Jesus of Nazareth was born during the life of Herod the Great who ruled Palestine at the end of the 1st Century B.C. December 25 was first celebrated as Jesus’s birthday during the reign of the Roman Emperor, Constantine. The life and teachings of Jesus are the inspiration for Christianity.
The story of the life of Jesus is well known and will not be retold here. His impact on history is obvious and enormous. Jesus had an extraordinary intellect and personality, and made a deep and lasting impression on the people he met. He was charismatic in the deepest sense of the word. Jesus heralded the coming of a new age where all people would live as God’s children. He taught the basic ethics of brotherhood and kindness which became central themes of Christianity.
It is unreasonable to hold Jesus responsible for all the things Christians have done in his name. Particularly since he would disapprove of many of those things: religious wars between various Christian sects; persecution of non-Christian peoples. Such acts are obviously contradictory to his attitudes and teachings. One of Jesus’ central precepts, and a common principle in many religions and philosophies, is the Golden Rule. Simply stated:
“Treat others as you would wish to be treated.”
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The Historical Figure of Jesus
by E. P. Sanders
This book carefully distinguishes the “certain” from the 'less certain' and the “improbable” to present a fresh and dramatic account of Jesus as a person. In some respects Jesus remains an enigma, but this account demonstrates that more information is available about the historical figure of Jesus than we ever realized.
The Quest of the Historical Jesus: A Critical Study of Its Progress from Reimarus to Wrede
by Albert Schweitzer, Delbert R. Hillers
Schweitzer shows how each historical reconstruction of Jesus matched the beliefs and agenda of the scholar who proposed it. In the process Schweitzer reveals his own view of the historical Jesus.
The Essential Jesus: What Jesus Really Taught
by John Dominic Crossan
This presentation of the teachings and earliest images of Jesus of Nazareth delivers a fresh understanding of Jesus.
The Leadership Lessons of Jesus: A Timeless Model for Today's Leaders
by Bob Briner, Ray Pritchard
Clear, practical leadership lessons you can read on a daily basis. Based on the life of Jesus according to the Gospel of Mark, everyone can use the wisdom in this book to guide their daily actions.
Jesus and Lao Tzu: The Parallel Sayings
by Martin Aronson (Editor)
Comparing the New Testament with the Tao Te Ching, Taoism's most sacred teachings, Jesus and Lao Tzu features astonishing examples of these two spiritual masters leading their followers down the same path despite vast differences in time and geography.
Jesus and Muhammad: The Parallel Sayings
by Joey Green (Editor)
This book attempts to close the gap of understanding between Christians and Muslims and demonstrates that despite centuries of differences, the two religions possess a common moral and spiritual foundation.
The Search for Jesus: Peter Jennings Reporting (2000)
Produced by ABC News
This ABC News special hosted by Peter Jennings looks at Jesus from an historical perspective, presenting a fact-based picture of the man Christians believe is the son of God.
The Last Days of Jesus (2004)
Produced by NBC News
A fair and factual presentation of Jesus's final days, including additional material on the power of faith in modern life.
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
The Passion of the Christ focuses on the final 12 hours in the life of Jesus, scripted almost directly from the gospels (and spoken in Aramaic and Latin with a relative minimum of subtitles) and presented as a relentless, 126-minute ordeal of the torture and crucifixion of Jesus. Directed by Mel Gibson.
The Jesus Film (1979)
This is the Bible's depiction of the life of Jesus, not Hollywood's. The account is taken entirely from the Gospel of Luke and each scene was carefully reviewed by Biblical scholars for authenticity.
Albert Schweitzer - The Quest Of The Historical JesusA documentary in 11 parts.
The Jefferson Bible
Thomas Jefferson believed that the ethical system of Jesus was the finest the world has ever seen. In compiling what has come to be called “The Jefferson Bible,” he sought to separate these ethical teachings from the religious dogma and other supernatural elements in the account provided by the four Gospels.
Biblical Studies Foundation
Dedicated to putting quality biblical research and study materials on-line.
Christianity at About.com
With Mary Fairchild