8 Archaeological Sites That Jesus May have Visited
The Gospels claim that Jesus visited numerous sites across modern-day Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Lebanon. But how can we tell which accounts are real versus legend? To find out, archaeologists have excavated areas at various religious sites. Their discoveries provide valuable information about what these sites were like in ancient times, and whether or not Jesus could have visited them. Here's a look at some of the more interesting places the historical Jesus may have set foot in, and what he was doing there.
In Jesus' time, the Temple Mount was the location of the Second Temple, the holiest place in Judaism. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus was furious when he saw money changers (people who exchange coins) and merchants working on the Temple Mount. He overturned their tables, declaring that they were turning a house of prayer into a den of robbers, the Gospel says.
In A.D. 70 during a Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire, the Roman Army destroyed the Second Temple. The Western Wall (sometimes called the Wailing Wall) is one of the most important parts of the Second Temple that still stands.
Today, the Temple Mount is a holy place for both Jews and Muslims (who call it Al-Haram ash-Sharif, which means "noble sanctuary" in Arabic), and is a source of conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. Because of its religious importance and the ongoing conflict, little archaeological work has been done on the site; even so, excavations conducted nearby have revealed some interesting remains, such as a 3,000-year-old inscription engraved on pottery.
The Gospels say that although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he spent much of his early life in Nazareth, in northern Israel. Recent archaeological research reveals that during the first century A.D., Nazareth was a Jewish settlement whose inhabitants appear to have rejected the spread of Roman culture.
Archaeological work has also revealed that centuries after Jesus' death, people began to venerate a house at Nazareth as the one that Jesus grew up in. The leaders of the Byzantine Empire (which controlled Nazareth up until the seventh century A.D.) had the house decorated with mosaics and built the Church of the Nutrition over the house to protect it.
A study of artifacts found within the house show that it was in use during the first century A.D., the time that Jesus lived. Whether it was really the house where Jesus grew up is unknown. Archaeologists have since found two other first century houses in Nazareth.
Sea of Galilee
Several stories in the Gospels took place on or beside the Sea of Galilee (also called Yam [lake] Kinneret in Hebrew). The story of Jesus walking on water took place on that sea, and some of Jesus' disciples worked as fishermen there. Whether or not these stories are real is unknown.
Even so, numerous archaeological remains have been found around the Sea of Galilee, including an immense stone structure that weighs 60,000 tons and may be more than 4,000 years old. Found beneath the sea's surface, the cone-shaped structure is made of basalt cobbles and boulders, resembling other sites that mark burials.
The remains of a 2,000-year-old fishing boat was found deep in the mud along the Sea of Galilee in 1986. At 27 feet (8.2 meters) long and 7.5 feet (2.3 m) wide, the boat likely carried a crew of five people. Made of cedar planks built on an oak frame, the vessel provides a glimpse into how fishing was conducted at the time that Jesus lived; the artifact resides in the Yigal Allon Center in Kibbutz Ginosar.
The Gospels claim that Jesus was born around A.D. 1 in the town of Bethlehem, located in what is now the West Bank. Excavations in Bethlehem and its environs reveal that the town has been inhabited for thousands of years. A necropolis reported in 2016 is scattered with tombs that date back more than 4,000 years. Bethlehem's fame as the site of Jesus' birthplace has made it an important place for Christian pilgrimages. The Church of the Nativity was constructed there during the sixth century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Looters have destroyed many archaeological sites in Bethlehem due to a mix of factors, including poor economic conditions, a lack of resources for Palestine's antiquities service, demand from collectors of looted artifacts, and problems stemming from the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict, which has created an environment that encourages looting. A study published in the Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, found that some looters in the Bethlehem area have even turned to spirit possession in hopes of finding gold artifacts.
The Gospels describe how Jesus visited Jericho and performed a miracle by restoring a blind man's sight. Huge crowds followed him around the city; Jesus stayed at the house of a tax collector named Zacchaeus, who was so desperate to see Jesus that he climbed a tree to spot him over a crowd.
Archaeological excavations have shown that Jericho, also known as Tell es-Sultan and located on the West Bank, has been inhabited for over 10,000 years, making it one of the oldest towns on Earth. Although Jericho was destroyed several times, it has always been rebuilt and is still inhabited today.
King Herod, a king of Judea who ruled with the support of Rome, constructed three palaces near Jericho, where he lived during the winters. The palace he lived in changed over time. Archaeological excavations suggest that these palaces may have ceased being used after Herod's death in 4 B.C. However, Jericho continued to be inhabited through Roman times up to the present day.
Jesus reportedly spent some time in Capernaum, a town located near the Sea of Galilee, according to the Gospels. There, the Gospels say, he performed several miracles, including healing the paralyzed servant of a centurion (a Roman military officer).
Jesus also spent some time teaching in Capernaum's synagogue, the Gospels say. Archaeologists discovered Capernaum and excavated its synagogue several decades ago, finding that the synagogue had been rebuilt and modified during ancient times. Much of the synagogue dates to centuries after Jesus' life. However, the foundations of a first-century synagogue, where Jesus likely taught, were found beneath the remains of the more recent synagogue.
Archaeologists have also found homes in Capernaum that date back around 2,000 years, to the time that Jesus lived. One of the houses appears to have been venerated in ancient times as the home of Peter, one of Jesus' disciples. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus visited this home and healed Peter's mother-in-law, who was suffering from a fever.
Pool of Bethesda
The Gospel of John says that when Jesus was in Jerusalem, he went to a pool called Bethesda, which people believed had healing powers. He talked to a man who had been an invalid for 38 years and wasn't able to get into the pool. When Jesus heard the man's story, he told him "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk," according to the Gospel. The story goes that the man did just that, his mobility having been restored by Jesus. So, according to the Gospel, while the pool didn't necessarily have the power to cure people, Jesus did have that power.
Archaeologists have excavated two pools that were venerated in ancient times as being the Pool of Bethesda. A fifth-century church had been constructed over them. Whether these pools were in use during the time of Jesus, and whether either of them is really the Pool of Bethesda, is unclear, but people who lived centuries after Jesus' time believed that they were.
Greek ruins tell stories, from Acropolis to Jesus
I saw the news on a sunny spring day, traipsing through ruins where the Oracle held court, in a place once deemed the center of the Earth.
The report was dated by a couple of thousand years, carved in ancient Greek letters on a marble slab, filled with passages of the era’s noteworthy events. It was also an example of how the abundant remnants of the ancients still have relevance here in Greece, where vibrant modern life coexists casually with the past. Our journey included stops in the Bronze Age, the Golden Age, the eras of the Roman occupation and Byzantine influence, with side steps to the paths of the disciples of Jesus, and some of the wonders of the ancient world.
Traveling with my family on an organized tour, we started in Athens, where a third of the Greek population lives and works. The city spreads out below the Acropolis, which glows under lights by night for an awe-inspiring view from virtually anywhere in the city. (Building-height restrictions of 24 stories ensure its view will not be obstructed.)
We joined a crowd on the same stone pathway once traversed by throngs as part of an annual rite, known as the Panathenaic procession, to the site of the grandest of temples around 500 B.C.
We clambered past the ruins of the formal entrance, the Propylaia, and stood before the remains of the Parthenon, where a huge statue of the goddess Athena once stood. I was struck by how much of the edifice is still intact, although restoration is ongoing.
Nearby and also remarkably intact is the Erechtheion, famous for massive statues of women used as supporting pillars. Below the walls is Theatre of Herod Atticus, dating to A.D. 161 but now restored and in use.
From here, we followed the footsteps of Socrates through what was once the political center of Athens — the Agora. Notable is the fully restored, colonnaded Stoa of Attalos, which features a fine museum. While only 15 of the original columns remain, their sheer size shows that the Zeus temple at one time was larger than the Parthenon, and the largest in Greece.
Athens offers enough history to consume months or years of sightseeing, so these highlights are just a sample. But there’s so much more outside the city, not only in terms of history but also natural beauty. Marathon Plain, northeast of Athens, was the scene of the Athenians’ battle victory in 490 B.C. over the Persians. Beyond there, the traffic thins out as the road meanders past olive plantations, along the shimmering Gulf of Corinth and gradually into the highlands.
In Delphi, we were again following the footsteps of the ancients on the Sacred Way on the slopes of Mount Parnassos. The upward path brought us past the ruins of the temple of Apollo, dating back several hundred years B.C., and the excavated site of the Oracle, whose ambiguous incantations came at a price in sacrifices and donations. Still intact is the conical stone marking the mythological center of the Earth.
We passed the slab that served as a supporting wall and also a newspaper of the day, and on to a 2,500-year-old theater carved into the hillside. Above was a newer stadium, built by the Romans during their occupation and still remarkably intact. Like many excavated sites, this was cordoned off. But our next stop, Olympia, was not.
The route to the site of the first Olympics presented a constant contrast between the old and modern: A space-age cable-stay bridge carried us to Peloponnese, a peninsula on the other side of the canal at Corinth. At the foot of the bridge was a well-preserved fort dating to the days of the Crusades. Homes along the way, featuring traditional orange tiled roofs, also had rooftop hot-water heaters energized by the abundant sunshine.
And mountaintops once considered the realm of the gods are now the domain of a newer power — energy. Numerous wind farms have sprouted along high ridges that streak across the island.
Walking past the site of the Palestra in Olympia, a visitor can imagine contestants from the early games — they started here in 776 B.C. — practicing boxing and wrestling. In the center of what was essentially an Olympic village are the remains of yet another Temple of Zeus, its once-grand columns now scattered about the base. This is also the site of another ancient wonder, where the statue of Zeus once stood. We stood at the site of the ritual lighting of the Olympic flame, which even today is lit in the ancient way, using the sun’s rays and a mirror, and then under the vaulted arch leading to the stadium, which even by the ancients’ standards is quite simple.
A bowl carved into the earth and nearby hillsides provided room for thousands of spectators. And the field where the early races were held is open. We were among the visitors who could not help but try a quick dash across the hard-packed dirt.
Moving even farther back in time, to the 1,700-1,100 B.C. late Bronze Age, we were guided by our driver, Pericles, eastward through Arkadian Mountain passes to Mycenae. While much of its fortified palace atop a citadel lies in ruins, some of its features remain intact, such as the 46-foot-thick stone wall to warn off invaders. They are so immense that even Greeks in later centuries believed they must have built by giants; that’s why they are known as “Cyclopean” walls.
