Category: Theology

The problem so hard we had to invent new numbers

The problem so hard we had to invent new numbers


A general solution to the cubic equation was long considered impossible, until we gave up the requirement that math reflect reality. This video is sponsored by Brilliant. The first 200 people to sign up via get 20% off a yearly subscription.

Thanks to Dr Amir Alexander, Dr Alexander Kontorovich, Dr Chris Ferrie, and Dr Adam Becker for the helpful advice and feedback on the earlier versions of the script.

Some great videos about the cubic:

500 years of not teaching the cubic formula. —

Imaginary Numbers are Real —

Dunham, W. (1990). Journey through genius: The great theorems of mathematics. New York. —

Toscano, F. (2020). The Secret Formula. Princeton University Press. —

Bochner, S. (1963). The significance of some basic mathematical conceptions for physics. Isis, 54(2), 179-205. —

Muroi, K. (2019). Cubic equations of Babylonian mathematics. arXiv preprint arXiv:1905.08034. —

Branson, W. Solving the cubic with Cardano, —

Rothman, T. (2013). Cardano v Tartaglia: The Great Feud Goes Supernatural. arXiv preprint arXiv:1308.2181. —

Vali Siadat, M., & Tholen, A. (2021). Omar Khayyam: Geometric Algebra and Cubic Equations. Math Horizons, 28(1), 12-15. —

Merino, O. (2006). A short history of complex numbers. University of Rhode Island. —

Cardano, G (1545), Ars magna or The Rules of Algebra, Dover (published 1993), ISBN 0-486-67811-3

Bombelli, R (1579) L’Algebra

Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Luis Felipe, Anton Ragin, Paul Peijzel, S S, Benedikt Heinen, Diffbot, Micah Mangione, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Sam Lutfi, MJP, Gnare, Nick DiCandilo, Dave Kircher, Edward Larsen, Burt Humburg, Blake Byers, Dumky, Mike Tung, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Ismail Öncü Usta, Crated Comments, Anna, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, Oleksii Leonov, Jim Osmun, Tyson McDowell, Ludovic Robillard, Jim buckmaster, fanime96, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Vincent, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Alfred Wallace, Arjun Chakroborty, Joar Wandborg, Clayton Greenwell, Pindex, Michael Krugman, Cy ‘kkm’ K’Nelson,Ron Neal

Written by Derek Muller, Alex Kontorovich, Stephen Welch and Petr Lebedev
Animation by Fabio Albertelli, Jakub Misiek, Iván Tello and Jesús Rascón
Mathematical animations done with Manim — thanks Grant Sanderson and the Manim community!
SFX by Shaun Clifford
Filmed by Derek Muller and Emily Zhang
Edited by Derek Muller and Petr Lebedev
Additional video supplied by Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound
Additional Music By Jonny Hyman
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev and Emily Zhang


Chapters and Verses of the Bible

Holy Bible



Books Chapters Verses
Old Testament 46 1074 26949
New Testament 27 260 7941
Total 73 1334 34890

Old Testament

Sl No Book


1 Genesis 50 1533
2 Exodus 40 1213
3 Leviticus 27 859
4 Numbers 36 1287
5 Deuteronomy 34 943
6 Joshua 24 658
7 Judges 21 617
8 Ruth 4 85
9 1 Samuel 31 809
10 2 Samuel 24 694
11 1 Kings 22 815
12 2 Kings 25 719
13 1 Chronicles 29 942
14 2 Chronicles 36 822
15 Ezra 10 280
16 Nehemiah 13 406
17 Tobit 14 242
18 Judith 16 340
19 Esther 16 271
20 1 Maccabees 16 924
21 2 Maccabees 15 555
22 Job 42 584
23 Psalms 150 2461
24 Proverbs 31 901
25 Ecclesiastes 12 220
26 Song of Songs 8 117
27 Wisdom 19 436
28 Sirach 51 1410
29 Isaiah 66 1292
30 Jeremiah 52 1364
31 Lamentations 5 154
32 Baruch 6 212
33 Ezekiel 48 1271
34 Daniel 14 463
35 Hosea 14 197
36 Joel 3 73
37 Amos 9 146
38 Obadiah 1 21
39 Jonah 4 48
40 Micah 7 105
41 Nahum 3 47
42 Habakkuk 3 56
43 Zephaniah 3 53
44 Haggai 2 38
45 Zechariah 14 211
46 Malachi 4 55


1074 26949

New Testament

Sl No Books Chapters Verses
1 Matthew 28 1070
2 Mark 16 678
3 Luke 24 1149
4 John 21 879
5 Acts of the Apostles 28 1007
6 Romans 16 432
7 1 Corinthians 16 435
8 2 Corinthians 13 246
9 Galatians 6 149
10 Ephesians 6 155
11 Philippians 4 104
12 Colossians 4 95
13 1 Thessalonians 5 89
14 2 Thessalonians 3 47
15 1 Timothy 6 113
16 2 Timothy 4 83
17 Titus 3 46
18 Philemon 1 25
19 Hebrews 13 303
20 James 5 108
21 1 Peter 5 105
22 2 Peter 3 61
23 1 John 5 105
24 2 John 1 13
25 3 John 1 15
26 Jude 1 25
27 Revelation 22 404


260 7941

Pope Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square, Rome, 2010
Papacy began 19 April 2005
Papacy ended Incumbent
Predecessor John Paul II
Ordination 29 June 1951
by Michael von Faulhaber
Consecration 28 May 1977
by Josef Stangl
Created Cardinal 27 June 1977
Personal details
Birth name Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger
Born 16 April 1927 (age 85)
Marktl, Bavaria, Germany
Nationality German (along with Vatican citizenship)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents Joseph Ratzinger, Sr., Maria Peintner
Previous post
Motto cooperatores veritatis (cooperators of the truth)[1]
Signature {{{signature_alt}}}
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Other Popes named Benedict
Ordination History
Diaconal ordination
Ordained by Johannes Baptist Neuhäusler
Date of ordination 29 October 1950
Priestly ordination
Ordained by Michael Cardinal von Faulhaber
Date of ordination 29 June 1951
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecrator Josef Stangl
Co-consecrator Rudolf Graber
Co-consecrator Ernst Tewes
Date of consecration 28 May 1977
Bishops consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI as principal consecrator
Alberto Bovone 12 May 1984
Zygmunt Zimowski 25 May 2002
Josef Clemens 6 January 2004
Bruno Forte 8 September 2004
Mieczysław Mokrzycki 29 September 2007
Francesco Giovanni Brugnaro 29 September 2007
Gianfranco Ravasi 29 September 2007
Tommaso Caputo 29 September 2007
Sergio Pagano 29 September 2007
Vincenzo Di Mauro 29 September 2007
Gabriele Giordano Caccia 12 September 2009
Franco Coppola 12 September 2009
Pietro Parolin 12 September 2009
Raffaello Martinelli 12 September 2009
Giorgio Corbellini 12 September 2009

Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus PP. XVI; Italian: Benedetto XVI; Spanish: Benedicto XVI; German: Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger; 16 April 1927) is the 265th Pope,[2] a position in which he serves dual roles as Sovereign of the Vatican City State and leader of the Catholic Church. As Pope, he is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter the Apostle. Benedict XVI was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005. A native of Bavaria, Pope Benedict XVI has both German and Vatican citizenship. On 11 February 2013, Benedict XVI announced that he would resign the papacy, effective 28 February, due to age and ill health,[3] becoming the first pope to resign since 1415, and the first to do so voluntarily since 1294.[4][5]

Ordained as a priest in 1951, Ratzinger established himself as a highly regarded university theologian by the late 1950s and was appointed a full professor in 1958. After a long career as an academic, serving as a professor of theology at several German universities—the last being the University of Regensburg, where he served as Vice President of the university 1976–1977—he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1977, an unusual promotion for someone with little pastoral experience. In 1981, he settled in Rome when he became Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one of the most important dicasteries of the Roman Curia. From 2002 until his election as Pope, he was also Dean of the College of Cardinals, and as such the primus inter pares among the cardinals. Prior to becoming Pope, he was “a major figure on the Vatican stage for a quarter of a century” as “one of the most respected, influential and controversial members of the College of Cardinals”; he had an influence “second to none when it came to setting church priorities and directions” as one of Pope John Paul II‘s closest confidants.[6]

Like his predecessor, Benedict XVI is theologically conservative in his teaching and his prolific[7] writings defend traditional Catholic doctrine and values. During his papacy, Benedict XVI has advocated a return to fundamental Christian values to counter the increased secularisation of many developed countries. He views relativism‘s denial of objective truth, and the denial of moral truths in particular, as the central problem of the 21st century. He teaches the importance of both the Catholic Church and an understanding of God’s redemptive love. He has reaffirmed the “importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work.”[8] Pope Benedict has also revived a number of traditions including elevating the Tridentine Mass to a more prominent position.[9]



Pope Benedict XVI at a private audience on 20 January 2006

Benedict XVI was elected Pope at the age of 78. He is the oldest person to have been elected Pope since Pope Clement XII (1730–40). He had served longer as a cardinal than any Pope since Benedict XIII (1724–30). He is the ninth German Pope, the eighth having been the Dutch-German Pope Adrian VI (1522–23) from Utrecht. The last Pope named Benedict was Benedict XV, an Italian who reigned from 1914 to 1922, during World War I (1914–18).

Born in 1927 in Marktl, Bavaria, Germany, Ratzinger had a distinguished career as a university theologian before being appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising by Pope Paul VI (1963–78). Shortly afterwards, he was made a cardinal in the consistory of 27 June 1977. He was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope John Paul II in 1981 and was also assigned the honorific title of the cardinal bishop of Velletri-Segni on 5 April 1993. In 1998, he was elected sub-dean of the College of Cardinals. On 30 November 2002, he was elected dean, taking, as is customary, the title of cardinal bishop of the suburbicarian diocese of Ostia. He was the first Dean of the College elected Pope since Paul IV (1555–59) and the first cardinal bishop elected Pope since Pius VIII (1829–30).

Even before becoming Pope, Ratzinger was one of the most influential men in the Roman Curia, and was a close associate of John Paul II. As Dean of the College of Cardinals, he presided over the funeral of John Paul II and over the Mass immediately preceding the 2005 conclave in which he was elected. During the service, he called on the assembled cardinals to hold fast to the doctrine of the faith. He was the public face of the church in the sede vacante period, although, technically, he ranked below the Camerlengo in administrative authority during that time. Like his predecessor, Benedict XVI affirms traditional Catholic doctrine.

In addition to his native German, Benedict speaks French and Italian fluently. He also has a very good command of Latin and speaks English and Spanish adequately. Furthermore, he has some knowledge of Portuguese. He can read Ancient Greek and biblical Hebrew.[10] He has stated that his first foreign language is French. He is a member of several scientific academies, such as the French Académie des sciences morales et politiques. He plays the piano and has a preference for Mozart and Bach.[11]

Early life: 1927–51

Marktl, the house where Ratzinger was born. The building still stands today.

Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger was born on 16 April, Holy Saturday, 1927, at Schulstraße 11, at 8:30 in the morning in his parents’ home in Marktl, Bavaria, Germany. He was baptised the same day. He was the third and youngest child of Joseph Ratzinger, Sr., a police officer, and Maria Ratzinger (née Peintner). His mother’s family was originally from South Tyrol (now in Italy).[citation needed] Pope Benedict XVI’s brother, Georg Ratzinger, a priest and former director of the Regensburger Domspatzen choir, is still alive. His sister, Maria Ratzinger, who never married, managed Cardinal Ratzinger’s household until her death in 1991. Their grand-uncle was the German politician Georg Ratzinger.

At the age of five, Ratzinger was in a group of children who welcomed the visiting Cardinal Archbishop of Munich with flowers. Struck by the cardinal’s distinctive garb, he later announced the very same day that he wanted to be a cardinal.

Ratzinger attended the elementary school in Aschau am Inn, which was renamed in his honour in 2009.[12]

Following his 14th birthday in 1941, Ratzinger was conscripted into the Hitler Youth—as membership was required by law for all 14-year-old German boys after December 1939[13]—but was an unenthusiastic member who refused to attend meetings, according to his brother.[14] In 1941, one of Ratzinger’s cousins, a 14-year-old boy with Down syndrome, was taken away by the Nazi regime and murdered during the Action T4 campaign of Nazi eugenics.[15] In 1943, while still in seminary, he was drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps as Luftwaffenhelfer (air force child soldier).[14] Ratzinger then trained in the German infantry.[16] As the Allied front drew closer to his post in 1945, he deserted back to his family’s home in Traunstein after his unit had ceased to exist, just as American troops established their headquarters in the Ratzinger household.[17] As a German soldier, he was put in a POW camp but was released a few months later at the end of the war in the summer of 1945.[17] He reentered the seminary, along with his brother Georg, in November of that year.

Thus, following repatriation in 1945, the two brothers entered Saint Michael Seminary in Traunstein, later studying at the Ducal Georgianum (Herzogliches Georgianum) of the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich. They were both ordained in Freising on 29 June 1951 by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Munich. Ratzinger recalled:

…at the moment the elderly Archbishop laid his hands on me, a little bird – perhaps a lark – flew up from the altar in the high cathedral and trilled a little joyful song.[18]

Ratzinger’s 1953 dissertation was on St. Augustine and was titled The People and the House of God in Augustine’s Doctrine of the Church. His Habilitation (which qualified him for a professorship) was on Bonaventure. It was completed in 1957 and he became a professor of Freising College in 1958.

Pre-papal career

Academic career: 1951–77

Ratzinger became a professor at the University of Bonn in 1959; his inaugural lecture was on “The God of Faith and the God of Philosophy”. In 1963, he moved to the University of Münster.

During this period, Ratzinger participated in the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). Ratzinger served as a peritus (theological consultant) to Cardinal Frings of Cologne. He was viewed during the time of the Council as a reformer, cooperating with theologians like Hans Küng and Edward Schillebeeckx. Ratzinger became an admirer of Karl Rahner, a well-known academic theologian of the Nouvelle Théologie and a proponent of church reform.

In 1966, Ratzinger was appointed to a chair in dogmatic theology at the University of Tübingen, where he was a colleague of Hans Küng. In his 1968 book Introduction to Christianity, he wrote that the pope has a duty to hear differing voices within the Church before making a decision, and he downplayed the centrality of the papacy. During this time, he distanced himself from the atmosphere of Tübingen and the Marxist leanings of the student movement of the 1960s that quickly radicalised, in the years 1967 and 1968, culminating in a series of disturbances and riots in April and May 1968. Ratzinger came increasingly to see these and associated developments (such as decreasing respect for authority among his students) as connected to a departure from traditional Catholic teachings.[19] Despite his reformist bent, his views increasingly came to contrast with the liberal ideas gaining currency in theological circles.[20]

Some voices, among them Hans Küng, deem this a turn towards conservatism, while Ratzinger himself said in a 1993 interview, “I see no break in my views as a theologian [over the years]”.[21] Ratzinger has continued to defend the work of the Second Vatican Council, including Nostra Aetate, the document on respect of other religions, ecumenism and the declaration of the right to freedom of religion. Later, as the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger most clearly spelled out the Catholic Church’s position on other religions in the 2000 document Dominus Iesus which also talks about the Roman Catholic way to engage in “ecumenical dialogue”.

During his years at Tübingen University, Ratzinger published articles in the reformist theological journal Concilium, though he increasingly chose less reformist themes than other contributors to the magazine such as Hans Küng and Edward Schillebeeckx.

In 1969, he returned to Bavaria, to the University of Regensburg. He founded the theological journal Communio, with Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, Walter Kasper and others, in 1972. Communio, now published in seventeen languages, including German, English and Spanish, has become a prominent journal of contemporary Catholic theological thought. Until his election as Pope, he remained one of the journal’s most prolific contributors. In 1976, he suggested that the Augsburg Confession might possibly be recognised as a Catholic statement of faith.[22][23]

He served as Vice President of the University of Regensburg from 1976 to 1977.[24]

Archbishop of Munich and Freising: 1977–82

Palais Holnstein in Munich, the residence of Benedict as Archbishop of Munich and Freising

On 24 March 1977, Ratzinger was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising. He took as his episcopal motto Cooperatores Veritatis (Co-workers of the Truth) from 3 John 8, a choice he comments upon in his autobiographical work, Milestones. In the consistory of the following 27 June, he was named Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria Consolatrice al Tiburtino by Pope Paul VI. By the time of the 2005 Conclave, he was one of only 14 remaining cardinals appointed by Paul VI, and one of only three of those under the age of 80. Of these, only he and William Wakefield Baum took part in the conclave.[25]

Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: 1981–2005

On 25 November 1981, Pope John Paul II named Ratzinger as the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the “Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office“, the historical Roman Inquisition. Consequently, he resigned his post at Munich in early 1982. He was promoted within the College of Cardinals to become Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni in 1993 and was made the college’s vice-dean in 1998 and dean in 2002. Just a year after its foundation in 1990 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger joined the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg/Austria in 1991.[26][27]

Ratzinger defended and reaffirmed Catholic doctrine, including teaching on topics such as birth control, homosexuality, and inter-religious dialogue. The theologian Leonardo Boff, for example, was suspended, while others were censured. Other issues also prompted condemnations or revocations of rights to teach: for instance, some posthumous writings of Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello were the subject of a notification. Ratzinger and the congregation viewed many of them, particularly the later works, as having an element of religious indifferentism (i.e., Christ was “one master alongside others”). In particular, Dominus Iesus, published by the congregation in the jubilee year 2000, reaffirmed many recently “unpopular” ideas, including the Catholic Church’s position that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” The document angered many Protestant churches by claiming that they are not actually churches, but “ecclesial communities”.[28]

Ratzinger’s 2001 letter De delictis gravioribus clarified the confidentiality of internal church investigations, as defined in the 1962 document Crimen Sollicitationis, into accusations made against priests of certain crimes, including sexual abuse. This became a target of controversy during the sex abuse scandal.[29] As a Cardinal, Raztinger had been for twenty years the man in charge of enforcing the document.[30] While bishops hold the secrecy pertained only internally, and did not preclude investigation by civil law enforcement, the letter was often seen as promoting a coverup.[31] Later, as Pope, he was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys in Texas, but sought and obtained diplomatic immunity from prosecution.[32]

On 12 March 1983, Ratzinger, as prefect, notified the lay faithful and the clergy that archbishop Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc had incurred excommunication latae sententiae for illicit episcopal consecrations without the apostolic mandate.

In 1997, when he turned 70, Ratzinger asked Pope John Paul II for permission to leave the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith and to become an archivist in the Vatican Secret Archives and a librarian in the Vatican Library, but the pope refused such permission.[33][34]

Papacy (2005-2013)

Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square, Rome

Election to the papacy

Main article: Papal conclave, 2005

On 2 January 2005, Time magazine quoted unnamed Vatican sources as saying that Ratzinger was a front runner to succeed John Paul II should the pope die or become too ill to continue as pope. On the death of John Paul II, the Financial Times gave the odds of Ratzinger becoming pope as 7–1, the lead position, but close to his rivals on the liberal wing of the church. In April 2005, before his election as pope, he was identified as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time. While Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger repeatedly stated he would like to retire to his house in the Bavarian village of Pentling near Regensburg and dedicate himself to writing books.

Though Ratzinger was increasingly considered the front runner by much of the international media, others maintained that his election was far from certain, since very few papal predictions in modern history had come true. The elections of both John Paul II and his predecessor, John Paul I had been rather unexpected. Despite being the favorite (or perhaps because he was the favorite), it was a surprise to many that he was actually elected, as traditionally the frontrunners are passed over by the conclave for someone else.

On 19 April 2005, Ratzinger was elected as the successor to Pope John Paul II on the second day of the papal conclave after four ballots. Ratzinger had hoped to retire peacefully and said that “At a certain point, I prayed to God ‘please don’t do this to me’…Evidently, this time He didn’t listen to me.”[35] Coincidentally, 19 April is the feast of St. Leo IX, the most important German pope of the Middle Ages, known for instituting major reforms during his pontificate.

Before his first appearance at the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica after becoming pope, he was announced by Jorge Medina Estévez, Cardinal Protodeacon of the Holy Roman Church. Cardinal Medina Estévez first addressed the massive crowd as “dear(est) brothers and sisters” in Italian, Spanish, French, German and English, with each language receiving cheers from the international crowd, before continuing with the traditional Habemus Papam announcement in Latin.

At the balcony, Benedict’s first words to the crowd, given in Italian before he gave the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing in Latin, were:

Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble labourer in the vineyard of the Lord. The fact that the Lord knows how to work and to act even with insufficient instruments comforts me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers. In the joy of the Risen Lord, confident of his unfailing help, let us move forward. The Lord will help us, and Mary, His Most Holy Mother, will be on our side. Thank you.[36]

On 24 April, he celebrated the Papal Inauguration Mass in St. Peter’s Square, during which he was invested with the Pallium and the Ring of the Fisherman. Then, on 7 May, he took possession of his cathedral church, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

Choice of name

Ratzinger chose the pontifical name Benedict, which comes from the Latin word meaning “the blessed”, in honour of both Pope Benedict XV and Saint Benedict of Nursia. Pope Benedict XV was Pope during the First World War, during which time he passionately pursued peace between the warring nations. St. Benedict of Nursia was the founder of the Benedictine monasteries (most monasteries of the Middle Ages were of the Benedictine order) and the author of the Rule of Saint Benedict, which is still the most influential writing regarding the monastic life of Western Christianity.

The pope explained his choice of name during his first General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, on 27 April 2005:

Filled with sentiments of awe and thanksgiving, I wish to speak of why I chose the name Benedict. Firstly, I remember Pope Benedict XV, that courageous prophet of peace, who guided the Church through turbulent times of war. In his footsteps I place my ministry in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples. Additionally, I recall Saint Benedict of Nursia, co-patron of Europe, whose life evokes the Christian roots of Europe. I ask him to help us all to hold firm to the centrality of Christ in our Christian life: May Christ always take first place in our thoughts and actions![37]

Tone of papacy

Pope Benedict XVI’s first trip in a Popemobile

During his inaugural Mass, the previous custom of every cardinal submitting to the Pope was replaced by having twelve people, including cardinals, clergy, religious, a married couple and their child, and newly confirmed people, greet him. (The cardinals had formally sworn their obedience upon his election.) He began using an open-topped papal car, saying that he wanted to be closer to the people. Pope Benedict has continued the tradition of his predecessor John Paul II and baptises several infants in the Sistine Chapel at the beginning of each year, in his pastoral role as Bishop of Rome.


On 9 May 2005, Benedict XVI began the beatification process for his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. Normally, five years must pass after a person’s death before the beatification process can begin. However, in an audience with Pope Benedict, Camillo Ruini, Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome and the official responsible for promoting the cause for canonization of any person who dies within that diocese, cited “exceptional circumstances” which suggested that the waiting period could be waived. This happened before, when Pope Paul VI waived the five-year rule and announced beatification processes for his predecessors, Pope Pius XII and Pope John XXIII. Benedict XVI followed this precedent when he waived the five-year rule for John Paul II.[38] The decision was announced on 13 May 2005, the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima and the 24th anniversary of the attempt on John Paul II’s life.[39] John Paul II often credited Our Lady of Fátima for preserving him on that day. Cardinal Ruini inaugurated the diocesan phase of the cause for beatification in the Lateran Basilica on 28 June 2005.[40]

The first beatification under the new Pope was celebrated on 14 May 2005, by José Cardinal Saraiva Martins, Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The new Blesseds were Mother Marianne Cope and Mother Ascensión Nicol Goñi. Cardinal Clemens August Graf von Galen was beatified on 9 October 2005. Mariano de la Mata was beatified in November 2006 and Rosa Eluvathingal was beatified 3 December of that year, and Fr. Basil Moreau was beatified September 2007.[41] In October 2008 the following beatifications took place: Celestine of the Mother of God, Giuseppina Nicoli, Hendrina Stenmanns, Maria Rosa Flesch, Marta Anna Wiecka, Michael Sopocko, Petrus Kibe Kasui and 187 Companions, Susana Paz-Castillo Ramirez, Maria Isbael Salvat Romero, and John Henry Newman.

Unlike his predecessor, Benedict XVI delegated the beatification liturgical service to a Cardinal. On 29 September 2005, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued a communiqué announcing that henceforth beatifications would be celebrated by a representative of the Pope, usually the Prefect of that Congregation.[42]


Pope Benedict at the canonization of Frei Galvão

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his first canonizations on 23 October 2005 in St. Peter’s Square when he canonized Josef Bilczewski, Alberto Hurtado SJ, Zygmunt Gorazdowski, Gaetano Catanoso, and Felice da Nicosia. The canonizations were part of a Mass that marked the conclusion of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and the Year of the Eucharist.[43] Pope Benedict XVI canonized Bishop Rafael Guizar y Valencia, Mother Theodore Guerin, Filippo Smaldone, and Rosa Venerini on 15 October 2006.

During his visit to Brazil in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI presided over the canonization of Frei Galvão on 11 May, while George Preca, founder of the Malta based M.U.S.E.U.M., Szymon of Lipnica, Charles of Mount Argus, and Marie-Eugénie de Jésus were canonized in a ceremony held at the Vatican on 3 June 2007.[44] Preca is the first Maltese saint since the country’s conversion to Christianity in 60 A.D. when St. Paul converted the inhabitants.[45] In October 2008 the following canonizations took place: Saint Alphonsa of India,[46] Gaetano Errico, Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran, Maria Bernarda Bütler. In April 2009 he canonized Arcangelo Tadini, Bernardo Tolomei, Nuno Álvares Pereira, Geltrude Comensoli, Caterina Volpicelli.[47] In October of the same year he canonized Jeanne Jugan, Jozef Damian de Veuster, Zygmunt Szczęsny Feliński, Francisco Coll Guitart and Rafael Arnáiz Barón.[48][49]

On 17 October 2010, Pope Benedict XVI formally declared sainthood for Saint André Bessette, a French-Canadian; Stanislaw Soltys, a 15th-century Polish priest; Italian nuns Giulia Salzano and Camilla Battista da Varano; Spanish nun Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola and an Australian nun, Mother Mary MacKillop.[50]

On 23 October 2011, Pope Benedict XVI canonized three saints: a Spanish nun Bonifacia Rodriguez y Castro, Italian archbishop Guido Maria Conforti, and Italian priest Luigi Guanella.[51]

In December 2011, Pope Benedict formally recognized the validity of the miracles necessary to proceed with the canonizations of Kateri Tekakwitha, who will be the first Native American saint, Marianne Cope, a nun working with lepers in what is now the state of Hawaii, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, an Italian priest, Jacques Berthieu a French Jesuit priest and African martyr, Carmen Salles y Barangueras, a Spanish nun and founder of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Peter Calungsod, a lay catechist and martyr from the Philippines, and Anna Schaffer whose desire to be a missionary was unfulfilled on account of her illness.[52] They were canonized on 21 October 2012.[53]

Doctors of the Church

On 7 October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Hildegard of Bingen and John of Avila Doctors of the Church, the 34th and 35th individuals so recognised in the history of Christianity. His predecessor had only named one Doctor of the Church during his papacy.[54]

Curia reform

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
the Holy See

Pope Benedict began downsizing the Roman Curia when he merged four existing pontifical councils into two in March 2006. The Pontifical Council for Migrants was merged with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace headed by Cardinal Martino. Likewise, Cardinal Poupard, who headed the Pontifical Council for Culture, now also oversees the operations of what had been the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, though both Councils maintained separate officials and staffs while their status and competencies continued unchanged. In May 2007 it was decided that Interreligious Dialogue would again become a separate body under a different President. In June 2010 Benedict created the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation. He appointed Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella as its first president.


As Pope, one of Benedict XVI’s main roles is to teach about the Catholic faith and the solutions to the problems of discerning and living the faith,[55] a role that he can play well as a former head of the Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The main points of emphasis of his teachings are stated in more detail in Theology of Pope Benedict XVI.

“Friendship with Jesus Christ”

At the conclusion of his first homily as Pope, Benedict referred to both Jesus Christ and John Paul II. Citing John Paul II’s well-known words, “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!”, Benedict XVI said:

Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to Him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us?…And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation….When we give ourselves to Him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life.[56]

Benedict XVI: “The Eucharist is the enduring presence of Jesus’ self-oblation.” (Deus Caritas Est)

“Friendship with Jesus Christ” is a frequent theme of his preaching.[57][58] He stressed that on this intimate friendship, “everything depends.”[59] He has also said: “We are all called to open ourselves to this friendship with God… speaking to him as to a friend, the only One who can make the world both good and happy… That is all we have to do is put ourselves at his disposal…is an extremely important message. It is a message that helps to overcome what can be considered the great temptation of our time: the claim, that after the Big Bang, God withdrew from history.”[60] Thus, in his book Jesus of Nazareth, his main purpose was “to help foster [in the reader] the growth of a living relationship” with Jesus Christ.[59]

He took up this theme in his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est. In his personal explanation and summary of the encyclical, he stated: “If friendship with God becomes for us something ever more important and decisive, then we will begin to love those whom God loves and who are in need of us. God wants us to be friends of his friends and we can be so, if we are interiorly close to them.”[61] Thus, he said that prayer is “urgently needed…It is time to reaffirm the importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work.”

