving the lecture in that video (I've met him in person; he seemed like a very nice guy). ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 18:24, 29 September 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 12 October 2017[edit]

I just want to say that Jesus was not a jewish preacher he was the Son of God. His name was Jesus Christ the Son of God. Sh4vida (talk) 14:38, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. JTP (talkcontribs) 15:09, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

Jesus was Jewish, and He preached repentance to His Jewish people first in power before He ordained St. Paul to take the Gospel to the Gentiles Prettyfawn (talk) 10:22, 1 November 2017 (UTC)

Christians who do not celebrate Christmas[edit]

Quite a few. This source[7] estimates 27 million, which is a tiny minority of course. Doug Weller talk 08:04, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

That user-generated article is unreliable and inaccurate. For instance, Seventh-Day Adventists do celebrate Christmas (I know several of them in my area, one – who was a missionary for them for years – has been my housecleaner for the past 10 years; plus a simple Google search will put that fallacy to rest). Softlavender (talk) 08:26, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it's unreliable and inaccurate - it misses, for example, the fact that traditionally Presbyterianism did not celebrate Christmas. Denominations like the Free Church of Scotland still don't. StAnselm (talk) 18:39, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
I thought I would chime in and point out that there are tons of Christians who do not celebrate Christmas. Jehovah's Witnesses, for instance, typically do not celebrate Christmas, which most of them regard as a pagan holiday. (One of my friends used to date a Jehovah's Witness and I have heard her complain several times about how he and his family refused to celebrate Christmas or Easter.) In fact, Christmas has not been universally celebrated historically either. In the 1600s, the Puritans actually attempted to ban Christmas altogether because it was closely associated with widespread drunkenness. As recently as the 1800s, most Quakers did not celebrate any holidays at all, because they believed that every day was inherently sacred and that to regard any particular day as being more holy than any other day was an act of idolatry. Anymore, they seem to have largely abandoned this idea. --Katolophyromai (talk) 23:52, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
Also depends on what you mean by “celebrate”. I think most Unitarians celebrate Christmas because it’s an excuse to eat, drink and be merry. But, most of them don’t believe Christ was a god. In any case, it’s quite absurd to claim there are no Christians that don't "celebrate" Christmas. O3000 (talk) 00:07, 21 October 2017 (UTC)

Edits to the article reflecting the consensus to acknowledge that not all Christians celebrate Christmas are continuously being reverted. Plumber (talk) 07:03, 1 November 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 1 November 2017[edit]

Here is the text, taken directly from the wikipedia article:

Christian doctrines include the beliefs that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of a virgin named Mary, performed miracles, founded the Church, died by crucifixion as a sacrifice to achieve atonement, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven, whence he will return...

Here it is again, with my suggestion for grammatical improvement. I suggest adding the word, "from", which you will find within the last few words of the following:

Christian doctrines include the beliefs that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of a virgin named Mary, performed miracles, founded the Church, died by crucifixion as a sacrifice to achieve atonement, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven, from whence he will return...

That is all. Thank you. ~~ Jake7777777 (talk) 02:48, 1 November 2017 (UTC)

Done Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 16:43, 1 November 2017 (UTC)

ATTENTION: AUTHOR, please edit Christ Jesus’ birthplace[edit]

The author should edit his article to include Bethlehem as Jesus’ birthplace because when I asked Siri on my iPhone when Jesus was born, it pulled up this article and quoted that He was born in Nazareth, which is a lie according to the 2nd chapter of Luke in the Holy Bible’s New Testament. Prettyfawn (talk) 10:19, 1 November 2017 (UTC)

If you read the article you see: "Matthew and Luke each describe Jesus' nativity (or birth), especially that Jesus was born by a virgin Mary in Bethlehem in fulfillment of prophecy." This is the first sentence of the second paragraph of the "Genealogy and nativity" section, where it'd be expected to be. Neither John nor Mark address Jesus's birth, so these are the sources we have. The information box at the top says: "Born c. 4 BC, Judea, Roman Empire". When Siri or Google provide this type of summarized information it is important to understand that it draws from a wide variety of web sources and not necessarily all the information is coming from the same place. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 16:39, 1 November 2017 (UTC)