In his book Cutting Jesus Down to Size ,  Wells clarified that he believes the Gospels represent the fusion of two originally independent streams: In Van Voorst gave an overview of proponents of the "Nonexistence Hypothesis" and their arguments, and eight arguments against this hypothesis as put forward by Wells and his predecessors: According to Graham Stanton, writing in , Wells advanced the most sophisticated version of the Christ myth theory, noting that "[t]his intriguing theory rests on several pillars, each of which is shaky.
His works were not discussed by New Testament scholars, because it was "not considered to be original, and all his main points were thought to have been refuted long time ago, for reasons which were very well known. Canadian writer Earl Doherty born was introduced to the Christ myth theme by a lecture by Wells in the s. Paul and other writers of the earliest existing proto-Christian documents did not believe in Jesus as a person who was incarnated on Earth in a historical setting, rather they believed in Jesus as a heavenly being who suffered his sacrificial death in the lower spheres of heaven, where he was crucified by demons and then was subsequently resurrected by God.
This mythological Jesus was not based on a historical Jesus, but rather on an exegesis of the Old Testament in the context of Jewish-Hellenistic religious syncretism and what the early authors believed to be mystical visions of a risen Jesus. Doherty agrees with Bauckham that the earliest Christology was already a "high Christology," that is, Jesus was an incarnation of the pre-existent Christ, but deems it "hardly credible" that such a belief could develop in such a short time among Jews.
According to Doherty, the nucleus of this historicised Jesus of the Gospels can be found in the Jesus-movement which wrote the Q source. New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman quotes Doherty from The Jesus Puzzle as maintaining that it was Paul's view that Jesus' death took place in the spiritual not the earthly realm, : In a book criticizing the Christ myth theory, New Testament scholar Maurice Casey describes Doherty as "perhaps the most influential of all the mythicists",  but one who is unable to understand the ancient texts he uses in his arguments.
Price born was a fellow of the Jesus Seminar , a group of writers and scholars who study the historicity of Jesus and who argue that the Christian image of Christ is a theological construct into which traces of Jesus of Nazareth have been woven. Five Views , in which he acknowledges that he stands against the majority view of scholars, but cautions against attempting to settle the issue by appeal to the majority.
In Deconstructing Jesus , Price points out that "the Jesus Christ of the New Testament is a composite figure", out of which a broad variety of historical Jesuses can be reconstructed, any one of which may have been the real Jesus, but not all of them together. According to Price, the accounts of Jesus are derived from Jewish writings,  which show Greek influences and similarities with Pagan saviour deities. Christianity is a historicized synthesis of mainly Egyptian, Jewish, and Greek mythologies.
Price argues that these "varying dates are the residue of various attempts to anchor an originally mythic or legendary Jesus in more or less recent history". Thompson born , Professor emeritus of theology at the University of Copenhagen , is a leading biblical minimalist of the Old Testament.
For example, he argues that the resurrection of Jesus is taken directly from the story of the dying and rising god, Dionysus. Thompson coedited the contributions from a diverse range of scholars in the book Is This Not the Carpenter?: The Question of the Historicity of the Figure of Jesus. Neither establishing the historicity of a historical Jesus nor possessing an adequate warrant for dismissing it, our purpose is to clarify our engagement with critical historical and exegetical methods. In a online article, Thompson defended his qualifications to address New Testament issues and he rejected the label of "mythicist" and reiterated his position that the issue of Jesus' existence cannot be determined one way or the other.
Bart Ehrman "is such that an established scholar should present his Life of Jesus, without considering whether this figure, in fact, lived as a historical person" and that such assumptions "reflect a serious problem regarding the historical quality of scholarship in biblical studies".
In , the Irish Dominican priest and theologian Thomas L. Memoir of a Discovery. In this book, Brodie, who previously had published academic works on the Hebrew prophets, argued that the Gospels are essentially a rewriting of the stories of Elijah and Elisha when viewed as a unified account in the Books of Kings. This view lead Brodie to the conclusion that Jesus is mythical. In response to Brodie's publication of his view that Jesus was mythical, the Dominican order banned him from writing and lecturing, although he was allowed to stay on as a brother of the Irish Province, which continued to care for him.
According to Norton, they are "a memoir of a series of significant moments or events" in Brodie's life that reinforced "his core conviction" that neither Jesus nor Paul of Tarsus were historical. American independent scholar  Richard Carrier born reviewed Doherty's work on the origination of Jesus  and eventually concluded that the evidence actually favored the core Doherty thesis. According to Carrier, many studies by mainstream scholars have shown that the current consensus of a historical Jesus is based on invalid methods. Carrier argues in his book On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt that there is insufficient Bayesian probability , that is evidence, to believe in the existence of Jesus.