Visitors can walk to a corner of the citadel and enter a dark opening where 99 steps lead to a cistern that provided water to the hilltop city. Bring a flashlight and watch your step.
Nearby, we entered the conical stone tomb once thought to be that of Agamemnon, of Trojan War fame. It turns out to be that of Mycenaean King Atreus, who was laid to rest in Egyptian fashion in his underground tomb. No need for a flashlight here; a golden shaft of sunlight provides all the illumination needed to behold this “Beehive Tomb.”
Moving east from Mycenae, a 21st century traveler can literally step to the center stage of the fourth century B.C. at Epidavros, site of the well-preserved outdoor theater that seated 14,000 — and still does for special presentations. Visitors from Spain, Germany, Russia and elsewhere took turns standing at the stage to sing songs, recite poetry or just speak out to their compatriots sitting high in the semicircular structure. Their words and melodies could be heard in the top tiers.
Past the seaport of Nafplion, a former capital of Greece, we stopped for coffee at the edge of the Corinth Canal, a deep gorge that connects the Ionian and Aegean seas in a region where St. Paul preached to the early Christians. (You can briefly catapult back to modernity at the canal, where a bungy-jumping business offers thrill leaps from a bridge.)
A visit to Greece is incomplete without touring at least some of the islands. From Piraeus, we sailed to Mykonos, in the Aegean’s Cyclades islands. Rough April seas prevented us from going ashore. But the seas had calmed by the time we berthed in Rhodes.
Here, the Colossus of Rhodes overlooked the entry of ancient visitors until it was claimed by an earthquake in 227 B.C. While the Colossus is gone, the castle built by the Knights of St. John during the Crusades retains much of its original magnificence. Visitors today roam the inner side of the ramparts, where scores of shops and restaurants line the meandering walkways.
If you’re looking for a break from sightseeing for some beach time, Elli Beach is a short and pleasant walk from the harbor, just past the casino. Like most beaches, it has pebbles. For a sandy beach, it’s a cab ride (about $20 or 15 euros) to touristy Faliraki, which attracts a rowdy young crowd in the summer.
Our cruise took us on to the tiny island of Patmos, marked by its gleaming white homes below the 11th century Monastery of St. John, a mountaintop bastion known for its collection of books, some dating to the sixth century. Visitors can enter the cavern where St. John composed the last book of the New Testament, Revelations. The vista of the town below and Aegean Sea is nothing less than spectacular.
Our visit coincided with the Greek Orthodox Easter. We watched in the village as a couple of local men carried a lamb on a spit to a home where a roasting pit awaited and the traditional feast would soon begin.
The holiest day was rung in with great celebration the previous night. I watched from the deck of our ship as fireworks lit the harbor, flares rose, horns blared, ship whistles sang out and church bells pealed. Then I caught a glimpse of a somewhat familiar custom, with a twist: A woman on deck handing an officer two red-dyed eggs.
GREECE NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATION
Click here for a link to archaeological sites
Greek tourism office in U.S.: 212-421-5777
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The Hebrew Bible is a treasure trove of truth, and provides the lens through which to understand this passage regarding the Greeks seeking Jesus.
First, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem resonated not with the Feast of Passover & Unleavened Bread (springtime), but the Feast of Tabernacles (autumn). That is, when the people took boughs and palm branches to welcome Jesus, they were singing from Psalm 118, which was the psalm describing the surrounding nations (Ps 118:10-14), and finally the cry that the Lord save from these nations (Ps 118:25). In other words, "Hosanna" was meant to convey: O, save us (from the Romans because you are the King of Israel).
The second imagery of Tabernacles hearkens to the wilderness journey of 40 years. That is, the people, notwithstanding that they were geographically located in the land promised to Abraham, were "not at home" in their own land because of the subjugation by the Romans. To reinforce this point, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem by Jesus hearkened not to Solomon entering Jerusalem (1 Ki 1:38-39), but to King David mounted on a foal who entered Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. (Please click here for more detailed explanation of the parallel.) The point here is that in direct parallel to King David, Jesus also mounted on a foal from the Mount of Olives and entered Jerusalem, which (parallel to the situation and time of King David) was dominated by an illegitimate power on the throne. While the argument that the parallel could apply to Solomon (since Adonijah usurped the throne of David at that time), the question of "Why two animals instead of one?" is only solved if we compare the triumphal entry of Jesus to David.
Now to the question.
The Greeks that now appear on the scene take us into the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for which they had arrived into Jerusalem (John 12:20). These Greeks seek Jesus in the same way some of the disciples found Jesus; that is, by the concatenated word-of-mouth process of Andrew and Philip talking to others who became disciples of Jesus, which takes us back to John 1:35-47. But Philip and Andrew received the calling directly from Jesus, with no intermediary (as was not the case with Simon Peter and Nathaniel, who were called to Jesus through Andrew and Philip, respectively). Philip and Andrew now appear to Jesus, who indicates that he (Jesus) himself will draw all men to himself (John 12:32, which is compared to John 6:44 to indicate how this direct calling will occur).
Jesus will therefore draw men to himself by "dying like the grain of wheat" (Jn 12:24), and then being "lifted up." These Greeks came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Passover & Unleavened Bread, which commemorated the dying of the Paschal Lamb, and the subsequent release from the bondage of Egypt. The Feast of Passover & Unleavened Bread therefore was about those who killed the first-born lamb (and thus suffering "lost" life and then escaping Egypt) versus those who remained in Egypt and "lost" life, when the Angel of the Lord killed the first-born sons of Egypt. The parting of the Red Sea and the resurrection of Jesus are also in direct parallel in the Feast of Passover & Unleavened Bread, when the armies of Egypt were destroyed as was the power of Satan: thus Jesus adds, "...the ruler of this world will be cast out" (John 12:31). Please click here for a detailed analysis of those parallels.
Finally, the way that Jesus will draw all men to himself is by being "lifted up" (Jn 12:32) in the same way that the as the bronze serpent was lifted up in the wilderness (Jn 3:14), which brings us back to the imagery of Tabernacles. While these people escaped Egypt, they were only saved from the sting of the serpent of sin (whose infection was death) by believing the word of the Lord and looking upon the bronze serpent "lifted up."
The point here is that if you connect the dots and believe the word of the Lord, you see the light (Jn 12:35-36), since the question of being "lifted up" contradicted the then current paradigm of the Christ as never dying (Jn 12:34). This explanation of Jesus was rejected by his listeners (Jn 12:37) notwithstanding that few had believed (Jn 12:42). The words of Isaiah cited concerning the "blinding of the eyes" of those who see and especially the "hardness of heart" (Jn 12:40) hearken again back to the Exodus of Egypt, when the Israelites at that time resisted the Lord.
When we realize that the Greeks are seeking Jesus during the Feast of Passover & Unleavened Bread, we then come full circle that the Lord "was found by those who did not seek me; I became manifest to those who did not ask for me" (Rom 10:20, which cites Is 65:1). These Greeks find Jesus in the wilderness of Israel, where the occupying Romans will crucify the King of the Jews, who is the first-born son (Paschal Lamb). They find Jesus because Jesus is "lifted up" on the cross from where he will call the Greeks directly to himself.
Shock theory: Jesus Christ was actually a Greek religious preacher
- “Aurelian (Roman Emperor) vowed to erect temples and statues to his honor.”
- “Was there ever anything among men more holy?
- “He reportedly restored life to the dead and spoke of things beyond the human reach
- “And, unlike Jesus, there is evidence to prove that Apollonius actually existed.”
Most scholars agree that he was a contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth, but was he Jesus himself?
According to ancient sources, Apollonius in conformity with the Pythagorean tradition, opposed animal sacrifice, and lived on a frugal, strictly vegetarian diet. A minimalist view is that he spent his entire life in the cities of his native Asia Minor (Turkey) and of northern Syria, in particular his home town of Tyana, Ephesus, Aegae, and Antioch, though the letters suggest wider travels.
“There seems no reason to deny that, like many wandering philosophers, he at least visited Rome.” But Nazareth, Jerusalem and Palestine? No ancient evidence about it.
Comparisons with Jesus
American scholar Bart D. Ehrman who is critical of New Testament describes an important figure from the first century without first revealing he is writing about the stories attached to Apollonius of Tyana:
“Even before he was born, it was known that he would be someone special. A supernatural being informed his mother the child she was to conceive would not be a mere mortal but would be divine. He was born miraculously, and he became an unusually precocious young man. As an adult he left home and went on an itinerant preaching ministry, urging his listeners to live, not for the material things of this world, but for what is spiritual. He gathered a number of disciples around him, who became convinced that his teachings were divinely inspired, in no small part because he himself was divine. He proved it to them by doing many miracles, healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead. But at the end of his life he roused opposition, and his enemies delivered him over to the Roman authorities for judgment. Still, after he left this world, he returned to meet his followers in order to convince them that he was not really dead but lived on in the heavenly realm. Later some of his followers wrote books about him.”
Ehrman goes on to say that Apollonius and Jesus were real persons and that Apollonius’ followers believed Jesus to be a fraud.
Roman aristocrat Sossianus Hierocles argued in the 3rd century that the doctrines and the life of Apollonius were more valuable than those of Jesus.
hardly any scholar or conspiracy theorist can ever prove that Jesus was in fact Apollonius. However, Greeks who love conspiracy theories and have been claiming all the time that “Jesus was Greek” will now be delighted. Even thought Jesus was supposedly speaking Aramaic, an ancient Semitic sub-language family to which also Hebrew belongs.
These are tiny “unimportant” details of no worth for the faithful…
PS in variation of the known nationalistic-patriotic claim “When Greeks were building Parthenons, the others [ no-Greeks, ‘barbarians’] were sitting on trees” we can now claim “When Greeks were Gods, the others were eating acorn.”
To go did greece jesus
Central figure of Christianity
"Christ" and "Jesus of Nazareth" redirect here. For other uses, see Christ (disambiguation), Jesus of Nazareth (disambiguation), and Jesus (disambiguation).
Jesus (Greek: Ἰησοῦς, romanized: Iēsoûs, likely from Hebrew/Aramaic: יֵשׁוּעַ, romanized: Yēšūaʿ; c. 4 BC – AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ,[e] was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity, the world's largest religion. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited messiah (the Christ), prophesied in the Hebrew Bible.
Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed historically.[f] The quest for the historical Jesus has yielded some uncertainty on the historical reliability of the Gospels and on how closely the Jesus portrayed in the New Testament reflects the historical Jesus, as the only records of Jesus' life are contained in the Gospels.[g][h] Jesus was a Galilean Jew, who was baptized by John the Baptist and began his own ministry. His teachings were initially conserved by oral transmission and he himself was often referred to as "rabbi". Jesus debated with fellow Jews on how to best follow God, engaged in healings, taught in parables and gathered followers. He was arrested and tried by the Jewish authorities, turned over to the Roman government, and crucified on the order of Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect. After his death, his followers believed he rose from the dead, and the community they formed eventually became the early Church.
Christian doctrines include the beliefs that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of a virgin named Mary, performed miracles, founded the Christian Church, died by crucifixion as a sacrifice to achieve atonement for sin, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven, from where he will return. Commonly, Christians believe Jesus enables people to be reconciled to God. The Nicene Creed asserts that Jesus will judge the living and the dead either before or after their bodily resurrection, an event tied to the Second Coming of Jesus in Christian eschatology. The great majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son, the second of three persons of the Trinity. A small minority of Christian denominationsreject Trinitarianism, wholly or partly, as non-scriptural. The birth of Jesus is celebrated annually on December 25 as Christmas.[i] His crucifixion is honored on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. The widely used calendar era "AD", from the Latin anno Domini ("year of the Lord"), and the equivalent alternative "CE", are based on the approximate birthdate of Jesus.[j]
Jesus is also revered outside of Christianity in religions such as Manichaeism, Islam and the Bahá’í Faith. Manicheanism was the first organised religion outside of Christianity to venerate Jesus, viewing him as an important prophet.In Islam, Jesus (often referred to by his Quranic name ʿĪsā) is considered the penultimate prophet of God and the messiah.Muslims believe Jesus was born of a virgin, but was neither God nor a son of God. The Quran states that Jesus never claimed to be divine. Most Muslims do not believe that he was killed or crucified, but that God raised him into Heaven while he was still alive. In contrast, Judaism rejects the belief that Jesus was the awaited messiah, arguing that he did not fulfill messianic prophecies, and was neither divine nor resurrected.
The name Jesus
Further information: Jesus (name), Holy Name of Jesus, Names and titles of Jesus in the New Testament, and Names of God in Christianity
A typical Jew in Jesus' time had only one name, sometimes followed by the phrase "son of [father's name]", or the individual's hometown. Thus, in the New Testament, Jesus is commonly referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth".[k] Jesus' neighbors in Nazareth refer to him as "the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon", "the carpenter's son", or "Joseph's son". In the Gospel of John, the disciple Philip refers to him as "Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth".
The English name Jesus is derived from the Latin Iesus, itself a transliteration of the Greek Ἰησοῦς (Iēsoûs). The Greek form is probably a rendering of the Hebrew and Aramaic name ישוע (Yēšūaʿ), a shorter variant of the earlier Hebrew name יהושע (Yəhōšūaʿ, English: "Joshua"). The name Yəhōšūaʿ likely means "Yah saves". This was also the name of Moses's successor and of a Jewish high priest in the Hebrew Bible, both of whom are represented in the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) as Iēsoûs. The name Yeshua appears to have been in use in Judea at the time of the birth of Jesus. The 1st-century works of historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote in Koine Greek, the same language as that of the New Testament, refer to at least twenty different people with the name Jesus (i.e. Ἰησοῦς). The etymology of Jesus' name in the context of the New Testament is generally given as "Yahweh is salvation".
Since the early period of Christianity, Christians have commonly referred to Jesus as "Jesus Christ". "Jesus Christ" is the name that the author of the Gospel of John claims Jesus gave to himself during his high priestly prayer. The word Christ was a title or office ("the Christ"), not a given name. It derives from the Greek Χριστός (Christos), a translation of the Hebrew mashiakh (משיח) meaning "anointed", and is usually transliterated into English as "messiah". In biblical Judaism, sacred oil was used to anoint certain exceptionally holy people and objects as part of their religious investiture.
Christians of the time designated Jesus as "the Christ" because they believed him to be the messiah, whose arrival is prophesied in the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament. In postbiblical usage, Christ became viewed as a name—one part of "Jesus Christ". Etymons of the term Christian (meaning a follower of Christ) have been in use since the 1st century.
Life and teachings in the New Testament
Main article: Life of Jesus in the New Testament
See also: Gospel, Gospel harmony, Historical reliability of the Gospels, and Internal consistency of the New Testament
See also: New Testament places associated with Jesus and Names and titles of Jesus in the New Testament
The four canonical gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are the foremost sources for the life and message of Jesus. But other parts of the New Testament also include references to key episodes in his life, such as the Last Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.Acts of the Apostles refers to Jesus' early ministry and its anticipation by John the Baptist. Acts 1:1-11 says more about the Ascension of Jesus than the canonical gospels do. In the undisputed Pauline letters, which were written earlier than the Gospels, Jesus' words or instructions are cited several times.[l]
Some early Christian groups had separate descriptions of Jesus' life and teachings that are not in the New Testament. These include the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Peter, and Gospel of Judas, the Apocryphon of James, and many other apocryphal writings. Most scholars conclude that these were written much later and are less reliable accounts than the canonical gospels.
The canonical gospels are four accounts, each by a different author. The authors of the Gospels are all anonymous, attributed by tradition to the four evangelists, each with close ties to Jesus: Mark by John Mark, an associate of Peter;Matthew by one of Jesus' disciples;Luke by a companion of Paul mentioned in a few epistles; and John by another of Jesus' disciples, the "beloved disciple".
One important aspect of the study of the Gospels is the literary genre under which they fall. Genre "is a key convention guiding both the composition and the interpretation of writings". Whether the gospel authors set out to write novels, myths, histories, or biographies has a tremendous impact on how they ought to be interpreted. Some recent studies suggest that the genre of the Gospels ought to be situated within the realm of ancient biography. Although not without critics, the position that the Gospels are a type of ancient biography is the consensus among scholars today.
Concerning the accuracy of the accounts, viewpoints run the gamut from considering them inerrant descriptions of Jesus' life, to doubting whether they are historically reliable on a number of points, to considering them to provide very little historical information about his life beyond the basics. According to a broad scholarly consensus, the Synoptic Gospels (the first three—Matthew, Mark, and Luke) are the most reliable sources of information about Jesus.
According to the Marcan priority, the first to be written was the Gospel of Mark (written AD 60–75), followed by the Gospel of Matthew (AD 65–85), the Gospel of Luke (AD 65–95), and the Gospel of John (AD 75–100). Most scholars agree that the authors of Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source for their gospels. Since Matthew and Luke also share some content not found in Mark, many scholars assume that they used another source (commonly called the "Q source") in addition to Mark.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels, from the Greek σύν (syn "together") and ὄψις (opsis "view"), because they are similar in content, narrative arrangement, language and paragraph structure, and one can easily set them next to each other and synoptically compare what is in them. Scholars generally agree that it is impossible to find any direct literary relationship between the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John. While the flow of some events (such as Jesus' baptism, transfiguration, crucifixion and interactions with the apostles) are shared among the Synoptic Gospels, incidents such as the transfiguration do not appear in John, which also differs on other matters, such as the Cleansing of the Temple.
|Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels||Jesus in the Gospel of John|
|Begins with Jesus' baptism or birth to a virgin.||Begins with creation, with no birth story.|
|Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist is mentioned.||Baptism presupposed but not mentioned.|
|Jesus teaches mostly in parables and aphorisms.||Jesus teaches in long, involved discourses.|
|Jesus teaches primarily about the Kingdom of God, little about himself.||Jesus teaches primarily and extensively about himself.|
|Mentions Jesus speaking up for the poor and oppressed.||Does not mention much, if anything, about Jesus speaking up for the poor and oppressed.|
|Jesus exorcises demons.||No mention of Jesus exorcising demons.|
|Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.||No confession from Peter is mentioned.|
|Jesus does not wash his hands.||Jesus is not said to not wash his hands.|
|Jesus' disciples do not fast.||No mention of disciples not fasting.|
|Jesus' disciples pick grain on the Sabbath.||No mention of Jesus' disciples picking grain on the Sabbath.|
|Jesus is transfigured.||Jesus' transfiguration is not mentioned.|
|Jesus attends one Passover festival.||Jesus attends three or four Passover festivals.|
|Cleansing of the Temple occurs late.||Cleansing of the Temple is early.|
|Jesus ushers in a new covenant with a last supper.||Jesus washes the disciples' feet.|
|Jesus prays to be spared his death.||Jesus shows no weakness in the face of death.|
|Jesus is betrayed with a kiss.||Jesus announces his identity.|
|Jesus is arrested by Jewish leaders.||Jesus is arrested by Roman and Temple guards.|
|Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross.||Jesus carries his cross alone.|
|Temple curtain tears at Jesus' death.||Jesus' side is pierced with a lance.|
|Many women visit Jesus' tomb.||Only Mary Magdalene visits Jesus' tomb.|
The Synoptics emphasize different aspects of Jesus. In Mark, Jesus is the Son of God whose mighty works demonstrate the presence of God's Kingdom. He is a tireless wonder worker, the servant of both God and man. This short gospel records few of Jesus' words or teachings. The Gospel of Matthew emphasizes that Jesus is the fulfillment of God's will as revealed in the Old Testament, and the Lord of the Church. He is the "Son of David", a "king", and the messiah. Luke presents Jesus as the divine-human savior who shows compassion to the needy. He is the friend of sinners and outcasts, come to seek and save the lost. This gospel includes well-known parables, such as the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son.
The prologue to the Gospel of John identifies Jesus as an incarnation of the divine Word (Logos). As the Word, Jesus was eternally present with God, active in all creation, and the source of humanity's moral and spiritual nature. Jesus is not only greater than any past human prophet but greater than any prophet could be. He not only speaks God's Word; he is God's Word. In the Gospel of John, Jesus reveals his divine role publicly. Here he is the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the True Vine and more.
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. As stated in John 21:25, the Gospels do not claim to provide an exhaustive list of the events in Jesus' life. The accounts were primarily written as theological documents in the context of early Christianity, with timelines as a secondary consideration. In this respect, it is noteworthy that the Gospels devote about one third of their text to the last week of Jesus' life in Jerusalem, referred to as the Passion. The Gospels do not provide enough details to satisfy the demands of modern historians regarding exact dates, but it is possible to draw from them a general picture of Jesus' life story.