“Dictatorship of Relativism”

Continuing what he said in the pre-conclave Mass about what he has often referred to as the “central problem of our faith today”,[62] on 6 June 2005 Pope Benedict also said:

Today, a particularly insidious obstacle to the task of education is the massive presence in our society and culture of that relativism which, recognising nothing as definitive, leaves as the ultimate criterion only the self with its desires. And under the semblance of freedom it becomes a prison for each one, for it separates people from one another, locking each person into his or her own ego.[63]

He said that “a dictatorship of relativism”[64] was the core challenge facing the church and humanity. At the root of this problem, he said, is Kant‘s “self-limitation of reason”. This, he said, is contradictory to the modern acclamation of science whose excellence is based on the power of reason to know the truth. He said that this self-amputation of reason leads to pathologies of religion such as terrorism and pathologies of science such as ecological disasters.[65] Benedict traced the failed revolutions and violent ideologies of the 20th century to a conversion of partial points of view into absolute guides. He said “Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism.”[66]

In an address to a conference of the Diocese of Rome held at the basilica of St. John Lateran 6 June 2005, Benedict remarked on the issues of same sex marriage and abortion:

The various forms of the dissolution of matrimony today, like free unions, trial marriages and going up to pseudo-matrimonies by people of the same sex, are rather expressions of an anarchic freedom that wrongly passes for true freedom of man…from here it becomes all the more clear how contrary it is to human love, to the profound vocation of man and woman, to systematically close their union to the gift of life, and even worse to suppress or tamper with the life that is born.[67]

Christianity as religion according to reason

In the discussion with secularism and rationalism, one of Benedict’s basic ideas can be found in his address on the “Crisis of Culture” in the West, a day before Pope John Paul II died, when he referred to Christianity as the Religion of the Logos (the Greek for “word”, “reason”, “meaning”, or “intelligence”). He said:

From the beginning, Christianity has understood itself as the religion of the Logos, as the religion according to reason…It has always defined men, all men without distinction, as creatures and images of God, proclaiming for them…the same dignity. In this connection, the Enlightenment is of Christian origin and it is no accident that it was born precisely and exclusively in the realm of the Christian faith….It was and is the merit of the Enlightenment to have again proposed these original values of Christianity and of having given back to reason its own voice… Today, this should be precisely [Christianity’s] philosophical strength, in so far as the problem is whether the world comes from the irrational, and reason is not other than a ‘sub-product,’ on occasion even harmful of its development—or whether the world comes from reason, and is, as a consequence, its criterion and goal…In the so necessary dialogue between secularists and Catholics, we Christians must be very careful to remain faithful to this fundamental line: to live a faith that comes from the Logos, from creative reason, and that, because of this, is also open to all that is truly rational.[68]

Benedict also emphasised that “Only creative reason, which in the crucified God is manifested as love, can really show us the way.”


Pope Benedict has to date written three encyclicals: Deus Caritas Est (Latin for “God is Love”), Spe Salvi (“Saved by Hope”), and Caritas in Veritate (“Love in Truth”).

In his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, he said that a human being, created in the image of God who is love, is able to practice love: to give himself to God and others (agape), by receiving and experiencing God’s love in contemplation. This life of love, according to him, is the life of the saints such as Teresa of Calcutta and the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is the direction Christians take when they believe that God loves them in Jesus Christ.[69]

The encyclical contains almost 16,000 words in 42 paragraphs. The first half is said to have been written by Benedict in German, his mother tongue, in the summer of 2005; the second half is derived from uncompleted writings left by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.[70] The document was signed by Pope Benedict on Christmas Day, 25 December 2005.[71] The encyclical was promulgated a month later in Latin and was translated into English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. It is the first encyclical to be published since the Vatican decided to assert copyright in the official writings of the Pope.[72]

Pope Benedict’s second encyclical titled Spe Salvi (“Saved by Hope”), about the virtue of hope, was released on 30 November 2007.[73][74]

Benedict’s third encyclical titled Caritas in Veritate (“Love in Truth” or “Charity in Truth”), was signed on 29 June 2009 (the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul) and released on 7 July 2009.[75] In it, the Pope continued the Church’s teachings on social justice. He condemned the prevalent economic system “where the pernicious effects of sin are evident,” and called on people to rediscover ethics in business and economic relations.[75]

Post-synodal apostolic exhortation

Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity) signed 22 February 2007, released in Latin, Italian, English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, and Polish. It was made available in various languages 13 March 2007 in Rome. The English edition from Libera Editrice Vaticana is 158 pages. This apostolic exhortation “seeks to take up the richness and variety of the reflections and proposals which emerged from the recent Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops…” which was held in 2006.[76]

Motu proprio on Tridentine Mass

A pre-1969 Latin Rite altar with reredos.
The high altar of a church was usually preceded by three steps, below which were said the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. Side altars usually had only one step.

On 7 July 2007, Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, declaring that upon “the request of the faithful”, celebration of Mass according to the Missal of 1962 (commonly known as the Tridentine Mass), was to be more easily permitted. Stable groups who previously had to petition their bishop to have a Tridentine Mass may now merely request permission from their local priest.[77] While Summorum Pontificum directs that pastors should provide the Tridentine Mass upon the requests of the faithful, it also allows for any qualified priest to offer private celebrations of the Tridentine Mass, to which the faithful may be admitted if they wish.[78] For regularly scheduled public celebrations of the Tridentine Mass, the permission of the priest in charge of the church is required.[79]

In an accompanying letter, the Pope outlined his position concerning questions about the new guidelines.[78] As there were fears that the move would entail a reversal of the Second Vatican Council,[80] Benedict emphasised that the Tridentine Mass would not detract from the Council, and that the Mass of Paul VI would still be the norm and priests were not permitted to refuse to say the Mass in that form. He pointed out that use of Tridentine Mass “was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.”[78] The letter also decried “deformations of the liturgy … because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal” as the Second Vatican Council was wrongly seen “as authorising or even requiring creativity”, mentioning his own experience.[78]

The Pope considered that allowing the Tridentine Mass to those who request it was a means to prevent or heal schism, stating that, on occasions in history, “not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity” and that this “imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew.”[78] Many feel the decree aimed at ending the schism between the Holy See and traditionalist groups such as the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, the president of the Pontifical Commission established for the purpose of facilitating full ecclesial communion of those associated with that Society,[81] stated that the decree “opened the door for their return”. Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, expressed “deep gratitude to the Sovereign Pontiff for this great spiritual benefit”.[77]

Unicity and salvific universality of the Catholic Church

Near the end of June 2007, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document approved by Benedict XVI “because some contemporary theological interpretations of Vatican II‘s ecumenical intent had been ‘erroneous or ambiguous’ and had prompted confusion and doubt.”[82] The document has been seen as restating “key sections of a 2000 text the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, Dominus Iesus.”[82]


[icon] This section requires expansion. (June 2008)

Benedict XVI has condemned excessive consumerism, especially among youth. He stated in December 2007 that “[A]dolescents, youths and even children are easy victims of the corruption of love, deceived by unscrupulous adults who, lying to themselves and to them, draw them into the dead-end streets of consumerism.”[83]

In June 2009, he blamed outsourcing for greater availability of consumer goods which lead to downsizing of social security systems.[84]

Ecumenical efforts

Speaking at his weekly audience in St Peter’s Square on 7 June 2006, Pope Benedict asserted that Jesus himself had entrusted the leadership of the Church to his apostle Peter. “Peter’s responsibility thus consists of guaranteeing the communion with Christ,” said Pope Benedict. “Let us pray so that the primacy of Peter, entrusted to poor human beings, may always be exercised in this original sense desired by the Lord, so that it will be increasingly recognised in its true meaning by brothers who are still not in communion with us.”

Also in 2006, Benedict met with Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the Anglican Communion. In their Common Declaration, they highlighted the previous 40 years of dialogue between Catholics and Anglicans while also acknowledging “serious obstacles to our ecumenical progress.”[85]

Benedict has also acknowledged the Lutheran church, saying that he has had friends in that organisation.

Dialogue with other religions

Pope Benedict is open to dialogue with other religious groups, and has sought to improve relations with them throughout his pontificate.[86][87] He has, however, generated certain controversies in doing so.


When Benedict ascended to the Papacy his election was welcomed by the Anti-Defamation League who noted “his great sensitivity to Jewish history and the Holocaust“.[88] However, his election received a more reserved response from the United Kingdom’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who hoped that Benedict would “continue along the path of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II in working to enhance relations with the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”[89] The Foreign Minister of Israel also offered more tentative praise, though the Minister believed that “this Pope, considering his historical experience, will be especially committed to an uncompromising fight against anti-Semitism.”[89]

Critics have accused Benedict’s papacy of insensitivity towards Judaism. The two most prominent instances were the expansion of the use of the Tridentine Mass and the lifting of the excommunication on four bishops from the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). In the Good Friday service, the traditional Mass rubrics include a prayer that asks God to lift the veil so they [Jews] may be delivered from their darkness. This prayer has historically been contentious in Judaic-Catholic relations and several groups saw the restoration of the Tridentine Mass as problematic.[90][91][92][93][94] Among those whose excommunications were lifted was Bishop Richard Williamson, an outspoken historical revisionist sometimes interpreted as a Holocaust denier.[95][96][97][98] The lifting of his excommunication led critics to charge that the Pope was condoning his historical revisionist views.[99]


Pope Benedict’s relations with Islam have been strained at times. On 12 September 2006 Pope Benedict XVI delivered a lecture which touched on Islam at the University of Regensburg in Germany. The pope had previously served as professor of theology at the university, and his lecture was entitled “Faith, Reason and the University—Memories and Reflections”. The lecture received much attention from political and religious authorities. Many Islamic politicians and religious leaders registered their protest against what they said was an insulting mischaracterisation of Islam, although his focus was aimed towards the rationality of religious violence, and its effect on the religion.[100][101] Muslims were particularly offended by the following quotation from the Pope’s speech:

Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.[101]

The passage originally appeared in the Dialogue Held with a Certain Persian, the Worthy Mouterizes, in Anakara of Galatia[102][103] written in 1391 as an expression of the views of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, one of the last Christian rulers before the Fall of Constantinople to the Muslim Ottoman Empire, on such issues as forced conversion, holy war, and the relationship between faith and reason. According to the German text, the Pope’s original comment was that the emperor “addresses his interlocutor in an astoundingly harsh—to us surprisingly harsh—way” (wendet er sich in erstaunlich schroffer, uns überraschend schroffer Form).[104] Pope Benedict apologised for any offence he had caused and made a point of visiting Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, and praying in its Blue Mosque.

Pope Benedict XVI planned on 5 March 2008, to meet with Muslim scholars and religious leaders autumn 2008 at a Catholic-Muslim seminar in Rome.[105] That meeting, the “First Meeting of the Catholic-Muslim Forum,” was held from 4–6 November 2008.[106]

On 9 May 2009 H.H. Pope Benedict XVI visited the King Hussein Mosque, Amman, Jordan where he was addressed by H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal.[86]

Tibetan Buddhism

The Dalai Lama congratulated Pope Benedict XVI upon his election,[107] and visited him in October 2006 in the Vatican City. In 2007 China was accused of using its political influence to stop a meeting between the Pope and the Dalai Lama.[108]

Indigenous American beliefs

While visiting Brazil in May 2007, “the pope sparked controversy by saying that native populations had been ‘silently longing’ for the Christian faith brought to South America by colonizers.”[109] The Pope continued, stating that “the proclamation of Jesus and of his Gospel did not at any point involve an alienation of the pre-Columbus cultures, nor was it the imposition of a foreign culture.”[109] President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez demanded an apology, and an indigenous organisation in Ecuador issued a response which stated that “representatives of the Catholic Church of those times, with honourable exceptions, were accomplices, deceivers and beneficiaries of one of the most horrific genocides of all humanity.”[109] Later, the pope, speaking Italian, said at a weekly audience that it was:

“not possible to forget the suffering and the injustices inflicted by colonizers against the indigenous population, whose fundamental human rights were often trampled.”[110]

International Society for Krishna Consciousness

While visiting the United States on 17 April 2008, Benedict met with International Society for Krishna Consciousness representative Radhika Ramana Dasa;[111] a notable Hindu scholar[112] and disciple of Hanumatpreshaka Swami.[113] On behalf of the Hindu American community, Radhika Ramana Dasa presented a gift of an Om symbol to Benedict.[114][115]

Apostolic ministry

Pope Benedict XVI in a Mercedes-Benz popemobile in São Paulo, Brazil

As Pontiff, Benedict XVI carries out numerous Apostolic activities including journeys across the world and in the Vatican.

Benedict travelled extensively during the first three years of his papacy. In addition to his travels within Italy, Pope Benedict XVI has made two visits to his homeland, Germany, one for World Youth Day and another to visit the towns of his childhood. He has also visited Poland and Spain, where he was enthusiastically received.[116] His visit to Turkey, an overwhelmingly Muslim nation, was initially overshadowed by the controversy about a lecture he had given at Regensburg. His visit was met by nationalist and Islamic protesters[117] and was placed under unprecedented security measures.[118] However, the trip went ahead and Benedict made a joint declaration with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in an attempt to begin to heal the rift between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

In 2007, Pope Benedict visited Brazil in order to address the Bishops’ Conference there and canonize Friar Antônio Galvão, an 18th century Franciscan. In June 2007, Benedict made a personal pilgrimage and pastoral visit to Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis. In September, Benedict undertook a three-day visit to Austria,[119] during which he joined Vienna’s Chief Rabbi, Paul Chaim Eisenberg, in a memorial to the 65,000 Viennese Jews who perished in Nazi death camps.[120] During his stay in Austria, he also celebrated Mass at the Marian shrine Mariazell and visited Heiligenkreuz Abbey.[121]

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates his 81st birthday with U.S. President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura. The White House, Washington D.C.

In April 2008, Pope Benedict XVI made his first visit to the United States since becoming pope.[122] He arrived in Washington, DC where he was formally received at the White House and met privately with U.S. President George W. Bush.[123] While in Washington, the pope addressed representatives of US Catholic universities, met with leaders of other world religions, and celebrated Mass at the Washington Nationals’ baseball stadium with 47,000 people.[124] The Pope also met privately with victims of sexual abuse by priests. The pope travelled to New York where he addressed the United Nations General Assembly.[125] Also while in New York, the pope celebrated Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, met with disabled children and their families, and attended an event for Catholic youth, where he addressed some 25,000 young people in attendance.[126] On the final day of the pope’s visit, he visited the World Trade Center site and later celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium.[127]

In July 2008, the Pope travelled to Australia to attend World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney. On 19 July, in St. Mary’s Cathedral, he made an apology for child sex abuse perpetrated by the clergy in Australia.[128][129] On 13 September 2008, at an outdoor Paris Mass attended by 250,000 people, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the modern materialism – the world’s love of power, possessions and money as a modern-day plague, comparing it to paganism.[130][131]

In 2009, he visited Africa (Cameroon and Angola) for the first time as a Pope. During his visit, he suggested that altering sexual behavior was the answer to Africa’s AIDS crisis, and urged Catholics to reach out and convert believers in sorcery.

He visited the Middle East (Jordan, Israel and Palestine) in May 2009.

Pope Benedict’s main arena for pastoral activity is the Vatican itself, his Christmas and Easter homilies and Urbi et Orbi are delivered from St Peter’s Basilica. The Vatican is also the only regular place where the Pope travels via motor without the protective bulletproof case common to most popemobiles. Despite the more secure setting Pope Benedict has been victim to security risks several times inside Vatican City. On Wednesday, 6 June 2007 during his General Audience a man leapt across a barrier, evaded guards and nearly mounted the Pope’s vehicle, although he was stopped and Benedict seemed to be unaware of the event. On Thursday, 24 December 2009, while Pope Benedict was proceeding to the altar to celebrate Christmas Eve Mass at St Peter’s Basilica, a woman later identified as 25-year-old Susanna Maiolo, who holds Italian and Swiss citizenships, jumped the barrier and grabbed the pope by his vestments and pulled him to the ground. The 82-year-old fell but was assisted to his feet and he continued to proceed towards the altar to celebrate Mass. Roger Etchegaray, 87, the vice-dean of the College of Cardinals, fell also and suffered a hip fracture. Italian police reported that the woman had previously attempted to accost the Pope at the previous Christmas Eve Mass, but was prevented from doing so.[132][133]

Pope Benedict XVI in Balzan, Malta.

In his homily, Pope Benedict forgave Susanna Maiolo[134] and urged the world to “wake up” from selfishness and petty affairs, and find time for God and spiritual matters.[132]

Between 17 and 18 April, Pope Benedict made an Apostolic Journey to the Republic of Malta. Following meetings with various dignitaries on his first day on the island, 50,000 people gathered in a drizzle for Papal Mass on the granaries in Floriana. The Pope also met with the Maltese youth at the Valletta Waterfront, where an estimated 10,000 young people turned up to greet him.[135] During his visit the Pope was moved to tears while expressing his shame at cases of abuse on the island during a 20-minute meeting with victims.[136]

Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church

Prior to 2001, the primary responsibility for investigating allegations of sexual abuse and disciplining perpetrators rested with the individual dioceses. In 2001, Ratzinger convinced John Paul II to put the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in charge of all investigations and policies surrounding sexual abuse in order to combat such abuse more efficiently.[137][138] According to John L. Allen, Jr., Ratzinger in the following years “acquired a familiarity with the contours of the problem that virtually no other figure in the Catholic Church can claim” and “driven by that encounter with what he would later refer to as ‘filth’ in the Church, Ratzinger seems to have undergone something of a ‘conversion experience’ throughout 2003–04. From that point forward, he and his staff seemed driven by a convert’s zeal to clean up the mess”.[139] In his role as Head of the CFD, he “led important changes made in Church law: the inclusion in canon law of internet offences against children, the extension of child abuse offences to include the sexual abuse of all under 18, the case by case waiving of the statute of limitation and the establishment of a fast-track dismissal from the clerical state for offenders.”[140] As the Head of the CDF, Ratzinger developed a reputation for handling these cases. According to Charles J. Scicluna, a former prosecutor handling sexual abuse cases, “Cardinal Ratzinger displayed great wisdom and firmness in handling those cases, also demonstrating great courage in facing some of the most difficult and thorny cases, sine acceptione personarum (without exceptions)”.[139][141]

One of the cases Ratzinger pursued involved Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, a Mexican priest and founder of the Legion of Christ, who had been accused repeatedly of sexual abuse. Biographer Andrea Tornielli suggested that Cardinal Ratzinger had wanted to take action against Marcial Maciel Degollado, but that John Paul II and other high-ranking officials, including several cardinals and notably the pope’s influential secretary Stanisław Dziwisz, prevented him from doing so.[138][142] According to Jason Berry, Angelo Sodano “pressured” Cardinal Ratzinger, who was “operating on the assumption that the charges were not justified”, to halt the proceedings against Maciel in 1999[143] When Maciel was honored by the Pope in 2004, new accusers came forward[143] and Cardinal Ratzinger “took it on himself to authorize an investigation of Maciel”[138] After Ratzinger became pope he began proceedings against Maciel and the Legion of Christ that forced Maciel out of active service in the Church.[137] On 1 May 2010 the Vatican issued a statement denouncing Maciel’s “very serious and objectively immoral acts”, which were “confirmed by incontrovertible testimonies” and represent “true crimes and manifest a life without scruples or authentic religious sentiment.” Pope Benedict also said he would appoint a special commission to examine the Legionaries’ constitution and open an investigation into its lay affiliate Regnum Christi.[144] Cardinal Christoph Schönborn explained that Ratzinger “made entirely clear efforts not to cover things up but to tackle and investigate them. This was not always met with approval in the Vatican”.[137][145] According to Schönborn, Cardinal Ratzinger had pressed John Paul II to investigate Hans Hermann Groër, an Austrian cardinal and friend of John Paul accused of sexual abuse, resulting in Groër’s resignation.[142]

In March 2010, the Pope sent a Pastoral Letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland addressing cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests to minors, expressing sorrow, and promising changes in the way accusations of abuse are dealt with.[146] Victim groups claim the letter failed to clarify if secular law enforcement has priority over canon law confidentiality pertaining to internal investigation of abuse allegations.[147][148][149][150] The Pope then promised to introduce measures that would ‘safeguard young people in the future’ and ‘bring to justice’ priests who were responsible for abuse.[136] In April, the Vatican issued guidelines on how existing Church law should be implemented. The guideline dictates that “Civil law concerning reporting of crimes… should always be followed.”[151] The guideline was intended to follow the norms established by U.S. bishops, but it does not require the reporting of “allegations” or crimes where reporting is not required by law.[152]

Pope Benedict XVI in choir dress with the red summer papal mozzetta, embroidered red stole, and the red papal shoes.


Pope Benedict XVI has re-introduced several papal garments which had previously fallen into disuse. Pope Benedict XVI resumed the use of the traditional red papal shoes, which had not been used since early in the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. Contrary to the initial speculation of the press that the shoes had been made by the Italian fashion house Prada, the Vatican announced that the shoes were provided by the pope’s personal shoemaker.[153]

On 21 December 2005, the pope once only wore the camauro, the traditional red papal hat usually worn in the winter. It had not been seen since the pontificate of Pope John XXIII (1958–1963). On 6 September 2006 the pope began wearing the red cappello romano (also called a saturno), a wide-brimmed hat for outdoor use. Rarely used by John Paul II, it was more widely worn by his predecessors.


Prior to his election as Pope in 2005, Ratzinger had hoped to retire—on account of age-related health problems, a long-held desire to have free time to write, and the retirement age for bishops (75)—and submitted his resignation as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith three times, but continued at his post in obedience to the wishes of Pope John Paul II. In September 1991, Ratzinger suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, which slightly impaired his eyesight temporarily but he recovered completely.[154] This was never affirmed – the official news was that Ratzinger fell and struck his head against a radiator – but an open secret known to the Conclave that elected him Pope.[155]

Since his election in April 2005 there have been several rumors about the Pope’s health but none of them have ever been confirmed. Early in his pontificate Pope Benedict XVI predicted a short reign which led to concerns about his health.[156] In May 2005, the Vatican announced that he had subsequently suffered another mild stroke. French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin further stated that since the first stroke, Ratzinger had been suffering from a heart condition as a result of his age, for which he is currently on medication. In late November 2006, Vatican insiders told the international press that the Pope had a routine examination of the heart.[155] A few days later an unconfirmed rumor emerged that Pope Benedict had undergone an operation in preparation for an eventual bypass operation but this rumor was only published by a small left-wing Italian newspaper and was never confirmed by any Vatican insider.[157]

On 17 July 2009, Benedict was hospitalized after falling and breaking his right wrist while on vacation in the Alps. His injuries were reported to be minor.[158]


On 11 February 2013, the Vatican confirmed Pope Benedict would resign the papacy on 28 February 2013 as a result of his advanced age,[159] becoming the first pope to do so since Gregory XII in 1415.[160] The move was considered unexpected.[161] In modern times, all popes have stayed in office until death. Benedict will be the first Pope to have resigned voluntarily since Pope Celestine V in 1294, and the first to leave the Papal office while still alive since Pope Gregory XII in 1415. [5]

In a statement, Benedict cited his deteriorating strength and the physical and mental demands of the papacy.[162] He also declared that he would continue to serve the church “through a life dedicated to prayer”.[162]

The resignation annoucement comes as the Pope is apparently suffering from Parkinson’s disease, which could prevent him from fulfilling his duties.[163]

Benedict said, addressing his Cardinals in Latin:[164]

Dear Brothers,I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.

I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.

For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects.

And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013


Titles and styles

Papal styles of
Pope Benedict XVI
BXVI CoA like gfx PioM.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father

The official style of the Pope is His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI; in Latin, Benedictus XVI, Episcopus Romae.

However, his rarely used full title is: His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God.

Before 1 March 2006, the list of titles also used to contain that of a “Patriarch of the West“, which traditionally appeared in that list of titles before “Primate of Italy”. The title of “Patriarch of the West” was first adopted in the year 642 by Pope Theodore I, but was rarely used since the East-West Schism of 1054. From the Orthodox perspective, authority in the Church could be traced to the five patriarchates of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. However, some Catholic theologians have argued that the term “Patriarch of the West” has no clear historical or theological basis and was introduced into the papal court in 1870 at the time of the First Vatican Council. Pope Benedict chose to remove the title at a time when discussions with the Orthodox churches have centered on the issue of papal primacy.


Arms of Pope Benedict XVI
The coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI was designed by then Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo (who later was created a Cardinal) soon after the papal election. Benedict’s coat of arms has omitted the papal tiara, which traditionally appears in the background to designate the Pope’s position as a worldly ruler like a king, replacing it with a simple mitre, emphasising his spiritual authority.[165]
BXVI CoA like gfx PioM.svg
Gules, chape in or, with the scallop shell of the second; the dexter chape with a moor’s head in natural colour, crowned and collared of the first, the sinister chape a bear trippant in natural colour, carrying a pack gules belted sable
Scallop shell: The symbolism of the scallop shell is multiple; one reference is to Saint Augustine. While a doctoral candidate in 1953, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger wrote his dissertation on The People of God and the House of God in Augustine’s Teaching is always about the Church, and therefore has a personal connection with the thought of this great Doctor of the Church.
Moor of Freising: The Moor’s head is an heraldic charge associated with Freising, Germany.
Corbinian’s bear: A legend states that while travelling to Rome, Saint Corbinian’s pack horse was killed by a bear. He commanded the bear to carry the load. Once he arrived, he released it from his service, and it returned to Bavaria. The implication is that “Christianity tamed and domesticated the ferocity of paganism and thus laid the foundations for a great civilisation in the Duchy of Bavaria.” At the same time, Corbinian’s bear, as God’s beast of burden, symbolises the weight of office that Benedict now carries.

Positions on moral and political issues

Birth control and HIV/AIDS

In 2005, the Pope listed several ways to combat the spread of HIV, including chastity, fidelity in marriage and anti-poverty efforts; he also rejected the use of condoms.[166] The alleged Vatican investigation of whether there are any cases when married persons may use condoms to protect against the spread of infections surprised many Catholics in the wake of John Paul II’s consistent refusal to consider condom use in response to AIDS.[167] However, the Vatican has since stated that no such change in the Church’s teaching can occur.[168] TIME also reported in its 30 April 2006 edition that the Vatican’s position remains what it always has been with Vatican officials “flatly dismiss[ing] reports that the Vatican is about to release a document that will condone any condom use.”[168]

In March 2009, the Pope stated:

I would say that this problem of AIDS cannot be overcome merely with money, necessary though it is. If there is no human dimension, if Africans do not help, the problem cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics: on the contrary, they increase it. The solution must have two elements: firstly, bringing out the human dimension of sexuality, that is to say a spiritual and human renewal that would bring with it a new way of behaving towards others, and secondly, true friendship offered above all to those who are suffering, a willingness to make sacrifices and to practise self-denial, to be alongside the suffering.[169]

In November 2010, in a book-length interview, the Pope, using the example of male prostitutes, stated that the use of condoms, with the intention of reducing the risk of HIV infection, may be an indication that the prostitute is intending to reduce the evil connected with his or her immoral activity.[170] In the same interview, the Pope also reiterated the traditional teaching of the Church that condoms are not seen as a “real or moral solution” to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Further, in December 2010, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith explained that the Pope’s statement did not constitute a legitimization of either prostitution or contraception, both of which remain gravely immoral.[170]


During his time as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Benedict XVI made several efforts to tackle the issue of homosexuality within the Church and the wider world. In 1986 the CDF sent a letter to all bishops entitled: On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons. The letter condemned a liberal interpretation of the earlier CDF document Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, which had led to a “benign” attitude “to the homosexual condition itself”. On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons clarified that the Church’s position on homosexuality was that “although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”[171] However the document also condemned homophobic attacks and violence, stating that “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs.”[171]

In 1992 he again approved CDF documents declaring that homosexual “inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder” and extended this principle to civil law. “Sexual orientation”, the document said, was not equivalent to race or ethnicity, and it declared that it was “not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account.”[172]

On 22 December 2008, the Pope gave an end of year message to the Roman Curia in which he talked about gender and the important distinction between men and women. The pope said that the church viewed the distinction as central to human nature, and “asks that this order, set down by creation, be respected”. He characterised gender roles which deviated from his view of what gender roles should be as “a violation of the natural order”. The church, he said, “should protect man from the destruction of himself”. He said a sort of ecology of man was needed, adding: “The tropical forests do deserve our protection; but man, as a creature, does not deserve any less.” He attacked what he described as gender theories which “lead towards the self-emancipation of man from creation and the creator”.[173][174]

LGBT groups such as the Italian Arcigay and German LSVD have announced that they found the Pope’s comments homophobic.[175] Aurelio Mancuso, head of Arcigay, saying “A divine programme for men and women is out of line with nature, where the roles are not so clear.”[173]

Father Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, claimed the Pope had not wished specifically to attack homosexuality, and had not mentioned gays or lesbians in his text. Father Lombardi insisted, however, that there had been an overreaction to the Pope’s remarks. “He was speaking more generally about gender theories which overlook the fundamental difference in creation between men and women and focus instead on cultural conditioning.” Nevertheless, the remarks were interpreted as a call to save mankind from homosexuals and transsexuals.[173]

Gay marriage

During a 2012 Christmas speech,[176] the Pope made remarks about the present-day interpretation of the notion of ‘gender‘. He stated that “sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves”, and “The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply”. Although he didn’t mention the topic, his words were interpreted by news media as denunciations of gay marriage,[177] with some sources adding that Benedict would have called it a threat to world peace similar to abortion and euthanasia.[178] In March 2012, he stated that straight marriage should be defended from “every possible misrepresentation of their true nature”.[179]

International relations

Migrants and refugees

In a message released 14 November 2006, during a Vatican press conference for the 2007 annual observance of World Day for Migrants and Refugees, the pope urged the ratification of international conventions and policies that defend all migrants, including refugees, exiles, evacuees, and internally displaced persons. “The church encourages the ratification of the international legal instruments that aim to defend the rights of migrants, refugees and their families,” the pope said. “Much is already being done for the integration of the families of immigrants, although much still remains to be done.”[180]

Benedict with then President of Russia Vladimir Putin on 13 March 2007

Pope Benedict has also promoted various UN events, such as World Refugee Day, on which he offered up special prayers for refugees and called for the international community to do more to secure refugees’ human rights. He also called on Catholic communities and organizations to offer them concrete help.[181]


In 2007 Benedict sent a letter at Easter to Catholics in China that could have wide-ranging implications for the church’s relationship with China’s leadership. The letter provides long-requested guidance to Chinese bishops on how to respond to illicitly ordained bishops, as well as how to strengthen ties with the Patriotic Association and the Communist government.[182]


On 13 November 2006, Benedict said the dispute over the North Korea nuclear weapons program should be resolved through negotiations, in his first public comment on the security issue, a news report said. “The Holy See encourages bilateral or multilateral negotiations, convinced that the solution must be sought through peaceful means and in respect for agreements taken by all sides to obtain the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.” Benedict was talking to the new Japanese ambassador to the Vatican.[183]


In a 2004 Le Figaro interview, Ratzinger said that Turkey, which is demographically Muslim but governmentally secular by virtue of its state constitution, should seek its future in an association of Muslim nations rather than the European Union, which Ratzinger has stated has Christian roots. He said Turkey had always been “in permanent contrast to Europe and that linking it to Europe would be a mistake.”[184]

Later visiting the country to “reiterate the solidarity between the cultures,” it was reported that he made a counter-statement backing Turkey’s bid to join the EU. Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said that the pope told him in their meeting that while the Vatican seeks to stay out of politics it desires Turkey’s membership in the EU.[185][186] However, the Common Declaration of Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople implied that support for Turkey’s membership in the European Union would be contingent on the establishment of religious freedom in Turkey:[187] “In every step towards unification, minorities must be protected, with their cultural traditions and the distinguishing features of their religion.”[188] The Declaration also reiterates Pope Benedict XVI’s call for Europe to preserve its Christian roots.