Furthermore, Carrier argues that the Jesus figure was probably originally known only through private revelations and hidden messages in scripture which were then crafted into a historical figure to communicate the claims of the gospels allegorically. These allegories then started to be believed as fact during the struggle for control of the Christian churches of the first century.
His methodology was reviewed by Aviezer Tucker, a prior advocate of using Bayesian techniques in history. Tucker expressed some sympathy for Carrier's view of the Gospels, stating: However, Tucker argued that historians have been able to use theories about the transmission and preservation of information to identify reliable parts of the Gospels.
He said that "Carrier is too dismissive of such methods because he is focused on hypotheses about the historical Jesus rather than on the best explanations of the evidence". Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt , says he finds Carrier's arguments "problematic and unpersuasive", his use of Bayesian probabilities "unnecessarily complex" and criticizes Carrier's "lack of evidence, strained readings and troublesome assumptions.
Allegro advanced the theory that stories of early Christianity originated in a shamanistic Essene clandestine cult centered around the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Following Paul Vulliaud, Dubourg emphasized the importance of gematria in showing the coherence of his back-translated text. He concludes that Paul is as mythical as Jesus. One Hundred Years Before Christ. A Study in Creative Mythology , argued that Jesus lived years before the accepted dates, and was a teacher of the Essenes. Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God? The book has been negatively received by scholars, and also by Christ mythicists.
Influenced by Massey and Higgins, Alvin Boyd Kuhn — argued an Egyptian etymology to the Bible that the gospels were symbolic rather than historic and that church leaders started to misinterpret the New Testament in the third century. According to Harpur, in the second or third centuries the early church created the fictional impression of a literal and historic Jesus and then used forgery and violence to cover up the evidence.
Price also wrote a negative review, saying that he did not agree that the Egyptian parallels were as forceful as Harpur thought. David Fitzgerald has self-published several works in defense of the Christ myth theory, including Nailed: Mything in Action , Vols. Ehrman notes that "the mythicists have become loud, and thanks to the Internet they've attracted more attention".
According to Derek Murphy, the documentaries The God Who Wasn't There and Zeitgeist raised interest for the Christ myth theory with a larger audience and gave the topic a large coverage on the Internet. According to Ehrman, mythicism has a growing appeal "because these deniers of Jesus are at the same time denouncers of religion". In modern scholarship, the Christ myth theory is a fringe theory and finds virtually no support from scholars. According to New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman, most people who study the historical period of Jesus believe that he did exist and do not write in support of the Christ myth theory.
Maurice Casey , theologian and scholar of New Testament and early Christianity, stated that the belief among professors that Jesus existed is generally completely certain. According to Casey, the view that Jesus did not exist is "the view of extremists", "demonstrably false" and "professional scholars generally regard it as having been settled in serious scholarship long ago".
In his book Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels , classical historian and popular author Michael Grant concluded that "modern critical methods fail to support the Christ-myth theory". If we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned.
Joseph Hoffmann, who had created the Jesus Project , which included both mythicists and historicists to investigate the historicity of Jesus, wrote that an adherent to the Christ myth theory asked to set up a separate section of the project for those committed to the theory. Hoffmann felt that to be committed to mythicism signaled a lack of necessary skepticism and he noted that most members of the project did not reach the mythicist conclusion. Critics of the Christ myth theory question the competence of its supporters. Few of these mythicists are actually scholars trained in ancient history, religion, biblical studies or any cognate field, let alone in the ancient languages generally thought to matter for those who want to say something with any degree of authority about a Jewish teacher who allegedly lived in first-century Palestine.
In a response, Thompson questioned the polemical nature of this qualification, pointing at his own academic standing and expertise. Maurice Casey has criticized the mythicists, pointing out their complete ignorance of how modern critical scholarship actually works. Questioning the mainstream view appears to have consequences for one's job perspectives.
These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to Few scholars have bothered to criticise Christ myth theories. Robert Van Voorst has written "Contemporary New Testament scholars have typically viewed Christ myth arguments as so weak or bizarre that they relegate them to footnotes, or often ignore them completely The theory of Jesus' nonexistence is now effectively dead as a scholarly question.
Maier , former Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University and current professor emeritus in the Department of History there has stated "Anyone who uses the argument that Jesus never existed is simply flaunting his ignorance. In this book, Bart Ehrman surveys the arguments "mythicists" have made against the existence of Jesus since the idea was first mooted at the end of the 18th century.
