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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.
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Current status: Featured article

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)
I think the whole "either before or after their bodily resurrection" should be removed because the Nicene creed (subject of the sentence) doesn't specify anything: it just says "From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.", period. So it's incorrect to say that the Nicene creed "asserts" further things, that aren't actually there.Bardoligneo (talk) 13:52, 28 November 2018 (UTC)

"Scholars regard the gospels as compromised sources of information because the writers were trying to glorify Jesus"[edit]

Can I see a quote from Sanders that verifies this text? My understanding is that the reason scholars don't consider the gospels to be particularly useful sources for Jesus's biography is not so much that they were trying to glorify him but that they were only trying to glorify him. The low page number implies we are citing an oversimplified summary of a more complicated point Sanders made later on in the same work. Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:40, 11 December 2018 (UTC)

I agree. The source section seems outdated. The first sentences are misleading and do not reflect the current state of scholarship. They rely on a book written in 1985, that cannot take into account new important findings and debates, for example Richard A. Burridge's highly influential book on the Gospels as greco-roman biographies must be cited, the same goes with Richard Bauckham (Jesus and the Eyewitnesses). Thucyd (talk) 20:00, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
@Thucyd: You appear to be saying the exact opposite of what I'm saying. My problem is that what the second sentence (one of "the first sentences") is trying to say is muted by clumsy (perhaps deliberately so) use of the conjunction "and" rather than "since" or the like, and what it is trying to say is directly contradicted by a sentence further down that appears to misrepresent an oversimplified introduction to Sanders's book. The problem with the gospels is that they are not biographies and are only interested in making a particular point about Jesus (the "good news" for which they are named) rather than elaborating to their readers about where Jesus was from (they contradict themselves, and each other, on this point in a manner that makes it quite clear he was from Nazareth, almost certainly born there, and had no connection to Bethlehem whatsoever; our article does a pretty shitty job of pointing this out, by the way), what he did in his childhood and adolescence, what his views on various social issues not specifically related to the good news were (he seems to have abstained from marriage and encouraged his followers to do likewise, while also condemning divorce), and so on.
I am, however, curious why you think Bauckham's book is "highly influential" and "must be cited". I've been out of the loop on NT studies for a while, but my understanding was that fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals like Bauckham's book because it basically agrees with what they already believe, but scholars generally don't share his conclusions.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 22:14, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
@Hijiri 88:I won't comment your POV about the authors and their beliefs, it is of no interest on this talk page. It is enough to say that Wikipedia must reflect the current state of knowledge.
Since you know the field, I guess that you won't contest that Burridge's thesis is highly influential and cannot be overlooked.
Regarding Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, it is even more quoted than Burridge's thesis (cf. google scholar). Bauckham's book his indeed "highly influential", frequently described as such, for example here. A special issue of the leading peer-reviewed Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus was devoted to the book in 2008. The burden of proof is on you. Thucyd (talk) 23:03, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
Not really, no; unless scholarly consensus on this topic has changed dramatically since Bauckham published his book, there is no requirement to cite this or that particular scholar, and Bauckham is hardly as influential as Sanders or Ehrman. It doesn't really matter how widely cited Bauckham is (among whom? do the citers agree or disagree with his conclusions?), and your citing an article that calls his book "influential" doesn't conflict with what I wrote above about fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals like Bauckham's book.
Anyway, is it your intention to hijack this thread with an unrelated issue about how you feel it needs to cite this or that author you happen to agree with? I made a specific request above and you ignored it to go off on a tangent about something that concerned you.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:52, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Ad hominem again (and unwarranted). The topic has changed dramatically since Burridge and Bauckham (who are Anglicans...) published their books. Many scholars have described them as a paradigm shift.
Burridge, well, it's obvious for everybody: "Few PhD theses can boast a paradigm shift within a field, but Burridge's ‘What Are the Gospels? A Comparison with Graeco‐Roman Biography’ could be numbered among the exceptions... He is right to believe that the Graeco‐Roman biographical designation has become a near consensus in Gospel Studies". (Louise Lawrence, 2010, here)
Bauckham: As I said, the burden of proof is on you: "Advanced scholarly praise for this book has created high expectation for readers and reviewers. Hailed as a “blockbuster” (J.D.G. Dunn) and a “tour de force” (N.T. Wright) that “shakes the foundations of a century of scholarly study of the Gospels” (G. Stanton) and promises to be “a pioneering work refuting old and new errors” (M. Hengel). Bauckham’s thorough study of eyewitness testimony to Jesus is a major event in New Testament studies... The heart of the book is a solid advance in the study of the Gospels with which all subsequent studies will have to reckon." (Peter Rodgers, Novum Testamentum, 52, 2010, 88-89). Thucyd (talk) 10:32, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
"ad hominem"? So, are you actually going to provide me with the quote from Sanders or not? Do you even have it? Why are you here? If you want to talk about Bauckham, open your own section. The topic has changed dramatically since Burridge and Bauckham (who are Anglicans...) published their books. I would argue that the topic only changed when you posted about something completely unrelated to what I wrote... Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:37, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
The quote from E.P. Sanders: "The main sources for our knowledge of Jesus himself, the gospels in the New Testament, are, from the point of view of the historian, tainted by the fact that they were written by people who intended to glorify their hero". Sanders says something obvious (every historical source is biased and tainted, like Platon and Socrates) and does not use the word "compromised". Thucyd (talk) 11:12, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, now that I've seen the quote I'm more convinced than before that it was an overly simplified statement from the book's introduction; it looks like such a statement. Your concern is completely unrelated, and as far as I am concerned it is a non-issue, since "tainted" is if anything just a stronger/more-inflammatory way of saying "compromised". Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:48, 12 December 2018 (UTC)

Gospels as biographies of Jesus[edit]

I don't see how this is a "paradigm shift" in scholarship: it's pretty much always been a widely held view among laymen that the gospels are biographies of Jesus. If Burridge shifted the scholarly paradigm to be more in line with this lay view back in 1992, then why would Dale Martin say in 2009 that the Popular opinion may think that the Gospels are biographies of Jesus, but they're not biographies, at least not anything like the modern sense. [...] The Gospels aren't biographies. [...] This all demonstrates though that scholars don't read the Gospels as biographies or as even straightforward accounts of events. Did the paradigm shift happen in the one year between then and when Louise Lawrence wrote the above-quoted text? Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:48, 12 December 2018 (UTC)