In May 2009 he visited Israel.[189][190] This was the third Papal visit to the Holy Land, the previous ones being made by Pope Paul VI in 1964 and Pope John Paul II in 2000.


Pope Benedict XVI and Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng met at the Vatican on 25 January 2007 in a “new and important step towards establishing diplomatic ties”.[191] The Pope met with President Nguyễn Minh Triết on 11 December 2009. Vatican officials called the meeting “a significant stage in the progress of bilateral relations with Vietnam.”[192]

Global economy

In 2009 the Pope intervened in global economic and political affairs with his third encyclical, Charity in Truth (Latin Caritas in Veritate), which can be viewed on the Vatican’s web site.[193] The document sets out the Pope’s position on the case for worldwide redistribution of wealth in considerable detail and goes on to discuss the environment, migration, terrorism, sexual tourism, bioethics, energy and population issues. The Financial Times has reported that the Pope’s advocacy for a fairer redistribution of wealth has helped set the agenda for the 2009 July G8 summit.[194][195]

Also included in Charity in Truth is advocacy for tax choice:

One possible approach to development aid would be to apply effectively what is known as fiscal subsidiarity, allowing citizens to decide how to allocate a portion of the taxes they pay to the State. Provided it does not degenerate into the promotion of special interests, this can help to stimulate forms of welfare solidarity from below, with obvious benefits in the area of solidarity for development as well.

Nuclear energy

Pope Benedict XVI has called for nuclear disarmament. At the same time, he has supported the peaceful use of nuclear energy as a tool for development and the fight against poverty. In his message for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the International Atomic Energy Agency, he confirmed: “The Holy See, fully approving of the IAEA’s goal, has been a member from the organisation’s foundation and continues to support its activity.”[196]


Pope Benedict XVI after a musical concert offered to his honor. circa 2008.

Pope Benedict is known to be deeply interested in classical music,[11] and is an accomplished pianist.[197] He has a grand piano in his papal quarters. The Pontiff’s favorite composer is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, of whose music the Pope said: “His music is by no means just entertainment; it contains the whole tragedy of human existence.”[198] Benedict also stated that Mozart’s music affected him greatly as a young man and “deeply penetrated his soul.”[198] Benedict’s favorite works of music are Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Clarinet Quintet.[199]

Pope Benedict has recorded an album of contemporary classical music in which Benedict sings and recites prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary.[200] The album was set for release on 30 November 2009.

Pope Benedict is also known to be fond of cats.[11] As Cardinal Ratzinger he was known (according to former neighbours) to look after stray cats in his neighbourhood. A book called Joseph and Chico: A Cat Recounts the Life of Pope Benedict XVI was published in 2007 which told the story of the Pope’s life from the feline Chico’s perspective. This story was inspired by an orange tabby Pentling cat, which belonged to the family next door.[201] During his trip to Australia for World Youth Day in 2008 the media reported that festival organizers lent the Pope a grey cat called Bella[202] in order to keep him company during his stay.[203]

In December 2012, the Vatican announced Benedict had joined social networking website Twitter, under the handle @Pontifex.[204] His first tweet was made on 12 December and was “Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”[205]

Honours and awards

This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Italian Wikipedia.

Pope Benedict is Grand Master of the following Orders: Supreme Order of Christ, Order of the Golden Spur, Order of Pius IX, Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great and the Order of St. Sylvester.

1977 Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit of the Republic of Ecuador
1977 Knight Grand Cross of the Bavarian Order of Merit
1985 Grand Merit Cross with Star and Sash of the Federal Republic of Germany
1985 Constitutional Medal of the Bavarian State Parliament in Gold
1989 Ordine della Minerva at the University of Chieti
1989 Augustin Bea Prize (Rome)
1989 Karl-Valentin-Orden (Munich)
1991 Leopold Kunschak Prize (Vienna)
1991 Georg von Hertling Medal of Kartellverband katholischer deutscher Studentenvereine
1992 Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Sash for Services to the Republic of Austria
1992 Literature Prize Capri S. Michele in Anacapri
1992 Premio Internazionale di Cultura Cattolica, Bassano del Grappa
1993 literary prize Premio Letterario Basilicata per la Letteratura e Poesia religiosa Spirituale in Potenza (Italy)
1996 Knight of the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art
1998 Commander of the Legion of Honour (Legion d’Honneur) (France)
1999 Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
2002 Liberal Trieste
2004 Literature Prize Capri S. Michele in Anacapri
Honorary doctorates
1984 College of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minnesota, USA; Honorary Doctor of Human Letters)
1986 Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (Pontifical Catholic University of Peru)
1987 Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
1988 Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski (Catholic University of Lublin, Poland)
1998 University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain)
1999 Libera Università Maria SS Assunta Roma (Maria SS Assunta Free University, Rome) (honorary degree in law)
2000 Uniwersytet Wrocławski (University of Wroclaw, Poland; Honorary Doctor of Theology)
2005 Universatea Babes-Bolyai in Cluj-Napoca (Babeș-Bolyai University)
Honorary citizenships
1987 Pentling, near Regensburg, location of his main German residence
1997 Marktl, his birthplace
2005 Traunstein, location of the school and the study seminar he attended
2006 Altötting
2006 Regensburg, worked as a full, later as a visiting, professor
2006 Aschau am Inn, started school and received Mass for the first time
2007 Tittmoning, where he spent part of his childhood.
2008 Brixen, where he holidayed several times as a Cardinal and as Pope
2009 Mariazell, whose sanctuary he visited in 2007 as Pope
2009 Introd in the Aosta Valley, where he spent some of his summer holidays in 2005, 2006 and 2009
2010 Freising, where he studied, was ordained a priest in 1951, where he served from 1954–1957 lecturer at the Philosophical and Theological College and worked from 1977 to 1982 as archbishop of Munich and Freising
2011 Natz-Schabs in South Tyrol; Benedict’s grandmother Maria Tauber Peintner and his great-grandmother Elisabeth Maria Tauber both come from Natz-Schabs

The asteroid 8661 Ratzinger was dedicated to him, on the grounds of making accessible the Vatican archives and thus allow the historians to investigate miscarriages of justice against Galileo and other scientists in the Middle Ages.

Pope Benedict is an honorary citizen of Arconate, Romano Canavese


The following is a list of books written by Pope Benedict XVI arranged chronologically by English first edition. The original German first edition publication year is included in parentheses.

See also

Book icon


  1. ^ This book was originally published in German in four volumes: Die erste Sitzungsperiode des Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzils (1963), Das Konzil auf dem Weg (1964), Ergebnisse und Probleme der dritten Konzilsperiode (1965), and Die letzte Sitzungsperiode des Konzils (1966).


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  2. ^ The precise number of popes has been a matter for scholarly debate for centuries. John A. Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary (1980) lists Pope John Paul II (1978–2005) as 264th Pope, making him the 265th.
  3. ^ Hern, Alex. “Why is the Pope resigning?”. New Statesman. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
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  6. ^ Walsh, Mary Ann (2005). From Pope John Paul II to Benedict XVI: an inside look at the end of an era, the beginning of a new one, and the future of the church. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 135. ISBN 1-58051-202-X.
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Further reading

Literature about him

  • Allen, John L.: Cardinal Ratzinger: the Vatican’s enforcer of the faith. – New York: Continuum, 2000
  • Benedetti, Amedeo: Il linguaggio di Benedetto XVI, al secolo Joseph Ratzinger. – Genova, Erga, 2012
  • Herrmann, Horst: Benedikt XVI. Der neue Papst aus Deutschland. – Berlin 2005
  • Nichols OP, Aidan: The Theology of Joseph Ratzinger: An Introductory Study. – Edinburgh; T&T Clark, 1988
  • Pater Prior Maximilian Heim: Joseph Ratzinger — Kirchliche Existenz und existenzielle Theologie unter dem Anspruch von Lumen gentium (diss.).
  • Twomey, D. Vincent, S.V.D.: Pope Benedict XVI: The Conscience of Our Age (A Theological Portrait). – San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007
  • Wagner, Karl: Kardinal Ratzinger: der Erzbischof in München und Freising in Wort und Bild. – München : Pfeiffer, 1977


  • Allen, John L. The Rise of Benedict XVI: The Inside Story of How the Pope Was Elected and Where He Will Take the Catholic Church. NY: Doubleday, 2005. ISBN 0-385-51320-8.
  • Allen, John L. Pope Benedict XVI: A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005. ISBN 0-8264-1786-8. This is a reprint of Allen’s 2000 book Cardinal Ratzinger: the Vatican’s Enforcer of the Faith.
  • Bardazzi, Marco. In the Vineyard of the Lord : The Life, Faith, and Teachings of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. New York: Rizzoli International, 2005. ISBN 0-8478-2801-8
  • Bunson, Matthew. We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor. ISBN 1-59276-180-1.
  • Campbell, Paul-Henri: Pope Benedikt XVI. Audio Book. Monarda Publishing House, 2012, ISBN 3-939513-80-6.
  • Pursell, Brennan, Benedict of Bavaria: An Intimate Portrait of the Pope and His Homeland (Circle Press, 2008). ISBN 1-933271-17-5.
  • Tobin, Greg. Holy Father : Pope Benedict XVI: Pontiff for a New Era. Sterling, 2005. ISBN 1-4027-3172-8.
  • Weigel, George. God’s Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church, Harper Collins, 2005. ISBN 0-06-621331-2.


God the Father

God the Father, Cima da Conegliano, Circa 1510-17.

God the Father, Cima da Conegliano, Circa 1510-17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God the Father is a title given to God in modern monotheist religions, such as Christianity, Judaism and Bahá’í, in part because he is viewed as having an active interest in human affairs, in the way that a father would take an interest in his children who are dependent on him.[1][2][3]

In Judaism, God is described as father as he is said to be the creator, life-giver, law-giver, and protector.[4] However, in Judaism the use of the Father title is generally a metaphor and is one of many titles by which Jews speak of and to God.[5]

Since the second century, Christian creeds included affirmation of belief in “God the Father (Almighty)”, primarily as his capacity as “Father and creator of the universe”.[6] Yet, in Christianity the concept of God as the father of Jesus is distinct from the concept of God as the Creator and father of all people, as indicated in the Apostle’s Creed where the expression of belief in the “Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth” is immediately, but separately followed by in “Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord”, thus expressing both senses of fatherhood.[7]

The Islamic view of God sees God as the unique creator of the universe and as the life-giver, but does not accept the term “father” in reference to God, as well as in regard to his relationship to the prophet Isa, i.e. Jesus in Islam.[8]



An image of God the Father by Julius Schnorr, 1860.

In modern monotheist religious traditions with a large following, such as Christianity, Judaism and Bahá’í, God is addressed as the father, in part because of his active interest in human affairs, in the way that a father would take an interest in his children who are dependent on him and as a father, he will respond to humanity, his children, acting in their best interests.[1][2][3] Many monotheists believe they can communicate with God and come closer to him through prayer – a key element of achieving communion with God.[9][10][11]

In general, the title Father (capitalized) signifies God’s role as the life-giver, the authority, and powerful protector, often viewed as immense, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent with infinite power and charity that goes beyond human understanding.[12] For instance, after completing his monumental work Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas concluded that he had not yet begun to understand God the Father.[13] Although the term “Father” implies masculine characteristics, God is usually defined as having the form of a spirit without any human biological gender, e.g. the Catechism of the Catholic Church #239 specifically states that “God is neither man nor woman: he is God“.[14][15] Although God is never directly addressed as “Mother”, at times motherly attributes may be interpreted in Old Testament references such as Isa 42:14, Isa 49:14-15 or Isa 66:12-13.[16]

Although similarities exist among religions, the common language and the shared concepts about God the Father among the Abrahamic religions is quite limited, and each religion has very specific belief structures and religious nomenclature with respect to the subject.[17] While a religious teacher in one faith may be able to explain the concepts to his own audience with ease, significant barriers remain in communicating those concepts across religious boundaries.[17]

In the New Testament, the Christian concept of God the Father may be seen as a continuation of the Jewish concept, but with specific additions and changes, which over time made the Christian concept become even more distinct by the start of the Middle Ages.[18][19][20] The conformity to the Old Testament concepts is shown in Matthew 4:10 and Luke 4:8 where in response to temptation Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:13 and states: “It is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.”[18] However, 1 Corinthians 8:6 shows the distinct Christian teaching about the agency of Christ by first stating: “there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him” and immediately continuing with “and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him.”[19] This passage clearly acknowledges the Jewish teachings on the uniqueness of God, yet also states the role of Jesus as an agent in creation.[19] Over time, the Christian doctrine began to fully diverge from Judaism through the teachings of the Church Fathers in the second century and by the fourth century belief in the Trinity was formalized.[19][20]

The Islamic concept of God differs from the Christian and Jewish views, the term “father” in not applied to God by Muslims, and the Christian notion of the Trinity is rejected in Islam.[21][22]


Main article: God in Judaism

The Biblical Tetragrammaton, the Hebrew Name for God the Father.

In Judaism, God is called “Father” with a unique sense of familiarity. In addition to the sense in which God is “Father” to all men because he created the world (and in that sense “fathered” the world), the same God is also uniquely the patriarchal law-giver to the chosen people. He maintains a special, covenantal father-child relationship with the people, giving them the Shabbat, stewardship of his oracles, and a unique heritage in the things of God, calling Israel “my son” because he delivered the descendants of Jacob out of slavery in Egypt[Hosea 11:1] according to his oath to their father, Abraham. In the Hebrew Scriptures, in Isaiah 63:16 (ASV) it reads: “Thou, O Jehovah, art our Father; our Redeemer from everlasting is thy name.” To God, according to Judaism, is attributed the fatherly role of protector. He is called the Father of the poor, of the orphan and the widow, their guarantor of justice. He is also called the Father of the king, as the teacher and helper over the judge of Israel.[23]

However, in Judaism “Father” is generally a metaphor; it is not a proper name for God but rather one of many titles by which Jews speak of and to God. In Christianity fatherhood is taken in a more literal and substantive sense, and is explicit about the need for the Son as a means of accessing the Father, making for a more metaphysical rather than metaphorical interpretation.[5]


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Main article: God in Christianity

Since the second century, creeds in the Western Church have included affirmation of belief in “God the Father (Almighty)”, the primary reference being to “God in his capacity as Father and creator of the universe”.[6] This did not exclude either the fact the “eternal father of the universe was also the Father of Jesus the Christ” or that he had even “vouchsafed to adopt [the believer] as his son by grace”.[6]

Creeds in the Eastern Church (known to have come from a later date) began with an affirmation of faith in “one God” and almost always expanded this by adding “the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible” or words to that effect.[6]

By the end of the first century, Clement of Rome had repeatedly referred to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and linked the Father to creation, 1 Clement 19.2 stating: “let us look steadfastly to the Father and Creator of the universe”.[24] Around AD 213 in Adversus Praxeas (chapter 3) Tertullian provided a formal representation of the concept of the Trinity, i.e. that God exists as one “substance” but three “Persons”: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.[25][26] Tertullian also discussed how the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.[25]

The Nicene Creed, which dates to 325, states that the Son (Jesus Christ) is “eternally begotten of the Father”, indicating that their divine Father-Son relationship is seen as not tied to an event within time or human history.

There is a deep sense in which Christians believe that they are made participants in the eternal relationship of Father and Son, through Jesus Christ. Christians call themselves adopted children of God:[27][28]

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

The same notion is expressed in Romans 8:8-11 where the Son of God extends the parental relationship to the believers.[28] Yet, in Christianity the concept of God as the father of Jesus is distinct from the concept of God as the Creator and father of all people, as indicated in the Apostle’s Creed.[7] The profession in the Creed begins with expressing belief in the “Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth” and then immediately, but separately, in “Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord”, thus expressing both senses of fatherhood within the Creed.[7]


God the Father by Girolamo dai Libri c. 1555. The triangular halo represents the Trinity.

To Trinitarian Christians (which include Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and most but not all Protestant denominations), God the Father is not at all a separate god from God the Son (of whom Jesus is the incarnation) and the Holy Spirit, the other Hypostases of the Christian Godhead.[29][30][31] However, in Trinitarian theology, God the Father is the “arche” or “principium” (beginning), the “source” or “origin” of both the Son and the Holy Spirit, and is considered the eternal source of the Godhead.[32] The Father is the one who eternally begets the Son, and the Father eternally breaths the Holy Spirit.[24][32]

As a member of the Trinity, God the Father is one with, co-equal to, co-eternal, and con-substantial with the Son and the Holy Spirit, each Person being the one eternal God and in no way separated, who is the creator: all alike are uncreated and omnipotent.[24] Because of this, the Trinity is beyond reason and can only be known by revelation.[30][33]

The Trinitarians concept of God the Father is not pantheistic in that he not viewed as identical to the universe or a vague notionthat persists in it, but exists fully outside of creation, as its Creator.[34][29] He is viewed as a loving and caring God, a Heavenly Father who is active both in the world and in people’s lives.[34][29] He created all things visible and invisible in love and wisdom,<and man for his own sake.[34][35]

The emergence of Trinitarian theology of God the Father in early Christianity was based on two key ideas: first the shared identity of of the Yahweh of the Old Testament and the God of Jesus in the New Testament, and then the self-distinction and yet the unity between Jesus and his Father.[36][37] An example of the unity of Son and Father is Matthew 11:27: “No one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son”, asserting the mutual knowledge of Father and Son.[38]

The concept of fatherhood of God does appear in the Old Testament, but is not a a major theme.[39][36] While the view of God as the Father is used in the Old Testament, it only became a focus in the New Testament, as Jesus frequently referred to it.[39][36] This is manifested in the Lord’s prayer which combines the earthly needs of daily bread with the reciprocal concept of forgiveness.[39] And Jesus’ emphasis on his special relationship with the Father highlights the importance of the distinct yet unified natures of Jesus and the Father, building to the unity of Father and Son in the Trinity.[39]

The paternal view of God as the Father extends beyond Jesus to his disciples, and the entire Church, as reflected in the petitions Jesus submitted to the Father for his followers at the end of the Farewell Discourse, the night before his crucifixion.[40] Instances of this in the Farewell Discourse are John 14:20 as Jesus addresses the disciples: “I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” and in John 17:22 as he prays tothe Father: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.”[41]


Main article: Nontrinitarianism

A number of nontriniatarian traditions reject the doctrine of the Trinity, but differ from one another in their views, variously depicting Jesus as a divine being second only to God the Father, Yahweh of the Old Testament in human form, God (but not eternally God), prophet, or simply a holy man.[42] Some broad definitions of Protestantism include these groups within Protestantism, but most definitions do not.[43]

Mormon depiction of God the Father and the Son Jesus.

In Mormon theology, the most prominent conception of God is as a divine council of three distinct beings: Elohim (the Father), Jehovah (the Son, or Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. The Father and Son are considered to have perfected, material bodies, while the Holy Spirit has a body of spirit.[44] Mormons believe that God the Father presides over both the Son and Holy Spirit, but together they represent one God.

Mormons officially consider the Godhead a Divine Council, the Father being over the Son and Spirit in time and power. This conception differs from the traditional Christian Trinity of co-equal and co-eternal members; in Mormonism, the three persons are considered worthy to be members of godhood by being united in will and purpose.[45] Mormons often refer to this Council as the “Godhead” to distinguish it from the traditional Trinity.[46] As such, the term Godhead has a different meaning than the term as used in traditional Christianity.[47]

In Jehovah’s Witness theology, only God the Father is the one true and almighty God, even over his Son Jesus Christ. While the Witnesses acknowledge Christ’s pre-existence, perfection, and unique “Sonship” with God the Father, and believe that Christ had an essential role in creation and redemption, and is the Messiah, they believe that only the Father is without beginning. They say that the Son had a beginning, and was “brought forth” at a certain point, as the Father’s First and Only-begotten, and as the Father’s only direct creation, before all ages. They believe that all other things were created through the Son, in the service of God the Father.[48]

Jehovah’s Witnesses emphasize God the Father, in their services, studies, and worship, more than Christ the Son. In their theology, they teach that the Father is greater than the Son.[49][50] The Witnesses, though they do give relative “worship” or “obeisance” (Greek: proskyneo) to Jesus as God’s Son and Messiah, and pray through Him as Mediator, do not give him the same degree of worship or service as they give to God the Father.[51][52]

Oneness Pentecostalism teaches that God is a singular spirit who is one person, not three divine persons, individuals or minds. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are merely titles reflecting the different personal manifestations of the One True God in the universe. When Oneness believers speak of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, they see these as three personal manifestations of one being, one personal God.[53][54]

Other groups include Sabbatarian traditions, such as the Living Church of God and the Philadelphia Church of God, Armstrongism, the Unitarian Christian Association, Binitarianism, etc.


Main articles: God in Islam and Shirk (Islam)

God, as referenced in the Qur’an, is the only God and the same God worshiped by members of the other Abrahamic religions, Christianity and Judaism. (29:46).[55] However, though Islam accepts the concept of God as creator and life-giver, and as the unique one, Islam rejects the term “father” in reference to God, particularly in regard to his relationship to the prophet Isa, i.e. Jesus in Islam.[8]

The Qur’an states:[56]

“Say: He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.” (Sura 112:1-4, Yusuf Ali)

In Islamic theology, God (Arabic: Allāh) is the all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe.[57][58] Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular (tawhid).[59] God is unique (wahid) and inherently One (ahad), all-merciful and omnipotent.[60] The Qur’an asserts the existence of a single and absolute truth that transcends the world; a unique and indivisible being who is independent of the entire creation.[56]

Other religions

Although some forms of Hinduism support monotheism, there is no concept of a god as a father in Hinduism. A genderless Brahman is considered the Creator and Life-giver, and the Shakta Goddess is viewed as the divine mother and life-bearer.[61][62]

God the Father in Western art

Depiction of God the Father (detail), Pieter de Grebber, 1654.

For about a thousand years, no attempt was made to portray God the Father in human form, because early Christians believed that the words of Exodus 33:20 “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see Me and live” and of the Gospel of John 1:18: “No man hath seen God at any time” were meant to apply not only to the Father, but to all attempts at the depiction of the Father.[63] Typically only a small part of the body of Father would be represented, usually the hand, or sometimes the face, but rarely the whole person, and in many images, the figure of the Son supplants the Father, so a smaller portion of the person of the Father is depicted.[64]

In the early medieval period God was often represented by Christ as the Logos, which continued to be very common even after the separate figure of God the Father appeared. Western art eventually required some way to illustrate the presence of the Father, so through successive representations a set of artistic styles for the depiction of the Father in human form gradually emerged around the tenth century AD.[65]

By the twelfth century depictions of a figure of God, essentially based on the Ancient of Days in the Book of Daniel had started to appear in French manuscripts and in stained glass church windows in England. In the 14th century the illustrated Naples Bible had a depiction of God the Father in the Burning bush. By the 15th century, the Rohan Book of Hours included depictions of God the Father in human form. The depiction remains rare and often controversial in Eastern Orthodox art, and by the time of the Renaissance artistic representations of God the Father were freely used in the Western Church.[66]

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: God the Father


  1. ^ a b Calling God “Father” by John W. Miller (Nov 1999) ISBN 0809138972 pages x-xii
  2. ^ a b Diana L. Eck (2003) Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras ISBN 0807073024 p. 98
  3. ^ a b Church Dogmatics, Vol. 2.1, Section 31: The Doctrine of God by Karl Barth (Sep 23, 2010) ISBN 0567012859 pages 15-17
  4. ^ Gerald J. Blidstein, 2006 Honor thy father and mother: filial responsibility in Jewish law and ethics ISBN 0-88125-862-8 page 1
  5. ^ a b God the Father in Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity: Transformed Background or Common Ground?, Alon Goshen-Gottstein. The Elijah Interfaith Institute, first published in Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 38:4, Spring 2001
  6. ^ a b c d Kelly, J.N.D. Early Christian Creeds Longmans:1960, p.136; p.139; p.195 respectively
  7. ^ a b c Symbols of Jesus: a Christology of symbolic engagement by Robert C. Neville 2002 ISBN 0-521-00353-9 page 26
  8. ^ a b The Concept of Monotheism in Islam and Christianity by Hans Köchler 1982 ISBN 3-7003-0339-4 page 38
  9. ^ Floyd H. Barackman, 2002 Practical Christian Theology ISBN 0-8254-2380-5 page 117
  10. ^ Calling God “Father” by John W. Miller (Nov 1999) ISBN 0809138972 page 51
  11. ^ Church Dogmatics, Vol. 2.1, Section 31: The Doctrine of God by Karl Barth (Sep 23, 2010) ISBN 0567012859 pages 73-74
  12. ^ Lawrence Kimbrough, 2006 Contemplating God the Father B&H Publishing ISBN 0-8054-4083-6 page 3
  13. ^ Thomas W. Petrisko, 2001 The Kingdom of Our Father St. Andrew’s Press ISBN 1-891903-18-7 page 8
  14. ^ David Bordwell, 2002, Catechism of the Catholic Church,Continuum International Publishing ISBN 978-0-86012-324-8 page 84
  15. ^ Catechism at the Vatican website
  16. ^ Calling God “Father”: Essays on the Bible, Fatherhood and Culture by John W. Miller (Nov 1999) ISBN 0809138972 pages 50-51
  17. ^ a b The Names of God in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: A Basis for Interfaith Dialogue: by Máire Byrne (Sep 8, 2011) ISBN 144115356X pages 2-3
  18. ^ a b Early Jewish and Christian Monotheism by Wendy North and Loren T. Stuckenbruck (May 27, 2004) ISBN 0567082938 pages 111-112
  19. ^ a b c d One God, One Lord: Early Christian Devotion and Ancient Jewish Monotheism by Larry W. Hurtado (Oct 25, 2003) ISBN pages 96-100
  20. ^ a b A History of the Christian Tradition, Vol. I by Thomas D. McGonigle and James F. Quigley (Sep 1988) ISBN 0809129647 pages 72-75 and 90
  21. ^ The Concept of Monotheism in Islam and Christianity by Hans Köchler 1982 ISBN 3-7003-0339-4 page 38
  22. ^ Christian Theology: An Introduction by Alister E. McGrath (Oct 12, 2010) ISBN 1444335146 pages 237-238
  23. ^ Marianne Meye Thompson The promise of the Father: Jesus and God in the New Testament ch.2 God as Father in the Old Testament and Second Temple Judaism p35 2000 “Christian theologians have often accentuated the distinctiveness of the portrait of God as Father in the New Testament on the basis of an alleged discontinuity”
  24. ^ a b c The Doctrine of God: A Global Introduction by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen 2004 ISBN 0801027527 pages 70-74
  25. ^ a b The Trinity by Roger E. Olson, Christopher Alan Hall 2002 ISBN 0802848273 pages 29-31
  26. ^ Tertullian, First Theologian of the West by Eric Osborn (4 Dec 2003) ISBN 0521524954 pages 116-117
  27. ^ Paul’s Way of Knowing by Ian W. Scott (Dec 1, 2008) ISBN 0801036097 pages 159-160
  28. ^ a b Pillars of Paul’s Gospel: Galatians and Romans by John F. O?Grady (May 1992) ISBN 080913327X page 162
  29. ^ a b c International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: E-J by Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Mar 1982) ISBN 0802837824 pages 515-516
  30. ^ a b The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity by Gilles Emery O. P. and Matthew Levering (27 Oct 2011) ISBN 0199557810 page 263
  31. ^ Critical Terms for Religious Studies. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998. Credo Reference. 27 July 2009
  32. ^ a b The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology by Alan Richardson and John Bowden (Jan 1, 1983) ISBN 0664227481 page 36
  33. ^ Catholic catechism at the Vatican web site, items: 242 245 237
  34. ^ a b c God Our Father by John Koessler (Sep 13, 1999) ISBN 0802440681 page 68
  35. ^ Catholic Catechism items: 356 and 295 at the Vatican web site
  36. ^ a b c The Trinity: Global Perspectives by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (Jan 17, 2007) ISBN 0664228909 pages 10-13
  37. ^ Global Dictionary of Theology by William A. Dyrness, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Juan F. Martinez and Simon Chan (Oct 10, 2008) ISBN 0830824545 pages 169-171
  38. ^ The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1988 ISBN 0-8028-3785-9 page 571-572
  39. ^ a b c d The Doctrine of God: A Global Introduction by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen 2004 ISBN 0801027527 pages 37-41
  40. ^ Symbols of Jesus by Robert C. Neville (Feb 4, 2002) ISBN 0521003539 pages 26-27
  41. ^ Jesus and His Own: A Commentary on John 13-17 by Daniel B. Stevick (Apr 29, 2011) Eeardmans ISBN 0802848656 page 46
  42. ^ Trinitarian Soundings in Systematic Theology by Paul Louis Metzger 2006 ISBN 0567084108 pages 36 and 43
  43. ^ Encyclopedia of Protestantism by J. Gordon Melton 2008 ISBN 0816077460 page 543
  44. ^ “Godhead”, True to the Faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), 2004. See also: “God the Father”, True to the Faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), 2004.
  45. ^ Robinson, Stephen E. (1992), “God the Father: Overview”, in Ludlow, Daniel H., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Mcmillan, pp. 548–550, ISBN 0-02-904040-X
  46. ^ Dahl, Paul E. (1992), “Godhead”, in Ludlow, Daniel H., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Mcmillan, pp. 552–553, ISBN 0-02-904040-X
  47. ^ The term with its distinctive Mormon usage first appeared in Lectures on Faith (published 1834), Lecture 5 (“We shall in this lecture speak of the Godhead; we mean the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”). The term Godhead also appears several times in Lecture 2 in its sense as used in the Authorized King James Version as meaning divinity.
  48. ^ Insight on the Scriptures. 2. 1988. p. 1019.
  49. ^ Revelation Its Grand Climax, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1988, pg 36, “In the songbook produced by Jehovah’s people in 1905, there were twice as many songs praising Jesus as there were songs praising Jehovah God. In their 1928 songbook, the number of songs extolling Jesus was about the same as the number extolling Jehovah. But in the latest songbook of 1984, Jehovah is honored by four times as many songs as is Jesus. This is in harmony with Jesus’ own words: ‘The Father is greater than I am.’ Love for Jehovah must be preeminent, accompanied by deep love for Jesus and appreciation of his precious sacrifice and office as God’s High Priest and King.”
  50. ^ The Watchtower, April 15, 1983, pg 29, “Why is God’s name, Jehovah, missing from most modern translations of the Bible? Superstition that developed among tradition-bound Jews caused them to avoid pronouncing God’s personal name, Jehovah. This has contributed to worldwide ignorance regarding the divine name. Added to this has been Christendom’s tendency to focus attention on the person of Jesus Christ, thus relegating Jehovah to second place in their triune godhead.”
  51. ^ “Should you believe in the Trinity?”. The Watchtower. 1989. Retrieved 13 April 2012. “Chapter: Is God Always Superior to Jesus?”
  52. ^ Watchtower 1984 9/1 p. 25-30.
  53. ^ James Roberts – Oneness vs. Trinitarian Theology – Westland United Pentecostal Church. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  54. ^ See also David Bernard, A Handbook of Basic Doctrines, Word Aflame Press, 1988. ISBN 0-932581-37-4 needs page num
  55. ^ F.E. Peters, Islam, p.4, Princeton University Press, 2003
  56. ^ a b Vincent J. Cornell, Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol 5, pp.3561-3562
  57. ^ Gerhard Böwering, God and his Attributes, Encyclopedia of the Quran
  58. ^ John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, Oxford University Press, 1998, p.22
  59. ^ John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, Oxford University Press, 1998, p.88
  60. ^ “Allah.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica
  61. ^ Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology Set by C. Scott Littleton 2005 ISBN 0-7614-7559-1 page 908
  62. ^ Fundamentals of the Faith by Peter Kreeft 1988 ISBN 0-89870-202-X page 93
  63. ^ James Cornwell, 2009 Saints, Signs, and Symbols: The Symbolic Language of Christian Art ISBN 0-8192-2345-X page 2
  64. ^ Adolphe Napoléon Didron, 2003 Christian iconography: or The history of Christian art in the middle ages ISBN 0-7661-4075-X pages 169
  65. ^ James Cornwell, 2009 Saints, Signs, and Symbols: The Symbolic Language of Christian Art ISBN 0-8192-2345-X page 2
  66. ^ George Ferguson, 1996 Signs & symbols in Christian art ISBN 0-19-501432-4 page 92

Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit is a term found in English translations of the Bible, but understood differently among the Abrahamic religions.[1][2]

While the general concept of a “Spirit” that permeates the cosmos is a general feature of most religions (e.g. Brahman in Hinduism and Tao in Taoism and Great Spirit among Indigenous peoples of the Americas), the term Holy Spirit specifically refers to the beliefs held in the Abrahamic religions.[3][4]

For the majority of Christians, the belief in the Holy Trinity implies the existence of three distinct Holy Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit being One Eternal Triune God. This doctrine and designation, however, are not shared by all Christian denominations, or the other Abrahamic religions.[5][6]


For the majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit (prior English language usage: the Holy Ghost from Old English gast, “spirit”) is the third person of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and is Almighty God.[7][8][9] The Holy Spirit is seen by mainstream Christians as one Person of the Triune God, who revealed His Holy Name YHWH to his people Israel, sent His Eternally Begotten Son Jesus to save them from God’s wrath, and sent the Holy Spirit to sanctify and give life to his Church.[10][11][12] The Triune God manifests as three Persons (Greek hypostases),[13] in One Divine Being (Greek: Ousia),[14] called the Godhead,[15] the Divine Essence of God.[16]


The term “holy spirit” only occurs three times in the Hebrew Bible. (Found once in Psalm 51:11 and twice in Isaiah 63:10,11) Although, the term “spirit” in the Hebrew Scriptures, in reference to “God’s spirit”, does occur more times. In Judaism, God is One, the idea of God as a duality or trinity among gentiles may be Shituf (or “not purely monotheistic”). The term Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is found frequently in Talmudic and Midrashic literature. In some cases it signifies prophetic inspiration, while in others it is used as a hypostatization or a metonym for God.[17] The Rabbinic “Holy Spirit,” has a certain degree of personification, but it remains, “a quality belonging to God, one of his attributes” and not, as in mainstream Christianity, representative of “any metaphysical divisions in the Godhead.”[18]

In Judaism, the references to The Spirit of God, Ruach HaKodesh, The Holy Spirit of YHWH, abound, however it has rejected any idea of The Eternal God as being either Dual or Triune. The term ruach ha-kodesh (Hebrew: רוח הקודש, “holy spirit” also transliterated ruah ha-qodesh) occurs once in Psalm 51:11 and also twice in the Book of Isaiah [19] Those are the only three times that the precise phrase “ruach hakodesh” is used in the Hebrew Scriptures, although the noun ruach (רוח, literally “breath” or “wind”) in various combinations, some referring to God’s “spirit”, is used often. The noun ruach, much like the English word breath, can mean either wind or some invisible moving force.[20]

However, Shekinah is derived from the Hebrew verb שכן. In Biblical Hebrew the word means literally to settle, inhabit, or dwell, which suggests the concept of a Holy Spirit, and is used frequently in the Hebrew Bible. (See Exodus 40:35, “Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting, for the cloud rested [shakhan] upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.” See also e.g. Genesis 9:27, 14:13, Psalms 37:3, Jeremiah 33:16), as well as the weekly Shabbat blessing recited in the Temple in Jerusalem (“May He who causes His name to dwell [shochan] in this House, cause to dwell among you love and brotherliness, peace and friendship”).


In Islam, the Holy Spirit (Arabic: الروح القدس al-Ruh al-Qudus, “the-Spirit the-Holy”) is mentioned several times in the Qur’an, where it acts as an agent of divine action or communication. In Hadith it is commonly identified with the angel Gabriel (Arabic Jibreel). The Spirit (الروح al-Ruh, without the adjective “holy”) is also used as the creative spirit from God by which God enlivened Adam, and inspired the angels and the prophets. The belief in Trinity, as it is defined in the Qur’an, is explicitly forbidden by the Qur’an and called a grave sin. The same applies to any idea of the duality of God (Allah).[21][22] Though grammatical gender has no bearing on actual gender in non-personal nouns, the term holy spirit translates in and is used in the masculine form in all the Qur’an. In Arabic language the word “Holy Spirit” does not translate as سكينة Sakinah used in a feminine term. The term sakinah means state of relaxation.

Bahá’í Faith

The Bahá’í Faith has the concept of the Most Great Spirit, seen as the bounty of God.[23] It is usually used to describe the descent of the Spirit of God upon the messengers/prophets of God, which are known as Manifestations of God, and include among others Jesus, Muhammad and Bahá’u’lláh.[24] In Bahá’í believe the Holy Spirit is the conduit through which the wisdom of God becomes directly associated with his messenger, and it has been described variously in different religions such as the burning bush to Moses, the sacred fire to Zoroaster, the dove to Jesus, the angel Gabriel to Muhammad, and the maid of heaven to Bahá’u’lláh.[25] The Bahá’í view rejects the idea that the Holy Spirit is a partner to God in the Godhead, but rather is the pure essence of God’s attributes.[26]


  1. ^ John R. Levison The Spirit in First-Century Judaism 2002 p65 “Relevant Milieux : Israelite Literature : The expression, holy spirit, occurs in the Hebrew Bible only in Isa 63:10-11 and Ps 51:13. In Isaiah 63, the spirit acts within the corporate experience of Israel..”
  2. ^ Emir Fethi Caner, Ergun Mehmet Caner More than a prophet: an insider’s response to Muslim beliefs about Jesus and Christianity” 9780825424014 2003 p43 “In Surah al-Nahl (16:102), the text is even more explicit: Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe and as a Guide and glad tidings to Muslims.”
  3. ^ Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol III. (of 3) by Charles Eliot 2007 ISBN 1-4068-6297-5 page 182
  4. ^ Holy Spirit and Salvation: The Sources of Christian Theology by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen 2010 ISBN 0-664-23136-5 page 420
  5. ^ Systematic Theology by Lewis Sperry Chafer 1993 ISBN 0-8254-2340-6 page 25
  6. ^ The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: The Complete New Testament by Warren W. Wiersbe 2007 ISBN 978-0-7814-4539-9 page 471
  7. ^ Millard J. Erickson (1992). Introducing Christian Doctrine.. Baker Book House. p. 103.
  8. ^ T C Hammond; Revised and edited by David F Wright (1968). In Understanding be Men:A Handbook of Christian Doctrine. (sixth ed.). Inter-Varsity Press. pp. 54–56 and 128–131.
  9. ^ “Catholic Encyclopedia:Holy Spirit”.
  10. ^ “Catechism of the Catholic Church: GOD REVEALS HIS NAME”.
  11. ^ St. Thomas Aquinas (1920). The Summa Theologica: First Part – The Procession of the Divine Persons (second and revised edition (Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province) ed.).
  12. ^ Pope Pius XII (1943). Mystici Corporis Christi.
  13. ^ See discussion in  “Person“. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
  14. ^ Grudem, Wayne A. 1994. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. Page 226.
  15. ^ from Old English: Godhood
  16. ^ “Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Dogma of the Holy trinity”.
  17. ^ Alan Unterman and Rivka Horowitz,Ruah ha-Kodesh, Encyclopedia Judaica (CD-ROM Edition, Jerusalem: Judaica Multimedia/Keter, 1997).
  18. ^ Joseph Abelson,The Immanence of God in Rabbinical Literature (London:Macmillan and Co., 1912).
  19. ^ Isaiah 63:10,11
  20. ^ Article Jacobs J. Jewish Encyclopedia: Holy Spirit 1911
  21. ^ Griffith, Sidney H. Holy Spirit, Encyclopaedia of the Quran.
  22. ^ Patrick Hughes, Thomas Patrick Hughes, A Dictionary of Islam, p. 605.
  23. ^ `Abdu’l-Bahá (1981) [1904-06]. “The Holy Spirit”. Some Answered Questions. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá’í Publishing Trust. pp. 108–109. ISBN 0-87743-190-6.
  24. ^ Taherzadeh, Adib (1976). The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, Volume 1: Baghdad 1853-63. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 10. ISBN 0-85398-270-8.
  25. ^ Abdo, Lil (1994). “Female Representations of the Holy Spirit in Bahá’í and Christian writings and their implications for gender roles”. Bahá’í Studies Review 4 (1).
  26. ^ `Abdu’l-Bahá (1981) [1904-06]. “The Trinity”. Some Answered Questions. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá’í Publishing Trust. pp. 113–115. ISBN 0-87743-190-6.

Jesus of Nazareth


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jesus as Good Shepherd.
Jesus depicted as the Good Shepherd
(stained glass at St John’s Ashfield)
Born 7–2 BC/BCE[1]
Judaea, Roman Empire[2]
Died 30–36 AD/CE[3][4][5][6][7]
Judaea, Roman Empire
Cause of death Crucifixion[8][9]
Home town Nazareth, Galilee[10]
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Jesus (play /ˈzəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἰησοῦς Iēsous; 7–2 BC/BCE to 30–36 AD/CE), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity, whom a majority of Christian denominations believe to be the Son of God.[11]

Virtually all scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed.[12][13][14][15][16][17] While there is little agreement on the historicity of gospel narratives and their theological assertions of his divinity[18][19][20][21] most scholars agree that Jesus was a Jewish teacher from Galilee in Roman Judaea, was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman Prefect, Pontius Pilate.[8][22][15] Scholars have offered various portraits of Jesus, which at times share a number of overlapping attributes, such as the leader of an apocalyptic movement, Messiah, a charismatic healer, a sage and philosopher, or a social reformer who preached of the “Kingdom of God” as a means for personal and egalitarian social transformation.[23][24][25][26] Scholars have correlated the New Testament accounts with non-Christian historical records to arrive at an estimated chronology of Jesus’ life.[3][5][27][28]

Christians hold Jesus to be the awaited Messiah of the Old Testament and refer to him as Jesus Christ or simply as Christ,[29][30] a name that is also used secularly. Christians believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, performed miracles, founded the Church, died sacrificially by crucifixion to achieve atonement, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, from which he will return.[31] The majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son, and the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.[32] A few Christian groups reject Trinitarianism, wholly or partly, as non-scriptural.[32][33]

In Islam, Jesus (commonly transliterated as Isa) is considered one of God’s important prophets.[34][35] In Islam, Jesus is a bringer of scripture, and the product of a virgin birth, but not 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.[36] Bahá’í scripture almost never refers to Jesus as the Messiah, but calls him a Manifestation of God.[37]


Etymology of name

Further information: Jesus (name)Holy Name of JesusYeshua (name), and Messiah

“Jesus” is a transliteration, occurring in a number of languages and based on the Latin Iesus, of the Greek Ἰησοῦς (Iēsoûs), itself a hellenization of the Aramaic/Hebrew ישוע‎ (Yēšûă‘) which is a post-Exilic modification of the Hebrew יְהוֹשֻׁעַ‎ (Yĕhōšuă‘, Joshua) under influence from Aramaic.[38] In the Quran, it is عيسى‎ (‘Īsa).[39][40]

The etymology of the name Jesus in the context of the New Testament is generally expressed as “Yahweh saves”,[41][42][43] “Yahweh is salvation”[44][45][46] The name Jesus appears to have been in use in Judaea at the time of the birth of Jesus.[46][47] The first century works of historian Flavius Josephus refer to at least twenty different people with the name Jesus.[48] Philo‘s reference (Mutatione Nominum item 121) indicates that the etymology of the name Joshua was known outside Judaea at the time.[49]

In the New Testament, in Luke 1:26–33, the angel Gabriel tells Mary to name her child “Jesus”, and in Matthew 1:21 an angel tells Joseph to name the child “Jesus”. The statement in Matthew 1:21 “you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” associates salvific attributes to the name Jesus in Christian theology.[50][51]

Christ” (play /ˈkrst/) is derived from the Greek Χριστός (Khrīstos), meaning “the anointed” or “the anointed one”, a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Māšîaḥ), usually transliterated into English as “Messiah” (play /mɨˈs.ə/).[52][53] In the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible (written well over a century before the time of Jesus), the word “Christ” (Χριστός) was used to translate the Hebrew word “Messiah” (מָשִׁיחַ) into Greek.[54] In Matthew 16:16, the apostle Peter‘s profession “You are the Christ” identifies Jesus as the Messiah.[55] In postbiblical usage, “Christ” became viewed as a name, one part of “Jesus Christ”, but originally it was a title (“Jesus the Anointed”).[56][57][58]


Main article: Chronology of Jesus

Judaea and Galilee at the time of Jesus.

Although a few scholars have questioned the existence of Jesus as an actual historical figure,[59] and some early Christian sects denied that Jesus existed as a physical being (see below), most scholars involved with historical Jesus research believe he existed, but that the supernatural claims associated with him cannot be established using documentary and other evidence.[15][60][61][62][63][64] As discussed in the sections immediately below, the estimation of the year of death of Jesus places his lifespan around the beginning of the 1st century AD/CE, in the geographic region of Roman Judaea.[65][66][67][68][69]

Roman involvement in Judaea began around 63 BC/BCE and by 6 AD/CE Judaea had become a Roman province.[70] From 26-37 AD/CE Pontius Pilate was the governor of Roman Judaea.[71] In this time period, although Roman Judaea was strategically positioned in the Near East, close to Arabia and North Africa, it was not viewed as a critically important province by the Romans.[72][73] At the time the Romans were highly tolerant of other religions and allowed the local populations such as the Jews to practice their own faiths.[70]

Year of birth

Further information: Anno DominiCommon Era, and Year zero

Two independent approaches have been used to estimate the year of the birth of Jesus, one involving analysis of the Nativity accounts in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew along with other historical data, and the other working backwards from the estimation of the start of the ministry of Jesus, as also discussed in the next section.[5][28]

In its Nativity account, the Gospel of Matthew associates the birth of Jesus with the reign of Herod the Great, who is generally believed to have died around 4 BC/BCE.[28][74] Matthew 2:1 states that: “Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king” and Luke 1:5 mentions the reign of Herod shortly before the birth of Jesus.[28] Luke’s gospel also describes the birth as taking place during the first census, which is generally believed to have occurred in 6 AD/CE.[75] Most scholars generally assume a date of birth between 6 and 4 BC/BCE.[76] Other scholars assume that Jesus was born sometime between 7 and 2 BC/BCE.[77]

The year of Jesus’ birth has also been estimated in a manner that is independent of the Nativity accounts, by using information in the Gospel of John to work backwards from the statement in Luke 3:23 that Jesus was “about 30 years of age” at the start of his ministry.[3][5] As discussed in the section below, by combining information from John 2:13 and John 2:20 with the writings of Flavius Josephus, it has been estimated that around 27–29 AD/CE, Jesus was “about thirty years of age”.[78][79] Some scholars thus estimate the year 28 AD/CE to be roughly the 32nd birthday of Jesus and the birth year of Jesus to be around 6–4 BC/BCE.[3][5][80]

Although Christian feasts related to the Nativity have had specific dates (e.g. December 25 for Christmas) there is no historical evidence for the exact day or month of the birth of Jesus.[81][82][83]

Years of ministry

Main article: Ministry of Jesus

Israel Museum model of Herod’s Temple, referred to in John 2:13.

There have been different approaches to estimating the date of the start of the ministry of Jesus.[3][78][79][84] One approach, based on combining information from the Gospel of Luke with historical data about Emperor Tiberius yields a date around 28–29 AD/CE, while a second independent approach based on statements in the Gospel of John along with historical information from Josephus about the Temple in Jerusalem leads to a date around 27–29 AD/CE.[5][78][79][85][86][87] A third method uses the date of the death of John the Baptist and the marriage of Herod Antipas to Herodias based on the writings of Josephus, and correlates it to Matthew 14:4.[88][89][90]

The estimation of the date based on the Gospel of Luke relies on the statement in Luke 3:1–2 that the ministry of John the Baptist which preceded that of Jesus began “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar”.[78] Given that Tiberius began his reign in 14 AD/CE, this yields a date about 28–29 AD/CE.[3][78][80][91][92]

The estimation of the date based on the Gospel of John uses the statements in John 2:13 that Jesus went to the Temple in Jerusalem around the start of his ministry and in John 2:20 that “Forty and six years was this temple in building” at that time.[5][78] According to Josephus (Ant 15.380) the temple reconstruction was started by Herod the Great in the 15th-18th year of his reign at about the time that Augustus arrived in Syria (Ant 15.354).[3][78][93][94] Temple expansion and reconstruction was ongoing, and it was in constant reconstruction until it was destroyed in 70 AD/CE by the Romans.[95] Given that it took 46 years of construction, the Temple visit in the Gospel of John has been estimated at around 27-29 AD/CE.[5][78][85][86][87][96]

Scholars estimates that John the Baptist’s imprisonment probably occurred around AD/CE 30-32.[90][97] The death of John the Baptist relates to the end of the major Galilean ministry of Jesus, just before the half way point in the gospel narratives.[98][99][100] Luke 3:23 states that at the start of his ministry Jesus was “about 30 years of age”.[5] The length of the ministry is subject to debate, based on the fact that the synoptic gospels mention only one passover during Jesus’ ministry, often interpreted as implying that the ministry lasted approximately one year, whereas the Gospel of John records multiple passovers, implying that his ministry may have lasted at least three years.[3][5][101][102]

Year of death

Main article: Chronology of Jesus

A 1466 copy of Antiquities of the Jews.

A number of approaches have been used to estimate the year of the death of Jesus, including information from the canonical gospels, the chronology of the life of Paul the Apostle in the New Testament correlated with historical events, as well as different astronomical models, as discussed below.

The 4 gospels report that Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilate, who governed Judaea from 26 to 36 AD/CE. Jewish historian Josephus,[65] writing in Antiquities of the Jews (c. 93 AD/CE), and the early 2nd century Roman historian Tacitus,[66] writing in The Annals (c. 116 AD/CE), also state that Pilate ordered the execution of Jesus.[67]

The estimation of the date of the conversion of Paul places the death of Jesus before this conversion, which is estimated at around 33–36 AD/CE.[4][103][104] The estimation of the year of Paul’s conversion relies on a series of calculations working backwards from the well established date of his trial before Gallio in Achaea Greece (Acts 18:12–17) around 51–52 AD/CE, the meeting of Priscilla and Aquila which were expelled from Rome about 49 AD/CE and the 14-year period before returning to Jerusalem in Galatians 2:1.[4][103][104] The remaining period is generally accounted for by Paul’s missions (at times with Barnabas) such as those in Acts 11:25–26 and 2 Corinthians 11:23–33, resulting in the 33–36 AD/CE estimate.[4][103][104]

Isaac Newton was one of the first astronomers to estimate the date of the crucifixion and suggested Friday, April 23, 34 AD/CE.[68][105] In 1990 astronomer Bradley E. Schaefer computed the date as Friday, April 3, 33 AD/CE.[106] In 1991, John Pratt stated that Newton’s method was sound, but included a minor error at the end. Pratt suggested the year 33 AD/CE as the answer.[68] Using the completely different approach of a lunar eclipse model, Humphreys and Waddington arrived at the conclusion that Friday, April 3, 33 AD/CE was the date of the crucifixion.[69][107][108]

Life and teachings in the New Testament

Although the four canonical gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are the main sources for the biography of Jesus’ life, 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, as in 1 Corinthians 11:23–26.[109][110][111] The Acts of the Apostles (10:37–38 and 19:4) refers to the early ministry of Jesus and its anticipation by John the Baptist.[112][113] And Acts 1:1–11 says more about the Ascension episode (also mentioned in 1 Timothy 3:16) than the canonical gospels.[114][115]

According to the majority viewpoint, the Synoptic Gospels are the primary sources of historical information about Jesus.[6][116][117] and of the religious movement he founded, but not everything contained in the gospels is considered to be historically reliable.[18][19][20] Elements whose historical authenticity are disputed include the two accounts of the Nativity of Jesus, as well as the resurrection and certain details about the crucifixion.[118][119][120] On one extreme, some Christian scholars maintain that the gospels are inerrant descriptions of the life of Jesus.[121] On the other extreme, some scholars have concluded that the gospels provide no historical information about Jesus’ life.[122]

Canonical gospel accounts

A 3rd century Greek papyrus of Luke.

Three of the four canonical gospels, namely Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are known as the synoptic Gospels, from the Greek σύν (syn “together”) and ὄψις (opsis “view”), given that they display a high degree of similarity in content, narrative arrangement, language and paragraph structure.[123][124][125] The presentation in the fourth canonical gospel, i.e. John, differs from these three in that it has more of a thematic nature rather than a narrative format.[126][127] Scholars generally agree that it is impossible to find any direct literary relationship between the synoptic gospels and the Gospel of John.[126]

However, in general, the authors of the New Testament showed little interest in an absolute chronology of Jesus or in synchronizing the episodes of his life with the secular history of the age.[128] The gospels were primarily written as theological documents in the context of early Christianity with the chronological timelines as a secondary consideration.[129] One manifestation of the gospels being theological documents rather than historical chronicles is that they devote about one third of their text to just seven days, namely the last week of the life of Jesus in Jerusalem.[130]

Although the gospels do not provide enough details to satisfy the demands of modern historians regarding exact dates, it is possible to draw from them a general picture of the life story of Jesus.[128][129][131] However, as stated in John 21:25 the gospels do not claim to provide an exhaustive list of the events in the life of Jesus.[132] Since the 2nd century attempts have been made to harmonize the gospel accounts into a single narrative; Tatian‘s Diatesseron perhaps being the first.[133][134][134][135][136][137] Although there are differences in specific temporal sequences, and in the parables and miracles listed in each gospel, the flow of the key events such as Baptism, Transfiguration and Crucifixion and interactions with people such as the Apostles are shared among the gospel narratives.[128][129][138][139]

Key elements and the five major milestones

The five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Jesus are his Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension.[140][141][142] These are usually bracketed by two other episodes: his Nativity at the beginning and the sending of the Holy Spirit at the end.[140][142] The gospel accounts of the teachings of Jesus are often presented in terms of specific categories involving his “works and words”, e.g. his ministry, parables and miracles.[143][144]

The gospels include a number of discourses by Jesus on specific occasions, e.g. the Sermon on the Mount or the Farewell Discourse, and also include over 30 parables, spread throughout the narrative, often with themes that relate to the sermons.[145] Parables represent a major component of the teachings of Jesus in the gospels, forming approximately one third of his recorded teachings, and John 14:10 positions them as the revelations of God the Father.[146][147] The gospel episodes that include descriptions of the miracle of Jesus also often include teachings, providing an intertwining of his “words and works” in the gospels.[144][148]

Genealogy and Nativity

Major events inChrist Hagia Sofia.jpgJesus’ life
in the Gospels

This box:

The accounts of the genealogy and Nativity of Jesus in the New Testament appear only in the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew. While there are documents outside of the New Testament which are more or less contemporary with Jesus and the gospels, many shed no light on the more biographical aspects of his life and these two gospel accounts remain the main sources of information on the genealogy and Nativity.[131]

Matthew begins his gospel in 1:1 with the genealogy of Jesus, and presents it before the account of the birth of Jesus, while Luke discusses the genealogy in chapter 3, after the Baptism of Jesus in Luke 3:22 when the voice from Heaven addresses Jesus and identifies him as the Son of God.[149] At that point Luke traces Jesus’ ancestry through Adam to God.[149]

The Nativity is a prominent element in the Gospel of Luke. It comprises over 10% of the text, and is three times the length of the nativity text in Matthew.[150] Luke’s account takes place mostly before the birth of Jesus and centers on Mary, while Matthew’s takes place mostly after the birth of Jesus and centers on Joseph.[151][152][153] According to Luke and Matthew, Jesus was born to Joseph and Mary, his betrothed, in Bethlehem. Both support the doctrine of the Virgin Birth in which Jesus was miraculously conceived in his mother’s womb by the Holy Spirit, when his mother was still a virgin.[154][155][156][157]

In Luke 1:31-38 Mary learns from the angel Gabriel that she will conceive and bear a child called Jesus through the action of the Holy Spirit. When Mary is due to give birth, she and Joseph travel from Nazareth to Joseph’s ancestral home in Bethlehem to register in the census of Quirinius. In Luke 2:1–7. Mary gives birth to Jesus and, having found no place in the inn, places the newborn in a manger. An angel visits the shepherds and sends them to adore the child in Luke 2:22. After presenting Jesus at the Temple, Joseph and Mary return home to Nazareth.[152][158]

Following his betrothal to Mary, Joseph is troubled in Matthew 1:19–20 because Mary is pregnant, but in the first of Joseph’s three dreams an angel assures him not be afraid to take Mary as his wife, because her child was conceived by the Holy Spirit.[159]

In Matthew 1:1–12, the Wise Men or Magi bring gifts to the young Jesus as the King of the Jews. King Herod hears of Jesus’ birth, but before the Massacre of the Innocents Joseph is warned by an angel in his dream and the family flees to Egypt, after which they return and settle in Nazareth.[159][160][161]

Early life and profession

Main article: Child Jesus

In the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, Jesus’ childhood home is identified as the town of Nazareth in Galilee. Joseph, husband of Mary, appears in descriptions of Jesus’ childhood and no mention is made of him thereafter.[162] The New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, and Galatians mention Jesus’ brothers and sisters, but the Greek word adelphos in these verses, has also been translated as brother or kinsman.[163]

In Mark 6:3 Jesus is called a tekton (τέκτων in Greek), usually understood to mean carpenter. Matthew 13:55 says he was the son of a tekton.[53]:170 Tekton has been traditionally translated into English as “carpenter”, but it is a rather general word (from the same root that leads to “technical” and “technology”) that could cover makers of objects in various materials, even builders.[164][165]

Beyond the New Testament accounts, the specific association of the profession of Jesus with woodworking is a constant in the traditions of the 1st and 2nd centuries and Justin Martyr (d. ca. 165) wrote that Jesus made yokes and ploughs.[166]

Baptism and temptation

Trevisani‘s depiction of the typical baptismal scene with the sky opening and the Holy Spirit descending as a dove, 1723.[167]

In the gospels, the accounts of the Baptism of Jesus are always preceded by information about John the Baptist and his ministry.[138][168][169] In these accounts, John was preaching for penance and repentance for the remission of sins and encouraged the giving of alms to the poor (as in Luke 3:11) as he baptized people in the area of the River Jordan around Perea about the time of the commencement of the ministry of Jesus. The Gospel of John (1:28) specifies “Bethany beyond the Jordan”, i.e. Bethabara in Perea, when it initially refers to it and later John 3:23 refers to further baptisms in Ænon “because there was much water there”.[170][171]

The four gospels are not the only references to John’s ministry around the River Jordan. In Acts 10:37–38, Peter refers to how the ministry of Jesus followed “the baptism which John preached”.[113] In the Antiquities of the Jews (18.5.2) 1st century historian Josephus also wrote about John the Baptist and his eventual death in Perea.[172][173]

In the gospels, John had been foretelling (as in Luke 3:16) of the arrival of a someone “mightier than I”.[174][175] Apostle Paul also refers to this anticipation by John in Acts 19:4.[112] In Matthew 3:14, upon meeting Jesus, the Baptist states: “I need to be baptized by you.” However, Jesus pers­es John to baptize him nonetheless.[176] In the baptismal scene, after Jesus emerges from the water, the sky opens and a voice from Heaven states: “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased”. The Holy Spirit then descends upon Jesus as a dove in Matthew 3:13–17, Mark 1:9–11, Luke 3:21–23.[174][175][176] In John 1:29–33 rather than a direct narrative, the Baptist bears witness to the episode.[175][177] This is one of two cases in the gospels where a voice from Heaven calls Jesus “Son“, the other being in the Transfiguration of Jesus episode.[178][179]

After the baptism, the synoptic gospels proceed to describe the Temptation of Jesus, but John 1:35–37 narrates the first encounter between Jesus and two of his future disciples, who were then disciples of John the Baptist.[180][181] In this narrative, the next day the Baptist sees Jesus again and calls him the Lamb of God and the “two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus”.[177][177][180][182][183][184][185] The Temptation of Jesus is narrated in the three synoptic gospels after his baptism.[181][186]


Main article: Ministry of Jesus

A 1923 map of Galilee around 50 AD/CE. Nazareth is towards the center.