To the objection that there are no contemporary Roman records of Jesus' existence, Ehrman points out that such records exist for almost no one and there are mentions of Christ in several Roman works of history from only decades after the death of Jesus. Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths? The authors proposing such opinions might be competent, decent, honest individuals, but the views they present are demonstrably wrong Jesus is better documented and recorded than pretty much any non-elite figure of antiquity. If 40 per cent believe in the Jesus myth, this is a sign that the Church has failed to communicate with the general public.
An Evangelical Response to the Cosmic Christ Idea , challenging the key ideas lying at the foundation of Harpur's thesis. Porter and Bedard conclude that there is sufficient evidence for the historicity of Jesus and assert that Harpur is motivated to promote "universalistic spirituality". Since , several English-language documentaries have focused—at least in part—on the Christ myth theory:.
The named notes after this sentence contain named references; to prevent errors, they are stored here before the notes-reflist.
Per biblical criticism , studies of the Old and New Testaments are often independent of each other, largely due to the difficulty of any single scholar having a sufficient grasp of the many languages required or of the cultural background for the different periods in which texts had their origins. Cognate disciplines include but are not limited to archaeology, anthropology, folklore, linguistics, Oral Tradition studies, and historical and religious studies.
Arnal , pp. Niehoff , p. They all had stories about them set in human history on earth. Yet none of them ever actually existed. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For discussion of Jesus in a comparative mythological and religious context, see Jesus in comparative mythology. For the body of myths associated with Christianity, see Christian mythology. For the scholarly study of the life of Jesus, see Historical Jesus. For analysis of information supporting the historical existence of Jesus, see Historicity of Jesus and Sources for the historicity of Jesus.
For the debate over the validity of stories in the New Testament, see Historical reliability of the Gospels. The Resurrection of Christ by Carl Heinrich Bloch —some mythicists see this as a case of a dying-and-rising god. Life in art Depiction Jesuism. Textual criticism , Historical criticism , Biblical hermeneutics , and Quest for the historical Jesus. Christology , Christian apologetics , Christian fundamentalism , Biblical literalism , and Evangelicalism. Pauline epistles and Authorship of the Pauline epistles. Origins of Christianity and Gnosticism. Diversity in early Christian theology.
Religious syncretism and Mytheme. Notes with nested refs. Neither God nor Man: Age of Reason Publications, , vii—viii. Christianity in the Making. The Bart Ehrman Blog. Retrieved 2 November Pagels , p. From there it could mean a group, school, or sect differentiated from others Acts 5: By extension, it could speak of a faction 1 Cor. Doctrinal and social aspects were tightly bound. But in 2 Pet. The presence of heresy, therefore, is a contradiction both to apostolic teaching and Christian community.
On the other hand, no theologian seems to be able to bring himself to admit that the question of the historicity of Jesus must be judged to be an open one. It appears to me that the theologians are not living up to their responsibility as scholars when they refuse to discuss the possibility that even the existence of the Jesus of the Gospels can be legitimately called into question.
Historicizing the Figure of Jesus, the Messiah: Bart Ehrman, Maurice Casey] the approach taken by the scholars agreeing with the consensus view is uncritically grounded in unjustified presuppositions, and sometimes appears as unprofessional and unscholarly The entire field of Jesus studies has thus been left without any valid method. The truth may not rest in the middle.
The truth may not rest with the majority. Every theory and individual argument must be evaluated on its own. But it should be examined anew a task I'll undertake in the next volume [i. On the Historicity of Jesus ]. Ehrman , pp. Robertson does not exclude the possibility of an historical Jesus. Robertson , Christianity and Mythology , revised edition, p. The Jesus ben-Pandera of the Talmud may have led a movement round which the survivals of an ancient solar or other cult gradually clustered. He is not the founder of anything that we can recognize as Christianity. He is a mere postulate of historical criticism—a dead leader of a lost cause, to whom sayings could be credited and round whom a legend could be written.
Legend has coloured the historic data too much, and outside corroborative testimony is too slender They feel that the question of historicity has little importance [ Price , p. The Traditional Christ-Myth Theory: Wells and Alvar Ellegard thought that the first Christians had in mind Jesus who had lived as a historical figure, just not of the recent past, much as the average Greek believed Hercules and Achilles really lived somewhere back there in the past.
Bart Ehrman on G. There never was a Jesus of Nazareth. Lecture given at the University of Arizona. Some now agree historicity agnosticism is warranted, including Arthur Droge professor of early Christianity at UCSD , Kurt Noll associate professor of religion at Brandon University , and Thomas Thompson renowned professor of theology, emeritus, at the University of Copenhagen. Still others, like Philip Davies professor of biblical studies, emeritus, at the University of Sheffield , disagree with the hypothesis but admit it is respectable enough to deserve consideration.
