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Many scholars agree that Joseph, Jesus' father, died before Jesus began his ministry. Joseph is not mentioned at all in the gospels during Jesus' ministry. Joseph's death would explain why in Mark 6:3, Jesus' neighbors refer to Jesus as the "son of Mary" (sons were usually identified by their fathers).[299]

According to Theissen and Merz, it is common for extraordinary charismatic leaders, such as Jesus, to come into conflict with their ordinary families.[300] In Mark, Jesus' family comes to get him, fearing that he is mad (Mark 3:20–34), and this account is thought to be historical because early Christians would likely not have invented it.[301] After Jesus' death, many members of his family joined the Christian movement.[300] Jesus' brother James became a leader of the Jerusalem Church.[302]

Géza Vermes says that the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus arose from theological development rather than from historical events.[303] Despite the widely held view that the authors of the Synoptic Gospels drew upon each other (the so-called synoptic problem), other scholars take it as significant that the virgin birth is attested by two separate gospels, Matthew and Luke.[304][305][306][307][308][309]

According to E. P. Sanders, the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke are the clearest case of invention in the Gospel narratives of Jesus' life. Both accounts have Jesus born in Bethlehem, in accordance with Jewish salvation history, and both have him growing up in Nazareth. But Sanders points that the two Gospels report completely different and irreconcilable explanations for how that happened. Luke's account of a census in which everyone returned to their ancestral cities is not plausible. Matthew's account is more plausible, but the story reads as though it was invented

Many scholars agree that Joseph, Jesus' father, died before Jesus began his ministry. Joseph is not mentioned at all in the gospels during Jesus' ministry. Joseph's death would explain why in Mark 6:3, Jesus' neighbors refer to Jesus as the "son of Mary" (sons were usually identified by their fathers).[299]

According to Theissen and Merz, it is common for extraordinary charismatic leaders, such as Jesus, to come into conflict with their ordinary fam

According to Theissen and Merz, it is common for extraordinary charismatic leaders, such as Jesus, to come into conflict with their ordinary families.[300] In Mark, Jesus' family comes to get him, fearing that he is mad (Mark 3:20–34), and this account is thought to be historical because early Christians would likely not have invented it.[301] After Jesus' death, many members of his family joined the Christian movement.[300] Jesus' brother James became a leader of the Jerusalem Church.[302]

Géza Vermes says that the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus arose from theological development rather than from historical events.[303] Despite the widely held view that the authors of the Synoptic Gospels drew upon each other (the so-called synoptic problem), other scholars take it as significant that the virgin birth is attested by two separate gospels, Matthew and Luke.[304][305][306][307][308][309]

According to E. P. Sanders, the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke are the clearest case of invention in the Gospel narratives of Jesus' life. Both accounts have Jesus born in Bethlehem, in accordance with Jewish salvation history, and both have him growing up in Nazareth. But Sanders points that the two Gospels report completely different and irreconcilable explanations for how that happened. Luke's account of a census in which everyone returned to their ancestral cities is not plausible. Matthew's account is more plausible, but the story reads as though it was invented to identify Jesus as like a new Moses, and the historian Josephus reports Herod the Great's brutality without ever mentioning that he massacred little boys.[310]

Sanders says that the genealogies of Jesus are based not on historical information but on the authors' desire to show that Jesus was the universal Jewish savior.[120] In any event, once the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus became established, that tradition superseded the earlier tradition that he was descended from David through Joseph.[311] Luke reports that Jesus was a blood relation of John the Baptist, but scholars generally consider this connection to be invented.[120][312]

Most modern scholars consider Jesus' baptism to be a definite historical fact, along with his crucifixion.[7] Theologian James D. G. Dunn states that they "command almost universal assent" and "rank so high on the 'almost impossible to doubt or deny' scale of historical facts" that they are often the starting points for the study of the historical Jesus.[7] Scholars adduce the criterion of embarrassment, saying that early Christians would not have invented a baptism that might imply that Jesus committed sins and wanted to repent.[313][314] According to Theissen and Merz, Jesus was inspired by John the Baptist and took over from him many elements of his teaching.[315]