You miss the whole point. The Gospels are *Graeco-Roman* biographies, like those written by Plutarch (which are quite reliable for historians). Thucyd (talk) 11:01, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
The biographies of Plutarch are quite reliable for historians now? You mean that historians use those sources like they use the gospels, right, by critically analyzing them and taking from them factual details that seem credible and are not contradicted by other sources as having a high degree of probability of having actually happened? "reliable" is a buzzword used in Christian apologetics to mean something different from how historians (...might...?) use it. Your bias is showing, and not just because you are contradicting yourself in claiming that the scholarship quoted in the article is "out of date" despite being more recent than the "recent" scholarship you want to emphasize; the fact that historians use a particular text as a source of information doesn't mean it is "reliable". Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:45, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
I am glad to see that you do realize that nowadays the vast majority of NT scholars think that the Gospels are Graeco-Roman biographies.
Additional quote, from Ehrman: "The Gospels of the NT are widely seen as examples of ancient biography" (here).
Another quote: "Burridge’s research has been widely accepted and has produced a new consensus, that the Gospels are a species of ancient biography" (Steve Walton, "What Are the Gospels? Richard Burridge’s Impact on Scholarly Understanding of the Genre of the Gospels", Currents in Biblical Research, 14, 1, 2015, p. 81,[1])
This consensus view must be included in the source section. Thucyd (talk) 12:50, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Stop it. You're taking quotes out of context: Ehrman explicitly says immediately after the portion you quote "So it would help to know how biographies worked in Greek and Roman antiquity." The whole point is that "ancient biography" means something different from "modern biography", but you are clearly trying to blur the line.
I can't make head or tail of what you mean by I am glad to see that you do realize that nowadays the vast majority of NT scholars think that the Gospels are Graeco-Roman biographies. Are you just trolling or something? Nothing I said above remotely resembled that, and nor did anything I wrote in my initial comment justify anything you've written since.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:56, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Ehrman says that the Gospels are widely seen nowadays as Graeco-Roman biographies.
That was exactly my point. Nothing more. The end for me. Thank you. Thucyd (talk) 14:24, 12 December 2018 (UTC)
Reminder: we have already a paragraph about this topic, with top reliable sources in the "canonical gospels" sub-section: "One important aspect of the study of the gospels is the literary genre under which they fall. Genre "is a key convention guiding both the composition and the interpretation of writings". Whether the gospel authors set out to write novels, myths, histories, or biographies has a tremendous impact on how they ought to be interpreted. Some recent studies suggest that the genre of the gospels ought to be situated within the realm of ancient biography. Although not without critics, the position that the gospels are a type of ancient biography is the consensus among scholars today." Thucyd (talk) 10:13, 13 December 2018 (UTC)
Okay, so ... what's the problem? Do you think the above is not neutral or detailed enough? I find the text you added to be worse than the above on both fronts, and I'm not arguing to change any of the above. Hijiri 88 (やや) 02:03, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
The source section is now clearly misleading due to the fact that it does not mention ancient biographies. We can take the sentence from the canonical gospels sub-section, slightly rearranged: "Although not without critics, the position that the gospels are a type of ancient biography, *not biographies in the modern sense*, is the consensus among scholars today". Can we agree on this?Thucyd (talk) 08:09, 14 December 2018 (UTC)
I'm not seeing the problem. The fact that the authors thought they were writing a form of literary work common in the Greco-Roman world does not make them more or less useful as sources for information on Jesus's biography; can you find a modern scholarly source that specifically says the canonical gospels are awesome sources because they are "ancient biographies"? Hijiri 88 (やや) 06:36, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
This causal relationship ("awesome sources because") was never the point. The fact that the Gospels are ancient biographies is of course primordial for historical and hermeneutical reasons, especially to understand some features of the sources (cf. for example Michael Licona, Why are there Contradictions in the Gospels: What we Can Learn from Ancient Biographies, Oxford University Press, 2016).
We simply have to mention the fact that the Gospels are ancient biographies, because that's what wikipedia is all about: inform the reader of what the academic consensus is. And there is no doubt that we have an academic consensus here. Thucyd (talk) 13:05, 16 December 2018 (UTC)
But we already do mention that they are ancient biographies. The question of why you want to emphasize it more than it already is, specifically in the section discussing the problematic nature of the primary sources (a point on which all the best scholars agree with what we currently say), is being posed, not the question of whether the gospels are ancient biographies. Hijiri 88 (やや) 03:47, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
We say in the source section what they are not (modern biographies), but you do want to say what they are (ancient biographies). It's very misleading and we must correct that.
Now that you realize that our sources are, according to the consensus, ancient biographies, and that the nature of thoses sources is, according to the consensus, primordial for historical and hermeneutical reasons (cf. all the references above), you have no argument against this improvement.
Given the fact that you are higly interested in this topic, you should read Burridge. The 25th anniversary edition has just been published. Thucyd (talk) 07:50, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
It's very misleading and we must correct that. How is it misleading? In my opinion it would be misleading to describe them as "ancient biographies" in a manner that implied they were anything like modern biographies.
you have no argument against this improvement Martin's lectures are the best sources presented in this discussion thusfar, and he essentially says "They're not modern biographies; they'r kinda like ancient biographies; ancient biographies are not especially useful for understanding the lives of their subjects". You have not addressed this concern.
Given the fact that you are higly interested in this topic, you should read Burridge. I live in Japan, and so would need to privately import the book, and doing so without a credit card (I've been working as a contract employee for years, so the two times I applied for a credit card it was a waste of time) is complicated. Show me where I can download an e-book and the price will be added to my phone bill, then maybe. But it would only be an interesting read, and would not change my opinion on this matter.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:07, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
Dale Martin's remarks are clearly not the best sources!!!... They are not even peer-reviewed, contrary to all the articles and books I quoted.
The burden of proof is on you. Due to the fact that you do not have access to recent academic publications, you should reconsider your position.
If you do not quote here recent peer-reviewed articles or books, I will make the needed changes.Thucyd (talk) 15:07, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
Dale Martin's remarks are clearly not the best sources!!!... They are not even peer-reviewed, contrary to all the articles and books I quoted. You clearly do not know how to properly assess sources for our purposes. When two sources both say the same thing, but one says it in a manner that more resembles an article in a general encyclopedia and the other is a book on the subject that clearly says a lot more than we need to (or, rather, anything it says that we quote it on would be taken out of context and distorted), then the former is the better source. On top of that, referring to open courses on the official YouTube channel of Yale University as "remarks [that] are not even peer-reviewed" appears to indicate that you either do not understand the sources or are deliberately misrepresenting them as being somehow "less" than they actually are. The burden of proof is on you. Due to the fact that you do not have access to recent academic publications, you should reconsider your position. What on earth are you talking about? I have all Bart Ehrman's recent books, but I'm not interested in throwing money away to appease someone who is trolling me on a Wikipedia talk page. What buying this or that book would do to ameliorate this problem is something you need to demonstrate. If you do not quote here recent peer-reviewed articles or books, I will make the needed changes. If you do not engage in constructive discussion on the talk page, then all your edits need to be reverted as counter-productive edit-warring. Hijiri 88 (やや) 15:18, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
Gentle reminder: a peer-reviewed source is not a lecture given in an university nor a popular book.
For example, Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus is a popular title, not an academic work.
Let me give you an example, since you appreciate Bart: "Bart Ehrman’s widely-used introduction to the New Testament states in 1997: ‘Scholars have come to reject the view that [the Gospels] are totally unlike anything else…some of these investigations have suggested that the Gospels are best seen as a kind of Greco-Roman (as opposed to modern) biography’ (Ehrman 1997:52). Burridge’s influence is clear, for Ehrman cites What are the Gospels? as ‘[a] thorough study that emphatically argues that the Gospels are best understood as a kind of ancient biography’ (Ehrman 1997:55)" (from Steve Walton, "What Are the Gospels? Richard Burridge's Impact on Scholarly Understanding of the Genre of the Gospels", Currents in Biblical Research, 2015, accessible here)
Still waiting for your peer-reviewed sources. Thucyd (talk) 16:52, 18 December 2018 (UTC)
I don't need "peer-reviewed sources", since your peer-reviewed sources don't actually contradict my "popular sources"; you just want to to quote them out of context to draw a conclusion that they don't. Stop trolling and go build the encyclopedia. I have no idea why you brought up Misquoting Jesus, which is ironically one of the few books Ehrman has written in the last two decades which I haven't read; it would seem Ehrman and Misquoting Jesus are hot-button topics for you, I guess? Hijiri 88 (やや) 00:08, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
Lol. No problem at all with Bart, believe me. He agrees with me on Burridge and, contrary to you, he admits the fact that knowing the genre of those sources is primordial for historical and hermeneutical reasons. Thucyd (talk) 18:47, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
contrary to you, he admits the fact that knowing the genre of those sources is primordial for historical and hermeneutical reasons HA! There's a world of difference between saying that "it is important to know the genre" and saying that "I know the genre, and that genre makes these sources reliable for historical purposes". Ehrman, like virtually all non-fundamentalist scholars, recognizes that the gospels, as ancient-as-opposed-to-modern biographies, are highly problematic as sources for the historical Jesus. As for being "primordial for hermeneutical reasons", that is completely beside the point, and your suddenly bringing it up well over a week into this discussion just comes across as more trolling. Hijiri 88 (やや) 23:52, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
I would be suddendly bringing up "primordial for hermeneutical reasons"? lol. That was already my sentence on December 16, then 18 December, and finally 19 December!!! For your information, there are pages on this in Burridge's seminal book.
Your own distinction between fundamentalists (meaning???) and others is also beyond ridiculous.
Those two elements, and your inability to provide peer-reviewed sources, show beyond reasonable doubt that your are not really interested in our discussion and in the current state of scholarship, but in safekeeping your ideology and prejudice. Thucyd (talk) 08:39, 20 December 2018 (UTC)
Please retract the above off-topic personal attack, and stay on topic. This is the talk page for our biographical article on Jesus, not a forum for you to talk generally about interpretation of the NT texts. Hijiri 88 (やや) 09:31, 20 December 2018 (UTC)

