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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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8 From the French Revolution to World War I 185


185 Chapter 8 FromtheFrenchRevolutiontoWorldWarI n the second century of the Common Era, when Gentiles constituted the vast majority of the Christian community in the Roman Empire, Jesus the Jew was Hellenized: his Hebrew name Jeshua was paralleled by the Greek Jesus, and the Hebrew Mashiah (transliterated into English as “Messiah”) was translated by the Greek equivalent Christ. In the seventh century, Muhammad, the Qur’an, and Islam resemitized him: he became known as ‘Isa al-Masih in the Muslim world. In the nineteenth century another redefinition occurred: South and East Asians envisioned Jesus not as a Jew (Judaism), or a Westerner (Gentile Chris- tianity), or a Semite (Islam), but as an Asian. Keshub Chunder Sen, an early representative of the Indian renaissance, contrasted the Asian/Oriental Christ with the Western/Occidental Christ: England has sent unto us, after all, a Western Christ. . . . But if you go to the true Christ in the East and his apostles, you are at once seized with inspiration. You find the truths of Christianity all fresh and resplendent. Recall to your minds, gentlemen, the true Asiatic Christ, divested of all Western appendages, carrying on the work of redemption among his own people. Behold, he cometh to us in his loose flowing garment, his dress and features altogether are oriental, a perfect Asiatic in everything. Watch his movements, and you will find gen- uine orientalism in all his habits and manners, in his uprising and down-sitting and his coming in, his preaching and ministry, his very language and style and...

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