Jesus Christ

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Jesus in Leonado da Vinci's painting "The Last Supper"

Jesus Christ, according to Christian Doctrine, is the "Only begotten Son of God," who came to die for the sins of man, so that all people may have everlasting life in heaven.

"For God so loved the World that he gave his only begotten son, so that whosoever believe in him will have everlasting life"

John 3:16 Bible-icon.png

The Jesus of the Bible is shown to perform miracles, such as walking on water, curing the blind, and raising the dead. He also commands great respect with his desciples.

Contents

Historical Jesus

There is little in the way of historical doccumentation for Jesus' life beyond pthe Gospels, and those were probably not written by eyewitnesses. This makes it very difficult to know the historical facts behind Christian stories about him. However, this has not stopped scholars from defending specific views of who Jesus was.

The Apocalyptic Jesus view

The Apocalyptic Jesus refers to the hypothesis that Jesus believed the world would end within his lifetime, and is based on numerous passages within the Gospels, such as Mark 13, where Jesus at least seems to express such a view. It makes sense within the context of the general apocalyptic fervor of the time, as well as the beliefs of John the Baptist and early Christians such as Paul and the author of Revelations. Its most famous proponent was Albert Schweitzer, and since the publication of his book The Quest of the Historical Jesus in 1906, it has been embraced by a large number of Biblical scholars. Modern proponents include Dale Allison, Bart Ehrman, Gerd Ludemann, and E. P. Sanders.

The Great Teacher View

Scholars who believe that Jesus was a great moral teacher tend to argue against the historicity of passages where Jesus predicts the end of the world. The most prominent example of this view is the Jesus Seminar. The Jesus Seminar argued that there are passages in the Gospels where Jesus expressed the view that the Kingdom of Heaven was not something that was coming through radical future changes but existed at the time in a spiritual sense. Such sayings, the argument goes, would not have been invented by later, apocalyptically oriented Christians, and are therefore more likely to be historical than sayings where the Kingdom of Heaven is portrayed as a radical future upheaval.

The Mythic View

While in a minority in Biblical scholarship circles, few well-publicized writers have argued that Jesus probably never existed. Examples include G. A. Wells and Earl Doherty. A major argument against the historicity of Jesus is that Paul's letters seem to show no awareness of such an individual. This is disputed by other scholars, however, who argue that Paul's letters contain clear references to a historical Jesus.

Some atheists consider discussion of the existence of a historical Jesus to be a red herring. They argue that, while a person named Jesus may or may not have existed, there is clearly no reason to believe that he had special powers, was the son of God, or performed miracles. Even if it could be firmly established that Jesus the man existed, this would not be evidence for the extraordinary claims that make up the foundation of the Christian religion.

Miracles of Jesus

There is almost no evidence for the miracles of Jesus outside the hearsay reports of the Gospels. For this reason, there is no basis for accepting that he worked actual miracles. However, faith healings an exorcisms happen today, though investigations show there is no reason to regard them as actual supernatural events. This suggests a possibility that Jesus was a fraudulent or self-deceived wonder worker and there were witnesses who really believed they had seen him work miracles.

Unlike Jesus' other miracles, Paul mentions post-resurrection appearances of Jesus in I Corinthians. Unlike the Gospels, I Corinthians probably was written by its traditionally assigned author. However, the reference provides no better evidence for the resurrection than the evidence for angelical authentication of the Book of the Mormon. It is also not the sort of evidence that many psychical researchers would demand for the existence of ghosts or telepathy.

Naming

"Jesus" is the anglicised version of the Latin Iesus, from the Greek Iesous, from the Aramaic Ieshua/Yeshua, from which we get the modern westernised name Joshua.

"Christ" is the anglicised version of the Greek word christos, which is a translation of the Hebrew word Mashiach (Messiah), meaning "[one who is] anointed". Contrary to the popular opinion, Christ isn't a reference to Jesus' family or surname in the modern western tradition. Christ refers to the state of being "annointed" (a common reference to being a teacher or priest or some form of authority). Many Christian sects refer to him as Christ Jesus.

More precisely, he should be referred to as Jesus the Christ. As a person, he is normally referred to as Jesus of Nazareth, although this obviously contradicts the tradition that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

See Also

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