Genealogy and nativity
Main articles: Genealogy of Jesus and Nativity of Jesus
Jesus was Jewish, born to Mary, wife of Joseph. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke offer two accounts of his genealogy. Matthew traces Jesus' ancestry to Abraham through David. Luke traces Jesus' ancestry through Adam to God. The lists are identical between Abraham and David, but differ radically from that point. Matthew has 27 generations from David to Joseph, whereas Luke has 42, with almost no overlap between the names on the two lists.[m] Various theories have been put forward to explain why the two genealogies are so different.[n]
Matthew and Luke each describe Jesus' birth, especially that Jesus was born to a virgin named Mary in Bethlehem in fulfillment of prophecy. Luke's account emphasizes events before the birth of Jesus and centers on Mary, while Matthew's mostly covers those after the birth and centers on Joseph. Both accounts state that Jesus was born to Joseph and Mary, his betrothed, in Bethlehem, and both support the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus, according to which Jesus was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb when she was still a virgin. At the same time, there is evidence, at least in the Lukan Acts of the Apostles, that Jesus was thought to have had, like many figures in antiquity, a dual paternity, since there it is stated he descended from the seed or loins of David. By taking him as his own, Joseph will give him the necessary Davidic descent.
In Matthew, Joseph is troubled because Mary, his betrothed, is pregnant, but in the first of Joseph's four dreams an angel assures him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, because her child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 2:1–12, wise men or Magi from the East bring gifts to the young Jesus as the King of the Jews. They find him in a house in Bethlehem. Jesus is now a child and not an infant. Matthew focuses on an event after the Luke Nativity where Jesus was an infant. In Matthew Herod the Great hears of Jesus' birth and, wanting him killed, orders the murders of male infants in Bethlehem under age of 2. But an angel warns Joseph in his second dream, and the family flees to Egypt—later to return and settle in Nazareth.
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 ordered by Caesar Augustus. While there Mary gives birth to Jesus, and as they have found no room in the inn, she places the newborn in a manger. An angel announces the birth to a group of shepherds, who go to Bethlehem to see Jesus, and subsequently spread the news abroad. After the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, Joseph, Mary and Jesus return to Nazareth.
Early life, family, and profession
Main article: Christ Child
See also: Return of the family of Jesus to Nazareth, Unknown years of Jesus, and Brothers of Jesus
Jesus' childhood home is identified in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew as the town of Nazareth in Galilee, where he lived with his family. Although Joseph appears in descriptions of Jesus' childhood, no mention is made of him thereafter. His other family members—his mother, Mary, his brothersJames, Joses (or Joseph), Judas and Simon and his unnamed sisters—are mentioned in the Gospels and other sources.
The Gospel of Mark reports that Jesus comes into conflict with his neighbors and family. Jesus' mother and brothers come to get him because people are saying that he is crazy. Jesus responds that his followers are his true family. In John, Mary follows Jesus to his crucifixion, and he expresses concern over her well-being.
Jesus is called a τέκτων (tektōn) in Mark 6:3, traditionally understood as carpenter but it could cover makers of objects in various materials, including builders. The Gospels indicate that Jesus could read, paraphrase, and debate scripture, but this does not necessarily mean that he received formal scribal training.
When Jesus is presented as a baby in the temple per Jewish Law, a man named Simeon says to Mary and Joseph that Jesus "shall stand as a sign of contradiction, while a sword will pierce your own soul. Then the secret thoughts of many will come to light." Several years later, when Jesus goes missing on a visit to Jerusalem, his parents find him in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions, and the people are amazed at his understanding and answers; Mary scolds Jesus for going missing, to which Jesus replies that he must "be in his father's house".
Baptism and temptation
Main articles: Baptism of Jesus and Temptation of Christ
The Synoptic accounts of Jesus' baptism are all preceded by information about John the Baptist. They show John preaching penance and repentance for the remission of sins and encouraging the giving of alms to the poor as he baptizes people in the area of the Jordan River around Perea and foretells the arrival of someone "more powerful" than he. Later, Jesus identifies John as "the Elijah who was to come", the prophet who was expected to arrive before the "great and terrible day of the Lord". Likewise, Luke says that John had the spirit and power of Elijah.
In the Gospel of Mark, John the Baptist baptizes Jesus, and as he comes out of the water he sees the Holy Spirit descending to him like a dove and he hears a voice from heaven declaring him to be God's Son. This is one of two events described in the Gospels where a voice from Heaven calls Jesus "Son", the other being the Transfiguration. The spirit then drives him into the wilderness where he is tempted by Satan. Jesus then begins his ministry after John's arrest. Jesus' baptism in the Gospel of Matthew is similar. Here, before Jesus' baptism, John protests, saying, "I need to be baptized by you." Jesus instructs him to carry on with the baptism "to fulfill all righteousness". Matthew also details the three temptations that Satan offers Jesus in the wilderness. In the Gospel of Luke, the Holy Spirit descends as a dove after everyone has been baptized and Jesus is praying. John implicitly recognizes Jesus from prison after sending his followers to ask about him. Jesus' baptism and temptation serve as preparation for his public ministry.
The Gospel of John leaves out Jesus' baptism and temptation. Here, John the Baptist testifies that he saw the Spirit descend on Jesus. John publicly proclaims Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God, and some of John's followers become disciples of Jesus. In this Gospel, John denies that he is Elijah. Before John is imprisoned, Jesus leads his followers to baptize disciples as well, and they baptize more people than John.
Main article: Ministry of Jesus
The Synoptics depict two distinct geographical settings in Jesus' ministry. The first takes place north of Judea, in Galilee, where Jesus conducts a successful ministry, and the second shows Jesus rejected and killed when he travels to Jerusalem. Often referred to as "rabbi", Jesus preaches his message orally. Notably, Jesus forbids those who recognize him as the messiah to speak of it, including people he heals and demons he exorcises (see Messianic Secret).
John depicts Jesus' ministry as largely taking place in and around Jerusalem, rather than in Galilee; and Jesus' divine identity is openly proclaimed and immediately recognized.
Scholars divide the ministry of Jesus into several stages. The Galilean ministry begins when Jesus returns to Galilee from the Judaean Desert after rebuffing the temptation of Satan. Jesus preaches around Galilee, and in Matthew 4:18–20, his first disciples, who will eventually form the core of the early Church, encounter him and begin to travel with him. This period includes the Sermon on the Mount, one of Jesus' major discourses, as well as the calming of the storm, the feeding of the 5,000, walking on water and a number of other miracles and parables. It ends with the Confession of Peter and the Transfiguration.
As Jesus travels towards Jerusalem, in the Perean ministry, he returns to the area where he was baptized, about a third of the way down from the Sea of Galilee along the Jordan River. The final ministry in Jerusalem begins with Jesus' triumphal entry into the city on Palm Sunday. In the Synoptic Gospels, during that week Jesus drives the money changers from the Second Temple and Judas bargains to betray him. This period culminates in the Last Supper and the Farewell Discourse.
Disciples and followers
Near the beginning of his ministry, Jesus appoints twelve apostles. In Matthew and Mark, despite Jesus only briefly requesting that they join him, Jesus' first four apostles, who were fishermen, are described as immediately consenting, and abandoning their nets and boats to do so. In John, Jesus' first two apostles were disciples of John the Baptist. The Baptist sees Jesus and calls him the Lamb of God; the two hear this and follow Jesus. In addition to the Twelve Apostles, the opening of the passage of the Sermon on the Plain identifies a much larger group of people as disciples. Also, in Luke 10:1–16 Jesus sends 70 or 72 of his followers in pairs to prepare towns for his prospective visit. They are instructed to accept hospitality, heal the sick and spread the word that the Kingdom of God is coming.
In Mark, the disciples are notably obtuse. They fail to understand Jesus' miracles, his parables, or what "rising from the dead" means. When Jesus is later arrested, they desert him.
Teachings and miracles
Main articles: Sermon on the Mount, Parables of Jesus, and Miracles of Jesus
See also: Sermon on the Plain, Five Discourses of Matthew, Farewell Discourse, Olivet Discourse, and Bread of Life Discourse
In the Synoptics, Jesus teaches extensively, often in parables, about the Kingdom of God (or, in Matthew, the Kingdom of Heaven). The Kingdom is described as both imminent and already present in the ministry of Jesus. Jesus promises inclusion in the Kingdom for those who accept his message. He talks of the "Son of Man", an apocalyptic figure who will come to gather the chosen.
Jesus calls people to repent their sins and to devote themselves completely to God. He tells his followers to adhere to Jewish law, although he is perceived by some to have broken the law himself, for example regarding the Sabbath. When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus replies: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind ... And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Other ethical teachings of Jesus include loving your enemies, refraining from hatred and lust, turning the other cheek, and forgiving people who have sinned against you.
John's Gospel presents the teachings of Jesus not merely as his own preaching, but as divine revelation. John the Baptist, for example, states in John 3:34: "He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure." In John 7:16 Jesus says, "My teaching is not mine but his who sent me." He asserts the same thing in John 14:10: "Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works."
Approximately 30 parables form about one third of Jesus' recorded teachings. The parables appear within longer sermons and at other places in the narrative. They often contain symbolism, and usually relate the physical world to the spiritual. Common themes in these tales include the kindness and generosity of God and the perils of transgression. Some of his parables, such as the Prodigal Son, are relatively simple, while others, such as the Growing Seed, are sophisticated, profound and abstruse. When asked by his disciples why he speaks in parables to the people, Jesus replies that the chosen disciples have been given to "know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven", unlike the rest of their people, "For the one who has will be given more and he will have in abundance. But the one who does not have will be deprived even more", going on to say that the majority of their generation have grown "dull hearts" and thus are unable to understand.
In the gospel accounts, Jesus devotes a large portion of his ministry performing miracles, especially healings. The miracles can be classified into two main categories: healing miracles and nature miracles. The healing miracles include cures for physical ailments, exorcisms, and resurrections of the dead. The nature miracles show Jesus' power over nature, and include turning water into wine, walking on water, and calming a storm, among others. Jesus states that his miracles are from a divine source. When his opponents suddenly accuse him of performing exorcisms by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, Jesus counters that he performs them by the "Spirit of God" (Matthew 12:28) or "finger of God", arguing that all logic suggests that Satan would not let his demons assist the Children of God because it would divide Satan's house and bring his kingdom to desolation; furthermore, he asks his opponents that if he exorcises by Beel'zebub, "by whom do your sons cast them out?" In Matthew 12:31–32, he goes on to say that while all manner of sin, "even insults against God" or "insults against the son of man", shall be forgiven, whoever insults goodness (or "The Holy Spirit") shall never be forgiven; they carry the guilt of their sin forever.