Ehrman , p. That is what this book will set out to demonstrate. I work further on this issue in my Messiah Myth of Here I argue that the synoptic gospels can hardly be used to establish the historicity of the figure of Jesus; for both the episodes and sayings with which the figure of Jesus is presented are stereotypical and have a history that reaches centuries earlier. I have hardly shown that Jesus did not exist and did not claim to. As for the question of whether Jesus existed, the best answer is that any attempt to find a historical Jesus is a waste of time.
The Bible and Interpretation. Retrieved 29 January Neither do the few mentions of Jesus by Roman writers in the early second century establish his existence. How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels. He is even willing to entertain the possibility that there never was a historical Jesus.
Jesus at the Vanishing Point — Son of Scripture: Was There No Historical Jesus? Traditional midrash often did this through entirely fictional creations, whose story elements served symbolic purposes, like morality tales. The Gospels Not History: Surely if a miracle-working prophet like the Jesus of the Gospels actually existed, it is argued, Paul and pagan contemporaries would have mentioned his feats and his teachings.
Instead, they argue, we find a virtual silence. Lataster a , p.
Separating History from Myth , ed. Joseph Hoffmann Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, , p. Quite likely because the earliest Christians, perhaps Jewish, Samaritan, and Galilean sectarians like the Nasoreans or Essenes, did not understand their savior to have been a figure of mundane history at all, any more than the devotees of the cults of Attis, Hercules, Mithras, and Osiris did.
Their gods, too, had died and risen in antiquity. Indeed, the Pauline Christ was actually quite close to the sorts of divinities we find in ancient mystery religions. They never refer to a place of birth [ They do not refer to his trial before a Roman official, nor to Jerusalem as the place of execution. Prometheus, , The most extreme legendary-Jesus theorists, however—particularly the Christ myth theorists—deny this.
According to the theory, Paul believed that Christ entered the world at some point in the distant past—or that he existed only in a transcendent mythical realm—and died to defeat evil powers and redeem humanity. Only later was Jesus remythologized [i. The Origins and Development of Christology Wells b. The Traditional Christ-Myth Theory. Retrieved 2 May Dickson, John 24 December The irreligious assault on the historicity of Jesus". ABC Religion and Ethics. The evidence just doesn't add up". Sources — Spotlight on the Evangelists ; Price , p.
Journal of Higher Criticism. Retrieved September 2, The Amazing Colossal Apostle. The four Gospels and the one Gospel of Jesus Christ: Finding the Historical Christ. Christianity in the Making by James D. Christianity in the Making , Volume 1 by James D. On the Historicity of Jesus Kindle ed. On the Historicity of Jesus. Chapter 4 and Chapter The Case Against Christianity. Temple University Press, , p. A Failure of Facts and Logic". Retrieved 27 August Retrieved 24 September What is a Gospel? This book likewise was lost, but not before one of its citations of Thallos was taken up by the Byzantine historian Georgius Syncellus in his Chronicle ca.
There is no means by which certainty can be established concerning this or any of the other lost references, partial references, and questionable references that mention some aspect of Jesus' life or death, but in evaluating evidence, it is appropriate to note they exist. The general scholarly view is that while the longer passage, known as the Testimonium Flavianum , is most likely not authentic in its entirety, it is broadly agreed upon that it originally consisted of an authentic nucleus, which was then subject to Christian interpolation.
Feldman has stated that "few have doubted the genuineness" of Josephus' reference to Jesus in Antiquities 20, 9, 1 "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James". Paul references meeting and interacting with James, Jesus' brother, and since this agreement is seen as support of Josephus' statement, the statement is only disputed by a small number of scholars. Roman historian Tacitus referred to Christus and his execution by Pontius Pilate in his Annals written c.
AD , book 15, chapter Van Voorst states that the very negative tone of Tacitus' comments on Christians make the passage extremely unlikely to have been forged by a Christian scribe  and Boyd and Eddy state that the Tacitus reference is now widely accepted as an independent confirmation of Christ's crucifixion. Other considerations outside Christendom include the possible mentions of Jesus in the Talmud. The Talmud speaks in some detail of the conduct of criminal cases of Israel and gathered in one place from — CE.
Bart Ehrman says this material is too late to be of much use. Ehrman explains that "Jesus is never mentioned in the oldest part of the Talmud, the Mishnah, but appears only in the later commentaries of the Gemara. Ehrman writes that few contemporary scholars treat this as historical. There is only one classical writer who refers positively to Jesus and that is Mara bar Serapion , a Syrian Stoic, who wrote a letter to his son who was also named Serapion from a Roman prison.