Ministry in Galilee

Most scholars hold that Jesus lived in Galilee and Judea and did not preach or study elsewhere.[316] They agree that Jesus debated with Jewish authorities on the subject of God, performed some healings, taught in parables and gathered followers.[26] Jesus' Jewish critics considered his ministry to be scandalous because he feasted with sinners, fraternized with women, and allowed his followers to pluck grain on the Sabbath.[84] According to Sanders, it is not plausible that disagreements over how to interpret the Law of Moses and the Sabbath would have led Jewish authorities to want Jesus killed.Galilee and Judea and did not preach or study elsewhere.[316] They agree that Jesus debated with Jewish authorities on the subject of God, performed some healings, taught in parables and gathered followers.[26] Jesus' Jewish critics considered his ministry to be scandalous because he feasted with sinners, fraternized with women, and allowed his followers to pluck grain on the Sabbath.[84] According to Sanders, it is not plausible that disagreements over how to interpret the Law of Moses and the Sabbath would have led Jewish authorities to want Jesus killed.[317]

According to Ehrman, Jesus taught that a coming kingdom was everyone's proper focus,

According to Ehrman, Jesus taught that a coming kingdom was everyone's proper focus, not anything in this life.[318] He taught about the Jewish Law, seeking its true meaning, sometimes in opposition to other traditions.[319] Jesus put love at the center of the Law, and following that Law was an apocalyptic necessity.[319] His ethical teachings called for forgiveness, not judging others, loving enemies, and caring for the poor.[320] Funk and Hoover note that typical of Jesus were paradoxical or surprising turns of phrase, such as advising one, when struck on the cheek, to offer the other cheek to be struck as well (Luke 6:29).[321]

The Gospels portray Jesus teaching in well-defined sessions, such as the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew or the parallel Sermon on the Plain in Luke. According to Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz, these teaching sessions include authentic teachings of Jesus, but the scenes were invented by the respective evangelists to frame these teachings, which had originally been recorded without context.[99] While Jesus' miracles fit within the social context of antiquity, he defined them differently. First, he attributed them to the faith of those healed. Second, he connected them to end times prophecy.[322]

Jesus chose twelve disciples [323] (the "Twelve"), evidently as an apocalyptic message.[324] All three Synoptics mention the Twelve, although the names on Luke's list vary from those in Mark and Matthew, suggesting that Christians were not certain who all the disciples were.[324] The twelve disciples might have represented the twelve original tribes of Israel, which would be restored once God's rule was instituted.[324] The disciples were reportedly meant to be the rulers of the tribes in the coming Kingdom (Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:30).[324] According to Bart Ehrman, Jesus' promise that the Twelve would rule is historical, because the Twelve included Judas Iscariot. In Ehrman's view, no Christians would have invented a line from Jesus, promising rulership to the disciple who betrayed him.[324] In Mark, the disciples play hardly any role other than a negative one. While others sometimes respond to Jesus with complete faith, his disciples are puzzled and doubtful.[325] They serve as a foil to Jesus and to other characters.[325] The failings of the disciples are probably exaggerated in Mark, and the disciples make a better showing in Matthew and Luke.[325]

Sanders says that Jesus' mission was not about repentance, although he acknowledges that this opinion is unpopular. He argues that repentance appears as a strong theme only in Luke, that repentance was John the Baptist's message, and that Jesus' ministry would not have been scandalous if the sinners he ate with had been repentant.[326] According to Theissen and Merz, Jesus taught that God was generously giving people an opportunity to repent.[327]

Jesus taught that an apocalyptic figure, the "Son of Man", would soon come on clouds of glory to gather the elect, or chosen ones (Mark 13:24–27, Matthew 24:29–31, Luke 21:25–28). He referred to himself as a "son of man" in the colloquial sense of "a person", but scholars do not know whether he also meant himself when he referred to the heavenly "Son of Man". Paul the Apostle and other early Christians interpreted the "Son of Man" as the risen Jesus.[47]

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