In John, Jesus' miracles are described as "signs", performed to prove his mission and divinity. In the Synoptics, when asked by some teachers of the Law and some Pharisees to give miraculous signs to prove his authority, Jesus refuses, saying that no sign shall come to corrupt and evil people except the sign of the prophet Jonah. Also, in the Synoptic Gospels, the crowds regularly respond to Jesus' miracles with awe and press on him to heal their sick. In John's Gospel, Jesus is presented as unpressured by the crowds, who often respond to his miracles with trust and faith. One characteristic shared among all miracles of Jesus in the gospel accounts is that he performed them freely and never requested or accepted any form of payment. The gospel episodes that include descriptions of the miracles of Jesus also often include teachings, and the miracles themselves involve an element of teaching. Many of the miracles teach the importance of faith. In the cleansing of ten lepers and the raising of Jairus's daughter, for instance, the beneficiaries are told that their healing was due to their faith.
Proclamation as Christ and Transfiguration
Main articles: Confession of Peter and Transfiguration of Jesus
At about the middle of each of the three Synoptic Gospels are two significant events: the Confession of Peter and the Transfiguration of Jesus. These two events are not mentioned in the Gospel of John.
In his Confession, Peter tells Jesus, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus affirms that Peter's confession is divinely revealed truth. After the confession, Jesus tells his disciples about his upcoming death and resurrection.
In the Transfiguration, Jesus takes Peter and two other apostles up an unnamed mountain, where "he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white." A bright cloud appears around them, and a voice from the cloud says, "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him."
The description of the last week of the life of Jesus (often called Passion Week) occupies about one third of the narrative in the canonical gospels, starting with Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem and ending with his Crucifixion.
Activities in Jerusalem
Main articles: Triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Cleansing of the Temple, and Bargain of Judas
In the Synoptics, the last week in Jerusalem is the conclusion of the journey through Perea and Judea that Jesus began in Galilee. Jesus rides a young donkey into Jerusalem, reflecting the tale of the Messiah's Donkey, an oracle from the Book of Zechariah in which the Jews' humble king enters Jerusalem this way. People along the way lay cloaks and small branches of trees (known as palm fronds) in front of him and sing part of Psalms 118:25-26.
Jesus next expels the money changers from the Second Temple, accusing them of turning it into a den of thieves through their commercial activities. He then prophesies about the coming destruction, including false prophets, wars, earthquakes, celestial disorders, persecution of the faithful, the appearance of an "abomination of desolation", and unendurable tribulations. The mysterious "Son of Man", he says, will dispatch angels to gather the faithful from all parts of the earth. Jesus warns that these wonders will occur in the lifetimes of the hearers. In John, the Cleansing of the Temple occurs at the beginning of Jesus' ministry instead of at the end.
Jesus comes into conflict with the Jewish elders, such as when they question his authority and when he criticizes them and calls them hypocrites.Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles, secretly strikes a bargain with the Jewish elders, agreeing to betray Jesus to them for 30 silver coins.
The Gospel of John recounts of two other feasts in which Jesus taught in Jerusalem before the Passion Week. In Bethany, a village near Jerusalem, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. This potent sign increases the tension with authorities, who conspire to kill him.Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus' feet, foreshadowing his entombment. Jesus then makes his Messianic entry into Jerusalem. The cheering crowds greeting Jesus as he enters Jerusalem add to the animosity between him and the establishment. In John, Jesus has already cleansed the Second Temple during an earlier Passover visit to Jerusalem. John next recounts Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples.
Main article: Last Supper
See also: Jesus predicts his betrayal, Denial of Peter, and Last Supper in Christian art
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; Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians also refers to it. During the meal, Jesus predicts that one of his apostles will betray him. Despite each Apostle's assertion that he would not betray him, Jesus reiterates that the betrayer would be one of those present. Matthew 26:23–25 and John 13:26–27 specifically identify Judas as the traitor.
In the Synoptics, Jesus takes bread, breaks it, and gives it to the disciples, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you". He then has them all drink from a cup, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood," The Christian sacrament or ordinance of the Eucharist is based on these events. 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 6:22–59 (the Bread of Life Discourse) has a eucharistic character and resonates with the institution narratives in the Synoptic Gospels and in the Pauline writings on the Last Supper.
In all four gospels, Jesus predicts that Peter will deny knowledge of him three times before the rooster crows the next morning. In Luke and John, the prediction is made during the Supper. In Matthew and Mark, the prediction is made after the Supper; Jesus also predicts that all his disciples will desert him. The Gospel of John provides the only account of Jesus washing his disciples' feet after the meal. John 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 and are a significant source of Christological content.
Agony in the Garden, betrayal, and arrest
Main articles: Agony in the Garden, Kiss of Judas, Arrest of Jesus, and Malchus
In the Synoptics, Jesus and his disciples go to the garden Gethsemane, where Jesus prays to be spared his coming ordeal. Then Judas comes with an armed mob, sent by the chief priests, scribes and elders. He kisses Jesus to identify him to the crowd, which then arrests Jesus. In an attempt to stop them, an unnamed disciple of Jesus uses a sword to cut off the ear of a man in the crowd. After Jesus' arrest, his disciples go into hiding, and Peter, when questioned, thrice denies knowing Jesus. After the third denial, Peter hears the rooster crow and recalls Jesus' prediction about his denial. Peter then weeps bitterly.
In John 18:1–11, Jesus does not pray to be spared his crucifixion, as the gospel portrays him as scarcely touched by such human weakness. The people who arrest him are Roman soldiers and Temple guards. Instead of being betrayed by a kiss, Jesus proclaims his identity, and when he does, the soldiers and officers fall to the ground. The gospel identifies Peter as the disciple who used the sword, and Jesus rebukes him for it.
Trials by the Sanhedrin, Herod, and Pilate
Main articles: Sanhedrin trial of Jesus, Pilate's Court, and Jesus at Herod's Court
See also: Jesus, King of the Jews; John 18:38; and Ecce homo
After his arrest, Jesus is taken late at night to the private residence of the high priest, Caiaphas, who had been installed by Pilate's predecessor, the Roman procurator Valerius Gratus. The Sanhedrin was a Jewish judicial body, The gospel accounts differ on the details of the trials. In Matthew 26:57, Mark 14:53 and Luke 22:54, Jesus is taken to the house of the high priest, Caiaphas, where he is mocked and beaten that night. Early the next morning, the chief priests and scribes lead Jesus away into their council. John 18:12–14 states that Jesus is first taken to Annas, Caiaphas's father-in-law, and then to the high priest.
During the trials Jesus speaks very little, mounts no defense, and gives very infrequent and indirect answers to the priests' questions, prompting an officer to slap him. In Matthew 26:62, Jesus' unresponsiveness leads Caiaphas to ask him, "Have you no answer?" In Mark 14:61 the high priest then asks Jesus, "Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?" Jesus replies, "I am", and then predicts the coming of the Son of Man. This provokes Caiaphas to tear his own robe in anger and to accuse Jesus of blasphemy. In Matthew and Luke, Jesus' answer is more ambiguous: in Matthew 26:64 he responds, "You have said so", and in Luke 22:70 he says, "You say that I am".
The Jewish elders take Jesus to Pilate's Court and ask the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, to judge and condemn Jesus for various allegations: subverting the nation, opposing the payment of tribute, claiming to be Christ, a King, and claiming to be the son of God. The use of the word "king" is central to the discussion between Jesus and Pilate. In John 18:36 Jesus states, "My kingdom is not from this world", but he does not unequivocally deny being the King of the Jews. In Luke 23:7–15, Pilate realizes that Jesus is a Galilean, and thus comes under the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Galilee and Perea. Pilate sends Jesus to Herod to be tried, but Jesus says almost nothing in response to Herod's questions. Herod and his soldiers mock Jesus, put an expensive robe on him to make him look like a king, and return him to Pilate, who then calls together the Jewish elders and announces that he has "not found this man guilty".
Observing a Passover custom of the time, Pilate allows one prisoner chosen by the crowd to be released. He gives the people a choice between Jesus and a murderer called Barabbas (בר-אבא or Bar-abbâ, "son of the father", from the common given name Abba: 'father'). Persuaded by the elders, the mob chooses to release Barabbas and crucify Jesus. Pilate writes a sign in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek that reads "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews" (abbreviated as INRI in depictions) to be affixed to Jesus' cross, then scourges Jesus and sends him to be crucified. The soldiers place a crown of thorns on Jesus' head and ridicule him as the King of the Jews. They beat and taunt him before taking him to Calvary, also called Golgotha, for crucifixion.
Crucifixion and entombment
Main articles: Crucifixion of Jesus and Burial of Jesus
See also: Sayings of Jesus on the cross and Crucifixion eclipse
Jesus' crucifixion is described in all four canonical gospels. After the trials, Jesus is led to Calvarycarrying his cross; the route traditionally thought to have been taken is known as the Via Dolorosa. The three Synoptic Gospels indicate that Simon of Cyrene assists him, having been compelled by the Romans to do so. In Luke 23:27–28, Jesus tells the women in the multitude of people following him not to weep for him but for themselves and their children. At Calvary, Jesus is offered a sponge soaked in a concoction usually offered as a painkiller. According to Matthew and Mark, he refuses it.
The soldiers then crucify Jesus and cast lots for his clothes. Above Jesus' head on the cross is Pilate's inscription, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews". Soldiers and passersby mock him about it. Two convicted thieves are crucified along with Jesus. In Matthew and Mark, both thieves mock Jesus. In Luke, one of them rebukes Jesus, while the other defends him. Jesus tells the latter: "today you will be with me in Paradise." In John, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the beloved disciple were at the crucifixion. Jesus tells the beloved disciple to take care of his mother.
The Roman soldiers break the two thieves' legs (a procedure designed to hasten death in a crucifixion), but they do not break those of Jesus, as he is already dead (John 19:33). In John 19:34, one soldier pierces Jesus' side with a lance, and blood and water flow out. In the Synoptics, when Jesus dies, the heavy curtain at the Temple is torn. In Matthew 27:51–54, an earthquake breaks open tombs. In Matthew and Mark, terrified by the events, a Roman centurion states that Jesus was the Son of God.
