Something of Interest
Jesus(7–2 BC to 30–33 AD), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity (the world's largest religion), whom the teachings of most Christian denominations hold to be the Son of God. Christianity regards Jesus as the awaited Messiah of the Old Testament and refers to him as Jesus Christ, a name that is also used in non-Christian contexts.
Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed historically, although there is little agreement on the reliability of the gospel narratives and how closely the biblical Jesus reflects the historical Jesus. Most scholars agree that Jesus was a Jewish teacher or rabbi from Galilee who preached his message orally, was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate.
Christians believe that Jesus has a "unique significance" in the world. Christian doctrines include the beliefs that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of a virgin, performed miracles, founded the Church, died by crucifixion as a sacrifice to achieve atonement, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, whence he will return. The great majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son, the second of three persons of a Divine Trinity. A few Christian groups reject Trinitarianism, wholly or partly, as non-scriptural.
The most widely used calendar era (year numbering system) in the world, in which the current year is 2013 (abbreviated as "AD", alternatively referred to as "CE"), counts from a medieval estimate of the birth year of Jesus.
In Islam, Jesus (commonly transliterated as Isa) is considered one of God's important prophets and the Messiah (al-Masih). To Muslims, Jesus is a bringer of scripture and the child of a virgin birth, but neither divine nor the victim of crucifixion. Judaism rejects the belief that Jesus was the awaited Messiah, arguing that he did not fulfill the Messianic prophecies in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible / Old Testament).
A typical Jew in Jesus' time had only one name, sometimes supplemented with the father's name or the individual's hometown. Thus, in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth" (Matthew 26:71), "Joseph's son" (Luke 4:22), and "Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth" (John 1:45). However, in Mark 6:3, rather than being called the son of Joseph, he is referred to as "the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon". The name Jesus, as found in several modern languages, is derived from the Latin Iesus, a transliteration of the Greek Iesous. The Greek form is a rendition of the Aramaic ישוע (Yeshua), which is derived from the Hebrew יהושע (Yehoshua). The name Yeshua appears to have been in use in Judea at the time of the birth of Jesus. The first-century works of historian Flavius Josephus (who wrote in Koine Greek, the same language as that of the New Testament) refer to at least twenty different people with the name Jesus. The etymology of Jesus' name in the context of the New Testament is generally given as "Yahweh is salvation".
Since early Christianity, Christians have commonly referred to Jesus as "Jesus Christ". The word Christ is derived from the Greek Christos, which is a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Masiah), meaning the anointed and usually transliterated into English as "Messiah". Christians designate Jesus as Christ because they believe he is the awaited Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). In postbiblical usage, Christ became viewed as a name—one part of "Jesus Christ"—but originally it was a title. The term "Christian" (meaning "one who owes allegiance to the person Christ" or simply "follower of Christ") has been in use since the first century.
A chronology of Jesus aims to establish a timeline for some of the events of the life of Jesus in the four canonical gospels. The Christian gospels were primarily written as theological documents rather than historical chronicles and their authors showed little interest in an absolute chronology of Jesus. However, it is possible to correlate the New Testament with non-Christian sources such as Jewish and Greco-Roman documents to estimate specific date ranges for the major events in Jesus' life.
Most scholars assume a date of the birth of Jesus between 6 and 4 BC; his ministry began around 27-29 AD and lasted at least one year, and perhaps three years, or more; died (crucified between 30-36 AD.
The four canonical gospels of the New Testament are the primary sources of information for the narrative of the life of Jesus. However, other parts of the New Testament, such as the Pauline epistles which were likely written decades before them, also include references to key episodes in his life such as the Last Supper. And the Acts of the Apostles (1:1-11) says more about the Ascension episode than the canonical gospels.
The canonical gospels are four accounts, each written by a different author. The first to be written was the Gospel of Mark (written 60–75 AD), followed by the Gospel of Matthew (65–85 AD), the Gospel of Luke (65–95 AD), and the Gospel of John (75–100 AD). They often differ in content and in the ordering of events.
Three of them, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are known as the Synoptic Gospels, from the Greek (syn "together") and (opsis "view"). They are similar in content, narrative arrangement, language and paragraph structure. Scholars generally agree that it is impossible to find any direct literary relationship between the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John.
According to the majority viewpoint, the Synoptic Gospels are the primary sources of historical information about Jesus. However, not everything contained in the New Testament gospels is considered to be historically reliable.