Luke 3:23 states that Jesus was “about 30 years of age” at the start of his ministry.[3][5] The date of the start of his ministry has been estimated at around 27–29 AD/CE, based on independent approaches which combine separate gospel accounts with other historical data.[3][5][78][79][85][86][87] The end of his ministry is estimated to be in the range 30–36 AD/CE.[3][4][5][187]

The gospel accounts place the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in the countryside of Judaea, near the River Jordan.[169] Jesus’ ministry begins with his Baptism by John the Baptist (Matthew 3, Luke 3), and ends with the Last Supper with his disciples (Matthew 26, Luke 22) in Jerusalem.[168][169] The gospels present John the Baptist’s ministry as the precursor to that of Jesus and the Baptism as marking the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, after which Jesus travels, preaches and performs miracles.[138][168][169]

The Early Galilean ministry begins when Jesus goes back to Galilee from the Judaean desert after rebuffing the temptation of Satan.[188] In this early period Jesus preaches around Galilee and in Matthew 4:18-20 his first disciples encounter him, begin to travel with him and eventually form the core of the early Church.[169][189] This period includes the Sermon on the Mount, one of the major discourses of Jesus.[189][190]

The Major Galilean ministry which begins in Matthew 8 refers to activities up to the death of John the Baptist. It includes the Calming the storm and a number of other miracles and parables.[191][192] The Final Galilean ministry includes the Feeding the 5000 and Walking on water episodes, both in Matthew 14.[193][194] The end of this period (as Matthew 16 and Mark 8 end) marks a turning point is the ministry of Jesus with the dual episodes of Confession of Peter and the Transfiguration.[195][196][197][198]

As Jesus travels towards Jerusalem, in the Later Perean ministry, about one third the way down from the Sea of Galilee along the Jordan, he returns to the area where he was baptized, and in John 10:40–42.[199][200][201][202][203] The Final ministry in Jerusalem is sometimes called the Passion Week and begins with the Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.[204] In that week Jesus drives the money changers from the Temple, and Judas bargains to betray him. This period culminates in the Last Supper, and the Farewell discourse. The accounts of the ministry of Jesus generally end with the Last Supper.[138][204][205]

Teachings and preachings

Jesus Christ Pantocrator – ancient mosaic from Hagia Sophia.

In the New Testament the teachings of Jesus are presented in terms of his “words and works”.[143][144] The words of Jesus include a number of sermons, as well as parables that appear throughout the narrative of the synoptic gospels (the Gospel of John includes no parables). The works include the miracles and other acts performed during his ministry.[144] Although the canonical gospels are the major source of the teachings of Jesus, the Pauline epistles, which were likely written decades before the gospels, provide some of the earliest written accounts of the teachings of Jesus.[109]

The New Testament does not present the teachings of Jesus as merely his own preachings, but equates the words of Jesus with divine revelation, with John the Baptist stating in John 3:34: “he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God” and Jesus stating in John 7:16: “My teaching is not mine, but his that sent me” and again re-asserting that in John 14:10: “the words that I say unto you I speak not from myself: but the Father abiding in me doeth his works.”[147][206] In Matthew 11:27 Jesus claims divine knowledge, stating: “No one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son”, asserting the mutual knowledge he has with the Father.[207][208]

Parables represent a major component of the teachings of Jesus in the gospels, the approximately thirty parables forming about one third of his recorded teachings.[145][146] The parables may appear within longer sermons, as well as other places within the narrative.[209] Jesus’ parables are seemingly simple and memorable stories, often with imagery, and each conveys a teaching which usually relates the physical world to the spiritual world.[210][211]

The gospel episodes that include descriptions of the miracle of Jesus also often include teachings, providing an intertwining of his “words and works” in the gospels.[144][148] Many of the miracles in the gospels teach the importance of faith, for instance in Cleansing ten lepers and Daughter of Jairus the beneficiaries are told that they were healed due to their faith.[212][213]

Proclamation as Christ and Transfiguration

Transfiguration of Jesus depicting him with Elijah, Moses and 3 apostles by Carracci, 1594.

At about the middle of each of the three synoptic gospels, two related episodes mark a turning point in the narrative: the Confession of Peter and the Transfiguration of Jesus.[195][196] These episodes begin in Caesarea Philippi just north of the Sea of Galilee at the beginning of the final journey to Jerusalem which ends in the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus.[214] These episodes mark the beginnings of the gradual disclosure of the identity of Jesus to his disciples; and his prediction of his own suffering and death.[178][179][195][196][214]

Peter’s Confession begins as a dialogue between Jesus and his disciples in Matthew 16:13, Mark 8:27 and Luke 9:18. Jesus asks his disciples: But who do you say that I am? Simon Peter answers him: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.[214][215][216] In Matthew 16:17 Jesus blesses Peter for his answer, and states: “flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.” In blessing Peter, Jesus not only accepts the titles Christ and Son of God which Peter attributes to him, but declares the proclamation a divine revelation by stating that his Father in Heaven had revealed it to Peter.[217] In this assertion, by endorsing both titles as divine revelation, Jesus unequivocally declares himself to be both Christ and the Son of God.[217][218]

The account of the Transfiguration of Jesus appears in Matthew 17:1–9, Mark 9:2–8, Luke 9:28-36.[178][179][196] Jesus takes Peter and two other apostles with him and goes up to a mountain, which is not named. Once on the mountain, Matthew (17:2) states that Jesus “was transfigured before them; his face shining as the sun, and his garments became white as the light.”[219] A bright cloud appears around them, and a voice from the cloud states: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him”.[178] The Transfiguration not only supports the identity of Jesus as the Son of God (as in his Baptism), but the statement “listen to him”, identifies him as the messenger and mouth-piece of God.[220]

Final week: betrayal, arrest, trial, and death

The description of the last week of the life of Jesus (often called the Passion week) occupies about one third of the narrative in the canonical gospels.[130] The narrative for that week starts by a description of the final entry into Jerusalem, and ends with his crucifixion.[138][204]

The Last Supper has been depicted by many artistic masters.[221]

The last week in Jerusalem is the conclusion of the journey which Jesus had started in Galilee through Perea and Judea.[204] Just before the account of the final entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, the Gospel of John includes the Raising of Lazarus episode, which builds the tension between Jesus and the authorities. At the beginning of the week as Jesus enters Jerusalem, he is greeted by the cheering crowds, adding to that tension.[204]

During the week of his “final ministry in Jerusalem”, Jesus visits the Temple, and has a conflict with the money changers about their use of the Temple for commercial purposes. This is followed by a debate with the priests and the elder in which his authority is questioned. One of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, decides to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.[222]

Towards the end of the week, Jesus has the Last Supper with his disciples, during which he institutes the Eucharist, and prepares them for his departure in the Farewell Discourse. After the supper, Jesus is betrayed with a kiss while he is in agony in the garden, and is arrested. After his arrest, Jesus is abandoned by most of his disciples, and Peter denies him three times, as Jesus had predicted during the Last Supper.[223][224]

Jesus is first questioned by the Sanhedrin, and is then tried by Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. During these trials Jesus says very little, and is mostly silent. After the scourging of Jesus, and his mocking as the King of the Jews Pilate orders the crucifixion.[225][226]

Thus the final week that begins with his entry into Jerusalem, concludes with his crucifixion and burial on that Friday, as described in the next 5 sub-sections. The New Testament accounts then describe the resurrection of Jesus three days later, on the Sunday following his death.

Final entry into Jerusalem

Matthew 21:5 relates Jesus’ entry to Zechariah (9:9): “the King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass.” Traditionally, arrival on a donkey signifies peace, while war-waging kings ride horses.[227][228][229]

In the four canonical gospels, Jesus’ Triumphal entry into Jerusalem takes place at the beginning of the last week of his life, a few days before the Last Supper, marking the beginning of the Passion narrative.[227][230][231][232][233] While at Bethany Jesus sent two disciples to retrieve a donkey that had been tied up but never ridden and rode it into Jerusalem, with Mark and John stating Sunday, Matthew Monday, and Luke not specifying the day.[227][230][231] As Jesus rode into Jerusalem the people there lay down their cloaks in front of him, and also lay down small branches of trees and sang part of Psalm 118: 25–26.[227][229][230][231]

In the three synoptic gospels, entry into Jerusalem is followed by the Cleansing of the Temple episode, in which Jesus expels the money changers from the Temple, accusing them of turning the Temple to a den of thieves through their commercial activities. This is the only account of Jesus using physical force in any of the gospels.[207][234][235] John 2:13–16 includes a similar narrative much earlier, and scholars debate if these refer to the same episode.[207][234][235] The synoptics include a number of well known parables and sermons such as the Widow’s mite and the Second Coming Prophecy during the week that follows.[230][231]

In that week, the synoptics also narrate conflicts between Jesus and the elders of the Jews, in episodes such as the Authority of Jesus Questioned and the Woes of the Pharisees in which Jesus criticizes their hypocrisy.[230][231] Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles approaches the Jewish elders and performs the “Bargain of Judas” in which he accepts to betray Jesus and hand him over to the elders.[236][222][237] Matthew specifies the price as thirty silver coins.[222]

Last Supper

Main article: Last Supper

Jesus with the Eucharist (detail), by Juan de Juanes, mid–late 16th century.

In the New Testament, 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), which was likely written before the gospels, also refers to it.[110][111][238][239]

In all four gospels, during the meal, Jesus predicts that one of his Apostles will betray him.[223] Jesus is described as reiterating, despite each Apostle’s assertion that he would not betray Jesus, that the betrayer would be one of those who were present. In Matthew 26:23-25 and John 13:26-27 Judas is specifically singled out as the traitor.[110][111][223]

In Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:19-20 Jesus takes bread, breaks it and gives it to the disciples, saying: “This is my body which is given for you”.[110][240] Although the Gospel of John does not include a description of the bread and wine ritual during the Last Supper, most scholars agree that John 6:58-59 (the Bread of Life Discourse) has a Eucharistic nature and resonates with the “words of institution” used in the synoptic gospels and the Pauline writings on the Last Supper.[241]

In all four gospels Jesus predicts that Peter will deny knowledge of him, stating that Peter will disown him three times before the rooster crows the next morning. The synoptics mention that after the arrest of Jesus Peter denied knowing him three times, but after the third denial, heard the rooster crow and recalled the prediction as Jesus turned to look at him. Peter then began to cry bitterly.[242][243]

The Gospel of John provides the only account of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet before the meal.[244] John’s Gospel also includes a long sermon by Jesus, preparing his disciples (now without Judas) for his departure. Chapters 14-17 of the Gospel of John are known as the Farewell discourse given by Jesus, and are a rich source of Christological content.[245][246]

Agony in the Garden, betrayal and arrest

See also: Holy Hour

In Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46 and John 18:1, immediately after the Last Supper, Jesus takes a walk to pray, Matthew and Mark identifying this place of prayer as Garden of Gethsemane.[247][248]

While in the Garden, Judas appears, accompanied by a crowd that includes the Jewish priests and elders and people with weapons. Judas gives Jesus a kiss to identify him to the crowd who then arrests Jesus.[248][249] One of Jesus’ disciples tries to stop them and uses a sword to cut off the ear of one of the men in the crowd.[248][249] Luke states that Jesus miraculously healed the wound and John and Matthew state that Jesus criticized the violent act, insisting that his disciples should not resist his arrest. In Matthew 26:52 Jesus makes the well known statement: all who live by the sword, shall die by the sword.[248][249]

Prior to the arrest, in Matthew 26:31 Jesus tells the disciples: “All ye shall be offended in me this night” and in 32 that: “But after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee.” After his arrest, Jesus’ disciples go into hiding.[248]

Trials by the Sanhedrin, Herod and Pilate

In the narrative of the four canonical gospels after the betrayal and arrest of Jesus, he is taken to the Sanhedrin, a Jewish judicial body.[250] Jesus is tried by the Sanhedrin, mocked and beaten and is condemned for making claims of being the Son of God.[249][251][252] He is then taken to Pontius Pilate and the Jewish elders ask Pilate to judge and condemn Jesus—accusing him of claiming to be the King of the Jews.[252] After questioning, with few replies provided by Jesus, Pilate publicly declares that he finds Jesus innocent, but the crowd insists on punishment. Pilate then orders Jesus’ crucifixion.[249][251][252][253] Although the gospel accounts vary with respect to various details, they agree on the general character and overall structure of the trials of Jesus.[253]

Jesus in the upper right hand corner, his hands bound behind, is being tried at the high priest’s house and turns to look at Peter, in Rembrandt‘s 1660 depiction of Peter’s denial.[254]

In, Matthew 26:57, Mark 14:53 and Luke 22:54 Jesus was taken to the high priest’s house where he was mocked and beaten that night. The next day, early in the morning, the chief priests and scribes lead Jesus away into their council.[249][251][252][255] In John 18:12-14, however, Jesus is first taken to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, and then to Caiaphas.[249][251][252] All four gospels include the Denial of Peter narrative, where Peter denies knowing Jesus three times, at which point the rooster crows as predicted by Jesus.[251][256]

In the gospel accounts Jesus speaks very little, mounts no defense and gives very infrequent and indirect answers to the questions of the priests, prompting an officer to slap him. In Matthew 26:62 the lack of response from Jesus prompts the high priest to ask him: “Answerest thou nothing?”[249][251][252][257] In Mark 14:61 the high priest then asked Jesus: “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am” — at which point the high priest tore his own robe in anger and accused Jesus of blasphemy. In Luke 22:70 when asked: “Are you then the Son of God?” Jesus answers: “You say that I am” affirming the title Son of God.[249][251][252][258]

Taking Jesus to Pilate’s Court, the Jewish elders ask Pontius Pilate to judge and condemn Jesus—accusing him of claiming to be the King of the Jews.[252] In Luke 23:7-15 Pilate realizes that Jesus is a Galilean, and is thus under the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas.[259][260][261][262][263] Pilate sends Jesus to Herod to be tried.[264] However, Jesus says almost nothing in response to Herod’s questions. Herod and his soldiers mock Jesus, put a gorgeous robe on him, as the King of the Jews, and sent him back to Pilate.[259] Pilate then calls together the Jewish elders, and says that he has “found no fault in this man.”[264]

The use of the term king is central in the discussion between Jesus and Pilate. In John 18:36 Jesus states: “My kingdom is not of this world”, but does not directly deny being the King of the Jews.[265][266] Pilate then writes “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” as a sign (abbreviated as INRI in depictions) to be affixed to the cross of Jesus.[267]

The trial by Pilate is followed by the flagellation episode, the soldiers mock Jesus as the King of Jews by putting a purple robe (that signifies royal status) on him, place a Crown of Thorns on his head, and beat and mistreat him in Matthew 27:29-30, Mark 15:17-19 and John 19:2-3.[226] Jesus is then sent to Calvary for crucifixion.[249][251][252]

Crucifixion and burial

Pietro Perugino‘s depiction of the Crucifixion as Stabat Mater, 1482.

Jesus’ crucifixion is described in all four canonical gospels, and is attested to by other sources of that age (e.g. Josephus and Tacitus), and is regarded as an historical event.[116][268][269]

After the trials, Jesus made his way to Calvary (the path is traditionally called via Dolorosa) and the three synoptic gospels indicate that he was assisted by Simon of Cyrene, the Romans compelling him to do so.[270][271] In Luke 23:27-28 Jesus tells the women in multitude of people following him not to cry for him but for themselves and their children.[270] Once at Calvary (Golgotha), Jesus was offered wine mixed with gall to drink — usually offered as a form of painkiller. Matthew’s and Mark’s gospels state that he refused this.[270][271]

The soldiers then crucified Jesus and cast lots for his clothes. Above Jesus’ head on the cross was the inscription King of the Jews, and the soldiers and those passing by mocked him about the title. Jesus was crucified between two convicted thieves, one of whom rebuked Jesus, while the other defended him.[270][272] Each gospel has its own account of Jesus’ last words, comprising the seven last sayings on the cross.[273][274][275] In John 19:26-27 Jesus entrusts his mother to the disciple he loved and in Luke 23:34 he states: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”, usually interpreted as his forgiveness of the Roman soldiers and the others involved.[273][276][277][278]

The Roman soldiers did not break Jesus’ legs, as they did to the other two men crucified (breaking the legs hastened the crucifixion process), as Jesus was dead already. One of the soldiers pierced the side of Jesus with a lance and water flowed out.[272] In Mark 15:39, impressed by the events the Roman centurion calls Jesus the Son of God.[270][271][279][280]

Following Jesus’ death on Friday, Joseph of Arimathea asked the permission of Pilate to remove the body. The body was removed from the cross, was wrapped in a clean cloth and buried in a new rock-hewn tomb, with the assistance of Nicodemus.[270] In Matthew 27:62-66 the Jews go to Pilate the day after the crucifixion and ask for guards for the tomb and also seal the tomb with a stone as well as the guard, to be sure the body remains there.[270][281][282]

Resurrection and ascension

Resurrection by Noel Coypel, 1700, using a hovering depiction of Jesus.

The New Testament accounts of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, state that the first day of the week after the crucifixion (typically interpreted as a Sunday), his followers encounter him risen from the dead, after his tomb is discovered to be empty.[114][115][283][284] The resurrected Jesus appears to them that day and a number of times thereafter, delivers sermons and commissions them, before ascending to Heaven. Two of the canonical gospels (Luke and Mark) include a brief mention of the Ascension, but the main references to it are elsewhere in the New Testament.[114][115][284]

In the four canonical gospels, when the tomb of Jesus is discovered empty, in Matthew 28:5, Mark 16:5, Luke 24:4 and John 20:12 his resurrection is announced and explained to the followers who arrive there early in the morning by either one or two beings (either men or angels) dressed in bright robes who appear in or near the tomb.[114][115][284] Mark 16:9 and John 20:15 indicate that Jesus appeared to the Magdalene first, and Luke 16:9 states that she was among the Myrrhbearers.[114][115][284]

After the discovery of the empty tomb, the gospels indicate that Jesus made a series of appearances to the disciples.[114][115] These include the well known Doubting Thomas episode and the Road to Emmaus appearance where Jesus meets two disciples. The catch of 153 fish appearance includes a miracle at the Sea of Galilee, and thereafter Jesus encourages Peter to serve his followers.[114][115][284] The final post-resurrection appearance in the gospel accounts is when Jesus ascends to Heaven.[114][115] Luke 24:51 states that Jesus “was carried up into heaven”. The ascension account is elaborated in Acts 1:1-11 and mentioned 1 Timothy 3:16. In Acts 1:1-9, forty days after the resurrection, as the disciples look on, “he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” 1 Peter 3:22 describes Jesus as being on “the right hand of God, having gone into heaven”.[114][115]

The Acts of the Apostles also contain “post-ascension” appearances by Jesus. These include the vision by Stephen just before his death in Acts 7:55,[285] and the road to Damascus episode in which Apostle Paul is converted to Christianity.[286][287] The instruction given to Ananias in Damascus in Acts 9:10-18 to heal Paul is the last reported conversation with Jesus in the Bible until the Book of Revelation was written.[286][287]

Historical views


A 1640 edition of the works of Josephus, a 1st century Romano-Jewish historian who referred to Jesus.[288][289]

The Christian gospels were written primarily as theological documents rather than historical chronicles.[129][130][290] However, the question of the existence of Jesus as a historical figure should be distinguished from discussions about the historicity of specific episodes in the gospels, the chronology they present, or theological issues regarding his divinity.[21] A number of historical non-Christian documents, such as Jewish and Greco-Roman sources, have been used in historical analyses of the existence of Jesus.[288]

Virtually all scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed and regard events such as his baptism and his crucifixion as historical.[8][12][14][291][292][293][294] Robert E. Van Voorst states that the idea of the non-historicity of the existence of Jesus has always been controversial, and has consistently failed to convince scholars of many disciplines, and that classical historians, as well as biblical scholars now regard it as effectively refuted.[15] Referring to the theories of non-existence of Jesus, Richard A. Burridge states: “I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more.”[17]

Separate non-Christian sources used to establish the historical existence of Jesus include the works of 1st century Roman historians Josephus and Tacitus.[288][295] Josephus scholar Louis H. Feldman has stated that “few have doubted the genuineness” of Josephus’ reference to Jesus in Antiquities 20, 9, 1 and it is only disputed by a small number of scholars.[289][296][297][298] Bart D. Ehrman states that the existence of Jesus and his crucifixion by the Romans is attested to by a wide range of sources, including Josephus and Tacitus.[299]

The historical existence of Jesus as a person is a separate issue from any religious discussions about his divinity, or the theological issues relating to his nature as man or God.[300] Leading scientific atheist Richard Dawkins specifically separates the question of the existence of Jesus from the attribution of supernatural powers to him, or the accuracy of the Christian gospels.[301] Dawkins does not deny the existence of Jesus, although he dismisses the reliability of the gospel accounts.[301] This position is also held by leading critic G. A. Wells, who used to argue that Jesus never existed, but has since changed his views and no longer rejects it.[302]

In antiquity, the existence of Jesus was never denied by those who opposed Christianity and neither pagans nor Jews questioned his existence.[128][303] Although in Dialogue with Trypho, the second century Christian writer Justin Martyr wrote of a discussion about “Christ” with Trypho, most scholars agree that Trypho is a fictional character invented by Justin for his literary apologetic goals.[304][305][306] While theological differences existed among early Christians regarding the nature of Jesus (e.g. monophysitism, miaphysitism, Docetism, Nestorianism, etc.) these were debates in Christian theology, not about the historical existence of Jesus.[307][308] A very small number of modern scholars argue that Jesus never existed, but that view is a distinct minority and virtually all scholars view theories that Jesus’ existence was a Christian invention as implausible.[21][292][309]

Language, race and appearance

The representation of the race of Jesus has been influenced by cultural settings.[310][311]

Jesus grew up in Galilee and much of his ministry took place there.[312] The languages spoken in Galilee and Judea during the 1st century AD/CE include the Semitic Aramaic and Hebrew languages as well as Greek, with Aramaic being the predominant language.[313][314] Most scholars agree that during the early part of 1st century AD/CE Aramaic was the mother tongue of virtually all women in Galilee and Judae.[315] Most scholars support the theory that Jesus spoke Aramaic and that he may have also spoken Hebrew and Greek.[313][314][316][317] James D. G. Dunn states that there is “substantial consensus” that Jesus gave most of his teachings in Aramaic.[318] In a review of the state of modern scholarship, Amy-Jill Levine stated: “Beyond recognizing that ‘Jesus was Jewish’ rarely does scholarship address what being ‘Jewish’ means.”[319]

The New Testament includes no description of the physical appearance of Jesus before his death and its narrative is generally indifferent to racial appearances and does not refer to the features of the people it discusses.[320][321][322] The synoptic gospels include the account of the Transfiguration of Jesus during which he was glorified with “his face shining as the sun” but do not provide details of his everyday appearance.[179][196] The Book of Revelation describes the features of a glorified Jesus in a vision (1:13-16), but the vision refers to Jesus in heavenly form, after his death.[323][324]

By the 19th century theories that Jesus was of Aryan descent, in particular European, were developed and later appealed to those who wanted nothing Jewish about Jesus, e.g. Nazi theologians.[322][325] These theories usually also include the reasoning that Jesus was Aryan because Galilee was an Aryan region, but have not gained scholarly acceptance.[322][326] By the 20th century, theories had also been proposed that Jesus was of black African descent, e.g. based on the argument that Mary his mother was a descendant of black Jews.[327]


Main article: Depictions of Jesus

Despite the lack of biblical references or historical records, for two millennia a wide range of depictions of Jesus have appeared, often influenced by cultural settings, political circumstances and theological contexts.[310][311][321] As in other Christian art, the earliest depictions date to the late 2nd or early 3rd century, and survivors are primarily found in the Catacombs of Rome.[328]

The Byzantine Iconoclasm acted as a barrier to developments in the East, but by the 9th century art was permitted again.[310] The Transfiguration of Jesus was a major theme in the East and every Eastern Orthodox monk who had trained in icon painting had to prove his craft by painting an icon of the Transfiguration.[329] The Renaissance brought forth a number of artists who focused on the depictions of Jesus and after Giotto, Fra Angelico and others systematically developed uncluttered images.[310] The Protestant Reformation brought a revival of aniconism in Christianity, though total prohibition was atypical, and Protestant objections to images have tended to reduce since the 16th century, and although large images are generally avoided, few Protestants now object to book illustrations depicting Jesus.[330][331] On the other hand, the use of depictions of Jesus is advocated by the leaders of denominations such as Anglicans and Catholics[332][333][334] and is a key element of the doxology of the Eastern Orthodox tradition.[335][336]

Relics associated with Jesus

Secondo Pia‘s 1898 negative of the photograph of the Shroud of Turin, associated with Holy Face of Jesus devotions.

A number of relics associated with Jesus have been claimed and displayed throughout the history of Christianity. Some people believe in the authenticity of some relics; others doubt the authenticity of various items. For instance, the sixteenth century Catholic theologian Erasmus wrote sarcastically about the proliferation of relics, and the number of buildings that could have been constructed from the wood claimed to be from the cross used in the Crucifixion of Christ.[337] Similarly, while experts debate whether Christ was crucified with three or with four nails, at least thirty Holy Nails continue to be venerated as relics across Europe.[338]

Some relics, such as purported remnants of the Crown of Thorns, receive only a modest number of pilgrims, others such as the Shroud of Turin (which is associated with an approved Catholic devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus) receive millions of pilgrims, which in recent years have included Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.[339]

Analysis of the gospels

The historical-critical method (or higher criticism) is used to examine the Bible for clues about the historical Jesus, whereby sayings and events that are more likely to be genuine in the opinion of scholars are used to construct their portraits of Jesus. Standard historical methods are used to discern the authorship of each book, and its likely date of composition.[340]

The earliest extant texts which refer to Jesus are Paul‘s letters (mid-1st century), which affirm Jesus’ crucifixion. Keulman and Gregory hold that the Gospel of Thomas, a collection of 114 sayings of Jesus, predates the four orthodox gospels, and believe it may have been composed around mid-1st century.[341][342]

The Markan priority hypothesis.

Biblical scholars hold that the works describing Jesus were initially communicated by oral tradition, and were not committed to writing until several decades after Jesus’ crucifixion. After the original oral stories were written down in Greek, they were transcribed, and later translated into other languages. The books of the New Testament had mostly been written by 100 AD/CE, making them, at least the synoptic gospels, historically relevant.[343] The Gospel tradition certainly preserves several fragments of Jesus’ teaching.[344] The Markan priority hypothesis holds that the Gospel of Mark was written first c. 70 AD/CE.[345][346][347] Matthew is placed at being sometime after this date and Luke is thought to have been written between 70 and 100 AD/CE.[348][349] According to the Q source hypothesis supported by a majority of modern scholars, the gospels were written not by the four evangelists themselves but derived from other sources.[340] A minority of prominent scholars, such as J. A. T. Robinson, have maintained that the writers of the gospels of Matthew, Mark and John were either apostles and eyewitness to Jesus’ ministry and death, or were close to those who had been.[350][351][352][352]

Scholars use textual criticism to determine which variants among manuscripts is original and how much they may have changed. Contemporary textual critic Bart D. Ehrman cites numerous places where he maintains that the gospels, and other New Testament books, were apparently altered by Christian scribes.[135] Craig Blomberg, F. F. Bruce and Gregory Boyd view the evidence as conclusive that very few alterations were made by Christian scribes, while none of them (three or four in total) were important.[350][351][352] According to Normal Geisler and William Nix, “The New Testament, then, has not only survived in more manuscripts than any other book from antiquity, but it has survived in a purer form than any other great book─a form that is 99.5% pure”[352]:p.367

Historical analysis

Historicity of events

Main article: Historicity of Jesus

P52, a papyrus fragment from a codex (c. 90–160), one of the earliest known New Testament manuscripts.