On the same day, Joseph of Arimathea, with Pilate's permission and with Nicodemus's help, removes Jesus' body from the cross, wraps him in a clean cloth, and buries him in his new rock-hewn tomb. In Matthew 27:62–66, on the following day the chief Jewish priests ask Pilate for the tomb to be secured, and with Pilate's permission the priests place seals on the large stone covering the entrance.
Resurrection and ascension
Main articles: Resurrection of Jesus, Post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, and Ascension of Jesus
See also: Empty tomb, Great Commission, Second Coming, Resurrection of Jesus in Christian art, and Ascension of Jesus in Christian art
Further information: Overview of resurrection appearances in the Gospels and Paul
Mary Magdalene (alone in the Gospel of John, but accompanied by other women in the Synoptics) goes to Jesus' tomb on Sunday morning and is surprised to find it empty. Despite Jesus' teaching, the disciples had not understood that Jesus would rise again.
- In Matthew 28, there are guards at the tomb. An angel descends from Heaven, and opens the tomb. The guards faint from fear. Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" after they visited the tomb. Jesus then appears to the eleven remaining disciples in Galilee and commissions them to baptizeall nations in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,"teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you."
- In Mark 16, Salome and Mary, mother of James are with Mary Magdalene. In the tomb, a young man in a white robe (an angel) tells them that Jesus will meet his disciples in Galilee, as he had told them (referring to Mark 14:28).
- In Luke, Mary and various other women meet two angels at the tomb, but the eleven disciples do not believe their story. Jesus appears to two of his followers in Emmaus. He also makes an appearance to Peter. Jesus then appears that same day to his disciples in Jerusalem. Although he appears and vanishes mysteriously, he also eats and lets them touch him to prove that he is not a spirit. He repeats his command to bring his teaching to all nations.
- In John, Mary is alone at first, but Peter and the beloved disciple come and see the tomb as well. Jesus then appears to Mary at the tomb. He later appears to the disciples, breathes on them, and gives them the power to forgive and retain sins. In a second visit to disciples, he proves to a doubting disciple ("Doubting Thomas") that he is flesh and blood. The disciples return to Galilee, where Jesus makes another appearance. He performs a miracle known as the catch of 153 fish at the Sea of Galilee, after which Jesus encourages Peter to serve his followers.
Jesus' ascension into Heaven is described in Luke 24:50–53, Acts 1:1–11 and mentioned in 1 Timothy 3:16. In the Acts of the Apostles, forty days after the Resurrection, as the disciples look on, "he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight". 1 Peter 3:22 states that Jesus has "gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God".
The Acts of the Apostles describes several appearances of Jesus after his Ascension. In Acts 7:55, Stephen gazes into heaven and sees "Jesus standing at the right hand of God" just before his death. On the road to Damascus, the Apostle Paul is converted to Christianity after seeing a blinding light and hearing a voice saying, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." In Acts 9:10–18, Jesus instructs Ananias of Damascus in a vision to heal Paul. The Book of Revelation includes a revelation from Jesus concerning the last days.
Main article: Early Christianity
After Jesus' life, his followers, as described in the first chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, were all Jews either by birth or conversion, for which the biblical term "proselyte" is used, and referred to by historians as Jewish Christians. The early Gospel message was spread orally, probably in Aramaic, but almost immediately also in Greek. The New Testament's Acts of the Apostles and Epistle to the Galatians record that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included Peter, James, the brother of Jesus, and John the Apostle.
After the conversion of Paul the Apostle, he claimed the title of "Apostle to the Gentiles". Paul's influence on Christian thinking is said to be more significant than that of any other New Testament author. By the end of the 1st century, Christianity began to be recognized internally and externally as a separate religion from Judaism which itself was refined and developed further in the centuries after the destruction of the Second Temple.
Numerous quotations in the New Testament and other Christian writings of the first centuries, indicate that early Christians generally used and revered the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh) as religious text, mostly in the Greek (Septuagint) or Aramaic (Targum) translations.
Early Christians wrote many religious works, including the ones included in the canon of the New Testament. The canonical texts, which have become the main sources used by historians to try to understand the historical Jesus and sacred texts within Christianity, were probably written between 50 and 120 AD.
Main articles: Historical Jesus, Quest for the historical Jesus, and Scholarly interpretation of Gospel-elements
See also: Biblical criticism
Prior to the Enlightenment, the Gospels were usually regarded as accurate historical accounts, but since then scholars have emerged who question the reliability of the Gospels and draw a distinction between the Jesus described in the Gospels and the Jesus of history. Since the 18th century, three separate scholarly quests for the historical Jesus have taken place, each with distinct characteristics and based on different research criteria, which were often developed during the quest that applied them. While there is widespread scholarly agreement on the existence of Jesus,[f] and a basic consensus on the general outline of his life,[o] the portraits of Jesus constructed by various scholars often differ from each other, and from the image portrayed in the gospel accounts.
Approaches to the historical reconstruction of the life of Jesus have varied from the "maximalist" approaches of the 19th century, in which the gospel accounts were accepted as reliable evidence wherever it is possible, to the "minimalist" approaches of the early 20th century, where hardly anything about Jesus was accepted as historical. In the 1950s, as the second quest for the historical Jesus gathered pace, the minimalist approaches faded away, and in the 21st century, minimalists such as Price are a very small minority. Although a belief in the inerrancy of the Gospels cannot be supported historically, many scholars since the 1980s have held that, beyond the few facts considered to be historically certain, certain other elements of Jesus' life are "historically probable". Modern scholarly research on the historical Jesus thus focuses on identifying the most probable elements.
Judea and Galilee in the 1st century
In AD 6, Judea, Idumea, and Samaria were transformed from a client kingdom of the Roman Empire into an imperial province, also called Judea. A Roman prefect, rather than a client king, ruled the land. The prefect ruled from Caesarea Maritima, leaving Jerusalem to be run by the High Priest of Israel. As an exception, the prefect came to Jerusalem during religious festivals, when religious and patriotic enthusiasm sometimes inspired unrest or uprisings. Gentile lands surrounded the Jewish territories of Judea and Galilee, but Roman law and practice allowed Jews to remain separate legally and culturally. Galilee was evidently prosperous, and poverty was limited enough that it did not threaten the social order.
This was the era of Hellenistic Judaism, which combined Jewish religious tradition with elements of Hellenistic Greek culture. Until the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the Muslim conquests of the Eastern Mediterranean, the main centers of Hellenistic Judaism were Alexandria (Egypt) and Antioch (now Southern Turkey), the two main Greek urban settlements of the Middle East and North Africa area, both founded at the end of the 4th century BCE in the wake of the conquests of Alexander the Great. Hellenistic Judaism also existed in Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period, where there was conflict between Hellenizers and traditionalists (sometimes called Judaizers). The Hebrew Bible was translated from Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic into Jewish Koine Greek; the Targum translations into Aramaic were also generated during this era, both due to the decline of knowledge of Hebrew.
Jews based their faith and religious practice on the Torah, five books said to have been given by God to Moses. The three prominent religious parties were the Pharisees, the Essenes, and the Sadducees. Together these parties represented only a small fraction of the population. Most Jews looked forward to a time that God would deliver them from their pagan rulers, possibly through war against the Romans.
One of the most remarkable religious routes in Greece is “The Route that Apostle Paul Followed in Greece”. Paul constitutes a remarkable personality for the Christian religion, although he never belonged to Jesus’ 12 Disciples cycle. He spread the word of Christianity more than anybody else and for this reason he was named “Equal-to-the-Apostles” and “Apostle of the Nations”.
Among the countries he visited to spread Christianity, Apostle Paul came also to Greece, preaching the Holy Gospel and teaching people about Jesus’ mission. His journey in Greece is a route that can touch not only the believers but also everybody who loves history. “The Route that Apostle Paul Followed in Greece” passes through all places where the Apostle preached and constitutes an ideal combination of pilgrimage and sightseeing in some of the most beautiful places in Greece.
Places that Apostle Paul stopped during his journey in Greece:
According to the island’s tradition, when Apostle Paul passed through Samothrace he landed in the Ancient City’s port which nowadays is called Paliapoli (Old City). In memory of this event, a three-aisled Early Christian church was constructed at that place. For its construction locals used pieces from architectural parts of ancient buildings.
When Apostle Paul was in Troas, he dreamt of a tall impressive Macedonian man who stood in front of him and begged him to “come to Macedonia and help them”. This dream was deciding for his journey and inaugurated his great, wonderful and saving relationship with Greeks. He had already begun his tour aiming to increase and boost the construction of Churches.
In the winter of the year 49, Apostle Paul lands on European land for the first time. The place he first came after travelling for two days was Neapoli . Seven years later when he came to Neapoli for the second time it took him five days to cover the same distance.
Apostle Paul arrived in Agios Nikolaos area and after following Via Egnatia he reached Philippi, 12 km from Neapoli. He was accompanied by Silas, Timothy, and Luke the doctor, Evangelist and writer of “Acts of the Apostles”.
It was Saturday when he reached the place for the first time and many women were gathered in the area. They were the first in Europe to hear him preaching. Among them was Lydia, a noble woman from Thyateira of Asia Minor. She was the first to be baptized and helped remarkably to spreading the word of God.
In Philippi, Paul and Silas were accused of provoking abnormalities in the city and for having habits unusual for the Romans. The two men were caned and imprisoned but a massive earthquake spread panic in the city. The prison’s doors opened and the guard tried to commit suicide. The two Apostles prevent him from harming himself. He then believes in God, he and his family got baptized and the two Apostles were accommodated in his house.
The two Apostles pass by Lydia’s house, who accommodated them, and leave for Thessaloniki. Apostle Paul will keep close relationships with the people from Philippi and will boost them financially several times even when he was imprisoned in Rome. Seven years after his first visit, he will return to Philippi and then visit the place three more times (on April of 57, in spring of 63 and winter of 64).
Although they were cities of great importance in the area, Apostle Paul passed them by without stopping. He was on a hurry to reach Thessaloniki where he knew there was a synagogue.
When they reached Thessaloniki it was fall of 49. Apostles Paul and Silas found the city completely different from what they had seen so far. It was a free from Roman occupation city since 168 B.C. There was also a synagogue close to the port, as the Acts inform us. Apostles Paul went there for three Saturdays. As we are informed, he discussed with the attendants and interprets them abstracts from Holy Bible which mention that Jesus should have been crucified and resurrect from the dead. Some people believed and became Paul’s and Silas’ students. Many of the neophyte Greeks believed, as well as several women who stood out in the city’s society. We do not know exactly how many were the first Christians but we know for sure that a church was established in Thessaloniki.