Laukamp had apparently consulted Munro about his papyri, and Munro wrote back that a colleague at the Free University, Gerhard Fecht, an expert on Egyptian languages and texts, had identified one of the Coptic papyri as a second-to fourth-century A. Aside from the fact that the gospels provide different accounts of the Jewish role in Jesus's death for example, Mark and Matthew report two separate trials, Luke one, and John none , Fredriksen, like other scholars see Catchpole argues that many elements of the gospel accounts could not possibly have happened: Niehoff , p. See also Responsibility for the death of Jesus Fears that enthusiasm over Jesus might lead to Roman intervention is an alternate explanation for his arrest regardless of his preaching. Herzog has stated that: We can conclude that women did follow Jesus a considerable length of time during his Galilean ministry and his last journey to Jerusalem. Their names were assigned early, but not early enough for us to be confident they were accurately known.
Ehrman says, "There is historical information about Jesus in the Gospels. Almost all modern scholars consider his baptism and crucifixion to be historical facts. Meier views the crucifixion of Jesus as historical fact and states that, based on the criterion of embarrassment , Christians would not have invented the painful death of their leader. Most scholars in the third quest for the historical Jesus consider the crucifixion indisputable,     as do Bart Ehrman ,  John Dominic Crossan  and James Dunn.
Sanders and Paula Fredriksen support the historicity of the crucifixion, but contend that Jesus did not foretell his own crucifixion, and that his prediction of the crucifixion is a Christian story. The existence of John the Baptist within the same time frame as Jesus, and his eventual execution by Herod Antipas is attested to by 1st-century historian Josephus and the overwhelming majority of modern scholars view Josephus' accounts of the activities of John the Baptist as authentic.
In addition to the two historical elements of baptism and crucifixion, scholars attribute varying levels of certainty to various other aspects of the life of Jesus, although there is no universal agreement among scholars on these items. Contemporary scholarship, representing the "third quest," places Jesus firmly in the Jewish tradition.
Leading scholars in the "third quest" include E. Jesus is seen as the founder of, in the words of Sanders, a '"renewal movement within Judaism. The main criterion used to discern historical details in the "third quest" is that of plausibility, relative to Jesus' Jewish context and to his influence on Christianity. The main disagreement in contemporary research is whether Jesus was apocalyptic. Most scholars conclude that he was an apocalyptic preacher, like John the Baptist and the apostle Paul. The miracles of Jesus are the supernatural  deeds attributed to Jesus in Christian and Islamic texts.
The majority are faith healing , exorcisms , resurrection of the dead and control over nature. The majority of scholars agree that Jesus was a healer and an exorcist. Extrabiblical sources for Jesus performing miracles include Josephus , Celsus , and the Talmud. Jesus was a charismatic preacher who taught the principles of salvation, everlasting life, and the Kingdom of God. Some scholars see him as accepting a divine role, and that his role was that of a "divine king", while other scholars opine he mistakenly believed that the apocalypse was approaching.
Messiah, Son of God, and Son of Man, added to his "I am the" and his "I have come" statements, indicates that Jesus saw himself in a divine role.
In the Hebrew Bible , three classes of people are identified as "anointed," that is, "Messiahs": The Jews of Jesus' time waited expectantly for a divine redeemer who would restore Israel , which suffered under Roman rule. John the Baptist was apparently waiting for one greater than himself, an apocalyptic figure.
Paul describes God as declaring Jesus to be the Son of God by raising him from the dead, and Sanders argues Mark portrays God as adopting Jesus as his son at his baptism,  although many others do not accept this interpretation of Mark. Jesus asserted his own authority as something separate from any previously established authority based on his sense of personal connection with the deity. In the Synoptic Gospels , the being of Jesus as " Son of God " corresponds exactly to the typical Hasidean from Galilee , a "pious" holy man that by God's intervention performs miracles and exorcisms.
The most literal translation of Son of Man is "Son of Humanity," or "human being. Jesus' usage of the term "Son of Man" in the first way is historical but without divine claim. The Son of Man as one destined to suffer seems to be, according to some, a Christian invention that does not go back to Jesus, and it is not clear whether Jesus meant himself when he spoke of the divine judge. The title Logos , identifying Jesus as the divine word, first appears in the Gospel of John, written c. Brown concluded that the earliest Christians did not call Jesus, "God.
The gospels and Christian tradition depict Jesus as being executed at the insistence of Jewish leaders, who considered his claims to divinity to be blasphemous. See also Responsibility for the death of Jesus Fears that enthusiasm over Jesus might lead to Roman intervention is an alternate explanation for his arrest regardless of his preaching. Jesus began preaching, teaching, and healing after he was baptized by John the Baptist , an apocalyptic ascetic preacher who called on Jews to repent.