" *Graeco-Roman* biographies, like those written by Plutarch (which are quite reliable for historians)."

Plutarch as a biographer was mostly interested in exploring the moral virtues and vices of his subjects, rather than giving a full account of their lives: "As is explained in the opening paragraph of his Life of Alexander, Plutarch was not concerned with history so much as the influence of character, good or bad, on the lives and destinies of men. Whereas sometimes he barely touched on epoch-making events, he devoted much space to charming anecdote and incidental triviality, reasoning that this often said far more for his subjects than even their most famous accomplishments. He sought to provide rounded portraits, likening his craft to that of a painter" Dimadick (talk) 19:33, 19 December 2018 (UTC)

Thank you, but the (side) point is of course "quite reliable for historians". All new testement scholars are now well aware that there are different approaches between modern and ancient historians, modern and ancient biographies. Thucyd (talk) 23:59, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
Ah, okay. So when you say the gospels are reliable for historians, you mean ancient historians. Good. So now that we've established that you are trying to insert obscure/misleading terminology into the article, can we drop this whole affair? Hijiri 88 (やや) 00:03, 20 December 2018 (UTC)
1)No, I meant "quite reliable" for modern historians.
2)In my edits in the main page, I never talked of reliability. This fuzzy word is your obsession, not mine. That's why I say it's a side point. I just want to repeat in the main page that the Gospels are ancient biographies.
3)If you are interested in this current debate (how, when and why modern historians can assess the reliability of ancient sources) you should read the in-depth dialogue between Bart Ehrman and Mike Licona on the historical reliability of the New Testament. It's online for free, so you have no excuse this time. Thucyd (talk) 08:39, 20 December 2018 (UTC)

A link from BC to Anno domini in the first sentence[edit]

I would find it quite relevant to have a link from "BC" to Anno Domini in the "(c. 4 BC – c. AD 30 / 33)" in the first sentence, as the "BC" triggers curiosity in the reader about the counting of years before and after Christ, when it was implemented, by whom, how the time of his birth was determined at that time, etc. So I was surprised that there was no link there, as that was where I expected to find such a link. While there would perhaps normally not be a link from "BC" in articles in general, in this case I would find it highly relevant, especially because BC was named after Jesus himself and because of the interesting fact that Christ was born around 4 (2-7) years "before Christ". As recommended in a comment in the article I didn't just add it straight away but wanted to mention it here first in case there are any relevant objections. --Jhertel (talk) 22:23, 13 December 2018 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 17 December 2018[edit]

For notes section, I request to add "Urantia Book writes "... and at noon, August 21, 7 B.C., with the help and kind ministrations of women

fellow travelers, Mary was delivered of a male child. Jesus of Nazareth was born into the world, was wrapped in the clothes which Mary had brought along for such a possible contingency, and laid in a near-by manger." - 122:8.1 " -- (talk) 13:30, 17 December 2018 (UTC) [1]


  1. ^ Urantia Book (1st Edition ed.). Chicago: Urantia Foundation. p. 1351. ISBN 0-911560-02-5.CS1 maint: Extra text (link)

Semi-protected edit request on 18 December 2018[edit]

Please change all references to the name Jesus and replace then with Yeshua or Yehoshua.

Hebrew Source: יְהוֹשׁוּעַ Lexicon Key: H3091

Kind Regards CyberVines (talk) 09:54, 18 December 2018 (UTC)

Not done Please see WP:COMMONNAME and WP:UE. Also, few people spoke Hebrew by Jesus's time; yeah, it might be pretty much the same in Aramaic and various other less anachronistic languages, but that doesn't really matter. Hijiri 88 (やや) 09:57, 18 December 2018 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 6 January 2019[edit]

Factual error correction request: Please replace "Jesus" with "Joseph" in the following three sentences of the "Genealogy of Jesus and Nativity of Jesus" section: "The Gospels of Matthew and Luke offer two accounts of the genealogy of Jesus. Matthew traces Jesus' ancestry to Abraham through David (1:1–16).[108] Luke traces Jesus' ancestry through Adam to God (3:23–38).[109]" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:49, 6 January 2019 (UTC)

Not done You don't trump WP:RS. Tgeorgescu (talk) 07:28, 7 January 2019 (UTC)

The ancestry of Joseph, not Jesus, is what is directly listed in the references named in these sentences (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). These references can be read here: and . Third-hand sources are inappropriate in this case. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:26, 8 January 2019 (UTC)

Both verses present the ancestry of Jesus, beginning (Luke)/ending (Matthew) by stating that Jesus is the son of Joseph. Read them again. General Ization Talk 02:35, 8 January 2019 (UTC)