Soon, because of Paul’s activity, problems begin to rise in Thessaloniki and riots are provoked exactly as it had happened in Philippi. During the night Paul and Silas left the city.
These are the only facts known about his stay in Thessaloniki. According to the existing tradition, as he left in a hurry, chased by his fellow countrymen, he came out of a high spot on the walls (probably from a small door) where later Vlatades monastery was established.
East of the position where now Vlatades monastery stands used to be a spring. It is said that he stopped there to drink some water. Every year at this spring, which is known as “Apostle Paul’s Holy Water”, people used to honor the Apostle. After the liberation of Thessaloniki, a church in his honor was constructed in this place and the Holy Water became well known. Nowadays, a modern imposing church is the proof that Apostle Paul visited Thessaloniki, preached there and brought Greeks close to Christianity.
During the night, Paul and Silas left with the help of Christians for Veria. They walked for a while on Egnatia Road and changed their route close to Pella, crossing a lush green fruitful and beautiful area.
Veria was a very busy city with great population and had a flourishing synagogue. As soon as they got there, Paul and Silas visited the synagogue. It is also said that the Jews of Veria were more polite than those in Thessaloniki and heard with great interest Paul preaching the Holy Gospel. Among the attendants were people from the upper classes of Veria, Hebrews and converts and a great number of women.
But soon, the news about Paul’s activities were spread in Thessaloniki. Their enemies from Thessaloniki sent people to Veria to provoke turmoil. Immediately his companions took the Apostle away from Veria. Timothy and Silas remained in Veria. As a gift in return Veria gave to the Apostle of the Nations a new companion. He was Sopatros, son of Pyrrhus, who accompanied him for a long time after his return to Asia.
The spot in Veria where it is said that Paul stood and preached, the so called “Apostle Paul’s Podium” is now an imposing monument. Since 1995, a series of religious, cultural and sports events have been established under the name “Pavlia” which end every year with a scientific conference.
Athens In the year 51 Paul went to Athens by boat. Athens was far from the typical bright city of classical times. The works of art were frequently pillaged, the Romans deserted the city of Pallas Athena and the descent of ideals started to become obvious.
The boat that brought Paul to Athens anchored in Faliro. At that time (and before then) that was the area were the main port of Athens was located. The location of the port was between Kifissos river bed and the small church of Agios Georgios. It is believed that it is constructed on the ruins of the dock of ancient Faliro and the area around it is going to be developed. From there started the road leading to Athens. This was also the road that Paul followed after he got off the boat.
While he was waiting for Silas and Timothy to come from Macedonia, he was walking around the city, discussing with the locals in the synagogue or the market and was upset by the numerous statuettes. His preaching on the death of Jesus on the cross and his resurrection impressed some epicurean and stoic philosophers who characterized him as “newsmonger”. He was never chased for his preaching while he was in Athens. On the contrary he was taken to High Court (Areopagus) in order to preach formally and in more details.
Regarding the spot from where Apostle Paul spoke to the Athenians, it is also said that he preached in front of the High Court’s Body as one of its members (Dionysius the Aeropagite) adopted the ideas of his preaching.
Areopagus was the name of the hill west of the Athenian Acropolis.
Apostle Paul’s church was established in 1887 very close to the heart of Athens. Two years later, Queen Olga set the foundations for the construction of a new and larger church. This happened under the Metropolitan bishop Prokopios, Mayor Labros Kallifronas and the architects Trobus and Soultze. In 1923 the Archbishop of Athens Chrysostomos Papadopoulos prescribed that the Vespers of Apostle Paul’s celebration must be performed on Areopagus.
It is not known how he went to Corinth. It is for sure that he left Athens puzzled with how Athenians dealt with his preaching and with the situation in the Churches of Macedonia. While Paul was leaving Athens, Timothy was on his way to Thessaloniki.
In Corinth Paul developed friendship with Akylas and Priscilla who were also tend-makers (as he also was) and already knew some things about Jesus. He stayed and worked with them and every Saturday he preached Jews and Greeks. Most of Jews were not convinced that Jesus was the Messiah and at some point Paul stayed with Titus Justus who was proselyte and lived close to the synagogue. Among the believers was Crispus, chief priest of the synagogue who was baptized together with all his family.
The Acts of the Apostles inform us that at some point Corinthian Jews united against Paul. They dragged him to court accusing him that he was illegally trying to convert people follow his preaching. Hebrews’ statement had no result as Paul’s problem had nothing to do with the hostility of the pagans but of his fellow citizens.
Few weeks later he decided to leave Corinth. He had to quickly go to Ephesus. He said goodbye to his friends and he left Corinth accompanied by Silas, Timothy, Akylas and Priskilla.
Apostle Paul is the patron saint of Corinth and Corinthians built an impressive church in his honor.
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New Testament places associated with Jesus
The New Testament narrative of the life of Jesus refers to a number of locations in the Holy Land and a Flight into Egypt. In these accounts the principal locations for the ministry of Jesus were Galilee and Judea, with activities also taking place in surrounding areas such as Perea and Samaria.
Other places of interest to scholars include locations such as Caesarea Maritima where in 1961 the Pilate Stone was discovered as the only archaeological item that mentions the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, by whose order Jesus was crucified.
The narrative of the ministry of Jesus in the gospels is usually separated into sections that have a geographical nature: his Galilean ministry follows his baptism, and continues in Galilee and surrounding areas until the death of John the Baptist. This phase of activities in the Galilee area draws to an end approximately in Matthew 17 and Mark 9.
After the death of the Baptist, and Jesus' proclamation as Christ by Peter his ministry continues along his final journey towards Jerusalem through Perea and Judea. The journey ends with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem in Matthew 21 and Mark 11. The final part of Jesus' ministry then takes place during the his last week in Jerusalem which ends in his crucifixion.
Geography and ministry
See also: Ministry of Jesus
In the New Testament accounts, the principal locations for the ministry of Jesus were Galilee and Judea, with activities also taking place in surrounding areas such as Perea and Samaria.
The gospel narrative of the ministry of Jesus is traditionally separated into sections that have a geographical nature.
- Galilean ministry
- Jesus' ministry begins when after his baptism, he returns to Galilee, and preaches in the synagogue of Capernaum. The first disciples of Jesus encounter him near the Sea of Galilee and his later Galilean ministry includes key episodes such as Sermon on the Mount (with the Beatitudes) which form the core of his moral teachings. Jesus' ministry in the Galilee area draws to an end with the death of John the Baptist.
- Journey to Jerusalem
- After the death of the Baptist, about half way through the gospels (approximately Matthew 17 and Mark 9) two key events take place that change the nature of the narrative by beginning the gradual revelation of his identity to his disciples: his proclamation as Christ by Peter and his transfiguration. After these events, a good portion of the gospel narratives deal with Jesus' final journey to Jerusalem through Perea and Judea. As Jesus travels towards Jerusalem through Perea he returns to the area where he was baptized.
- Final week in Jerusalem
- The final part of Jesus' ministry begins (Matthew 21 and Mark 11) with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem after the raising of Lazarus episode which takes place in Bethany. The gospels provide more details about the final portion than the other periods, devoting about one third of their text to the last week of the life of Jesus in Jerusalem which ends in his crucifixion.
- Post-Resurrection appearances
- The New Testament accounts of the resurrection appearances of Jesus and his ascension are placing him both in the Judea and the Galilee area.
Decapolis and Perea
- Bethany (near Jerusalem): The Raising of Lazarus episode, shortly before Jesus enters Jerusalem for the last time, takes place in Bethany.
- "Bethany beyond the Jordan" in John 1:28 refers to another Bethany, across the Jordan in Perea, i.e. Bethabara. It is traditionally identified with the site known as Al-Maghtas on the east bank of the Jordan, while the Madaba Map places it on the west bank at modern Qasr el Yahud.
- Bethabara: see under Perea.
- Bethesda: In John 5:1-18, the healing the paralytic at Bethesda episode takes place at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem.
- Bethlehem: The Gospel of Luke (2:1-7) states that the birth of Jesus took place in Bethlehem.
- Bethphage is mentioned as the place from which Jesus sent the disciples to find a donkey for the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Matthew 21:1; Mark 11:1; Luke 19:29 mention it as close to Bethany.Eusebius of Caesarea (Onomasticon 58:13) located it on the Mount of Olives.
- Calvary (Golgotha): Calvary is the Latin term for Golgotha the Greek translation of the Aramaic term for the place of the skull - the location for the Crucifixion of Jesus described in the New Testament.
- Emmaus: In the Road to Emmaus appearance episode in Luke 24:13-32, a resurrected Jesus appears to two disciples and eats supper with them.
- Gabbatha (Lithostrōtos): This location is referenced only once in the New Testament in John 19:13. This is an Aramaic term that refers to the location of the trial of Jesus by Pontius Pilate and the Greek name of Lithostrōtos (λιθόστρωτος) meaning stone pavement also refers to it. It was likely a raised stone platform where Jesus faced Pilate.James Charlesworth considers this location of high archaeological significance and states that modern scholars believe this location was in the public square just outside the Praetorium in Jerusalem and was paved with large stones.
- Gethsemane: In the gospels, immediately after the Last Supper, Jesus and his disciples go to the garden at Gethsemane, the location of the Agony in the Garden and Arrest of Jesus episodes.
- Jericho: The Healing the blind near Jericho episode refers to Bartimaeus, one of the two people who are named and cured in the gospels.
- Mount of Olives: This mountain appears in a number of New Testament episodes, and the Olivet discourse is named after it. In the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem episode, Jesus descends from the Mount of Olives towards Jerusalem and the crowds lay their clothes on the ground to welcome him. In Acts 1:9-12, the Ascension of Jesus takes place near this mountain.
- Temple in Jerusalem: The Temple is featured in the Cleansing of the Temple incident, where Jesus expels the money changers.
No documents written by Jesus exist, 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.
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. Jonathan Reed states that chief contribution of archaeology to the study of the historical Jesus is the reconstruction of his social world. An example archaeological item that Reed mentions is the 1961 discovery of the Pilate Stone, which mentions the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, by whose order Jesus was crucified.