Modern scholars consider the baptism of Jesus and his crucifixion to be the two historically certain facts about him, James Dunn stating that these “two facts in the life of Jesus command almost universal assent”.[8] Dunn states that these two facts “rank so high on the ‘almost impossible to doubt or deny’ scale of historical facts” that they are often the starting points for the study of the historical Jesus.[8] Bart Ehrman states that the crucifixion of Jesus on the orders of Pontius Pilate is the most certain element about him.[353] John Dominic Crossan states that the crucifixion of Jesus is as certain as any historical fact can be.[354]

Craig Blomberg states that most scholars in the third quest for the historical Jesus consider the crucifixion indisputable.[355] Although scholars agree on the historicity of the crucifixion, they differ on the reason and context for it, e.g. both E.P. Sanders and Paula Fredriksen support the historicity of the crucifixion, but contend that Jesus did not foretell of his own crucifixion, and that his prediction of the crucifixion is a Christian story.[356] Geza Vermes also views the crucifixion a historical event but provides his own explanation and background for it.[356] John P. 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.[357] Meier states that a number of other criteria, e.g. the criterion of multiple attestation (i.e. confirmation by more than one source), the criterion of coherence (i.e. that it fits with other historical elements) and the criterion of rejection (i.e. that it is not disputed by ancient sources) help establish the crucifixion of Jesus as a historical event.[358]

Portraits of Jesus

Although scholars agree on basic historical facts such as the crucifixion of Jesus, the various “portraits of Jesus” they construct often differ from each other, and from the descriptions found in the gospels.[25][359]

The portraits of Jesus constructed by scholars often share a number of common, and at times overlapping building blocks, such as healer, philosopher, sage, apocalyptic preacher, or social reformer.[24][25][26] However, Bart Ehrman and separately Andreas Köstenberger contend that given the scarcity of historical sources, it is generally difficult for any scholar to construct a portrait of Jesus that can be considered historically valid beyond the basic elements of his life.[25][360][361] However, some scholars have suggested caution when reading modern meanings into terms such as rabbi at Jesus’ time.[362] At the time of Jesus the title rabbi was merely a general title for “teachers of the Law” and did not involve an official appointment.[363] Martin Hengel states that as a “teacher of Wisdom”, Jesus was not a typical representatives of the official establishment of the time.[364] William Herzog states that although Jesus was called a rabbi and a teacher he rejected the title rabbi in the synoptic gospels and did not identify himself with the established notion of rabbi at the time.[365]

An attribute used by many scholars to describe Jesus is a healer, a number of the same scholars also stating that he preached the restoration of God’s kingdom.[366][367][368] Many scholars also hold that the movement Jesus led (and his eschatology) were apocalyptic, as were the preachings of John the Baptist, but some scholars makes a distinction between John’s apocalyptic ministry and Jesus’ ethical teachings.[369][370] Another attribute used to describe Jesus are a sage who preached the wisdom of God, offering new interpretations of Old Testament teachings.[25][371] Two other views of Jesus are as a cynic philosopher and a social reformer who renounced material possessions and taught a new form of egalitarianism, social justice and equality among men and women as well as the abandonment of social class hierarchies.[25][361][372][373] Some historians argue that Jewish and Roman authorities in Jerusalem were wary of Galilean patriots, and that Jesus’ preachings were regarded as troubling, and he was hence executed on political charges.[374][375]

Role of archaeology

Main article: Jesus and archaeology

No documents written by Jesus exist,[376] and no specific archaeological remnants are directly attributed to him. The 21st century has witnessed an increase in scholarly interest in the integrated use of archaeology as an additional research component in arriving at a better understanding of the historical Jesus by illuminating the socio-economic and political background of his age.[377][378][379][380][381][382]

James Charlesworth states that few modern scholars now want to overlook the archaeological discoveries that clarify the nature of life in Galilee and Judea during the time of Jesus.[380] Jonathan Reed states that chief contribution of archaeology to the study of the historical Jesus is the reconstruction of his social world.[383]

First century Jewish religious movements

Scholars refer to the religious background of the early 1st century to better reconstruct Jesus’ life. Some scholars identify him with one or another group.

Pharisees were a powerful force in 1st-century Judaea. Early Christians shared several beliefs of the Pharisees, such as resurrection, retribution in the next world, angels, human freedom, and Divine Providence.[384] After the fall of the Temple, the Pharisaic outlook was established in Rabbinic Judaism. Some scholars speculate that Jesus was himself a Pharisee.[385] In Jesus’ day, the two main schools of thought among the Pharisees were the House of Hillel, which had been founded by the eminent Tanna, Hillel the Elder, and the House of Shammai. Jesus’ assertion of hypocrisy may have been directed against the stricter members of the House of Shammai, although he also agreed with their teachings on divorce.[Mk 10:1–12][386] Jesus also commented on the House of Hillel’s teachings (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a) concerning the greatest commandment[Mk 12:28–34] and the Golden Rule.[Mt 7:12] Historians do not know whether there were Pharisees in Galilee during Jesus’ life, or what they would have been like.[387]

Sadducees were particularly powerful in Jerusalem. They accepted the written Law only, rejecting the traditional interpretations accepted by the Pharisees, such as belief in retribution in an afterlife, resurrection of the body, angels, and spirits. After Jesus caused a disturbance at the Temple, it was to have been the Sadducees who had him arrested and turned over to the Romans for execution. After the fall of Jerusalem, they disappeared from history.[388]

Essenes were apocalyptic ascetics, one of the three (or four) major Jewish schools of the time, though they were not mentioned in the New Testament.[389] Some scholars theorize that Jesus was an Essene, or close to them. Among these scholars is Pope Benedict XVI, who supposes in his book on Jesus that “it appears that not only John the Baptist, but possibly Jesus and his family as well, were close to the Qumran community.”[390]

Zealots were a revolutionary party opposed to Roman rule, one of those parties that, according to Josephus inspired the fanatical stand in Jerusalem that led to its destruction in the year 70 AD/CE.[391] Luke identifies Simon, a disciple, as a “zealot”, which might mean a member of the Zealot party (which would therefore have been already in existence in the lifetime of Jesus) or a zealous person.[391] The notion that Jesus himself was a Zealot does not do justice to the earliest Synoptic material describing him.[392]

Mythical view

Main article: Christ myth theory

The term “Christ myth theory” is an umbrella term that applies to a range of arguments that in one way or another question the authenticity of the existence of Jesus or the essential elements of his life as described in the Christian gospels.[393][394][395][396] One viewpoint is that there was no real historical figure Jesus and that he was invented by Christians. Another viewpoint is that there was a person called Jesus, but much of the teachings and miracles attributed to him were either invented or symbolic references. Yet another view holds that the Jesus portrayed in the gospels is a composite character constructed from multiple people over a period of time.[393][394][395][396]

Supporters of the various Christ myth theories point to the lack of any known written references to Jesus during his lifetime and the relative scarcity of non-Christian references to him in the 1st century, and dispute the veracity of the existing accounts about him.[397]

David Strauss, the 19th century founder of Christ myth theory.[398]

Among the variants of the Jesus myth theory, the notion that Jesus never existed has little scholarly support, and although some modern scholars adhere to it, they remain a distinct minority; most scholars involved with historical Jesus research believe that his existence can be established using documentary and other evidence.[15][60][61][62][63][64]

In the context of historical theories, the hypothesis that Jesus never existed is a rather recent topic, and in antiquity his existence was never doubted, even by those who were critical of Christian teachings.[128] In the early 18th century, friction between the church establishment and some theologians, coupled with the growing emphasis on rationalism, resulted in discord between the English deists and the church, and John Toland, Anthony Collins and Thomas Woolston planted the seeds of discontent.[398][399]

The beginnings of the formal denial of the existence of Jesus can be traced to late 18th-century France, and the works of Constantin-Volney and Charles Dupuis.[400] The more methodical writings of David Friedrich Strauss caused an uproar in Europe in 1835, and Strauss became known as the founder of Christ myth theory, his approach having been influenced by the epistemological views of Leibniz and Spinoza.[398][401] Strauss did not deny the existence of Jesus, but believed that very few facts could be known about him and characterized the miraculous accounts in the gospels as “mythical”.[401][402][403] At about the same time in Berlin, Bruno Bauer supported somewhat similar ideas.[400][404] Although both Strauss and Bauer drew on Hegel, their views did not coincide, and often conflicted.[405][406] Karl Marx, a student and at the time a close friend of Bauer, was significantly influenced by him, as well as Hegel and Strauss, setting the stage for the denial of Jesus within communism.[404][407][408]

By the beginning of the 20th century, Arthur Drews, William B. Smith and John M. Robertson became the most recognized proponents of the Christ myth theory.[400][409] However, these authors were not performing purely atheist attacks on Christianity, e.g. Drew did not consider religion as outdated, but argued for a different form of religious consciousness.[400] W. B. Smith argued for a symbolic interpretation of gospel episodes and contended that in a parable such as Jesus and the rich young man the rich young man never existed and symbolically referred to the land of Israel.[410] Smith also argued that Jesus never healed anyone physically, but only spiritually cured them of their paganism.[410] J. M. Robertson on the other hand viewed the gospel accounts as a collection of myths gathered by a large number of anonymous authors, over time.[410]

When Marxist–Leninist atheism became part of the state ideals in communist Russia in 1922, the theories of Arthur Drew gained prominence there.[411] The communist state not only supported the Christ myth theory but embellished it with scientific colloquialisms, and school textbooks began to teach that Jesus never existed, making Russia a bastion of Jesus denial.[411][412][413] These ideas were rebuffed in Russia by Sergei Bulgakov and Alexander Men, copies of whose book began to circulate underground via typewriters in the 1970s to reintroduce Christianity to Russia.[411][414]

In the 20th century, scholars such as G. A. Wells, Alvar Ellegård, and Robert M. Price produced a number of arguments to support the Christ myth theory. Non-scholarly works on the Jesus myth theory have since been published by mass-media authors such as Doherty, Freke and Gandy. In parallel, a number of historians and biblical scholars such as Paula Fredriksen, Geza Vermes, E.P. Sanders and others involved in the quest for the historical Jesus performed detailed analyses of historical and biblical documents. Almost all of these scholars accept the existence of Jesus, but differ on the accuracy of the details of his life within the biblical narratives.[415] Robert Van Voorst stated that among “New Testament scholars and historians the theory of the non-existence of Jesus remains effectively dead as a scholarly question”.[416][417]

The Christ myth theory is still being debated in the 21st century, with Graham Stanton stating in 2002 that the most thorough analysis of the theory had been by G. A. Wells.[418] But Wells’ book Did Jesus Exist? was criticized by James D.G. Dunn in his book The Evidence for Jesus.[419] And the debates continue, e.g. Wells changed his views over time and while he used to argue that there was no historical evidence supporting the existence of Jesus, he later modified his position, and in his later book The Jesus Myth accepted the possible existence of Jesus based on historical sources, although still disputing the gospel portrayals of his life.[416][417][420][421]

Religious perspectives

Apart from his own disciples and followers, the Jews of Jesus’ day generally rejected him as the Messiah, as do Jews today. For their part, Christian Church Fathers, Ecumenical Councils, Reformers, and others have written extensively about Jesus over the centuries. Christian sects and schisms have often been defined or characterized by competing descriptions of Jesus. Meanwhile, Manichaeans, Gnostics, Muslims, Baha’is, and others have found prominent places for Jesus in their own religious accounts.[422][423][424]

Christian views

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Although Christian views of Jesus vary, it is possible to summarize key elements of the shared beliefs among major denominations based on their catechetical or confessional texts.[425][426][427] Christian views of Jesus are derived from various sources, but especially from the canonical Gospels, and New Testament letters, such as the Letters of Paul and Johannine writings.

These documents outline the key beliefs held by Christians about Jesus, including his divinity, humanity, and earthly life. Generally speaking, adhering to the Christian faith requires a belief that Jesus is the Son of God and the Christ. In the New Testament Jesus indicates that he is the Son of God by calling God his father.[217] However, not all Christian denominations agree on all doctrines, and both major and minor differences on teachings and beliefs have persisted throughout Christianity for centuries.[428]

Christians consider Jesus the Christ and believe that through his death and resurrection, humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.[429] These teachings emphasize that as the willing Lamb of God, Jesus chose to suffer in Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of the Eternal Father, as an “agent and servant of God”.[430][431] The choice Jesus made thus counter-positions him as a the new and last Adam, new man of morality and obedience, in contrast to Adam’s disobedience.[432]

Most Christians believe that Jesus was both human and the Son of God. While there have been theological debate over the nature of Jesus, Trinitarian Christians generally believe that Jesus is the Logos, God incarnate, God the Son, and “true God and true man” (or both fully divine and fully human). Nontrinitarian Christians reject the notion of the Holy Trinity, do not adhere to the ecumenical councils and believe that their interpretations of the Bible take precedence over the Christian creeds.[433]

Christians generally believe that Jesus having become fully human, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, yet he did not sin, but defeated death and rose to life after his crucifixion. According to the Bible, God raised him from the dead.[434] He ascended to heaven, to sit at the “Right Hand of God,”[435] and he will return to earth again for the Last Judgment and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the World to Come.[436]

Christians not only attach theological significance to the works of Jesus, but also to his name. Devotions to the Holy Name of Jesus go back to the earliest days of Christianity.[437][438] These devotions and feasts exist both in Eastern and Western Christianity.[438]

Jewish views

Classic texts of Rabbinic Judaism reject any notion of an anthropomorphic God. Tractate Ta’anit of the Jerusalem Talmud states explicitly that “if a man claims to be God, he is a liar.”[439] Furthermore Exodus Rabba 29 says, “‘I am the first and I am the last, and beside Me there is no God’ I am the first, I have no father; I am the last, I have no brother. Beside Me there is no God; I have no son.”[440]

Judaism rejects the idea of Jesus being God, or a person of a Trinity, or a mediator to God. Judaism also holds that Jesus is not the Messiah, arguing that he had not 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 about 420 BC/BCE.[441]

The Talmud includes stories which some consider accounts of Jesus in the Talmud, although there is a spectrum[442] from scholars, such as Maier (1978), who considers that only the accounts with the name Yeshu יֵשׁוּ refer to the Christian Jesus, and that these are late redactions, to scholars such as Klausner (1925), who suggested that accounts related to Jesus in the Talmud may contain traces of the historical Jesus. However the majority of contemporary historians disregard this material as providing information on the historical Jesus.[366] Many contemporary Talmud scholars view these as comments on the relationship between Judaism and Christians or other sectarians, rather than comments on the historical Jesus.[443][444]

The Mishneh Torah, an authoritative work of Jewish law, provides the last established consensus view of the Jewish community, in Hilkhot Melakhim 11:10–12 that Jesus is a “stumbling block” who makes “the majority of the world err to serve a divinity besides God”.

Even Jesus the Nazarene who imagined that he would be Messiah and was killed by the court, was already prophesied by Daniel. So that it was said, “And the members of the outlaws of your nation would be carried to make a (prophetic) vision stand. And they stumbled.”[Dan. 11:14] Because, is there a greater stumbling-block than this one? So that all of the prophets spoke that the Messiah redeems Israel, and saves them, and gathers their banished ones, and strengthens their commandments. And this one caused (nations) to destroy Israel by sword, and to scatter their remnant, and to humiliate them, and to exchange the Torah, and to make the majority of the world err to serve a divinity besides God. However, the thoughts of the Creator of the world — there is no force in a human to attain them because our ways are not God’s ways, and our thoughts not God’s thoughts. And all these things of Jesus the Nazarene, and of (Muhammad) the Ishmaelite who stood after him — there is no (purpose) but to straighten out the way for the King Messiah, and to restore all the world to serve God together. So that it is said, “Because then I will turn toward the nations (giving them) a clear lip, to call all of them in the name of God and to serve God (shoulder to shoulder as) one shoulder.”[Zeph. 3:9] Look how all the world already becomes full of the things of the Messiah, and the things of the Torah, and the things of the commandments! And these things spread among the far islands and among the many nations uncircumcised of heart.[445]

According to Conservative Judaism, Jews who believe Jesus is the Messiah have “crossed the line out of the Jewish community”.[446] Reform Judaism, the modern progressive movement, states “For us in the Jewish community anyone who claims that Jesus is their savior is no longer a Jew and is an apostate“.[447]

Islamic views

Main article: Jesus in Islam

Muhammad leads Jesus, Abraham, Moses and others in prayer. Medieval Persian miniature.

In Islam, Jesus (Arabic: عيسى‎ ʿĪsā) is considered to be a Messenger of God and the Masih (Messiah) who was sent to guide the Children of Israel (banī isrā’īl) with a new scripture, the Injīl or Gospel.[448] The belief in Jesus (and all other messengers of God) is required in Islam, and a requirement of being a Muslim. The Qur’an mentions Jesus twenty-five times, more often, by name, than Muhammad.[449][450]

There is no mention of Joseph in the Quran, but it includes the annunciation to Mary (Arabic: Maryam) by an angel that she is to give birth to Jesus while remaining a virgin, a miraculous event which occurred by the will of God (Arabic: Allah).[451][452][453] The details of the Mary’s conception are not discussed during the angelic visit, but elsewhere the Quran states (21:91 and 66:12) that God breathed “His Spirit” into Mary while she was chaste.[451][452][453][454] In Islam, Jesus is called the “Spirit of God” because he was born through the action of the spirit, but that belief does not include the doctrine of his pre-existence, as it does in Christianity.[451]

Numerous other titles are given to Jesus in Islamic literature, the most common being al-Masīḥ (“the messiah”). Jesus is also, at times, called “Seal of the Israelite Prophets”, because, in general Muslim belief, Jesus was the last prophet sent by God to guide the Children of Israel. Jesus is seen in Islam as a precursor to Muhammad, and is believed by Muslims to have foretold the latter’s coming.[455][456] To aid in his ministry to the Jewish people, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles, all by the permission of God rather than of his own power.

The Qur’an emphasizes that Jesus was a mortal human being who, like all other prophets, had been divinely chosen to spread God’s message. Islamic texts forbid the association of partners with God (shirk), emphasizing a strict notion of monotheism (tawhīd). Like all prophets in Islam, Jesus is considered to have been a Muslim (i.e., one who submits to the will of God), as he preached that his followers should adopt the “straight path” as commanded by God.[455][457]

Islam rejects the Christian view that Jesus was God incarnate or the son of God, that he was ever crucified or resurrected, or that he ever atoned for the sins of mankind. The Qur’an says that Jesus himself never claimed any of these things, and it furthermore indicates that Jesus will deny having ever claimed divinity at the Last Judgment, and God will vindicate him.[458] According to Muslim traditions, Jesus was not crucified but instead, he was raised up by God unto the heavens. This “raising” is understood to mean through bodily ascension. Muslims believe that Jesus will return to earth near the day of judgment to restore justice.[455][457]

In the 19th century Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, wrote that Jesus survived his ordeal on the cross. According to Ahmad Jesus fled Palestine after his apparent death and resurrection and migrated eastwards to further teach the gospels, reaching India.[459]

Bahá’í views

In the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith, Jesus is considered to be a Manifestation of God, a concept in the Bahá’í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets.[460] In Bahá’í thought, Manifestations of God are the intermediary between God and humanity, serving as messengers and reflecting God’s qualities and attributes.[37] The Bahá’í concept also emphasizes the simultaneously existing qualities of humanity and divinity. In the station of divinity, they show forth the will, knowledge and attributes of God; in the station of humanity, they show the physical qualities of common man.[37] This concept is most similar to the Christian concept of incarnation.[460] In Bahá’í thought, Jesus incarnated God’s attributes as they were perfectly reflected and expressed, however Bahá’í teachings reject the Christian belief that Divinity was contained with a single human body because the Bahá’í teachings state that the essence of God is transcendent above the physical reality.[460]

Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, wrote that since each Manifestation of God has the same divine attributes they can be seen as the spiritual “return” of all the previous Manifestations of God, and the appearance of each new Manifestation of God inaugurates a religion that supersedes the former ones, a sequence known as progressive revelation.[37] Through this process Bahá’í’s believe God’s plan unfolds gradually as mankind matures and some of the Manifestations arrive in specific fulfilment of the missions of previous ones. Bahá’í’s believe that in this sense, Bahá’u’lláh is the promised return of Christ.[461]

Bahá’í teachings confirm many, but not all, aspects of the historical Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels. They believe in the Virgin Birth,[462] and the crucifixion, but see the resurrection and the miracles he performed as symbolic.[463] Bahá’í thought also accepts Jesus’ Sonship.[463]

Other views

Buddhist views of Jesus differ. Some Buddhist views on Jesus including Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama[464] regard Jesus as a bodhisattva who dedicated his life to the welfare of human beings. It was recorded in 101 Zen Stories that the 14th century Zen master Gasan Jōseki, on hearing some of the sayings of Jesus in the Gospels, remarked that he was “an enlightened man”, and “not far from Buddhahood”.[465]

In a letter to his daughter Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote, “All over Central Asia, in Kashmir and Ladakh and Tibet and even farther north, there is a strong belief that Jesus or Isa travelled about there.”[466] However, Robert Van Voorst states that modern scholarship has “almost unanimously agreed” that claims of the travels of Jesus to Tibet, Kashmir or India contain “nothing of value”.[467] Marcus Borg states that the suggestions that an adult Jesus traveled to Egypt or India and came into contact with Buddhism are “without historical foundation”.[468] Although modern parallels between the teachings of Jesus and Buddha have been drawn, these comparisons emerged after missionary contacts in the 19th century, and there is no historically reliable evidence of contacts between Buddhism and Jesus during his life.[469] John Dominic Crossan states that none of the theories presented to fill the 15–18 year gap between the early life of Jesus and the start of his ministry have been supported by modern scholarship.[470]

Manichaeism (which at one point included Augustine of Hippo as a follower, who later opposed it) accepted Jesus as a prophet, along with Gautama Buddha and Zoroaster.[471][472] More recently, the New Age movement entertains a wide variety of views on Jesus. The New Age movement generally teaches that Christhood is something that all may attain. Theosophists, from whom many New Age teachings originated, refer to Jesus as the Master Jesus and believe the Christ, after various incarnations occupied the body of Jesus.[473]

U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, a deist, created the Jefferson Bible, an early (but not complete) gospel harmony that included only Jesus’ ethical teachings because he did not believe in Jesus’ divinity or any of the other supernatural aspects of the Bible.[474][475]


Main article: Criticism of Jesus

Criticism of Jesus has existed since the earliest days of Christianity. The New Testament states that Jesus was criticized by the Jewish authorities of his time, e.g. the Pharisees and scribes who criticized Jesus and his disciples for not observing the Mosaic Law, not washing their hands before eating (Mark 7:1-23, Matthew 15:1-20), or gathering grain on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-3:6). Later critics included Celsus in the 2nd century and Porphyry who wrote a 15 volume attack on Christianity as a whole.[476][477]

Jesus continued to be criticized by Judaism, and in the early 12th century, the Mishneh Torah (the last established consensus of the Jewish community) called Jesus a “stumbling block” who makes “the majority of the world err to serve a divinity besides God”. Criticism of Jesus continued into the 19th century, with Nietzsche being highly critical of Jesus. For instance, Nietzsche considered Jesus’ teachings anti-natural in their treatment of topics such as sexuality.[478] In the 20th century Bertrand Russell was also critical of Jesus and in Why I Am Not a Christian stated that Jesus was “not so wise as some other people have been, and He was certainly not superlatively wise.”[479]

