Jesus in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia

Leslie Houlden (Ed.)

This unique multidisciplinary study views Jesus as one of the most central figures in history with a wide-ranging impact on religion, society, literature, art, and philosophy.

As a historical figure, there are no absolutes about Jesus. Each religious tradition, from Catholic to Quaker to Pentecostal to Buddhist, perceives him differently. People have seen him as saviour, teacher, king, martyr, and rebel. These countless varying images of Jesus have all influenced religion, history, the arts, culture, and social and political thought.

Jesus in History, Thought, and Culture distils 2,000 years of thinking about Jesus into two intriguing volumes. In more than 200 A-Z entries, internationally recognised scholars summarise views of Jesus from the Gospel writers to contemporary theologians. Not only does the book explore Christian liturgy and worship-including the long-lasting 4th and 5th century controversies over whether Jesus is human or divine-but it examines the position of Jesus in the traditions of other world religions, such as Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism.

Even outside religion, little has been untouched by Jesus' influence. Jesus affected both religion and society in his time and continues to do so today. The encyclopedia also explores his changing image in art, sculpture, music, and literature, pulling disparate fields of study into one powerful resource. Scholars, students of theology and world religions, and other interested readers will all welcome this unique resource.


  • Over 200 wide-ranging A-Z entries on the religious and secular influence of Jesus.
  • Over 100 contributors, including distinguished international scholars from many religious traditions.
  • 80 photos, including key works of devotional art from 2,000 years of religious painting and sculpture.
  • Plentiful bibliographic references covering a wide variety of writing about Jesus


  • Offers the most exhaustive survey on the impact Jesus has made on history, culture, and society.
  • Explores different points of view and perspectives on Jesus.
  • Presents clearly written entries on complex issues drawn from top-quality, multidisciplinary scholarship

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