Jesus was apparently a follower of John, a populist and activist prophet who looked forward to divine deliverance of the Jewish homeland from the Romans. John's followers formed a movement that continued after his death alongside Jesus' own following. Crossan portrays Jesus as rejecting John's apocalyptic eschatology in favor of a sapiential eschatology , in which cultural transformation results from humans' own actions, rather than from God's intervention.
The Christ myth theory is "the view that the person known as Jesus of Nazareth had no historical existence." Alternatively, in terms given by Bart Ehrman as per. The term historical Jesus refers to attempts to "reconstruct the life and teachings of Jesus of (See also Responsibility for the death of Jesus) Fears that enthusiasm over Jesus might lead to Roman intervention is an alternate explanation for.
Historians consider Jesus' baptism by John to be historical, an event that early Christians would not have included in their gospels in the absence of a "firm report. John the Baptist 's prominence in both the gospels and Josephus suggests that he may have been more popular than Jesus in his lifetime; also, Jesus' mission does not begin until after his baptism by John.
Scholars posit that Jesus may have been a direct follower in John the Baptist's movement. Prominent Historical Jesus scholar John Dominic Crossan suggests that John the Baptist may have been killed for political reasons, not necessarily the personal grudge given in Mark's gospel. The Synoptic Gospels agree that Jesus grew up in Nazareth, went to the River Jordan to meet and be baptised by the prophet John Yohannan the Baptist, and shortly after began healing and preaching to villagers and fishermen around the Sea of Galilee which is actually a freshwater lake.
Although there were many Phoenician , Hellenistic , and Roman cities nearby e. Gesara and Gadara ; Sidon and Tyre ; Sepphoris and Tiberias , there is only one account of Jesus healing someone in the region of the Gadarenes found in the three Synoptic Gospels the demon called Legion , and another when he healed a Syro-Phoenician girl in the vicinity of Tyre and Sidon. Once Jesus established a following although there are debates over the number of followers , he moved towards the Davidic capital of the United Monarchy , the city of Jerusalem.
Historians do not know how long Jesus preached. The Synoptic Gospels suggest one year, but there is some doubt since they are not written chronologically. Jesus taught in parables and aphorisms. A parable is a figurative image with a single message sometimes mistaken for an analogy, in which each element has a metaphoric meaning. An aphorism is a short, memorable turn of phrase.
In Jesus' case, aphorisms often involve some paradox or reversal. Authentic parables probably include the Good Samaritan and the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. Authentic aphorisms include " turn the other cheek ," "go the second mile," and " love your enemies. Crossan writes that Jesus' parables worked on multiple levels at the same time, provoking discussions with his peasant audience.
Jesus' parables and aphorisms circulated orally among his followers for years before they were written down and later incorporated into the gospels. They represent the earliest Christian traditions about Jesus. Jesus preached mainly about the Kingdom of God. Scholars are divided over whether he was referring to an imminent apocalyptic event or the transformation of everyday life, or some combination. Many Biblical scholars, going as far back as Albert Schweitzer , hold that Jesus believed the end of history was coming within his own lifetime or within the lifetime of his contemporaries.
Dodd and others have insisted on a "realized eschatology" that says Jesus' own ministry fulfilled prophetic hopes. Many conservative scholars have adopted the paradoxical position the kingdom is both "present" and "still to come" claiming Pauline eschatology as support. Wright and others have taken Jesus' apocalyptic statements of an imminent end, historically, as referring to the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.
According to Vermes, Jesus' announcement of the imminent arrival of the Kingdom of God "was patently not fulfilled" and "created a serious embarrassment for the primitive church. Funk and colleagues, on the other hand, wrote that beginning in the s, some scholars have come to reject the view of Jesus as eschatological , pointing out that he rejected the asceticism of John the Baptist and his eschatological message. In this view, the Kingdom of God is not a future state, but rather a contemporary, mysterious presence. Crossan describes Jesus' eschatology as based on establishing a new, holy way of life rather than on God's redeeming intervention in history.
Evidence for the Kingdom of God as already present derives from these verses. The Jesus Seminar concludes that apocalyptic statements attributed to Jesus could have originated from early Christians, as apocalyptic ideas were common, but the statements about God's Kingdom being mysteriously present cut against the common view and could have originated only with Jesus himself.
The sage of the ancient Near East was a self-effacing man of few words who did not provoke encounters. The gospels present Jesus engaging in frequent "question and answer" religious debates with Pharisees and Sadducees. The Jesus Seminar believes the debates about scripture and doctrine are rabbinic in style and not characteristic of Jesus.
The group believes these sometimes include genuine sayings or concepts but are largely the product of the early Christian community. Open table fellowship with outsiders was central to Jesus' ministry. Crossan identifies this table practice as part of Jesus' radical egalitarian program.