See also


  1. ^ Rahner (page 731) states that the consensus among historians is c. 4 BC/BCE. Sanders supports c. 4 BC/BCE. Vermes supports c. 6/5 BC/BCE. Finegan supports c. 3/2 BC/BCE. Sanders refers to the general consensus, Vermes a common ‘early’ date, Finegan defends comprehensively the date according to early Christian traditions.
  2. ^ Brown (1999) p. 513
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 page 114
  4. ^ a b c d e Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times by Paul Barnett 2002 ISBN 0-8308-2699-8 pages 19–21
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Paul L. Maier “The Date of the Nativity and Chronology of Jesus” in Chronos, kairos, Christos: nativity and chronological studies by Jerry Vardaman, Edwin M. Yamauchi 1989 ISBN 0-931464-50-1 pages 113–129
  6. ^ a b Sanders, E. P. The historical figure of Jesus. Penguin, 1993.
  7. ^ Vermes (2004)
  8. ^ a b c d eJesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 339
  9. ^ James Dunn states that the baptism and crucifixion of Jesus “command almost universal assent” and “rank so high on the ‘almost impossible to doubt or deny’ scale of historical facts” that they are often the starting points for the study of the historical Jesus. Bart Ehrman states that the crucifixion of Jesus on the orders of Pontius Pilate is the most certain element about him. John Dominic Crossan states that the crucifixion of Jesus is as certain as any historical fact can be. Eddy and Boyd state that it is now “firmly established” that there is non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus.
  10. ^ Theissen (1998) p. 165 “Our conclusion must be that Jesus came from Nazareth.”
  11. ^ The first sentence of the Gospel of Mark (Mk 1:1) includes Son of God and the term is also part of the Nicene Creed, the most widely used Christian creed. Readings in the History of Christian Theology by William Carl Placher 1988 ISBN 0-664-24057-7 pages 52-53
  12. ^ a b In a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, Bart Ehrman (who is a secular agnostic) wrote: “He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees” B. Ehrman, 2011 Forged : writing in the name of God ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6. page 285
  13. ^ Robert M. Price (an atheist who denies existence) agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars: Robert M. Price “Jesus at the Vanishing Point” in The Historical Jesus: Five Views edited by James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy, 2009 InterVarsity, ISBN 028106329X page 61
  14. ^ a b Michael Grant (a classicist) states that “In recent years, ‘no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus’ or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary.” in Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels by Michael Grant 2004 ISBN 1898799881 page 200
  15. ^ a b c d e Robert E. Van Voorst states that biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted. Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 16
  16. ^ James D. G. Dunn “Paul’s understanding of the death of Jesus” in Sacrifice and Redemption edited by S. W. Sykes (Dec 3, 2007) Cambridge University Press ISBN 052104460X pages 35–36 states that the theories of non-existence of Jesus are “a thoroughly dead thesis”
  17. ^ a b Richard A. Burridge states: “There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more.” in Jesus Now and Then by Richard A. Burridge and Graham Gould (Apr 1, 2004) ISBN 0802809774 page 34
  18. ^ a b Craig Evans, “Life-of-Jesus Research and the Eclipse of Mythology,” Theological Studies 54 (1993) p. 5,
  19. ^ a b Charles H. Talbert, What Is a Gospel? The Genre of Canonical Gospels pg 42 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977).
  20. ^ a b “The Historical Figure of Jesus,” Sanders, E.P., Penguin Books: London, 1995, p., 3.
  21. ^ a b c Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0-664-25703-8 pages 168–173
  22. ^ Brown (1994) p. 964
    Carson (1992) et al., pp. 50–56.
    Crossan (1993), pp. xi–xiii.
    Fredriksen (1999), pp. 6–7, 105–10, 232–34, 266.
    Meier (1991), pp. 68, 146, 199, 278, 386.
    Meier (1994), pp. 12–13.
    Vermes (1973), p. 37.
    Maier, Paul L. (1991). Kregel. pp. 1, 99, 121, 171.
    Wright, N. T. (1998). HarperCollins. pp. 32, 83, 100–102, 222.
    Witherington III, Ben. pp. 12–20.
  23. ^ Theissen (1998) pp. 1–16
  24. ^ a b Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 pages 47–49
  25. ^ a b c d e f The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 pages 117–125
  26. ^ a b Fredriksen (2000) pp. 6–7, 105–110, 232–234, 266
  27. ^ Van Voorst (2000) pp. 39–42
  28. ^ a b c d New Testament History by Richard L. Niswonger 1992 ISBN 0-310-31201-9 pages 121–124
  29. ^ Brown, Raymond E. (1979). The Birth of the Messiah. Garden City, NY: Image Books. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-385-05405-8.
  30. ^ Strobel, Lee (2007). The case for the real Jesus: a journalist investigates current attacks on the identity of Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-310-24061-7.
  31. ^ Grudem (1994) pp. 568–603
  32. ^ a b Kevin Knight, ed. “The dogma of the Trinity”. Catholic Encyclopedia. New Advent.
  33. ^ Friedmann, Robert (1953). “Antitrinitarianism”. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
  34. ^ Houlden, James L. (2005). Jesus: The Complete Guide. London: Continuum. ISBN 978-0-8264-8011-8.
  35. ^ Şaban Ali Düzgün (2004). Uncovering Islam: Questions and Answers about Islamic Beliefs and Teachings. The Presidency of Religious Affairs. Ankara: Diyanet Isleri Baskanligi. ISBN 978-975-19-3636-3. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
  36. ^ Norman, Asher (2007). Twenty-six reasons why Jews don’t believe in Jesus. Nanuet, NY: Feldheim Publishers. pp. 16–18, 89–96. ISBN 978-0-9771937-0-7. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
  37. ^ a b c d Cole, Juan (1982). “The Concept of Manifestation in the Bahá’í Writings”. Bahá’í Studies monograph 9: 1–38.
  38. ^ Perkins, Larry (2010). “What’s in a Name—Proper Names in Greek Exodus”. Journal for the Study of Judaism 41 (4–5): 454. doi:10.1163/157006310X503630.
  39. ^ Briggs, Brown Driver (1996). Hebrew and English Lexicon. Hendrickson Publishers. ISBN 1-56563-206-0.
  40. ^ Liddell; Scott. A Greek–English Lexicon. p. 824.
  41. ^ Larry W. Hurtado, 2005 Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity ISBN 978-0-8028-3167-5 page 392
  42. ^ The Gospel of Luke by Joel B. Green 1997 ISBN 0-8028-2315-7 page 88
  43. ^ Reading Matthew: a literary and theological commentary by David E. Garland 1999 ISBN 1-57312-274-2 page 23
  44. ^ The Gospel of Matthew by R. T. France 2007 ISBN 0-8028-2501-X page 78
  45. ^ Matthew 1–7 by William David Davies, Dale C. Allison 2004 ISBN 0-567-08355-1 page 155
  46. ^ a b “Catholic encyclopedia: Origin of the name Jesus Christ”. 1910-10-01. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
  47. ^ Matthew by Douglas Hare 2009 ISBN 0-664-23433-X page 11
  48. ^ Eddy, Paul; Boyd, Gregory (2007). The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition. ISBN 0-8010-3114-1. page 129
  49. ^ Matthew 1-7 by William David Davies, Dale C. Allison 2004 ISBN 0-567-08355-1 page 209
  50. ^ Bible explorer’s guide by John Phillips 2002 ISBN 0-8254-3483-1 page 147
  51. ^ All the Doctrines of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer 1988 ISBN 0-310-28051-6 page 159
  52. ^  “Origin of the Name of Jesus Christ“. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
  53. ^ a b Vine, WE (1940). Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company. pp 274–275
  54. ^ Jesus of history, Christ of faith by Thomas Zanzig 2000 ISBN 0-88489-530-0 page 314
  55. ^ Christianity by Donald W. Ekstrand 2008 ISBN 1-60477-929-2 pages 147–150
  56. ^ Jesus God and Man by Wolfhart Pannenberg 1968 ISBN 0-664-24468-8 pages 30–31
  57. ^ Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions by Wendy Doniger 2000 ISBN 0-87779-044-2 page 212
  58. ^ Theology of the New Testament by Rudolf Karl Bultmann 2007 ISBN 1-932792-93-7 page 80
  59. ^ Durant 1944:553–7.
  60. ^ a b The Cambridge companion to Jesus by Markus N. A. Bockmuehl 2001 Cambridge Univ Press ISBN 978-0-521-79678-1 pages 123–124. Page 124 state that the “farfetched theories that Jesus’ existence was a Christian invention are highly implausible.”
  61. ^ a b Powell, Mark Allan (1998). Jesus as a figure in history: how modern historians view the man from Galilee. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-664-25703-3.
  62. ^ a b Weaver, Walter P (1999). The historical Jesus in the twentieth century. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-56338-280-2.
  63. ^ a b Dunn, James G (January 20, 2009). “James Dunn profile”. The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  64. ^ a b “Professor James Dunn — British Academy”. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  65. ^ a b Theissen (1998) pp. 64–72
  66. ^ a b Theissen (1998) pp. 81–83
  67. ^ a b Green, Joel B. (1997). The Gospel of Luke : new international commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.. p. 168. ISBN 0-8028-2315-7.
  68. ^ a b c Pratt, J. P. (1991). “Newton’s Date for the Crucifixion”. Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 32 (3): 301–304. Bibcode 1991QJRAS..32..301P.
  69. ^ a b Colin Humphreys and W. G. Waddington, “Dating the Crucifixion ,” Nature 306 (December 22/29, 1983), pp. 743–46.[1]
  70. ^ a b Western Civilization: A Brief History by Jackson J. Spielvogel 2010 ISBN 0-495-57147-4 pages 123–124
  71. ^ Pontius Pilate in history and interpretation by Helen Katharine Bond 1999 ISBN 0-521-63114-9 pages 1–2
  72. ^ Between Rome and Jerusalem: 300 years of Roman-Judaean relations by Martin Sicker 2001 ISBN 0-275-97140-6 pages ix–xii
  73. ^ The Jews under Roman rule by E. Mary Smallwood 2001 ISBN 0-391-04155-X page 144
  74. ^ Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi by Karl Rahner 2004 ISBN 0-86012-006-6 page 731
  75. ^ Vermes (2006) p. 22
  76. ^ Dunn, James DG (2003). Jesus Remembered. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 324.
  77. ^ Some of the historians and Biblical scholars who place the birth and death of Jesus within this range include Carson et. al. (1992) pp. 54, 56
    Grant (1977) p. 71.
    Meier (1991) p. 214.
    Sanders (1993), pp. 10–11
    Witherington (1998) No. 3:12–20.
  78. ^ a b c d e f g h i Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible 2000 Amsterdam University Press ISBN 90-5356-503-5 page 249
  79. ^ a b c d Jack V. Scarola, “A Chronology of the nativity Era” in Chronos, kairos, Christos 2 by Ray Summers, Jerry Vardaman 1998 ISBN 0-86554-582-0 pages 61–81
  80. ^ a b Christianity and the Roman Empire: background texts by Ralph Martin Novak 2001 ISBN 1-56338-347-0 pages 302–303
  81. ^ Aspects of the liturgical year in Cappadocia (325–430) by Jill Burnett Comings 2005 ISBN 0-8204-7464-9 pages 61–71
  82. ^ Faith & philosophy of Christianity by Maya George 2009 ISBN 81-7835-720-8 page 287
  83. ^ Stories of Jesus’ Birth by Edwin D. Freed 2004 ISBN 0-567-08046-3 pages 136–137
  84. ^ Luke 1–5: New Testament Commentary by John MacArthur, Jr. 2009 ISBN 978-0-8024-0871-6 page 201
  85. ^ a b c The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel: An Introduction to John by Paul N. Anderson 2011 ISBN 0-8006-0427-X page 200
  86. ^ a b c Herod the Great by Jerry Knoblet 2005 ISBN 0-7618-3087-1 page 184
  87. ^ a b c Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible states that Jesus began his ministry “ca 28 AD” at “ca age 31”. In Chronos, kairos, Christos: Paul L. Maier specifically states that he considers the Temple visit date in John at “around 29 AD/CE”, using various factors that he summarizes in a chronology table. Maier’s table considers 28 AD/CE to be roughly the 32nd birthday of Jesus, and at Paul Meir clearly states that 5 BC/BCE was the year of birth of Jesus. Paul N. Anderson dates the temple incident at “around 26–27 AD/CE” Jerry Knoblet estimates the date as around AD 27 AD/CE. In their book, Robert Fortna & Thatcher estimate the date at around AD/CE 28. Köstenberger & Kellum (page 140) make the same statement as Maier, namely that the 32nd birthday of Jesus was around 28 AD/CE when his ministry began.
  88. ^ Craig Evans, 2006 “Josephus on John the Baptist” in The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. Princeton Univ Press ISBN 978-0-691-00992-6 pages 55–58
  89. ^ Herodias: at home in that fox’s den by Florence Morgan Gillman 2003 ISBN 0-8146-5108-9 pages 25–30
  90. ^ a b International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: E-J by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1982 ISBN 0-8028-3782-4 pages 694–695
  91. ^ Hoehner, Harold W (1978). Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ. Zondervan. pp. 29–37. ISBN 0-310-26211-9.
  92. ^ Luke states that John’s ministry began in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas.
  93. ^ Encyclopedia of the historical Jesus by Craig A. Evans 2008 ISBN 0-415-97569-7 page 115
  94. ^ As stated by Köstenberger & Kellum (page 114) there is some uncertainty about how Josephus referred to and computed dates, hence various scholars arrive at slightly different dates for the exact date of the start of the Temple construction, varying by a few years in their final estimation of the date of the Temple visit.
  95. ^ Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, page 246 states that Temple construction never completed, and that the Temple was in constant reconstruction until it was destroyed in 70 AD/CE by the Romans, and states that the 46 years should refers to the actual number of year from the start of the construction.
  96. ^ Jesus in Johannine tradition by Robert Tomson Fortna, Tom Thatcher 2001 ISBN 978-0-664-22219-2 page 77
  97. ^ Herod Antipas by Harold W. Hoehner 1983 ISBN 0-310-42251-5 page 131
  98. ^ The Gospel of Matthew by Rudolf Schnackenburg 2002 ISBN 0-8028-4438-3 page 104
  99. ^ Mercer dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard 1998 ISBN 0-86554-373-9 page 459
  100. ^ The Cambridge companion to the Gospels by Stephen C. Barton ISBN 0-521-00261-3 pages 132–133
  101. ^ Newsom, Carol A; Ringe, Sharon H (1998). The Women’s Bible Commentary. Westminster: John Knox Press. p. 381. ISBN 978-0-664-25781-1.
  102. ^ Graham Stanton, 2002, The Gospels and Jesus ISBN 0-19-924616-5 page 185
  103. ^ a b c The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 pages 77–79
  104. ^ a b c Paul’s early period: chronology, mission strategy, theology by Rainer Riesner 1997 ISBN 978-0-8028-4166-7 page 19–27 (page 27 has a table of various scholarly estimates)
  105. ^ Newton, Isaac (1733). “Of the Times of the Birth and Passion of Christ“, in Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John
  106. ^ Schaefer, B. E. (1990). “Lunar Visibility and the Crucifixion”. Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 31 (1): 53–67. Bibcode 1990QJRAS..31…53S.
  107. ^ Colin J. Humphreys and W. G. Waddington, The Date of the Crucifixion Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 37 (March 1985)[2]
  108. ^ Colin Humphreys, The Mystery of the Last Supper Cambridge University Press 2011 ISBN 978-0-521-73200-0, p. 193 (However note that Humphreys places the Last Supper on a Wednesday)
  109. ^ a b Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3 pages 441–442
  110. ^ a b c d The encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 4 by Erwin Fahlbusch, 2005 ISBN 978-0-8028-2416-5 pages 52–56
  111. ^ a b c The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary by Craig A. Evans 2003 ISBN 0-7814-3868-3 pages 465–477
  112. ^ a b The Book of the Acts by Frederick Fyvie Bruce 1988 ISBN 0-8028-2505-2 page 362
  113. ^ a b Who is Jesus?: an introduction to Christology by Thomas P. Rausch 2003 ISBN 978-0-8146-5078-3
  114. ^ a b c d e f g h i The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew-Luke, Volume 1 by Craig A. Evans 2003 ISBN 0-7814-3868-3 pages 521–530
  115. ^ a b c d e f g h i The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament edited by John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck 1983 ISBN 978-0-88207-812-0 page 91
  116. ^ a b Vermes, Geza. The authentic gospel of Jesus. London, Penguin Books. 2004.
  117. ^ “The Synoptic Gospels, then, are the primary sources for knowledge of the historical Jesus.” “Jesus Christ.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 27 Nov. 2010 [3].
  118. ^ Who is Jesus? Answers to your questions about the historical Jesus, by John Dominic Crossan, Richard G. Watts (Westminster John Knox Press 1999), page 108
  119. ^ James G. D. Dunn, Jesus Remembered, (Eerdmans, 2003) page 779–781.
  120. ^ Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus Seminar. The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998. “Empty Tomb, Appearances & Ascension” p. 449–495.
  121. ^ Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994); pages 90–91
  122. ^ Howard M. Teeple (March 1970). “The Oral Tradition That Never Existed”. Journal of Biblical Literature 89 (1): 56–68. doi:10.2307/3263638.
  123. ^ New Testament Theology by Paul Haffner 2008 ISBN 88-902268-0-3 page 135
  124. ^ A Guide to the Gospels by W. Graham Scroggie 1995 ISBN 0-8254-3744-X page 128
  125. ^ “synoptic”. Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. 2001.
  126. ^ a b The Gospel of John by Francis J. Moloney, Daniel J. Harrington 1998 ISBN 0-8146-5806-7 page 3
  127. ^ Durant, Will. Caesar and Christ. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1972
  128. ^ a b c d e Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi by Karl Rahner 2004 ISBN 0-86012-006-6 pages 730–731
  129. ^ a b c d Interpreting Gospel Narratives: Scenes, People, and Theology by Timothy Wiarda 2010 ISBN 0-8054-4843-8 pages 75–78
  130. ^ a b c Matthew by David L. Turner 2008 ISBN 0-8010-2684-9 page 613
  131. ^ a b Sanders (1993) p. 3
  132. ^ Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus by Gerald O’Collins 2009 ISBN 0-19-955787-X pages 1–3
  133. ^ Augustine through the ages: an encyclopedia by John C. Cavadini 1999 ISBN 0-8028-3843-X page 132
  134. ^ a b Cox (2007) p. 3
  135. ^ a b Ehrman, Bart D. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN 978-0-06-073817-4.
  136. ^ Kurt Aland, 1982 Synopsis of the Four Gospels ISBN 0-8267-0500-6 pages 1–10
  137. ^ John Bernard Orchard, 1983 Synopsis of the Four Gospels ISBN 0-567-09331-X pages 2–7
  138. ^ a b c d e Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3 page 224–229
  139. ^ Cox (2007) pp. 18–20
  140. ^ a b Essays in New Testament interpretation by Charles Francis Digby Moule 1982 ISBN 0-521-23783-1 page 63
  141. ^ The Melody of Faith: Theology in an Orthodox Key by Vigen Guroian 2010 ISBN 0-8028-6496-1 page 28
  142. ^ a b Scripture in tradition by John Breck 2001 ISBN 0-88141-226-0 page 12
  143. ^ a b The Bible Knowledge Commentary by John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck 1983 ISBN 0-88207-812-7 page 100
  144. ^ a b c d e The words and works of Jesus Christ by J. Dwight Pentecost 2000 ISBN 978-0-310-30940-6 page 212
  145. ^ a b All the Parables of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer 1988 ISBN 978-0-310-28111-5 page 174
  146. ^ a b J. Dwight Pentecost, 1998 The parables of Jesus: lessons in life from the Master Teacher ISBN 0-8254-3458-0 page 10
  147. ^ a b Eric Francis Osborn, 1993 The emergence of Christian theology ISBN 0-521-43078-X page 98
  148. ^ a b Graham H. Twelftree, Jesus the miracle worker: a historical & theological study ISBN 0-8308-1596-1 page 95
  149. ^ a b Mary in the New Testament by Raymond Edward Brown 1978 ISBN 0-8091-2168-9 page 163
  150. ^ Boring, M. Eugene; Craddock, Fred B. (2004). The people’s New Testament commentary. Louisville, KY: John Knox Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-664-22754-8.
  151. ^ Mills, Watson E.; Bullard, Roger Aubrey (1998). Mercer dictionary of the Bible. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press. p. 556. ISBN 978-0-86554-373-7.
  152. ^ a b Marsh, Clive; Moyise, Steve (2006). Jesus and the Gospels. New York: Clark International. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-567-04073-2.
  153. ^ Morris, Leon (2000) [1992]. The Gospel according to Matthew. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-8028-3696-0.
  154. ^ Jeffrey, David L. (1992). A Dictionary of biblical tradition in English literature. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. pp. 538–540. ISBN 978-0-85244-224-1.
  155. ^ Cox (2007) pp. 30–37
  156. ^ Brownrigg, Ronald (2002). Who’s Who in the New Testament. London: Taylor & Francis. pp. 96–100. ISBN 978-0-415-26036-7.
  157. ^ Kelly, Joseph F. (2008). The Birth of Jesus According to the Gospels. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press. pp. 41–49. ISBN 978-0-8146-2948-2.
  158. ^ A Dictionary of biblical tradition by David L. Jeffrey 1993 ISBN 0-8028-3634-8 pages 538–540
  159. ^ a b Matthew by Charles H. Talbert 2010 ISBN 0-8010-3192-3 pages 29–30
  160. ^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. “Matthew” pp. 272–85.
  161. ^ The Gospel of Matthew by Rudolf Schnackenburg 2002 ISBN 0-8028-4438-3 pages 9–11
  162. ^ Saint Joseph: His Life and His Role in the Church Today by Louise Bourassa Perrotta 2000 ISBN 0-87973-573-2 pages 21 and 110–112
  163. ^ International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: A–D by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1979 ISBN 0-8028-3781-6 page 551
  164. ^ An Intermediate Greek–English Lexicon: The Seventh Edition of Liddell and Scott’s Greek–English Lexicon. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 797.
  165. ^ Dickson, John Jesus: A Short Life, Lion Hudson , 2008, ISBN 0-8254-7802-2 pages 68–69
  166. ^ Fiensy, David Jesus the Galilean Gorgias Press, 2007, ISBN 1-59333-313-7 page 74
  167. ^ Medieval art: a topical dictionary by Leslie Ross 1996 ISBN 978-0-313-29329-0 page 30
  168. ^ a b c The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 page 141–143
  169. ^ a b c d e Christianity: an introduction by Alister E. McGrath 2006 ISBN 978-1-4051-0901-7 pages 16–22
  170. ^ Big Picture of the Bible – New Testament by Lorna Daniels Nichols 2009 ISBN 1-57921-928-4 page 12
  171. ^ John by Gerard Stephen Sloyan 1987 ISBN 0-8042-3125-7 page 11
  172. ^ Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible 2000 ISBN 90-5356-503-5 page 583
  173. ^ Behold the Man: The Real Life of the Historical Jesus by Kirk Kimball 2002 ISBN 978-1-58112-633-4 page 654
  174. ^ a b Eerdmans commentary on the Bible by James D. G. Dunn, John William Rogerson 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3711-5 page 1010
  175. ^ a b c Jesus of history, Christ of faith by Thomas Zanzig 2000 ISBN 0-88489-530-0 page 118
  176. ^ a b The Synoptics: Matthew, Mark, Luke by Ján Majerník, Joseph Ponessa, Laurie Watson Manhardt 2005 ISBN 1-931018-31-6 pages 27–31
  177. ^ a b c The Gospel and Epistles of John: A Concise Commentary by Raymond Edward Brown 1988 ISBN 978-0-8146-1283-5 pages 25–27
  178. ^ a b c d Transfiguration by Dorothy A. Lee 2005 ISBN 978-0-8264-7595-4 pages 21–30
  179. ^ a b c d The Content and the Setting of the Gospel Tradition by Mark Harding, Alanna Nobbs 2010 ISBN 978-0-8028-3318-1 pages 281–282
  180. ^ a b The people’s New Testament commentary by M. Eugene Boring, Fred B. Craddock 2004 ISBN 0-664-22754-6 pages 292–293
  181. ^ a b New Testament History by Richard L. Niswonger 1992 ISBN 0-310-31201-9 pages 143–146
  182. ^ Jesus of Nazareth by Duane S. Crowther 1999 ISBN 0-88290-656-9 page 77
  183. ^ The Life and Ministry of Jesus: The Gospels by Douglas Redford 2007 ISBN 0-7847-1900-4 page 92
  184. ^ A Summary of Christian History by Robert A. Baker, John M. Landers 2005 ISBN 0-8054-3288-4 pages 6–7
  185. ^ The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved by J. Phillips 2004 ISBN 0-9702687-1-8 pages 121–123
  186. ^ Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3 pages 259–261
  187. ^ Sanders (1993) pp. 11, 249
  188. ^ The Gospel according to Matthew by Leon Morris ISBN 0-85111-338-9 page 71
  189. ^ a b The Life and Ministry of Jesus: The Gospels by Douglas Redford 2007 ISBN 0-7847-1900-4 pages 117–130
  190. ^ The Sermon on the mount: a theological investigation by Carl G. Vaught 2001 ISBN 978-0-918954-76-3 pages xi–xiv
  191. ^ A theology of the New Testament by George Eldon Ladd 1993ISBN page 324
  192. ^ The Life and Ministry of Jesus: The Gospels by Douglas Redford 2007 ISBN 0-7847-1900-4 pages 143–160
  193. ^ Cox (2007) pp. 97–110
  194. ^ The Life and Ministry of Jesus: The Gospels by Douglas Redford 2007 ISBN 0-7847-1900-4 pages 165–180
  195. ^ a b c The Christology of Mark’s Gospel by Jack Dean Kingsbury 1983 ISBN 0-8006-2337-1 pages 91–95
  196. ^ a b c d e The Cambridge companion to the Gospels by Stephen C. Barton ISBN 0-521-00261-3 pages 132–133
  197. ^ Cox (2007) pp. 121–135
  198. ^ The Life and Ministry of Jesus: The Gospels by Douglas Redford 2007 ISBN 0-7847-1900-4 pages 189–207
  199. ^ Cox (2007) pp. 137
  200. ^ The Life and Ministry of Jesus: The Gospels by Douglas Redford 2007 ISBN 0-7847-1900-4 pages 211–229
  201. ^ Mercer dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard 1998 ISBN 0-86554-373-9 page 929
  202. ^ Preaching Matthew’s Gospel by Richard A. Jensen 1998 ISBN 978-0-7880-1221-1 pages 25 & 158
  203. ^ Behold the King: A Study of Matthew by Stanley D. Toussaint 2005 ISBN 0-8254-3845-4 pages 215–216
  204. ^ a b c d e Cox (2007) pp. 155–170
  205. ^ The Life and Ministry of Jesus: The Gospels by Douglas Redford 2007 ISBN 0-7847-1900-4 pages 257–274
  206. ^ The missions of Jesus and the disciples according to the Fourth Gospel by Andreas J. Köstenberger 1998 ISBN 0-8028-4255-0 pages 108–109
  207. ^ a b c The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1988 ISBN 0-8028-3785-9 page 571–572
  208. ^ Matthew by Charles H. Talbert 2010 ISBN 0-8010-3192-3 page 149
  209. ^ The Sermons of Jesus the Messiah by E. Keith Howick 2003 ISBN 978-1-886249-02-8 pages 7–9
  210. ^ Friedrich Gustav Lisco 1850 The Parables of Jesus Daniels and Smith Publishers, Philadelphia pages 9–11
  211. ^ Ashton Oxenden, 1864 The parables of our Lord? William Macintosh Publishers, London, page 6
  212. ^ John R. Donahue, Daniel J. Harrington. The Gospel of Mark. Zondervan 1981. ISBN 0-8146-5965-9 p.182
  213. ^ Lockyer, Herbert, 1988 All the Miracles of the Bible ISBN 0-310-28101-6 page 235
  214. ^ a b c The Collegeville Bible Commentary: New Testament by Robert J. Karris 1992 ISBN 0-8146-2211-9 pages 885–886
  215. ^ Who do you say that I am? Essays on Christology by Jack Dean Kingsbury, Mark Allan Powell, David R. Bauer 1999 ISBN 0-664-25752-6 page xvi
  216. ^ The Gospel of Mark, Volume 2 by John R. Donahue, Daniel J. Harrington 2002 ISBN 0-8146-5965-9 page 336
  217. ^ a b c One teacher: Jesus’ teaching role in Matthew’s gospel by John Yueh-Han Yieh 2004 ISBN 3-11-018151-7 pages 240–241
  218. ^ Jesus God and Man by Wolfhart Pannenberg 1968 ISBN 0-664-24468-8 pages 53–54
  219. ^ Transfiguration by Dorothy A. Lee 2005 ISBN 978-0-8264-7595-4 pages 72–76
  220. ^ Metamorphosis: the Transfiguration in Byzantine theology and iconography by Andreas Andreopoulos 2005 ISBN 0-88141-295-3 pages 47–49
  221. ^ Gospel figures in art by Stefano Zuffi 2003 ISBN 978-0-89236-727-6 pages 254–259
  222. ^ a b c All the Apostles of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer 1988 ISBN 0-310-28011-7 pages 106–111
  223. ^ a b c Cox (2007) p. 182
  224. ^ Craig A. Evans 2005 The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: John’s Gospel, Hebrews-Revelation ISBN 0-7814-4228-1 page 122
  225. ^ Introduction to the New Testament Christology by Raymond E. Brown, 1994 ISBN 0-8264-7190-0 pages 78–79
  226. ^ a b The Passion of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew by Donald Senior 1985 ISBN 0-89453-460-2 page 124
  227. ^ a b c d The Synoptics: Matthew, Mark, Luke by Ján Majerník, Joseph Ponessa, Laurie Watson Manhardt 2005 ISBN 1-931018-31-6 pages 133–134
  228. ^ Matthew 19–28 by William David Davies, Dale C. Allison 2004 ISBN 0-567-08375-6 page 120
  229. ^ a b John 12–21 by John MacArthur 2008 ISBN 978-0-8024-0824-2 pages 17–18
  230. ^ a b c d e The people’s New Testament commentary by M. Eugene Boring, Fred B. Craddock 2004 ISBN 0-664-22754-6 pages 256–258
  231. ^ a b c d e The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew-Luke, Volume 1 by Craig A. Evans 2003 ISBN 0-7814-3868-3 page 381–395
  232. ^ The Bible knowledge background commentary: John’s Gospel, Hebrews-Revelation by Craig A. Evans ISBN 0-7814-4228-1 pages 114–118
  233. ^ Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1–11, Luke 19:28–44 John 12:12–19
  234. ^ a b The Bible knowledge background commentary by Craig A. Evans 2005 ISBN 0-7814-4228-1 page 49
  235. ^ a b The Fourth Gospel And the Quest for Jesus by Paul N. Anderson 2006 ISBN 0-567-04394-0 page 158
  236. ^ Matthew 26:14–16, Mark 14:10–11, Luke 22:1–6
  237. ^ The Synoptic Gospels and the Book of Acts by Doremus Almy Hayes 2009 ISBN 1-115-87731-3 page 88
  238. ^ Matthew 26:20, Mark 14:17, Luke 22:21–23 John 13:1
  239. ^ Cox (2007) pp. 180–191
  240. ^ Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church / editors, F. L. Cross & E. A. Livingstone 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3, article Eucharist
  241. ^ Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible 2000 ISBN 90-5356-503-5 page 792
  242. ^ Peter: apostle for the whole church by Pheme Perkins 2000 ISBN 0-567-08743-3 page 85
  243. ^ The Gospel according to Matthew, Volume 1 by Johann Peter Lange 1865 Published by Charles Scribner Co, NY page 499
  244. ^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. “Matthew” pp. 272–85.
  245. ^ John by Gail R. O’Day, Susan Hylen 2006 ISBN 978-0-664-25260-1, Chapter 15: The Farewell Discourse, pages 142–168
  246. ^ The Gospel according to John by Herman Ridderbos 1997 ISBN 978-0-8028-0453-2 The Farewell Prayer: pages 546–576
  247. ^ The Synoptics: Matthew, Mark, Luke by Ján Majerník, Joseph Ponessa, Laurie Watson Manhardt 2005 ISBN 1-931018-31-6 page 169
  248. ^ a b c d e The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament edited by John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck 1983 ISBN 978-0-88207-812-0 pages 83–85
  249. ^ a b c d e f g h i j The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew-Luke, Volume 1 by Craig A. Evans 2003 ISBN 0-7814-3868-3 page 487-500
  250. ^ Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament Doubleday 1997 ISBN 0-385-24767-2, p. 146.
  251. ^ a b c d e f g h Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3 pages 396–400
  252. ^ a b c d e f g h i Holman Concise Bible Dictionary 2011 ISBN 0-8054-9548-7 pages 608–609
  253. ^ a b The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia by Geoffrey W. Bromiley 1982 ISBN 0-8028-3782-4 pages 1050–1052
  254. ^ The Biblical Rembrandt by John I. Durham 2004 ISBN 0865548862163
  255. ^ Matthew 27:1, Mark 15:1, 22:66
  256. ^ Theological dictionary of the New Testament by Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey William Bromiley, Gerhard Friedrich 1980 ISBN 0-8028-2248-7 page 105
  257. ^ Matthew 26:67 Mark 14:65 Luke 22:63-65 John 18:22
  258. ^ Luke’s presentation of Jesus: a christology by Robert F. O’Toole 2004 ISBN 88-7653-625-6 page 166
  259. ^ a b New Testament History by Richard L. Niswonger 1992 ISBN 0-310-31201-9 page 172
  260. ^ The Synoptics: Matthew, Mark, Luke by Ján Majerník, Joseph Ponessa 2005 ISBN 1-931018-31-6 page 181
  261. ^ The Gospel according to Luke by Michael Patella 2005 ISBN 0-8146-2862-1 page 16
  262. ^ Luke: The Gospel of Amazement by Michael Card 2011 ISBN 978-0-8308-3835-6 page 251
  263. ^ “Bible Study Workshop – Lesson 228” (PDF). Retrieved 2011-06-30.
  264. ^ a b Pontius Pilate: portraits of a Roman governor by Warren Carter 2003 ISBN 978-0-8146-5113-1 pages 120–121
  265. ^ The Names of Jesus by Stephen J. Binz 2004 ISBN 1-58595-315-6 pages 81–82
  266. ^ John by H. A. Ironside 2006 ISBN 0-8254-2915-3 page 454
  267. ^ The Gospel and Epistles of John by Raymond Edward Brown 1988 ISBN 0-8146-1283-0 page 93
  268. ^ John Dominic Crossan, (1995) Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography HarperOne ISBN 0-06-061662-8 page 145. J. D. Crossan, page 145 states: “that he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be.”
  269. ^ The Word in this world by Paul William Meyer, John T. Carroll 2004 ISBN 0-664-22701-5 page 112
  270. ^ a b c d e f g The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew-Luke, Volume 1 by Craig A. Evans 2003 ISBN 0-7814-3868-3 page 509-520
  271. ^ a b c The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 pages 211–214
  272. ^ a b Merriam-Webster’s encyclopedia of world religions by Merriam-Webster, Inc. 1999 ISBN 978-0-87779-044-0 page 271
  273. ^ a b Geoffrey W. Bromiley, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Eerdmans Press 1995, ISBN 0-8028-3784-0 page 426
  274. ^ Joseph F. Kelly, An Introduction to the New Testament 2006 ISBN 978-0-8146-5216-9 page 153
  275. ^ Jesus: the complete guide by Leslie Houlden 2006 ISBN 0-8264-8011-X page 627
  276. ^ Vernon K. Robbins in Literary studies in Luke-Acts by Richard P. Thompson (editor) 1998 ISBN 0-86554-563-4 pages 200–201
  277. ^ Mercer dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard 1998 ISBN 0-86554-373-9 page 648
  278. ^ Reading Luke-Acts: dynamics of Biblical narrative by William S. Kurz 1993 ISBN 0-664-25441-1 page 201
  279. ^ The Gospel according to Mark by George Martin 2o05 ISBN 0-8294-1970-5 page 440
  280. ^ Mark by Allen Black 1995 ISBN 0-89900-629-9 page 280
  281. ^ The Gospel of Matthew by Daniel J. Harrington 1991 ISBN 0-8146-5803-2 page 404
  282. ^ The Gospel according to Matthew by Leon Morris ISBN 0-85111-338-9 page 727
  283. ^ Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:9, Luke 24:1 and John 20:1
  284. ^ a b c d e Cox (2007) pp. 216-226
  285. ^ The Acts of the Apostles by Frederick Fyvie Bruce ISBN 978-0-8028-0966-7 page 210
  286. ^ a b The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: The Complete New Testament by Warren W. Wiersbe 2007 ISBN 978-0-7814-4539-9 pages 350–352
  287. ^ a b The Acts of the Apostles by Luke Timothy Johnson, Daniel J. Harrington 1992 ISBN 978-0-8146-5807-9 pages 164–167
  288. ^ a b c Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey’ by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3 pages 431–436
  289. ^ a b The new complete works of Josephus by Flavius Josephus, William Whiston, Paul L. Maier ISBN 0-8254-2924-2 pages 662–663
  290. ^ Birth of Christianity by John Dominic Crossan 1999 ISBN 0567086682 page 21
  291. ^ Brown (1994) p. 964
  292. ^ a b Cambridge companion to Jesus by Markus N. A. Bockmuehl 2001 Cambridge Univ Press ISBN 978-0-521-79678-1 pages 123–124
  293. ^ Dunn, James G. (2003). Jesus Remembered. Eerdmans. p. 142. “about once every generation someone reruns the thesis that Jesus never existed and that the Jesus tradition is a wholesale invention”
  294. ^ The Gospels and Jesus by Graham Stanton, 1989 ISBN 0192132415 Oxford University Press, page 145 states : “Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed”.
  295. ^ Van Voorst (2000) pp. 39-53
  296. ^ Josephus XX by Louis H. Feldman 1965, ISBN 0-674-99502-3 page 496
  297. ^ Van Voorst, Robert E. (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence ISBN 0-8028-4368-9. page 83
  298. ^ Flavius Josephus; Maier, Paul L. (December 1995). Josephus, the essential works: a condensation of Jewish antiquities and The Jewish war ISBN 978-0-8254-3260-6 pages 284–285
  299. ^ The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings by Bart D. Ehrman 1999 ISBN 0-19-512639-4 page 248
  300. ^ Jesus-God and Man by Wolfhart Pannenberg 1983 ISBN 0-664-24468-8 page 316
  301. ^ a b The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins 2006 ISBN 0-618-68000-4 page 122
  302. ^ Jesus in history, thought, and culture: an encyclopedia, Volume 1 by James Leslie Houlden 2003 ISBN 1-57607-856-6 page 660
  303. ^ Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 15
  304. ^ Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period by Larry R. Helyer (Jul 5, 2002) ISBN 0830826785 page 493
  305. ^ Jewish Responses To Early Christians by Claudia Setzer (Nov 1, 1994) ISBN 080062680X page 215
  306. ^ In Chapter VIII Trypho’s statement: “But Christ —if He has indeed been born, and exists anywhere—is unknown, and does not even know Himself” refers to Christ, which Trypho (as other Jews) still awaited. Justin styled the conversation on John 7:27, with Trypho objecting to Jesus (who was from Galillee) being Christ given that the origins of Jesus were known, but those for Christ could not be, as the Pharisees said of Jesus in John 7:27: “we know this man whence he is: but when the Christ cometh, no one knoweth whence he is.” References:Testimony of the Beloved Disciple, The: Narrative, History, and Theology in the Gospel of John by Richard Bauckham (Nov 1, 2007) ISBN 080103485X page 232 & Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew-Luke by David C. Cook and Craig A. Evans (Feb 27, 2003) ISBN 0781438683 page 285, & The Gospel According to John: An Introduction and Commentary by Colin G. Kruse (Jun 2004) ISBN 0802827713 page 188 & The Gospel of John: A Commentary by Frederick Dale Bruner (Feb 22, 2012) ISBN 0802866352 page 485
  307. ^ Ed Hindson, Ergun Caner, The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics: Surveying the Evidence for The Truth of Christianity, page 179 (Harvest House Publishers, 2008). ISBN 978-0-7369-2084-1
  308. ^ The Oxford handbook of early Christian studies by Susan Ashbrook Harvey, David G. Hunter 2008 ISBN 0-19-927156-9 page 378
  309. ^ Graham Stanton, The Gospels and Jesus 2002 ISBN 0-19-924616-5 Oxford University Press page 145
  310. ^ a b c d Jesus: the complete guide by Leslie Houlden 2006 082648011X pages 63–99
  311. ^ a b Teaching Christianity: a world religions approach by Clive Erricker 1987 ISBN 0-7188-2634-5 page 44
  312. ^ Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, I. Howard Marshall, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (InterVarsity Press, 1992), page 442
  313. ^ a b James Barr, Which language did Jesus speak, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 1970; 53(1) pages 9–29 [4]
  314. ^ a b Handbook to exegesis of the New Testament by Stanley E. Porter 1997 ISBN 90-04-09921-2 pages 110–112
  315. ^ Discovering the language of Jesus by Douglas Hamp 2005 ISBN 1-59751-017-3 page 3-4
  316. ^ Jesus in history and myth by R. Joseph Hoffmann 1986 ISBN 0-87975-332-3 page 98
  317. ^ James Barr‘s review article Which language did Jesus speak (referenced above) states that Aramaic has the widest support among scholars.
  318. ^ Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 pages 313-315
  319. ^ Amy-Jill Levine in The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. Princeton Univ Press 2006 ISBN 978-0-691-00992-6 page 10
  320. ^ Robin M. Jensen “Jesus in Christian art”, Chapter 29 of The Blackwell Companion to Jesus edited by Delbert Burkett 2010 ISBN 1-4051-9362-X page 477-502
  321. ^ a b The likeness of the king: a prehistory of portraiture in late medieval France by Stephen Perkinson 2009 ISBN 0-226-65879-1 page 30
  322. ^ a b c The forging of races: race and scripture in the Protestant Atlantic world by Colin Kidd 2006 ISBN 0-521-79324-6 pages 48–51
  323. ^ Revelation by William C. Pender 1998 ISBN 0-664-22858-5 pages 14–16
  324. ^ Revelation 1-11 by John MacArthur, Jr. ISBN pages 37–39
  325. ^ The Aryan Jesus: Christian theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany by Susannah Heschel 2008 ISBN 0-691-12531-7 page 32
  326. ^ Jesus and the origins of Christianity by Maurice Goguel, New York, Harper, 1960 page 255
  327. ^ “The Black Christ” Chapter 25 of The Blackwell Companion to Jesus edited by Delbert Burkett 2010 ISBN 1-4051-9362-X pages 410-420
  328. ^ The New Westminster Dictionary of Church History by Robert Benedetto 2006 ISBN 0-8264-8011-X pages 51–53
  329. ^ The image of God the Father in Orthodox theology and iconography by Steven Bigham 1995 ISBN 1-879038-15-3 pages 226–227
  330. ^ Reformation and the Visual Arts by Sergiusz Michalski (May 10, 1993) ISBN 0415065127 page 195
  331. ^ Light from the Christian East: An Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition by James R. Payton (Sep 19, 2007) ISBN 0830825940 pages 178-179
  332. ^ The Dwelling of the Light: Praying with Icons of Christ by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, 2003 ISBN 1853115622 page 83
  333. ^ Vatican website: General audience 29 October 1997
  334. ^ Vatican website: General audience 6 May 2009
  335. ^ Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions by Merriam-Webster (Jan 2000) ISBN 0877790442 page 231
  336. ^ The Orthodox Christian World Augustine Casiday 2012 ISBN 0415455162 page 447
  337. ^ Dillenberger 1999, p. 5
  338. ^  Thurston, Herbert (1913). “Holy Nails“. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  339. ^ Pope John Paul II (1998-05-24). Pope John Paul II’s address in Turin Cathedral. Holy See
  340. ^ a b Ehrman, Bart D.. Jesus, Interrupted, HarperCollins, 2009. ISBN 0-06-117393-2
  341. ^ Kenneth Keulman, Critical Moments in Religious History, Mercer University Press, p. 56
  342. ^ Andrew F. Gregory, Christopher Mark Tuckett, The Reception of the New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers, Oxford University Press, p. 178
  343. ^ “The New Testament was complete, or substantially complete, about AD 100, the majority of the writings being in existence twenty to forty years before this…the situation is encouraging from the historian’s point of view, for the first three gospels were written at a time when many were alive who could remember the things that Jesus said and did… At any rate, the time elapsing between the evangelic events and the writing of most of the New Testament books was, from the standpoint of historical research, satisfactorily short.” Bruce, F. F.: The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, pp. 12–14, InterVarsity Press, USA, 1997.
  344. ^ “There is no reason to doubt that we have in the Gospel tradition several authentic fragments of His [Jesus Christ’s] teaching (albeit in Greek translation).” “Jesus Christ”. Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  345. ^ Peter, Kirby (2001–2007). “Early Christian Writings: Gospel of Mark”. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  346. ^ Achtemeier, Paul J. (1991–). “The Gospel of Mark”. The Anchor Bible Dictonary. 4. New York, New York: Doubleday. p. 545. ISBN 0-385-19362-9.
  347. ^ Meier, John P. (1991). A Marginal Jew. New York, New York: Doubleday. pp. v.2 955–6. ISBN 0-385-46993-4.
  348. ^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. “The Gospels” p. 266-268
  349. ^ “Matthew, Gospel acc. to St.” Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  350. ^ a b Boyd, Gregory. “The Jesus Legend: The Case for the Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition”. P 370–380. 2007. Baker Academic. ISBN 0-8010-3114-1
  351. ^ a b Strobel, Lee. ”The Case for Christ”. 1998.
  352. ^ a b c d Bruce, F.F. (1981). The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?. InterVarsity Press.
  353. ^ A Brief Introduction to the New Testament by Bart D. Ehrman 2008 ISBN 0-19-536934-3 page 136
  354. ^ Crossan, John Dominic (1995). Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperOne. p. 145. ISBN 0-06-061662-8. “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus…agree with the Christian accounts on at least that basic fact.”
  355. ^ Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3 pages 211–214
  356. ^ a b A Century of Theological and Religious Studies in Britain, 1902–2002 by Ernest Nicholson 2004 ISBN 0-19-726305-4 pages 125–126
  357. ^ John P. Meier “How do we decide what comes from Jesus” in The Historical Jesus in Recent Research by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7 pages 126–128
  358. ^ John P. Meier “How do we decide what comes from Jesus” in The Historical Jesus in Recent Research by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7 pages 132–136
  359. ^ Sanders (1993) p. 57
  360. ^ Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium by Bart D. Ehrman 1999 ISBN 0-19-512473-1 pages 22–23
  361. ^ a b Studying the Historical Jesus: Evaluations of the State of Current Research by Craig A. Evans 1998 ISBN 90-04-11142-5 pages 337–341
  362. ^ The Galilean Jewishness of Jesus: retrieving the Jewish origins of Christianity, Bernard J. Lee, (Paulist Press, 1988), page 119–120
  363. ^ Mercer Dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Edgar V. McKnight and Roger A. Bullard 2001 ISBN 0-86554-373-9 page
  364. ^ Studies in Early Christology by Martin Hengel 1995 ISBN 0-567-09705-6 page 93
  365. ^ Prophet and teacher: an introduction to the historical Jesus by William R. Herzog 2005 ISBN 0-664-22528-4 page 15
  366. ^ a b Theissen (1998)
  367. ^ Funk, Robert W., Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar. The five gospels. HarperSanFrancisco. 1993. “Introduction,” pp. 1–30
  368. ^ Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005—article “Historical Jesus, Quest of the”
  369. ^ Crossan, John Dominic. The essential Jesus. Edison: Castle Books. 1998. p. 146
  370. ^ See Schwietzer, Albert The Quest of the Historical Jesus: A Critical Study of its Progress from Reimarus to Wrede, pp. 370–371, 402. Scribner (1968), ISBN 0-02-089240-3; Ehrman, Bart Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, Oxford University Press USA, 1999. ISBN 0-19-512474-X. Also see Crossan, John Dominic, The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus, pp. 305–344. Harper Collins, 1998. ISBN 0-06-061659-8
  371. ^ The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth by Ben Witherington 1997 ISBN 0-8308-1544-9 pages 161–163
  372. ^ The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth by Ben Witherington 1997 ISBN 0-8308-1544-9 pages 116–120
  373. ^ Jesus and Virtue Ethics by Daniel J. Harrington 2005 ISBN pages 9–10
  374. ^ Theissen (1998) p. 569–572
  375. ^ Haim Cohn, The Trial and Death of Jesus, Ktav Publishing House, 1977:129,133–134.
  376. ^ Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus by Gerald O’Collins 2009 ISBN 0-19-955787-X pages 1–3 “As regards the ‘things which Jesus did’, let me note that he left no letters or other personal documents.”—page 2
  377. ^ Jonathan L. Reed, “Archaeological contributions to the study of Jesus and the Gospels” in The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. Princeton Univ Press 2006 ISBN 978-0-691-00992-6 pages 40–47
  378. ^ Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: a re-examination of the evidence by Jonathan L. Reed 2002 ISBN 1-56338-394-2 pages xi–xii
  379. ^ Craig A. Evans (Mar 26, 2012). The Archaeological Evidence For Jesus. The Huffington Post.
  380. ^ a b “Jesus Research and Archaeology: A New Perspective” by James H. Charlesworth in Jesus and archaeology edited by James H. Charlesworth 2006 ISBN 0-8028-4880-X pages 11–15
  381. ^ What are they saying about the historical Jesus? by David B. Gowler 2007 ISBN 0-8091-4445-X page 102
  382. ^ Craig A. Evans (Mar 16, 2012). Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 0-664-23413-5.
  383. ^ Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: a re-examination of the evidence by Jonathan L. Reed 2002 ISBN 1-56338-394-2 page 18
  384. ^ “Pharisees”, Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  385. ^ Based on a comparison of the gospels with the Talmud and other Jewish literature. Maccoby, Hyam Jesus the Pharisee, Scm Press, 2003. ISBN 0-334-02914-7; Falk, Harvey Jesus the Pharisee: A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus, Wipf & Stock Publishers (2003). ISBN 1-59244-313-3.
  386. ^ Neusner, Jacob (2000). A Rabbi Talks With Jesus. Montreal; Ithaca: McGill-Queen’s University Press. ISBN 978-0-7735-2046-2. Rabbi Neusner contends that Jesus’ teachings were closer to the House of Shammai than the House of Hillel.
  387. ^ Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus Seminar. The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998.
  388. ^ “Sadducees”. Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  389. ^ Based on a comparison of the gospels with the Dead Sea Scrolls, especially the Teacher of Righteousness and Pierced Messiah. Eisenman, Robert James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Penguin (Non-Classics), 1998. ISBN 0-14-025773-X; Stegemann, Hartmut The Library of Qumran: On the Essenes, Qumran, John the Baptist, and Jesus. Grand Rapids MI, 1998. See also Broshi, Magen, “What Jesus Learned from the Essenes”, Biblical Archaeology Review, 30:1, pg. 32–37, 64. Magen notes similarities between Jesus’ teachings on the virtue of poverty and divorce, and Essene teachings as related in Josephus’ The Jewish Wars and in the Damascus Document of the Dead Sea Scrolls, respectively. See also Akers, Keith The Lost Religion of Jesus. Lantern, 2000. ISBN 1-930051-26-3
  390. ^ Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, p. 14
  391. ^ a b “Zealots”. Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  392. ^ “Jesus Christ”. Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  393. ^ a b A theory of primitive Christian religion by Gerd Theissen 2003 ISBN 0-334-02913-9 pages 23–27
  394. ^ a b The historical Jesus: ancient evidence for the life of Christ by Gary Habermas 1996 ISBN 0-89900-732-5 pages 27–31
  395. ^ a b Van Voorst (2000) pp. 7–8
  396. ^ a b The historical Jesus: ancient evidence for the life of Christ by Gary Habermas 1996 ISBN 0-89900-732-5 pages 47–51
  397. ^ The Jesus legend: a case for the historical reliability of the synoptic gospels’ by Paul R. Eddy, Gregory A. Boyd 2007 ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 162
  398. ^ a b c The Cambridge companion to Jesus by Markus N. A. Bockmuehl 2001 Cambridge Univ Press ISBN 978-0-521-79678-1 pages 141–144
  399. ^ Dictionary of biblical criticism and interpretation by Stanley E. Porter 2009 ISBN 0-415-20100-4 page 94
  400. ^ a b c d The historical Jesus in the twentieth century, 1900–1950 by Walter P. Weaver 1999 ISBN 1-56338-280-6 page 45–50
  401. ^ a b The historical Jesus question by Gregory W. Dawes 2001 ISBN 0-664-22458-X pages 77–79
  402. ^ The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined by David Friedrich Strauss 2010 ISBN 1-61640-309-8 pages 39–43 and 87–91
  403. ^ The making of the new spirituality by James A. Herrick 2003 ISBN 0-8308-2398-0 pages 58–65
  404. ^ a b The Blackwell Guide to Continental Philosophy edited by Robert Solomon, David Sherman 2008 ISBN 978-1-4051-4304-2 page 64
  405. ^ Biographical dictionary of literary influences: the nineteenth century by John Powell 2000 ISBN 0-313-30422-X page 37
  406. ^ The philosophy and politics of Bruno Bauer by Douglas Moggach 2003 ISBN 0-521-81977-6 page 62
  407. ^ Bruno Bauer and Karl Marx: the influence of Bruno Bauer on Marx’s thought by Zvi Rosen 1977 ISBN 90-247-1948-8 pages 127–129
  408. ^ The logic of religion by Jude P. Dougherty 2003 ISBN 0-8132-1308-8 pages 95–96
  409. ^ Van Voorst (2000) pp. 11–15
  410. ^ a b c The historical Jesus in the twentieth century, 1900–1950 by Walter P. Weaver 1999 ISBN 1-56338-280-6 pages 55–59
  411. ^ a b c Jesus: the complete guide by Leslie Houlden page 729
  412. ^ Russia after Lenin: politics, culture and society, 1921–1929 by Vladimir N. Brovkin 1998 ISBN 0-415-17991-2 pages 96–98
  413. ^ Culture and customs of Russia by Sydney Schultze 2000 ISBN 0-313-31101-3 page 28
  414. ^ The Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Volume 1 by John Anthony McGuckin 2011 ISBN 1-4051-8539-2 pages 383–384
  415. ^ Stanton, Graham. The Gospels and Jesus. Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 145 (first published 1989).
    • Wells, G. A. “Jesus, Historicity of” Tom Flynn (ed.) The New Encyclopedia of Disbelief. Prometheus, 2007, p. 446.
    • For a summary of the mainstream position, see Eddy, Paul R. and Boyd, Gregory A. The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition. Baker Academic, 2007, pp. 24–27.
    • Also see Dickson, March 21, 2008.
  416. ^ a b Jesus in history, thought, and culture: an encyclopedia, Volume 1 by James Leslie Houlden 2003 ISBN 1-57607-856-6 page 660
  417. ^ a b Van Voorst (2000) p. 14
  418. ^ Stanton, Graham. The Gospels and Jesus. Oxford University Press, 2002; first published 1989, p. 143.
  419. ^ James D.G. Dunn, 1985 The Evidence for Jesus ISBN 0-664-24698-2 page 29
  420. ^ Familiar stranger: an introduction to Jesus of Nazareth by Michael James McClymond 2004 ISBN 0-8028-2680-6 page 163
  421. ^ For Well’s views see: G.A. Wells, The Jesus Myth, Open Court 1999, ISBN 0-8126-9392-2
  422. ^ The Cambridge companion to Jesus edited by Markus N. A. Bockmuehl 2001 ISBN 0-521-79678-4 pages 156–157
  423. ^ The historical Christ and the Jesus of faith by C. Stephen Evans 1996, Oxford Univ Press ISBN 0-19-826397-X page v
  424. ^ The Blackwell Companion to Jesus edited by Delbert Burkett 2010 ISBN 1-4051-9362-X page 1 [5]
  425. ^ Jackson, Gregory Lee, Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant: a doctrinal comparison 1993 ISBN 978-0-615-16635-3 Part One: “Areas of Agreement”, pages 11–17
  426. ^ The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Its History, Doctrine by John Anthony McGuckin 2010 pages 6–7
  427. ^ Basic Christian doctrine by John H. Leith 1993 ISBN 0-664-25192-7 pages 1–2
  428. ^ “Great Schism”, Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3
  429. ^ Oxford Companion to the Bible p.649
  430. ^ The Christology of the New Testament by Oscar Cullmann 1959 ISBN 0-664-24351-7 page 79
  431. ^ The Christology of Anselm of Canterbury by Dániel Deme 2004 ISBN 0-7546-3779-4 pages 199–200
  432. ^ Systematic Theology, Volume 2 by Wolfhart Pannenberg 2004 0567084663 ISBN pages 297–303
  433. ^ Leo Donald Davis The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325–787): Their History and Theology 1990 by Leo Davis ISBN 978-0-8146-5616-7 page 68
  434. ^ The Resurrection of Jesus by Eduard Riggenbach Page 69
  435. ^ Mark 16:19, Luke 22:69, Acts 2:33, 5:31, 7:55–56, Romans 8:34, Eph 1:20, Col 3:1, Hebrews 1:3, 1:13, 10:12, 12:2, 1Peter 3:22
  436. ^ Acts 1:9–11
  437. ^ Outlines of dogmatic theology, Volume 2 by Sylvester Hunter 2010 ISBN 1-146-98633-5 page 443
  438. ^ a b Jesus: the complete guide by Leslie Houlden 2006 ISBN 0-8264-8011-X page 426
  439. ^ Ta’anit (2:1)
  440. ^ Exodus Rabba
  441. ^ Simmons, Shraga, “Why Jews Do not Believe in Jesus“, Retrieved 2007-04-15; “Why Jews Do not Believe in Jesus“, Ohr Samayach — Ask the Rabbi, Retrieved 2007-04-15; “Why do not Jews believe that Jesus was the Messiah?“,, Retrieved 2007-04-15
  442. ^ Van Voorst (2000)
  443. ^ Daniel Boyarin, Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999
  444. ^ Jeffrey Rubenstein Rabbinic Stories (The Classics of Western Spirituality) New York: The Paulist Press, 2002
  445. ^ Hilchot Malachim (laws concerning kings) (Hebrew)“,, Retrieved 2007-04-15
  446. ^ Waxman, Jonathan (2006). “Messianic Jews Are Not Jews”. United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Archived from the original on 2008-01-09. Retrieved 2008-01-15. “Judaism has held that the Mashiach will come and usher in a new era; not that he will proclaim his arrival, die and wait centuries to finish his task. To continue to assert that Jesus was the Mashiach goes against the belief that the Mashiach will transform the world when he does come, not merely hint at a future transformation at some undefined time to come… Judaism rejects the claim that a new covenant was created with Jesus and asserts instead that the chain of Tradition reaching back to Moshe continues to make valid claims on our lives, and serve as more than mere window dressing.”
  447. ^ Contemporary American Reform Responsa, #68, “Question 18.3.4: Reform’s Position On…What is unacceptable practice?“, Retrieved 2007-04-15.
  448. ^ The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, p.158
  449. ^ “Jesus, Son of Mary” in Oxford Islamic Studies Online
  450. ^ “Jesus in the Quran”. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
  451. ^ a b c Christianity, Islam, and the West by Robert A. Burns, 2011, ISBN 0-7618-5559-9 page 32
  452. ^ a b Islam: A Guide for Jews and Christians by F. E. Peters 2005 Princeton University Press ISBN 0-691-12233-4 page 23
  453. ^ a b Holy people of the world: a cross-cultural encyclopedia, Volume 1 by Phyllis G. Jestice 2004 ISBN 1-57607-355-6 pages 558–559
  454. ^ Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. VI, pg. 629
  455. ^ a b c “Isa”, Encyclopedia of Islam
  456. ^ Fasching, deChant (2001) p. 241
  457. ^ a b Encyclopedia of the Qur’an, Jesus
  458. ^ Qur’an, 5th Surah, vs. 116.
  459. ^ “Jesus in India”. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  460. ^ a b c Stockman, Robert (1992). “Jesus Christ in the Bahá’í Writings”. Bahá’í Studies Review (London: Association for Baha’i Studies English-Speaking Europe) 2 (1).
  461. ^ Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha’i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 128. ISBN 0-521-86251-5.
  462. ^ Lepard, Brian D. (2008). In the Glory of the Father: The Bahai Faith and Christianity. Bahai Publishing. p. 118. ISBN 1931847347.
  463. ^ a b Smith, Peter (2000). “peace”. A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá’í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 214. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  464. ^ Beverley, James A., Hollywood’s Idol, Christianity Today, “Jesus Christ also lived previous lives”, he said. “So, you see, he reached a high state, either as a Bodhisattva, or an enlightened person, through Buddhist practice or something like that”. Retrieved 2007-04-20.
  465. ^ Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Reps, ed. (1998). “Story 16: Not far from Buddhahood”. Zen Flesh Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings. Tuttle Publishing. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-8048-3186-4. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  466. ^ Jawarharlal Nehru (1942). Glimpses of World History. New York: John Day Co.. p. 84.
  467. ^ Van Voorst (2000) page 17
  468. ^ The Historical Jesus in Recent Research edited by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7 page 303
  469. ^ Jesus: The Complete Guide 2006 by Leslie Houlden ISBN 082648011X page 140
  470. ^ Who Is Jesus? by John Dominic Crossan, Richard G. Watts 1999 ISBN 0664258425 pages 28–29
  471. ^ Bevan, A. A. (1930). “Manichaeism”. In James Hastings. Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. 8. London.
  472. ^ Augustine of Hippo: A Biography by Peter Robert Lamont Brown 2000 ISBN 0520227573 page 43
  473. ^ Bailey, Alice; Khul, Djwhal (2005) [1932]. A Treatise on Cosmic Fire. Lucis Publishing Company. p. 1193. ISBN 978-0-85330-117-2.
  474. ^ Reece, Erik (Dec 2005). “Jesus Without The Miracles – Thomas Jefferson’s Bible and the Gospel of Thomas”. Harper’s Magazine 311 (1867): 33–41. Archived from the original on 2011-12-09.
  475. ^ Tradition and incarnation: foundations of Christian theology by William L. Portier 1993 ISBN 0-8091-3467-5 page 218
  476. ^ Chadwick, H., Origen:Contra Celsum, CUP (1965), p. xxviii
  477. ^ J. Stevenson, A New Eusebius: Documents illustrating the history of the Church to AD 337 1957; New Edition, revised by W. H. C. Frend, page 257, 1987. ISBN 0-281-04268-3
  478. ^ Friedrich Nietzsche, 1895, Twilight of the Idols, Morality as Anti-nature, 1.
  479. ^ Russell, Bertrand (1927). Why I am not a Christian in “Why I am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects,” 2004, Routledge Classics, p.13.