If you claim the Bible states something, you must either directly quote it or paraphrase the information precisely, which is not being done in the entry. The Bible verse quoted is explicit upfront that Jesus is not a biological descendant of this line (Luke 3:23 explains that the genealogy given is because Jesus "was supposed the son of Joseph"). By omitting Joseph, these statements are inconsistent with modern English usage of the term "ancestry" and give the deceptive impression that the Bible states that Jesus is a biological descendant of David. Jesus' claim to the house of David is an important topic in Christianity, and Wikipedia should be in the business of clarity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:08, 8 January 2019 (UTC)

As I am moving on this dispute, I need to be even more direct: Your statement that these Bible references begin/end "by stating that Jesus is the son of Joseph" is incorrect by a plain reading of the references. (Also, such a statement would obviously up-end Christian theology). (talk) 04:55, 9 January 2019 (UTC)

Read the New Testament in Greek, and a good portion of the problem goes away. See also Romans 1:3 and Joachim or In any case, this type of thing has been discussed for literally thousands of years. I'm quite sure a notable book has been written discussing this. Find it and then perhaps we can use it to write a sentence disputing the claim. Your own research/analysis is not going to cut it. ResultingConstant (talk) 17:21, 8 January 2019 (UTC)
My aim is not to engage conspiracy theories. The plain language in the referenced Bible passages state the lineage from Joseph, not Mary. If there are scholars who dispute the authority of the Authorized King James Bible in Christianity or who believe a lack of a definite article in Greek proves a reference to Mary, they can open up a separate edit request. (talk) 04:55, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
 Not done: please establish a consensus for this alteration before using the {{edit semi-protected}} template. ‑‑ElHef (Meep?) 17:33, 8 January 2019 (UTC)
off-topic ramblings about dna and personal interpretations of scripture

I'm not sure exactly what is being argued here. My wife and I are adopting a child. His DNA comes from his birth parents and if you trace his DNA lineage, you would trace it back through his birth mother and father, to their parents, etc. Once the adoption is complete, his legal lineage will come from me and my wife - when you adopt a child, they are every bit as much legally your heir, with equal standing to any natural children you may have. So the Bible traces Jesus's legal lineage through His adoptive father (Joseph) and His DNA lineage through Mary. --B (talk) 12:41, 9 January 2019 (UTC)

@B: First off, wow, a single letter username! In any case, this is important for religious reasons, as the prophecies of the Messiah say that he will be "of the flesh" of David. So Joseph's lineage doesn't really count for that purpose, and a "straight/naive" reading of the bible only lists Joseph's lineage. The traditional (catholic/orthodox) answer is that Mary is also of David's line, but that requires relying on either extra-biblical sources, or parsing through euphamism/translation to have the second Joseph bible lineage really be Mary's lineage as described in my link above. The various textual difficulties and traditions are complex, and this line of argument is brought up often by various groups (Jewish groups arguing that Jesus is obviously not the Messiah, Athiests trying to say its obvious made-up contradictory BS, various offshoot Christian movements, etc) ResultingConstant (talk) 16:16, 9 January 2019 (UTC)
Collapsed per WP:TPO and WP:NOTFORUM. Mathglot (talk) 07:50, 10 January 2019 (UTC)

rfc on Jesus' ancestry[edit]

RFC Do these Matthew and Luke verses give the ancestry of Mary or of Joseph? If Joseph, should Wikipedia entries regarding ancestry claims be clarified when the topic individual (Jesus) is not the biological descendant of the claimed ancestor (David), or if the verses contradict/do not support the claim of biological descent? 04:31, 10 January 2019 (UTC)