Jesus recruited twelve Galilean peasants as his inner circle, including several fishermen. The disciples of Jesus play a large role in the search for the historical Jesus. However, the four gospels use different words to apply to Jesus' followers.
The Greek word ochloi refers to the crowds who gathered around Jesus as he preached. The word mathetes refers to the followers who remained for more teaching. The word apostolos refers to the twelve disciples, or apostles, whom Jesus chose specifically to be his close followers. With these three categories of followers, John P. Meier uses a model of concentric circles around Jesus, with an inner circle of true disciples, a larger circle of followers, and an even larger circle of those who gathered to listen to him.
Jesus controversially accepted women and sinners those who violated purity laws among his followers. Even though women were never directly called "disciples," certain passages in the gospels seem to indicate that women followers of Jesus were equivalent to the disciples. It was possible for members of the ochloi to cross over into the mathetes category. However, Meier argues that some people from the mathetes category actually crossed into the apostolos category, namely Mary Magdalene.
The narration of Jesus' death and the events that accompany it mention the presence of women. Meier states that the pivotal role of the women at the cross is revealed in the subsequent narrative, where at least some of the women, notably Mary Magdalene, witnessed both the burial of Jesus Mark Luke also mentions that as Jesus and the Twelve were travelling from city to city preaching the "good news," they were accompanied by women, who provided for them out of their own means.
We can conclude that women did follow Jesus a considerable length of time during his Galilean ministry and his last journey to Jerusalem. Such a devoted, long-term following could not occur without the initiative or active acceptance of the women who followed him. In name, the women are not historically considered "disciples" of Jesus, but the fact that he allowed them to follow and serve him proves that they were to some extent treated as disciples.
The gospels recount Jesus commissioning disciples to spread the word, sometimes during his life e. These accounts reflect early Christian practice as well as Jesus' original instructions, though some scholars contend that the historical Jesus issued no such missionary commission. They were to eat with those they healed rather than with higher status people who might well be honored to host a healer, and Jesus directed them to eat whatever was offered them.
This implicit challenge to the social hierarchy was part of Jesus' program of radical egalitarianism. These themes of healing and eating are common in early Christian art. Jesus' instructions to the missionaries appear in the Synoptic Gospels and in the Gospel of Thomas. The fellows of the Jesus Seminar mostly held that Jesus was not an ascetic , and that he probably drank wine and did not fast, other than as all observant Jews did.
Jesus said that some made themselves " eunuchs " for the Kingdom of Heaven Matthew This aphorism might have been meant to establish solidarity with eunuchs, who were considered "incomplete" in Jewish society. John the Baptist was an ascetic and perhaps a Nazirite , who promoted celibacy like the Essenes. It has been suggested that James, the brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem community till 62, was a Nazirite.
Jesus and his followers left Galilee and traveled to Jerusalem in Judea. They may have traveled through Samaria as reported in John, or around the border of Samaria as reported in Luke, as was common practice for Jews avoiding hostile Samaritans. Jerusalem was packed with Jews who had come for Passover, perhaps comprising , to , pilgrims. Jesus might have entered Jerusalem on a donkey as a symbolic act, possibly to contrast with the triumphant entry that a Roman conqueror would make, or to enact a prophecy in Zechariah.
Christian scripture makes the reference to Zechariah explicit, perhaps because the scene was invented as scribes looked to scripture to help them flesh out the details of the gospel narratives. According to the gospel accounts Jesus taught in Jerusalem, and he caused a disturbance at the Temple. Some scholars suggest that Pilate executed Jesus as a public nuisance, perhaps with the cooperation of the Jewish authorities. Ehrman argued that Jesus' actions would have been considered treasonous and thus a capital offense by the Romans.
The Jesus Seminar argued that Christian scribes seem to have drawn on scripture in order to flesh out the passion narrative, such as inventing Jesus' trial. John Dominic Crossan points to the use of the word "kingdom" in his central teachings of the "Kingdom of God," which alone would have brought Jesus to the attention of Roman authority. Rome dealt with Jesus as it commonly did with essentially non-violent dissension: It was usually violent uprisings such as those during the Roman—Jewish Wars that warranted the slaughter of leader and followers.
The fact that the Romans thought removing the head of the Christian movement was enough suggests that the disciples were not organised for violent resistance, and that Jesus' crucifixion was considered a largely preventative measure. As the balance shifted in the early Church from the Jewish community to Gentile converts, it may have sought to distance itself from rebellious Jews those who rose up against the Roman occupation.
