(5 B.C.?-30 A.D.?)
   the founder of CHRISTIANITY. He was given the title "Christ" by his followers to acknowledge their BELIEF that he was the expected MESSIAH of Israel. JEWISH authors reject this claim although some, along with MUSLIMS, accept that he was a PROPHET--or at least performed a prophetic role. Traditionally, however, Jews have regarded Him as an imposter and attacked Him in such works as the medieval Toledoth Yeshu. Most of our evidence about his life comes from CHRISTIAN sources, although he is mentioned by several Roman and Jewish writers. Although documentary evidence about his life is scant, it is far more extensive and reliable than for any other ancient figure or religious leader. Very little is known of his life before the age of thirty
   our only reliable source is the NEW TESTAMENT which records many of his sayings, tells about his birth and one incident in Jerusalem at the age of twelve, all other stories concern his MINISTRY after the age of 30. Tales that he visited England or India during the hidden years are pure speculation with no basis in fact. He began proclaiming the KINGDOM OF GOD and the FATHERHOOD OF GOD at around the age of thirty and his message of REPENTANCE was associated with HEALING and other extraordinary acts and lasted about three years. Finally, his criticism of corruption and established religion provoked the TEMPLE authorities in JERUSALEM who conspired to have him executed. After a summary trial of dubious legality, by both Jewish and ROMAN authorities, he was executed by crucifixion. His death took place on the eve of the Jewish PASSOVER. After being buried in a rock tomb for three days, his body disappeared and his disciples claimed that he had risen from the dead. Forty days later he was said to have ascended into heaven where he reigns with God. CHRISTIANITY is based upon the story of the life, death and RESURRECTION of Jesus. In recent years various accounts of his "death" which assume a swoon and slow recovery followed by flight to Kashmir, Tibet, even Japan have circulated, however, like the tales about his life before the age of thirty, such accounts are wild speculations lacking all historical basis.

Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.

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