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 of God.
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.
The biographical material about the author originally appeared on The Goodrich Room: Interactive Tour website.
Last modified April 10, 2014