There was also a schism developing within the Jewish community as these believers in Jesus were pushed out of the synagogues after the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE see Council of Jamnia. The divergent accounts of Jewish involvement in the trial of Jesus suggest some of the unfavorable sentiments between such Jews that resulted. See also List of events in early Christianity. Aside from the fact that the gospels provide different accounts of the Jewish role in Jesus's death for example, Mark and Matthew report two separate trials, Luke one, and John none , Fredriksen, like other scholars see Catchpole argues that many elements of the gospel accounts could not possibly have happened: This necessarily assumes that the Jewish leaders were scrupulously obedient to Roman law, and never broke their own laws, customs or traditions even for their own advantage.
In response, it has been argued that the legal circumstances surrounding the trial have not been well understood,  and that Jewish leaders were not always strictly obedient, either to Roman law or to their own. Further, Jesus would have entered Jerusalem at an especially risky time, during Passover , when popular emotions were running high.
Although most Jews did not have the means to travel to Jerusalem for every holiday, virtually all tried to comply with these laws as best they could. And during these festivals, such as the Passover, the population of Jerusalem would swell, and outbreaks of violence were common. Scholars suggest that the High Priest feared that Jesus' talk of an imminent restoration of an independent Jewish state might spark a riot. Maintaining the peace was one of the primary jobs of the Roman-appointed High Priest, who was personally responsible to them for any major outbreak.
Scholars therefore argue that he would have arrested Jesus for promoting sedition and rebellion, and turned him over to the Romans for punishment. Both the gospel accounts and [the] Pauline interpolation [found at 1 Thes 2: The Church had every reason to assure prospective Gentile audiences that the Christian movement neither threatened nor challenged imperial sovereignty, despite the fact that their founder had himself been crucified, that is, executed as a rebel. Essay on the Resurrection. A ll of the gospel writers refer to Jesus' body being placed in a tomb. The tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathea, an influential member of the Sanhedrin.
The fact that Jesus rose from the dead is pivotal to Christianity. The apostle Paul, who himself claimed to have met the risen Christ on the road to Damascus Acts 9: But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. The Resurrection, by Sandro Botticelli H ere we list six reasons why, nearly 2, years after his death, Jesus Christ still remains an important figure in our world.
The heart of the Christian gospel is that Jesus Christ was sent into the world to reconcile men and women to God. Christ's death was a sacrifice, made for the sins of all mankind. In John's gospel we find what is often called 'The gospel in a nutshell':. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
The hope that Christ brought is of a better world - a world where evil does not triumph over good and where peace reigns. The 'second coming' of Christ is key to Christian doctrine. Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. The church is a community of believers, working together in proclaiming the gospel and being the hands and feet of Christ to the world. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: The sufferings of Christ on the cross mean that he is able to understand human suffering in a deep way. In the Bible we find the story of Job - a man who was tested by God with great suffering.
Job learns that through this very suffering, God is with him. As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Christian doctrine states that sin separates mankind from a holy and righteous God. However, Christ, by his sacrificial death, broke the power of sin and enabled men and women to live in confidence, knowing their sins are forgiven and that they are judged righteous in the sight of God.
J ewish belief rejects Jesus's claims to be the son of God. The classic text underlying this belief is known in Judaism as the Shema:. The Old Testament contains many prophecies concerning a descendant of David, who would come and deliver Israel from its enemies, restore peace and justice to the world and triumph over evil.
J ewish belief is that these prophecies are still to be fulfilled, and will be done so when the Messiah returns for his people. I n Islam Jesus is known as Isa and is regarded as one of many prophets, alongside Abraham, Moses and supremely Mohammed. His virgin birth Quran However, being a strictly monotheistic faith, Islam denies both Jesus' claim to be the Son of God Quran The Islamic view is that God intervened before the crucifixion took place and fooled the authorities into crucifying someone who looked like Jesus.
With regard to the gospels, Islamic belief is that they do not represent the original gospel known as the Injil , given by God to Jesus. Human additions throughout the ages have led to corruptions and additions which are not in harmony with the supreme revelation given by God to Man i.
Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not "Three" - Cease! Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. Sura 4, Aya Pickthall Translation. H ere Jesus is often seen as a Guru or teacher. Much speculation centres around Jesus 'lost' years between 12 and 30, which are not discussed in the Gospels. Some Hindus take the view that Jesus spent time in India, learning yogic traditions before returning home.
A group of Buddhists, on the other hand believe Jesus spent time in Tibet learning Buddhist teaching amongst the monks there. The teachings of Jesus had significant impact on the thought of Mahatma Gandhi and remain influential amongst Hindus and Buddhists to this day. A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world.
It was a perfect act. Christology is the name given to the branch of theology dealing with the person and nature of Jesus Christ. Some Christological views which have been rejected as false within Orthodox Christianity are:. Why should I believe in him?