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Jesus of Nazareth is the name
of the prophet believed by his followers to be the Son of God and the Messiah
whose coming was prophesied in the Judaic tradition. His date of birth was
originally put in the year 754 of the Roman calendar (or 0 B.C.), but the most
recent analyses place the date before that--at least 3 B.C. and perhaps as
early as 6 B.C. His crucifixion took place sometime between A.D. 29 and 33.
The Jews of his era eagerly awaited the arrival of the Messiah to deliver
them from foreign oppression and internal division. What Christ offered, however,
was not political emancipation but a new covenant with God based on the saving
grace of divine love for each individual. Christianity, the religion he founded,
enjoins human beings to emulate Christ by returning love even for persecution,
and puts forward the Golden Rule as the moral basis of human relationships.
The idea that Christ, as the incarnation of God on earth, suffered, died, and
was resurrected for the salvation of humankind is the ultimate illustration
of this principle. It underscores the uniquely important place of the individual
in Christian thought and addresses itself to any who would believe in the Son
The inclusivity and universality of Christian theology allowed Christianity
to quickly grow from a minor Jewish heresy to the official religion of the
Roman Empire. It would be almost impossible to underestimate the importance
of Christianity in the following history of the world. No aspect of human existence
has been left unaffected by it.
Works by the Author
Ballou, Robert A., Friedrich Spiegelberg, and Horace L. Friess, eds. The
Bible of The World. New York: The Viking Press, 1939.
The Dartmouth Bible. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950.
Bates, Ernest Sutherland, ed. The Bible. New York: Simon and Schuster,
The Holy Bible. New York: P. J. Kenedy & Sons, 1914.
The biographical material about the author originally appeared on The
Goodrich Room: Interactive Tour website.