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Jesus Christ in World History

His Presence and Representation in Cyclical and Linear Settings- With the Assistance of Robert T. Coote


Jan A.B. Jongeneel

Jesus of Nazareth influenced – and continues to influence – the human community more than anybody else. This study describes and analyzes the perceptions and receptions of Jesus as the Messiah/Christ in six continents from the beginning of the Common Era until today. He appears to be present both within and beyond the traditional borders of Christianity. Individuals and peoples represent him and/or misrepresent him in their cyclical and/or linear settings.


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6 From the Rise of Islam to the Discovery of New Worlds 108


108 Chapter 6 From the Rise of Islam to the Discovery of New Worlds e Christians believe that although the gospel was given to us by the apos- tles, it was not given as from them but as from God, his Word, and his Spirit.”1 So said the Nestorian patriarch Timothy I, in a dialogue with the Caliph al-Mahdi held in Baghdad in 781. Several centuries later another dialogue was held between the Spanish lay-missioner Ramón Lull and the Grand Mufti of Bugia in Tunis, who declared to Lull, “If you hold that the law of Christ is true and that of Muhammad false, you must prove it by necessary reasons.”2 These quotations illustrate the encounter of Christians with Muslims in the medieval Islamic world, which came into being largely at the expense of the Christian world. Islam made one conquest after the other: Jerusalem 638, Caesa- rea 640, Persia (Iran) 640, Alexandria 642, Carthage 697, Spain 711, Rome 846, and Sicily 902. Christians responded not only peacefully but also violently. In 732 Charles Martel defeated the Muslims at Tours, and in the late eleventh cen- tury Pope Urban II initiated the Crusades. A total of seven Crusades occurred in less than two hundred years; they proved disastrous for the cause of the Chris- tian gospel. In 1453 Constantinople, the last major bastion of Christian power in Eastern Europe, fell to Islam and its Hagia Sophia became a mosque. Chapter 6 covers the period from the beginning...

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