Historical Who is Who
c 7/6 BCE - c30 CE
Jesus of Nazareth is the name of the person who for Christians becomes the Christ of faith and central inspiration of the Christian churches over almost 2000 years and throughout the world – calendrically, the hinge of history. That he existed, few scholars would now doubt; however, what can be known of him biographically, except through the writings and experience of those enthused and captivated by him, is very limited. That he lived and died a faithful Jew, cannot be contested; but there were different ways of being Jewish. The covenant obligations between God and all living creatures, as with the people of Israel, were mutual and morally demanding. As with prophet predecessors, he was urgent in his criticisms of the status quo: he exposed hypocrisy, relativized the family, championed the poor and cared for the sick. Here were the ingredients for beating death. Various titles were attributed to him, rather than self ascribed; arguably each of these had its limitations, and many of them have by now ceased to resonate. If a new title were to be sought, it may be worth using that of ‘fully evolved human’ or more colloquially 'the Main Man'. This corresponds with the theological claims that are made of him; at the same time it asks questions as to what constitutes true humanity.