  • Comment: the verses explicitly state that they are giving the genealogy of Jesus, tracing his ancestry through Joseph to various figures of symbolic importance in Jewish tradition. Elsewhere Jesus is described as "the son of Joseph". There are different ways to reconcile this with the theological claim that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and that Joseph did not have relations with Mary before the birth of Jesus. One interpretation would be that the Evangelists did not view these positions as contradictory; a more skeptical view would be that they were unable to resolve the conflict and so ignored it. It doesn't really matter which you prefer, because in the end that's what the Gospels say. And they're the main sources for the accounts of Jesus' life. He's mentioned by other sources, but apart from religious ones, few of them provide much detail. And the non-religious sources certainly don't make any claims about him being the son of God, in some sense other than the general observation that all men are sons of God. Ultimately whether Joseph is treated as the father of Jesus is a theological question that can't be resolved simply by resorting to the plain language of scripture. The Gospels clearly treat him as though he were, even though they also provide support for the contrary opinion. It's not Wikipedia's job to unravel theological knots, although of course you can report what scholarly literature has to say on the subject. P Aculeius (talk) 23:43, 10 January 2019 (UTC)
These verses do not use the word "ancestry." That word was used by the Wikipedia entry author. Only Matthew 1:1 (King James Version) uses the word "genealogy," but it then proceeds to define the word as "Lit. generation." It is informing the reader that the passage will explain the generation of Jesus. The passage closes with the virgin pregnancy, Joseph taking Mary as wife, the virgin birth, and the naming. In other words, using this single word to imply that a biological line of Jesus is given is highly misleading, since a different definition is explicitly used by the Bible. Even if the Bible hadn't bothered to define the word, it is still misleading to write an entry that implies a biological line of descent to Jesus when the passage clearly gives the opposite to be the case. So we are back to: There is nothing in either of these passages supporting a biological descent of Jesus from David, and the current entry is misleading by not stating that it is actually Joseph's line when the source material gives Joseph's line. Please recheck the Matthew and Luke wording and report back. If you do not contradict, it will be taken as agreement. To your other points, Jesus's legal status vis-a-vis Joseph is not in dispute, only the claim of biological descent from David from these passages. (talk) 04:22, 11 January 2019 (UTC)
I'd say that the distinction you're trying to draw is artificial. "Biological descent" is a scientific term that's only recently been added to our lexicon, and has no particular connection to the Gospels or other scriptural material. The source material describes the generations or genealogy (your interpretation of "literal" is dubious, because most words have multiple applications, particularly in languages other than English, where there aren't as many alternatives to provide subtly different meanings; you say that the word doesn't mean "genealogy" in the original, but what alternatives would have been used in the original text at the time it was written if that meaning were intended by the author? Even if other words were theoretically available, what words are used by contemporary writers in the same language to describe the two concepts, and were they clearly distinguished, or blended together? I see no evidence that this has been investigated) to or from Jesus.
Resorting to the text, Matthew begins with (KJV): "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." Not "The book of the generation of Joseph". The second and third clauses further reinforce that Jesus is being called the son of Joseph, not "the son of the Holy Spirit, which is one with God, and he had no other ancestors in the male line". After all, if Jesus wasn't considered the son of Joseph, then it wouldn't make sense to describe him as the son of David, and the son of Abraham. You could argue over whether Mary's descent could justify this, but since it isn't presented in this chapter, that clearly isn't the author's intent. More modern translations give "genealogy" rather than "generation(s)", implying that "genealogy" is closer to the original intent, at least in modern English, which is the opposite of your contention. The Gospel of Luke says, "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli". This passage clearly calls Jesus the son of Joseph; the parenthetical, "as was supposed" does not mean, "but was not"; in plain English it means "yes it was". And it's pretty much the same in every translation. There's no ambiguity. The Gospel of John also refers to Jesus as "the son of Joseph" multiple times.
So what we come back to is that you're trying to force a distinction that none of the Evangelists made, and which seems to be textually contradicted by three of the four main Gospels. You're relying on terminology that didn't exist until modern times, and wading into a theological discussion that can't be resolved simply by resorting to the relevant scriptural passages. The only other sources that might explicitly state Jesus' descent, i.e. non-religious ones, would tend to assume that Joseph was his father, whatever else might have been said of him. So I'm not seeing any evidence to support your argument. P Aculeius (talk) 14:21, 11 January 2019 (UTC)
The important concession on your part is that these references do not give a descent of Mary from David. The gist of your argument is one or all of the following: 1) there is no difference between biological paternity and legal paternity, or at least 2) the ancients did not know the difference, or that 3) “supposed” the son is equivalent to “is” the son. The second point encompasses the first, and it is too absurd to be debated. The ancients did understand the concept of bloodlines and illegitimate births. Ironically, the very passage in question disproves you; Matthew 1:19 shows Joseph understood siring. In the New Testament, we find Jews questioning whether Jesus is descended from David. My distinction between blood and legal descent is supported, not contradicted, by these and other Bible passages. As for your third argument, if the ancients did know the difference between blood and legal lines and therefore the New Testament authors made it a point to state that Jesus is considered (“supposed”) “the son of Joseph” after stating he did not father the child, which I acknowledge they do, then Wikipedia should also make this distinction in the entry. You don’t want to misrepresent the concepts in the Bible, do you? (talk) 03:47, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
Also, as a minor point of order, “γενεσεως” and “generationis” were the words used in all Greek and Latin Bibles, respectively, both of which mean “generation.” The word for genealogy or pedigree in these languages is different. The 21st Century King James Version even fixes it back to “generation,” as does the Douay-Rheims, the Catholic counterpart to KJV. (talk) 03:59, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, but you've misunderstood substantially everything I said. I'm not arguing that there was no distinction between biological and legal paternity; I'm saying that you're forcing modern terminology, with all its cultural baggage, on what is, in essence, myth (in the technical sense, not implying anything about the truth of the story). It's perfectly reasonable to infer from the plain language of the Evangelists that they considered Jesus to be the son of Joseph, even though he was conceived through the Holy Spirit before Joseph "knew" his wife. They simply chose not to make the distinction you're choosing to make, either because they did not think it essential to do so, or because they could not unravel the theological knot created by the apparent inconsistency—perhaps both. That says nothing about the ancients being too stupid to understand the concept of illegitimacy. The word "supposed" here is relevant because it seems to have been taken out of context to support your argument. If the text read, "the supposed son of Joseph" or "whom they supposed to be the son of Joseph", then it would support your argument. But it says, "being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph", which means that not only was he "supposed" to be the son of Joseph, but that he in fact was the son of Joseph, notwithstanding the circumstances of his conception.
You could argue endlessly on why this was so (could the Holy Spirit have used a sample of Joseph's DNA? Was it simply a miracle?), but those details were irrelevant to the Evangelists, who simply describe him as the son of Joseph, and provide a genealogy (and to be honest, whether you use this word or "generations" doesn't appear to be relevant either; the meaning in this context is the same) that assumes that Jesus is the son of Joseph. I simply don't see any grounds for making the distinction you want to make. I'm not saying that it's not a valid point of theological inquiry; merely that it's not a matter you can resolve through the text of the scriptures, and that as stated it comes down to your personal interpretation, rather than a reporting of scholarly investigation and discussion. If you can find scholarly writings that discuss this particular issue, feel free to add them to the article in the appropriate places. But at this point you're simply trying to modify the article based on your understanding, rather than what the sources themselves say. P Aculeius (talk) 14:28, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
This is argument 3) but more wordy. Per the passages cited, Jesus is not of the bloodline of Joseph, and Mary also is not of the bloodline of David. There is consensus on this by everyone in this talk section. This Wikipedia entry gives the opposite. Whether you see any grounds for making the distinction between blood and law in this context is irrelevant as the authors of the New Testament themselves made the distinction in the very passage cited, the Jews questioned it in subsequent New Testament passages (your dismissal of their status borders on anti-Semitic), and you are not the only audience for Wikipedia entries. Wikipedia entries should not be misleading to a global audience. Also, your interpretation of the word "supposed" is WP:OR, and the word "generation" was singular not plural; the burden of proof is on you to establish that it means the same thing as the modern English word "genealogy" in any context. (talk) 21:52, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
I think this debate has passed the point at which it serves any purpose. You're ignoring what I actually said, and arguing that the language of the scriptures means the opposite of what it says. Explaining why the plain language doesn't support your argument isn't original research, but your proposed changes to the article based on your interpretation of scripture would be. I never said that Mary's descent isn't set forth in the New Testament; I made no assertion about it, other than that it isn't given in the passages at issue, and therefore the assertion that Jesus was "the son of David" and "the son of Abraham" must depend on his being the son of Joseph in these passages. You can argue about "biological descent" and "bloodlines" until the cows come home, but that's not based on the text of the Gospels, which fail to make any such distinction, and certainly don't use that terminology. I don't have any burden of proving to you that two words used to translate the same word mean the same thing in that context. The burden is on you to show that the scriptures say exactly what you're alleging they do—not merely that you could interpret them that way, since that would be original research unless cited to an independent source. You also might want to avoid using the phrase "disruptive personal attacks" to avoid the core issues in this debate, particularly after alleging that the arguments set forth by one of the editors who disagrees with your interpretation "borders on anti-Semitic". That takes real chutzpah! But I think I've said all I need to in this discussion, and think I'll sit back and let the rest resolve itself. P Aculeius (talk) 22:13, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
If I am not allowed to introduce the word "bloodline" because the New Testament does not, then by the same logic, the Wikipedia entry author is not allowed to introduce the word "ancestry" because the New Testament does not. ("The Gospels of Matthew and Luke offer two accounts of the genealogy of Jesus. Matthew traces Jesus' ancestry to Abraham through David (1:1–16).[108] Luke traces Jesus' ancestry through Adam to God (3:23–38).[109]"). Bottom line is these intro sentences are misleading. At a bare minimum, "from Joseph, husband of Mary" (to distinguish from the other Josephs in the line) should be added in front of "to Abraham" and "through Adam," in sentences 2 and 3, respectively. Why oppose that? (talk) 23:11, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia should state what reliable unbiased sources state. An encyclopedia is not a venue for editors' speculation or for individual editors' personal exegesis of Biblical texts. Softlavender (talk) 05:51, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
At dispute here is whether the Wikipedia entry is an accurate write-up of the passages cited. The passages give that Jesus is not of the bloodline of Joseph, and no line of descent from David to Mary is given in the New Testament. There has been and is no dispute on these points. We are all in agreement as to these facts. Therefore, the Wikipedia entry should be corrected because it is misleading, and the burden of proof is on my interlocuters to prove why it should not be corrected. So far, no one has offered any reasoning as to why it should not be corrected, other than the claim by the guy above that he and, by his WP:OR inference, the 12 Evangelists, do not care about it. (talk) 21:52, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
"12 Evangelists"?. I thought there were only four.Smeat75 (talk) 22:10, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
So even fewer people potentially agree with him then. (talk) 23:11, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
It's really hard to take you seriously when you invent something like "12 Evangelists", attributing it to someone who said nothing of the kind, then treat it as proof of your argument when somebody questions it. P Aculeius (talk) 16:19, 13 January 2019 (UTC)
You are not required to take anyone seriously. You are required to respond or to yield to the proof that was just presented. (talk) 17:12, 13 January 2019 (UTC)
You have not contributed any rationale or arguments in this comment. Therefore we must assume that you agree that the sources give that Jesus is not of the bloodline of Joseph and that no line of descent from David to Mary is given in the New Testament. The question is what to do about the entry wording, given that the entry is misleading to Wikipedia's non-Christian and Christian modern English-speaking audience. (talk) 21:52, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Agreeing with P Aculeius, Softlavender and Smeat75. The IP fails to understand how WP works, and seems unable to WP:HEAR what others say. This is ever so slightly moving towards disruptive territory, and it has long since crossed in WP:OR. We report what scholarly sources say, period. Jeppiz (talk) 17:10, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
These are disruptive personal attacks; please stick to rationale or arguments. No original research is being requested to be entered, only a correction, the factual correctness of which all in this section are in agreement with. We will assume you are in agreement with the factual correctness of it too since you did not dispute it in your comment. We are now up to four people, at least three of whom are opponents, who agree that the sources give that Jesus is not of the bloodline of Joseph and there is no line of descent from David to Mary. Please elaborate on why Wikipedia should not correct the entry. (talk) 21:52, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
The IP also fails know how to create a workable RfC. The RfC cites sources and then fails to link to, quote, or specify the text of the sources, yet it then asks the readers to speculate on said sources, under the unproven assumption and presumption that such decisions or speculations are relevant to this Wikipedia article. Softlavender (talk) 23:04, 14 January 2019 (UTC)

