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Jesus Christ is the central figure in Christianity. He is often held by Christians to be the Messiah as well as the physical incarnation of God, the Son of God, and according to some theologies, one of the three persons of the godhead, along with [God the Father]? and the [Holy Spirit]?.

Christianity emerged from Judaism in the first century of the common era. Christians brought from Judaism its scriptures, and fundamental doctrines such as monotheism, and the belief in a moshiach (Hebrew term for messiah); this term is more commonly known as Christ (Greek.) The Jewish conception of the messiah is a national one - the deliverer of Israel, and has significant differences from how Christians understand the term.

Christians believe Jesus was born after his virgin mother Mary was miraculously caused to conceive him by God, and was thereby the Messiah the Jews were waiting for. According to a later interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 (a book in the Tanach) a young woman (often translated as 'virgin'; the correctness of that translation is controversial) would conceive a child destined to become a moshiach (Hebrew for messiah.) This verse is taken by Christians to refer to Jesus.

The Biblical account recounts little about Jesus' childhood or young adulthood. By the time he reached his early 30s, he became known as a religious teacher. After teaching as a wandering rabbi? and performing miracles for three years, he was convicted by the occupying Roman government of claiming to be king of the Jews, and crucified?. During this time period, many thousands of Jews were murdered by the Romans in this manner; the complete absense of this from the New Testament is a matter of great controversy. According to the Gospels (the first 4 books in the New Testament of the Bible), he rose from the dead on the third day and appeared to his disciples, after which he ascended into the skies.

Jesus' teaching, as told in the Gospels, concentrates on benevolence towards other people and calls on its followers to abandon their worldly concerns, make conversions, and wait for the [second coming]? of their savior?. According to the Gospels, believers are promised salvation?, which means that only those who accept Jesus as the Son of God will be resurrected from the dead and live forever in heaven.

The Islamic faith recognizes Jesus as a wise man and a prophet, but not a savior or son of God, except in the sense that all mankind are children of God. That Mary was a virgin, and that God caused her to conceive, are accepted by the Qur'an.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes Jesus appeared in the [Western Hemisphere]? after his resurrection? and taught the ancestors of modern Native Americans, whom they believe to be one of the lost tribes of Israel.

Apart from the Gospels, there are very few contemporary accounts of the historical Jesus. The most famous reference is in Tacitus (see Tacitus on Jesus). Josephus? is one of the non-biblical sources commonly mentioned (see Josephus on Jesus). It is often assumed that Jesus was born in the year 4 or 5 B.C. and died at age 33. The nomenclature of B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini - 'Year of our Lord') for years was based on a mistaken calculation of the year of his birth. There are also numerous lines of thought that question the existence of Jesus Christ or suggest that he is merely the combination of numerous individuals who lived during that time period (see [Historicity of Jesus]? or [HoJ FAQ]).


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Last edited December 20, 2001 12:37 am by 62.253.64.xxx (diff)