The Nativity is a prominent element in the Gospel of Luke, comprising over 10 percent of the text and being three times as long as Matthew's Nativity text. Luke's account emphasizes events before the birth of Jesus and centers on Mary, while Matthew's mostly covers those after the birth and centers on Joseph. Both accounts state that Jesus was born to Joseph and Mary, his betrothed, in Bethlehem, and both support the doctrine of the virgin birth, according to which Jesus was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb when she was still a virgin.
An angel announces the birth to some shepherds, who go to Bethlehem to see Jesus, and subsequently spread the news abroad (Luke 2:8–20). After the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, Joseph, Mary and Jesus return to Nazareth. In Matthew 1:1–12, wise men or Magi from the East bring gifts to the young Jesus as the King of the Jews. Herod hears of Jesus' birth and, wanting him killed, orders the murder of young male children in Bethlehem. But an angel warns Joseph in his second dream, and the family flees to Egypt—later to return and settle in Nazareth.
The baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of his public ministry. This event is recorded in the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John's gospel does not directly describe Jesus' baptism. Most modern scholars view the fact that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist as an historical event to which a high degree of certainty can be assigned. Along with the crucifixion of Jesus most scholars view it as one of the two historically certain facts about him, and often use it as the starting points for the study of the historical Jesus.
The gospels present John the Baptist's ministry as the precursor of that of Jesus. Starting with his baptism, Jesus begins his ministry in the countryside of Judea, near the River Jordan, when he is "about thirty years old" (Luke 3:23). He then travels, preaches and performs miracles, eventually completing his ministry with the Last Supper with his disciples in Jerusalem.
The miracles of Jesus are the supernatural deeds of Jesus, as described in Christian texts. According to the Gospel of John, only some of these were recorded. John 21:25 states that "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, ...even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." These miracles are categorized into four groups: cures, exorcisms, resurrection of the dead and control over nature.
The description of the last week of the life of Jesus (often called Passion Week) occupies about one third of the narrative in the canonical gospels, starting with a description of the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem and ending with his Crucifixion.
The Last Supper is the final meal that Jesus shares with his twelve apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper is mentioned in all four canonical gospels, and Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians (11:23–26) also refers to it. During the meal, Jesus predicts that one of his apostles will betray him. Despite each Apostle's assertion that he would not betray him, Jesus reiterates that the betrayer would be one of those present. Matthew 26:23–25 and John 13:26–27 specifically identify Judas as the traitor.
After the Last Supper, Jesus, accompanied by his disciples, takes a walk to pray. Matthew and Mark identify the place as the garden of Gethsemane, while Luke identifies it as the Mount of Olives. Judas appears in the garden, accompanied by a crowd that includes the Jewish priests and elders and people with weapons. He kisses Jesus to identify him to the crowd, which then arrests Jesus.
The Sanhedrin trial of Jesus refers to the trial of Jesus before a Jewish Council following his arrest in Jerusalem and prior to his dispensation by Pontius Pilate. It is an event reported by all four Canonical gospels of the New Testament, although John's Gospel does not explicitly mention a Sanhedrin trial in this context.
Prior to the Enlightenment, the gospels were usually regarded as accurate historical accounts, but since then scholars have emerged who question the reliability of the gospels and draw a distinction between the Jesus described in the gospels and the Jesus of history. Since the 18th century, three separate scholarly quests for the historical Jesus have taken place, each with distinct characteristics and based on different research criteria, which were often developed during the quest that applied them. Scholars have studied and debated a number of issues concerning the historical Jesus, such as his existence, the origins and historical reliability of the gospels and other sources, and the precise portrait of the historical figure.
Mainstream Judaism rejects the idea of Jesus being God, or a mediator to God, or part of a Trinity. It holds that Jesus is not the Messiah, arguing that he neither fulfilled the Messianic prophecies in the Tanakh nor embodied the personal qualifications of the Messiah. According to Jewish tradition, there were no prophets after Malachi, who delivered his prophesies in the fifth century BC. A group known as Messianic Jews considers Jesus to be the Messiah, but whether this body is a sect of Judaism is disputed.
AD is from the Medieval Latin Anno Domini meaning "the year of the Lord"; BC stands for "Before Christ". CE stands for "Common Era" in the same manner BCE stands for "Before Common Era" wishing to be neutral to non-Christians because it does not explicitly make use of religious titles for Jesus.
The Annunciation is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, marking his Incarnation. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Jesus, meaning "Saviour". Many Christians observe this event with the Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March, nine full months before Christmas, the ceremonial birthday of Jesus.
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