The official Catechism of the Catholic Church gives that Jesus is not of the bloodline but of the "messianic lineage" of David.

God called Joseph to "take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit," so that Jesus, "who is called Christ," should be born of Joseph's spouse into the messianic lineage of David.34 [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:29, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I am not seeing a proposed edit here, but think one is not warranted anyway. The article section on Genealogy and nativity is clear from the start that the two books have differences, and gives highlights from both. That seems like DUE covering in line with WEIGHT of coverage. Puzzling over the question of this thread is loosely interesting but seems moot as not a common enough topic to be DUE a mention, much less trying to find and show all significant positions. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 14:52, 14 January 2019 (UTC)

"The passages give that Jesus is not of the bloodline of Joseph" Joseph as a character, appears only in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. There is a single, brief reference to him in the Gospel of John (which has no nativity narrative), and no reference at all in the Gospel of Mark (which starts with an adult Jesus). The myth of the Virgin birth of Jesus is absent in the gospels of both Mark and John. The narrative which insists on the virgin birth is Matthew's, while Luke's narrative is more vague on the topic. As noted in our article:
    • The Book of Luke differs from Matthew in depicting a virginal conception rather than a virgin birth (there is nothing in Luke that suggests Joseph did not have sexual relations with Mary after the angelic visit). ... Luke's virgin birth story is a standard plot from the Jewish scriptures, as for example in the annunciation scenes for Isaac and for Samson, in which an angel appears and causes apprehension, the angel gives reassurance and announces the coming birth, the mother raises an objection, and the angel gives a sign."
  • "The fact that the virgin birth is mentioned only by Matthew and Luke is considered to produce doubt as to its truth by scholars such as Jürgen Moltmann. He writes: "In the New Testament, Christ's 'virgin birth' is related only by Luke and Matthew. It was unknown, or considered unimportant, in wide areas of early Christian belief (the Pauline and Johannine sectors, for example). But from the third century onwards it became a firm component of the Christian creeds and theological christologies." He also writes: "The virgin birth is not one of the pillars that sustains the New Testament faith in Christ. The confession of faith in Jesus, the Son of God, the Lord, is independent of the virgin birth, and is not based on it." "Moreover, we find the confession of faith in Christ in Christian traditions which know nothing of the virgin birth, or do not mention it." He concludes: "that the virgin birth does not provide the justification for confessing Christ." Dimadick (talk) 15:05, 14 January 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ Catholic Church. “The Profession of the Christian Faith,” in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed., 437. Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2012.

Jesus had 2 parents, four grandparents, 8 great-gp, and so on. Matthew lists 40 generations of them from Abraham, which means that by the time we get to Perez the father of Hezron he has 68,719,476,736 (68.7 billion) ancestors all alive at the same time. That's quite a lot.PiCo (talk) 06:27, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

Well, that sounds impossible, but of course when you think about it, everyone living today has had around 40 generations of ancestors just since the year 800. And there certainly weren't 68 billion people living then! This is an example of a phenomenon known to genealogists as "pedigree collapse", whereby if you can trace your lineage far enough back, you'll see the same names appearing over and over again in different branches. That's because for most of human history, people lived in the same relatively small communities for generations, and became related to almost everyone around them, making it rare to marry someone they weren't at least distantly related to. Even if someone moved to a new area, within a few generations they'd be related to most of the people there. Geneticists tell us that if we go back a few tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of years, the whole human population consisted of at most a few tens of thousands of people, and that everyone living then, who has living descendants today, is almost certainly the ancestor of every person now living. It doesn't take a miracle for Jesus to have had 40 generations of ancestors. It would be a miracle if he hadn't! P Aculeius (talk) 15:09, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
The bible places the birth of Abraham at roughly 2000 BC (1946 AM actually); with 40 generations to Jesus, this allows "generations" of 100 years - women are having babies at age 100 on average, some older, like Sarah, some considerably younger, like Mary, who was 13. Even allowing a lot of teenage pregnancies, seems a little improbable.PiCo (talk) 21:32, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

Faith described as truth[edit]

This talkpage, like every other Wikipedia article talkpage, is WP:NOTAFORUM. The OP's question/assertion has been adequately answered, and he has also been directed to read the FAQ at Talk:Historicity of Jesus and specific discussions in the archives of that talkpage. Any further discussion is merely soapboxing, which is not what article talkpages are for. Softlavender (talk) 00:00, 19 January 2019 (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.

The beginning of the article reads as follow: "Jesus was a...". I think it should most definitely be changed to: "According to christian faith, Jesus was a..." I think that faith should never be described as truth in an encyclopædia, it not being a religious writing. The article may contain more examples of describing biblical content as truth, which should also be changed. The bible is not a history book, but should be regarded as mythological and written about as such in an article like this, which should remain neutral to religious wiews.


