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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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10 From the End of World War II to the Present 266


266 Chapter 10 From the End of World War II to the Present n the post-World War II era a major source of new perceptions of Jesus Christ came in the form of the New Age movement, which arose in confrontation with Christianity. “The name ‘New Age’ was coined in recent years and came from astrology’s prediction that we are moving into an Aquarian, or millennial, age that will come at the close of the [twentieth] century. Believers in this theory contend that for the past two thousand years the earth has been influenced by the sign of Pisces, the fish. During this period, they say, legalistic and restrictive Christianity has been dominant. Occult knowledge has been undervalued. They see the new Aquarian age as one of brotherhood and occult happenings.”1 In the framework of a cyclical view of time and history, New Age devotees happily note the passing of the age of Pisces (Latin), or Ichthus (Greek), and welcome as its successor, the age of Aquarius, the Water Bearer.2 This chapter completes the overview of the perception and reception of Jesus Christ over the course of two thousand years. It differs, however, from the previous chapters in at least three ways. First, the period is open-ended. Second, the period has produced such a flood of academic studies, popular publications, paintings, and films about Jesus that a single study can merely point to the main trends and documents in an encyclopedic way. Finally, the period reveals a fragmentation of...

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