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Biblical Hermeneutics

 Biblical Hermeneutics


There are varieties of methods, criticisms, interpretations, approaches, and theologies in biblical and theological interpretations. It is very easy for anyone to get confused. The plurality of methods, approaches, interpretations, Biblical books are complex in their text, language, culture, and history. So a variety of competencies is needed to interpret them. All the methods, approaches, and theologies help us to better understand the deeper meaning of the biblical texts. It was in the search for the true meaning of these texts that theological hermeneutics developed. From the 17th century onwards we see the development of ‘Hermeneutics’ as an important and independent discipline in classical philology and interpretation in general. In contemporary philosophy and theology ‘Hermeneutics’ plays a vital role. This is mainly due to the influence of the works of Schleiermacher, Wilhelm Dilthey, Karl Barth, Rudolf Bultmann, Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur.


There was a time when biblical interpretation was left entirely to theologians, historians, and philosophers. Now biblical interpretation is considered as an integral part of biblical studies. The Bible is not just an ancient text; it is the most translated of all books. It is sacred Scripture that was read in liturgical assemblies and was preached and commented upon for thousands of years by thousands of people. In our discussion we will look at these realities.

1 Why is biblical interpretation necessary?

Often people say: “Just read the Bible and do what it says!” The problem with this attitude is that different people, even though they read the same Bible, come to very different conclusions about what it actually says! Many people also tend to think of the Bible as “God’s little instruction book for life.” While this statement has a kernel of truth – the Bible certainly does contain much teaching on how to live – it is far more than just an instruction manual. It is the written record of God revealing in history who He is, what He is like, who we are, what we are like, and what He expects of us. This is the overall message of the Bible in a nutshell. The necessity and goal of Biblical interpretation are explained below:

v  The Bible was originally written to people who lived in a different place, in a very different culture, at a different time and period of history, and who spoke different languages. It also contains several different types of literature (called genres).

v  Because the Bible is God’s word in history revealed to people in history, each passage has n historical context – an particular author, audience, purpose and occasion. On the other hand, since the Bible is also the word of God, its contents are also eternally relevant.

v  The goal of interpretation is not to come up with the most unique interpretation (unique interpretations are usually wrong), but to discover the original intended meaning of a passage – the way the original audience understood it. The task of discovering the original intended meaning is called exegesis.

v  The key to doing good exegesis is reading the text very carefully, paying close attention to the details it describes, and asking the text the right questions. This is critical to finding the correct interpretation. Bad interpretation results directly from bad exegesis.


The terminologies frequently used in Hermeneutics are explained in this section.

2.1 Hermeneutics

The term hermeneutics comes from the Greek verb hermeneuein, meaning ‘to interpret, translate, explain, declare’ and from nominal hermeneutike meaning [‘the art of’] interpretation’. Its Latin equivalent is the verb interpretari, from which comes the noun interpretation. Hence, hermeneutics reflects the Latin plural ‘hermeneutica’ meaning the science of interpretation.


The term “hermeneutics” is derived from the name of the god Hermes, who in Greek mythology acts as the messenger between the gods and human beings. In this process Hermes makes intelligible to human beings God’s message which otherwise is not intelligible to them. In Listra, Paul was taken for Hermes (Acts 14:12) for between the crippled man and Barnabas it was Paul who spoke.

In the broader sense hermeneutics is the quest for meaning. In this broader context, the word hermeneutic has three meanings:


a)      Interpretation by speech itself: Language expresses and interprets what is in one’s mind or even that which constitutes one’s identity, being and person. In biblical discussion we have to deal with the capacity of human language to express God’s mind, will, and person.

b)      Interpretation through the translation: The process of translation from one language to another is a process that goes beyond the mechanical equivalents of words. It is concerned with the transference from one culture and worldview to another. This can also be a translation from an unintelligible language to an intelligible one (hermeneia of tongues, in 1 Cor 12:10, is a charistmatic gift with a revelatory dimension).

c)      Interpretation by commentary and explanation: It is a more formal aspect. Here the interpreter gives systematic comments and explanations on the texts.

In the narrower sense, hermeneutics refers to the principles, method, and techniques used to interpret written texts. The biblical hermeneutical theory is in contact with the philosophical reflection on hermeneutics, it has, however, assumed its own itinerary due to the special nature of the biblical texts as an inspired normative book of faith.


The function of the interpreter consists in seeking for “that meaning which the sacred writer. in a determined situation and given the circumstance of his time and culture intended to express and did in fact express through the medium of contemporary literary form” (DV 12). Inasmuch as the intention of the author is found in the sense of the text, we must try to find the sense present in the text, because it is what the sacred writer intended and did express. What is important is what the text actually says and not that which the author may have thought but did not write.

2.2 Exegesis

The Greek verb Exegeomai means to draw out, to develop, to explain. Thus exegesis explains the text of the scripture drawing out its message and significance.


Until recently hermeneutics meant a theoretical reflection on meaning as distinct from exegesis, an art where the rules detected in hermenutics were applied practically. For us here, exegesis, refers to the analysis of a particular text of scripture to discover what the author wanted to say to his contemporaries, and hermeneutics refers to what the same text says to us today in a context different from the original one. Further, it is within the competence of hermeneutics to establish the principles, method, and techniques used to interpret written texts.


3. Text and the Process of Communication

3.1Biblical Text

The Bible contains texts almost 2950 years old, which were produced over a span of 1100 years. Even through the same methods and criteria used for the understanding of any ancient book are necessary and indispensable, for the Bible these are not sufficient. One must consider also the aspect of faith, as there are divinely inspired books of faith which are bequeathed to the Church as the norm and the nourishment of her life. So to understand the true significance that the Word of God is to have for us, we must also consider this added dimension in the interpretation of the biblical text.


Scripture reveals the will of God. Interpretation is essential in discerning this will. Morses, Prophets, Scribes, and many others have acted as interpreters of God’s will. Jesus himself is the supreme interpreter and revealer of God’s will. The NT writers interpreted the OT and the Christ Event. Even after the formation of the canon, the need for interpretation continued. Today, guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church discerns the will of God as it is revealed in the Bible.

Phases of Biblical Interpretation