Reed also states that archaeological finding related to coinage can shed light on historical critical analysis. As an example, he refers to coins with the ""Divi filius" inscription. Although Roman Emperor Augustus called himself "Divi filius", and not "Dei filius" (Son of God), the line between being god and god-like was at times less than clear to the population at large, and the Roman court seems to have been aware of the necessity of keeping the ambiguity. Later, Tiberius who was emperor at the time of Jesus came to be accepted as the son of divus Augustus. Reed discusses this coinage in the context of Mark 12:13–17 (known as Render unto Caesar...) in which Jesus asks his disciples to look at a coin: "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" and then advises them to "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." Reed states that "the answer becomes much more subversive when one knows that Roman coinage proclaimed Caesar to be God".
David Gowler states that an interdisciplinary scholarly study of archeology, textual analysis and historical context can shed light on Jesus and his teachings. An example is the archeological studies at Capernaum. Despite the frequent references to Capernaum in the New Testament, little is said about it there. However, recent archeological evidence show that unlike earlier assumptions, Capernaum was poor and small, without even a forum or agora. This archaeological discovery thus resonates well with the scholarly view that Jesus advocated reciprocal sharing among the destitute in that area of Galilee. Other archeological findings support the wealth of the ruling priests in Judea at the beginning of the first century.
- Jesus - acts and chronology
- Sites associated with Jesus
- ^ abcChristianity: an introduction by Alister E. McGrath 2006 ISBN 978-1-4051-0901-7 pages 16-22
- ^ abHistorical Dictionary of Jesus by Daniel J. Harrington 2010 ISBN 0810876671 page 32
- ^ abArchaeology and the Galilean Jesus: a re-examination of the evidence by Jonathan L. Reed 2002 ISBN 1563383942 page 18
- ^ abThe Life and Ministry of Jesus: The Gospels by Douglas Redford 2007 ISBN 0-7847-1900-4 pages 117-130
- ^ abcThe Christology of Mark's Gospel by Jack Dean Kingsbury 1983 ISBN 0-8006-2337-1 pages 91-95
- ^ abcThe Cambridge companion to the Gospels by Stephen C. Barton ISBN 0-521-00261-3 pages 132-133
- ^ abMatthew by David L. Turner 2008 ISBN 0-8010-2684-9 page 613
- ^ abJesus in the Synagogue of Capernaum: The Pericope and its Programmatic Character for the Gospel of Mark by John Chijioke Iwe 1991 ISBN 9788876528460 page 7
- ^The Gospel according to Matthew by Leon Morris ISBN 0-85111-338-9 page 71
- ^The Sermon on the mount: a theological investigation by Carl G. Vaught 2001 ISBN 978-0-918954-76-3 pages xi-xiv
- ^The Synoptics: Matthew, Mark, Luke by Ján Majerník, Joseph Ponessa, Laurie Watson Manhardt, 2005, ISBN 1-931018-31-6, pages 63–68
- ^Steven L. Cox, Kendell H Easley, 2008 Harmony of the GospelsISBN 0-8054-9444-8 pages 97-110
- ^The Life and Ministry of Jesus: The Gospels by Douglas Redford 2007 ISBN 0-7847-1900-4 pages 165-180
- ^Steven L. Cox, Kendell H Easley, 2007 Harmony of the GospelsISBN 0-8054-9444-8 pages 121-135
- ^The Life and Ministry of Jesus: The Gospels by Douglas Redford 2007 ISBN 0-7847-1900-4 pages 189-207
- ^Steven L. Cox, Kendell H Easley, 2007 Harmony of the GospelsISBN 0-8054-9444-8 page 137
- ^The Life and Ministry of Jesus: The Gospels by Douglas Redford 2007 ISBN 0-7847-1900-4 pages 211-229
- ^Mercer dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard 1998 ISBN 0-86554-373-9 page 929
- ^The Miracles of Jesus by Craig Blomberg, David Wenham 2003 ISBN 1592442854 page 419
- ^H. Van der Loos, 1965 The Miracles of Jesus, E.J. Brill Press, Netherlands page 599
- ^Dmitri Royster 1999 The miracles of ChristISBN 0881411930 page 71
- ^The Miracles of Jesus by Craig Blomberg, David Wenham 2003 ISBN 1592442854 page 440
- ^The Physical Geography, Geology, and Meteorology of the Holyand by Henry Baker Tristram 2007 ISBN 1593334826 page 11
- ^Lamar Williamson 1983 MarkISBN 0804231214 pages 129-130
- ^B. Meistermann, "Transfiguration", The Catholic Encyclopedia, XV, New York: Robert Appleton Company
- ^Luke by Fred Craddock 2009 ISBN 0664234356 page 98
- ^The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament edition by John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck 1983 ISBN 0882078127 page 210
- ^The Gospel according to Matthew by Leon Morris 1992 ISBN 0851113389 pages 83
- ^Luke by Fred B. Craddock 1991 ISBN 0804231230 page 69
- ^J.W. Wenham, The Elements of New Testament Greek, Cambridge University Press, 1965, p. 75.
- ^Boyce W. Blackwelder, Light from the Greek New Testament, Baker Book House, 1976, p. 120, ISBN 0801006627
- ^ abBig Picture of the Bible - New Testament by Lorna Daniels Nichols 2009 ISBN 1-57921-928-4 page 12
- ^ abcJohn by Gerard Stephen Sloyan 1987 ISBN 0-8042-3125-7 page 11
- ^Lamar Williamson 1983 MarkISBN 0804231214 pages 138-140
- ^The Life and Ministry of Jesus: The Gospels by Douglas Redford 2007 ISBN 0-7847-1900-4 page 168
- ^Studying the historical Jesus: evaluations of the state of current research by Bruce Chilton, Craig A. Evans 1998 ISBN 9004111425 page 465
- ^The Gospel of John by Joseph Ponessa, Laurie Watson Manhardt 2005 ISBN 1931018251 page 39
- ^The Gospel According to St. John: An Introduction With Commentary and Notes by C. K. Barrett 1955 ISBN 0664221807 page 12
- ^Francis J. Moloney, Daniel J. Harrington, 1998 The Gospel of John Liturgical Press ISBN 0814658067 page 325
- ^The Miracles of Jesus by Craig Blomberg, David Wenham 2003 ISBN 1592442854 page 462
- ^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
- ^Marsh, Clive; Moyise, Steve (2006). Jesus and the Gospels. New York: Clark International. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-567-04073-2.
- ^The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700 by Jerome Murphy-O'Connor 2008 ISBN 0199236666 page 150
- ^ abArchaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land by Avraham Negev 2005 ISBN 0826485715 page 80
- ^Encountering John: The Gospel in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective by Andreas J. Köstenberger 2002 ISBN 0801026032 page 181
- ^Luke by Fred Craddock 1991 ISBN 0-8042-3123-0 page 284
- ^Exploring the Gospel of Luke: an expository commentary by John Phillips 2005 ISBN 0-8254-3377-0 pages 297-230
- ^ abHistorical Dictionary of Jesus by Daniel J. Harrington 2010 ISBN 0810876671 page 62
- ^Jesus and archaeology edited by James H. Charlesworth 2006 ISBN 080284880X pages 34 and 573
- ^Jesus and archaeology edited by James H. Charlesworth 2006 ISBN 080284880X pages 34
- ^Bible Exposition Commentary, Vol. 1: New Testament by Warren W. Wiersbe 1992 ISBN 1564760308 pages 268-269
- ^Mary Ann Tolbert, Sowing the Gospel: Mark's World in Literary-Historical Perspective 1996, Fortress Press. p189
- ^The people's New Testament commentary by M. Eugene Boring, Fred B. Craddock 2004 ISBN 0-664-22754-6 pages 256-258
- ^The Bible knowledge background commentary by Craig A. Evans 2005 ISBN 0-7814-4228-1 page 49
- ^Steven L. Cox, Kendell H Easley, 2007 Harmony of the GospelsISBN 0-8054-9444-8 pages 30-37
- ^Who's Who in the New Testament by Ronald Brownrigg, Canon Brownrigg 2001 ISBN 0-415-26036-1 pages 96-100
- ^The Birth of Jesus According to the Gospels by Joseph F. Kelly 2008 ISBN pages 41-49
- ^The Gospel according to Mark: meaning and message by George Martin 2005 ISBN 0829419705 pages 200-202
- ^The Gospel of Mark, Volume 2 by John R. Donahue, Daniel J. Harrington 2002 ISBN 0-8146-5965-9 page 336
- ^The Collegeville Bible Commentary: New Testament by Robert J. Karris 1992 ISBN 0-8146-2211-9 pages 885-886
- ^Bromiley, Geoffrey William (1979). International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: A-DISBN 0-8028-3781-6 page 689
- ^Barnett, Paul (2002) Jesus, the Rise of Early Christianity InterVarsity Press ISBN 0-8308-2699-8 page 21
- ^ abcEarly Christian literature by Helen Rhee 2005 ISBN 0-415-35488-9 pages 159-161
- ^ abExperiencing Rome: culture, identity and power in the Roman Empire by Janet Huskinson 1999 ISBN 978-0-415-21284-7 page 81
- ^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
- ^ abcJonathan 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
- ^Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: a re-examination of the evidence by Jonathan L. Reed 2002 ISBN 1-56338-394-2 pages xi-xii
- ^ abCraig A. Evans (Mar 26, 2012). The Archaeological Evidence For Jesus. The Huffington Post.
- ^ ab"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
- ^ abcdWhat are they saying about the historical Jesus? by David B. Gowler 2007 ISBN 0-8091-4445-X page 102
- ^Craig A. Evans (Mar 16, 2012). Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN .
- ^ abArchaeology and the Galilean Jesus: a re-examination of the evidence by Jonathan L. Reed 2002 ISBN 1-56338-394-2 page 18
- ^Historical Dictionary of Jesus by Daniel J. Harrington 2010 ISBN 0-8108-7667-1 page 32
- ^Studying the historical Jesus: evaluations of the state of current research by Bruce Chilton, Craig A. Evans 1998 ISBN 90-04-11142-5 page 465
- ^"Jesus and Capernaum: Archeological and Gospel Stratigraohy" in Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: a re-examination of the evidence' by Jonathan L. Reed 2002 ISBN 1-56338-394-2 page 139-156
- ^Jesus and archaeology edited by James H. Charlesworth 2006 ISBN 0-8028-4880-X page 127
- ^Who Was Jesus? by Paul Copan and Craig A. Evans 2001 ISBN 0-664-22462-8 page 187