Rolling Phantom (talk) 22:18, 13 January 2019 (UTC)

Sorry, but what you say is entirely incorrect. The full phrase reads "Jesus was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader". That's not what Christians believe, it's just a simple historical fact. Faith has nothing to do with it. Jeppiz (talk) 22:38, 13 January 2019 (UTC)

Can you verify that with any other source than the bible or the quran? Rolling Phantom (talk) 00:59, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

Agreed that most literature agrees on his status as a historical figure. Perhaps "scholar" should be substituted for "preacher", for several reasons: 1) "preacher and religious leader" seems somewhat redundant; 2) during dialogues with other Jewish authorities on theological matters, he's referred to as "rabbi", which in this context would probably be translated as "scholar", and 3), the term "preacher" conjures up not an image of a first century mystic, but of a 20th century Evangelical Protestant in a blue suit and thinning pompadour... P Aculeius (talk) 13:49, 14 January 2019 (UTC)
Are you equating preachers with leaders? I wouldn't assume a preacher has political and administrative authority, wealth (ex officio and personal), or a hierarchy of subordinates. The bishop in my hometown has a limo, chauffer, and dresses with gold jewelry while preaching poverty. He has power over every priest in the entire region, over the secular staff of the various churches, and over various organizations owned by the church (such as the local home for the elderly and invalids). Now that is a leader, with wealth and power. Dimadick (talk) 14:42, 14 January 2019 (UTC)

No, most christian litterature agrees that he was a historical figure. Few others. Rolling Phantom (talk) 00:59, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

The phrase "religious leader" doesn't imply wealth, power, or hierarchical authority: merely followers. I'm not sure what the word "preacher" means to everyone, but here it usually implies the person who leads a Protestant congregation, irrespective of his (or her) actual title. A preacher might be part of a hierarchy within a larger church, or the leader of an independent church with no special rank or privileges beyond his religious leadership. But in this phrase I don't see that the word "leader" needs to mean any of the things you mentioned; many people described as "leaders" lack one or more of them. "Civil rights" leaders often lack all of them; I would say that so do some "religious" leaders, "labor leaders", and other sorts. I would say that "preacher" by definition fits within the category of "religious leader", although the word itself seems out of place when speaking of someone living in antiquity. Likewise, although he's referred to as "rabbi" in at least some translations of scripture, "scholar" would seem to be the best word here, since it's a more general description and doesn't risk confusing the intended meaning with a modern interpretation of the word "rabbi". P Aculeius (talk) 21:14, 14 January 2019 (UTC)
No, we will not use the word 'scholar'. Not unless we first find some authoritative sources using it. To me, a scholar means someone who has studied, done a PhD and research (in modern usage). Even in ancient usage, it would be expected that a 'scholar' was far more educated than the average person. We have no firm evidence that Jesus could even read or write. He might have, or he might not. He may well have a been an illiterate monolingual Aramaic-speaker from a small village. There is nothing in the historical sources to contradict this. 'Preacher and religious leader' is accurate and in line with the language used in scholarship. Scholar is neither accurate nor used in the academic literature on Jesus. Jeppiz (talk) 22:11, 14 January 2019 (UTC)
1, there's no reason to shout. Nobody else here is shouting. 2, where are you getting this definition of "scholar" from? A scholar is someone learned in a field of study. You don't have to have a PhD be multilingual, or even literate, as you suggest. The subject here is religious scholarship, which even a layman can recall that accounts of Jesus' life state that he excelled in, debating the finer points of Jewish theology with the experts when he was only a child. Throughout his life he's supposed to have been consulted on matters of the law. That's scholarship in its basic sense. The word "preacher" is the anachronism here, in addition to being redundant. P Aculeius (talk) 05:11, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
As I said, please present sources describing Jesus as a "scholar". Then we can discuss them.Jeppiz (talk) 09:30, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
You're getting hung up on the word and not paying attention to the meaning. Just perusing the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus is addressed repeatedly as "didaskalos" and "Rabbi". The former is uniformly translated as "master" or "teacher", the latter translated "master" or left as "Rabbi". The word "rabbi" literally means "a master of Torah", i.e. one who has studied and teaches the law. You could reasonably use "teacher" in the opening in place of "preacher", since it's the word most often used in modern English translations; "master" is suitable as a form of address, but it would be confusing to open the article with "Jesus was a first-century Jewish master", because in that context it reads as though he had legal authority over someone. I suggested "scholar" as an alternative because it implies his study and knowledge of the law, rather than a general acceptance that his teachings were correct. It seems like a more neutral way to describe the same basic concept. Plenty of modern scholarship equates Jesus with a rabbi; for instance Bruce Chilton's 2002 Rabbi Jesus: an Intimate Biography. But again, the purpose of the lead is to explain the subject of an article briefly, not to confuse the reader with terms that might be understood with a different meaning. A rabbi is by definition a scholar of the law; Jesus was plainly learned in the law and so referred to as a rabbi by his contemporaries; calling him a scholar is no more than a plain description, whether or not the particular word is chosen by other authors. But if you prefer "teacher", then fine, use that. It's still a better introduction than "preacher and religious leader". The present sentence reads like you were introducing "automobile" as "a vehicle and form of transportation". P Aculeius (talk) 15:52, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
The uncharitable description, yet strongly supported by WP:RS/AC would be "apocalyptic cult leader". Tgeorgescu (talk) 16:07, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
"The bible is not a history book" The Bible is not a book. It is a collection of books, from different eras, authors, and genres. The historicity of specific information has to be determined by our sources, not by us. Dimadick (talk) 14:32, 14 January 2019 (UTC)

That has no relevance. Little other sources exist to prove biblical writings true, other than other writings within the same bible. Rolling Phantom (talk) 00:59, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

"didaskalos" (διδασκαλος) is a Greek term for teacher, and is used elsewhere in the Septuagint and the New Testament as well. See here for specific verses:διδασκαλος&diacritics=off. Dimadick (talk) 14:26, 16 January 2019 (UTC)

You are clearly all christians and do not have a neutral wiew on the article, that appear strongly biased for someone who does not share your beliefs. I understand that the article should remain semi protected, as the character within it is susceptible to vandalism. However, I suspect that the persons administrating it are biased and should not be in a such position, as little as a goat should guard a sack of oats from being eaten by itself. The same bias was present in the Norwegian version of the page, which I changed and got a thanks from the administrator. That is obviously not possible when the administrator is biased. Will you allow me to change the article or do I have to seek a higher level?

Rolling Phantom (talk) 00:59, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

That Jesus existed as a human being is a fact of history and has nothing to do with religion. Saying "all the rest of you are obviously Christians and therefore biased is a personal attack and forbidden here. We are not "administrators", at least I am not, but just editors like you. Go ahead and seek "a higher level" and see where that gets you.Smeat75 (talk) 02:00, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

It cant be regarded as a "fact of history that has nothing to do with religion" because the only source is a religious book. And no, accusing a group of people of not having a neutral point of wiew is not a "personal attack", nor would it be so if only one person was mentioned. A personal attack is things like name calling, implying low intelligence, or other unfavorable ways of adressing a person. This is vastly different from critizism about this persons point of wiew in a matter. Rolling Phantom (talk) 14:30, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

@Rolling Phantom:, it might be beneficial for you to read Talk:Historicity of Jesus/FAQ, and Talk:Historicity of Jesus/Archive index for the many, many conversations and conclusions that Wikipedia has come to regarding this and similar topics. You're treading ancient ground, here. --Equivamp - talk 03:13, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

"You are clearly all christians and do not have a neutral wiew on the article, that appear strongly biased for someone who does not share your beliefs."

I am not a Christian, but an atheist. I don't particularly like Jesus as depicted in the Gospels, a thug attacking innocent merchants who were just earning their living. But Wikipedia is not a place to color the articles with our personal views on any topic. We follow the sources. Dimadick (talk) 09:21, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

What sources? If you are an atheist, you cant possibly agree on that the existence of a Jesus that was crucified 2000 years ago is a "historical fact", and even less so that he founded the christian religion. It has no source other than the bible. The only historical fact here is that many people were crucified by the romans 2000 years ago. I refuse to believe that "most ancient age scientists agree on that he existed" They have to agree on that it cant be excluded that he existed. Pontius Pilatus is likely to be a historical person, as he is mentioned in other sources, and that is the closest they got. I will have to find a responsible administrator then. Rolling Phantom (talk) 14:14, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

Rolling Phantom, Historicity of Jesus is where this is covered. Something tells me you are not familiar with the material there. Johnbod (talk) 14:49, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
Articles like this attract two kinds of troublemakers: Christian fundies and atheist fundies. Tgeorgescu (talk) 15:03, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
Sooooo true :P - FlightTime (open channel) 15:08, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
I'm not a Christian either; but Jesus is mentioned by sources other than the scriptures, and there's a basic scholarly consensus that he existed, and that some of the things attributed to his life probably occurred; for instance the general direction of his teaching, the names of some of the people associated with him, and the occasion and manner of his death. You're not required to believe in the Immaculate Conception, the Virgin Birth, raising the dead, curing lepers, feeding the 5,000, or that Jesus himself rose from the dead after three days. The article doesn't claim any of these as fact; merely that they were attributed to him by the various writers whose testimony forms the narrative of his life. Maybe all of these things are embellishments, the way that the hero tales of antiquity, the medieval lives of saints, and folkloric figures like King Arthur or Robin Hood might be based on a kernel of truth so disguised by "good storytelling" that the original facts have become almost unrecognizable.
Many people nonetheless believe them as articles of faith, and as long as Wikipedia doesn't claim that mystical occurrences really happened, but states neutrally that they were reported by various chroniclers, that's fine. We can report as fact that Jesus was a first-century religious leader, even if many of the details of his life cannot be proved, because that's the consensus of the scholarly community. If that consensus changes, then we would say that he is "said to have existed" or "claimed by early Christian chroniclers to have been". This wouldn't affirm or deny his existence or anything attributed to him; it would merely report what has been written about him, the same as articles on mythology and folklore generally report "the story" without passing judgment on its truth.
Now, as for your assertion that everyone else who opposes your point of view is biased is somewhat self-serving, to say nothing of whether it might constitute a personal attack. I for one don't worry too much about being accused of bias in this context, because I think that any neutral arbiter will dismiss such an accusation. But some of what's gone on in since the original RfC was posted has crossed over the line, and if you're connected with that, I suggest you rethink the way you make assumptions about other editors and their motives. I'm not one to appeal to authority to smite mine enemies, but I can't speak on behalf of other editors here, and I'm reasonably sure you won't find much support for those accusations from any administrators who intervene.
You're not required to be an expert on topics like these in order to have an opinion; that's part of what these discussions are for: to identify relevant points and evidence in support of various positions. But even a cursory search on Google, or in other encyclopedias, to answer the question, "was Jesus a historical person?" would demonstrate that there is a scholarly consensus, independent of his alleged divinity or whether any of the miracles associated with him occurred. To continue to argue the contrary in the face of that consensus suggests that the facts aren't important to you; only your point of view. I'm not saying that's the case; merely how it appears. Perhaps it's time to do some reading on the topic and reconsider your position, as well as how you deal with other editors who don't share your point of view. P Aculeius (talk) 15:15, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
I believe in science, so obviously I do not believe in a supreme being, however I do think that many instances in the bible are from true facts as you mention. - FlightTime (open channel) 15:21, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
"claimed by early Christian chroniclers to have been".

This wording would equate the Gospels with chronicles or annals, and could be misleading. These authors did not set out to write a year-by-year account of either their main subject (Jesus), or the region where he lived. Dimadick (talk) 15:31, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

Not sure why this is up for debate, as I wasn't proposing language for the article. My point was that while much of what is said of Jesus depends on acceptance of things that science cannot support (although I don't think that science disproves faith; it simply doesn't apply because the claims of faith cannot be tested by scientific means), and therefore those things are not and ought not to be stated as fact by the article, other things are accepted by a consensus of scholars without depending on any religious belief, and therefore can be stated as fact. My comments were aimed at Rolling Phantom, since he doesn't seem to believe that anything about Jesus is known from sources other than scripture, even his existence; and the implication that simply arguing for the historicity of Jesus proves Christian bias on the part of the participants in this discussion. P Aculeius (talk) 18:27, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

That is indeed exactly what I'm implying, sir. I will even take my implications a step further and imply that the scholars that agree on that Jesus has existed are also biased, even if they claim not to be so or that the consensus has nothing to do with the religion they were brought up in. Which is understandable, since representatives of this religion have threatened with severe punishment for disbelieve in his existence. No scholar can agree in any more that it is likely that he existed given the evidences. The sanest thing to state would be that his existence cant be dismissed. There was someone that came up with something like "If a thousand men states something wrong, its still wrong. Truth is not dependent on opinion". Still, these thousand men has the power to have it their way, when few to none oppose them and those who do cant change something behind their lines, because they are in charge of what happens there. So I guess theres nothing to do with it then. Have it your way.

Rolling Phantom (talk) 18:11, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

WP:RGW and WP:FRINGE. Tgeorgescu (talk) 18:32, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

The problem is that these "reliable sources", yet they are numerous and regarded as truth by those who read them, arent necessarily very reliable in reality. As a natural consecvence, finding a reliable source on the opposite is equally impossible. That Jesus have lived cant be denied, since there is even less proof of it than there are indications of that he did.

Rolling Phantom (talk) 23:52, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

If "have it your way" means "go with the vast majority of scholars on the subject" then yes, we will. Thanks for asking. Britmax (talk) 19:09, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

The problem is that the vast majority of scholars on the subject really believe in what they do. As an example of the opposite, one can mention scholars on crop circles. What they do is officially consensually regarded as pseudoscience, but if they arent outright lying about some details, they have more credible proof than the afore mentioned group. That will not make a scientist who firmly believe the circles are made by pranksters change his/her opinion, nor will it change the truth. Rolling Phantom (talk) 23:52, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

Isn't believing something is the truth regardless of what others think about it kinda the definition of faith? ;P Ian.thomson (talk) 19:31, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

Indeed it is. Not believing it is on the other hand lack of such faith. Rolling Phantom (talk) 23:52, 18 January 2019 (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.