Six Historical Facts You Probably Did Not Know About Jesus and Christianity that You Should Know

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by Leslye Joy Allen, Copyright © 2012

by Leslye Joy Allen

Historian, Educator, Theatre and Jazz Advocate & Consultant, Doctoral Student

Copyright © 2012 by Leslye Joy Allen. All Rights Reserved.

  1. The name “Jesus” is a transliteration of a more common Hebrew name, “Yeshua.”  The proper name of the central person in Christianity is “Yeshua ben Yosef,” which technically translates as “Jesus, son of Joseph.”  For a long period of time, the letter “J” in the Western world was pronounced with a “Y” sound.  There is no letter “J” in the Hebrew or Aramaic languages that Jesus (Yeshua ben Yosef) spoke.
  2. Historians and other biblical scholars have noted that the FOUR Gospels included in the Christian Bible that detail the life of Jesus (Yeshua ben Yosef) cover only FIFTY days of his life.  There are no known written records that give details of his life in its entirety.
  3. There were/are over THIRTY Gospels written about the life of Jesus (Yeshua).  In circa 180 CE, a scholar named Irenaeus wrote his Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies) where he determined that only FOUR of these Gospels should be included in the Bible.  These FOUR Gospels were the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  At the time, Irenaeus and his followers were vehemently against and competing for adherents with Christian Gnostics.  Do not confuse Christian Gnostics with “agnostics.”  Christian Gnostics were a group of Christians who performed different rituals and who held several different interpretations of the life of Christ and the practice of Christianity.
  4. The Lord’s Prayer was originally recited by Jesus (Yeshua) in Aramaic, one of a few languages that Jesus spoke.  There are many different translations of “The Lord’s Prayer,” from the original Aramaic.  The Lord’s Prayer that most modern Christians recite is actually a version edited and re-written by England’s King Henry VIII, which is why it (and the King James Bible, edited by England’s King James) sounds so much like English poetry from the 16th century.  Read some Shakespeare and then read some passages of an Old King James version of the Bible and you will notice the similarities.
  5. The standard practice for punishing a woman who had committed adultery or who became pregnant outside of wedlock, was to take her to her father’s door, bury her up to her neck, and then have the men of the town throw rocks at her head until she was dead.  Jesus stopped the men from killing the alleged biblical adulterous woman, daring them to cast the first stone if they too were not guilty of some offense; by so doing, he was stopping this common and accepted practice of death by stoning.  Many scholars believe that Jesus was applying the rules of adultery to men.  Up until that time, only women were charged with committing adultery.  Men had customarily been allowed concubines, particularly if their wives were barren or had passed childbearing age.  Jesus (Yeshua) surely understood the implications of sanctioning the act of stoning women to death.  After all, his stepfather Yosef (Joseph) disobeyed the Mosaic practice of stoning when he learned that the woman, Mary, to whom he was betrothed, was “with child,” a child that Yosef/Joseph was certain he did not sire.
  6. Yeshua ben Yosef (Jesus) was sentenced to death by crucifixion, Rome’s standard death penalty for slaves convicted of crimes.  The charges against Jesus (Yeshua) were HERESY (going against church teachings) and SEDITION (which is plotting to overthrow the government).  Yeshua (Jesus) was first tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for HERESY by Jewish Church authorities before he was turned over to Pontius Pilate, the Procurator of Judaea from roughly 26 – 36 CE, for further prosecution by the Roman state.

While the Internet can certainly help you read more about this information and other related topics, the information included here can be found in the Dictionary of Roman Religion, see Lesley and Roy A. Adkins article “Jesus of Nazareth.”; another good source of information is a book called Jesus by A. N. Wilson (London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992).

Copyright © 2012 by Leslye Joy Allen. All Rights Reserved.

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6 thoughts on “Six Historical Facts You Probably Did Not Know About Jesus and Christianity that You Should Know

  1. This is good historical data. I also watch scholars on decade-old 2001 PBS Special: From Jesus to Christ. Have bookmarked it from Has good geographic visuals for this would-be traveller on a budget.

  2. A stark warning about the potential misuses of both societal and religious laws and a calm reminder to apply the spirit of both; that which follows from the true teaching of Yeshua: Love. Thanks, Leslye, for the JOY. Have you read, “A Course in Miracles”? I have been a fascinated student for over 20 years and learned a lot of what you present here through the study and experience of it’s teachings. Bless you and thanks again for sharing and strengthening our understanding of the truth.


  3. You were in my thoughts today while teaching. After making one of my trademark sarcastic/whitty quips a girl in my class muttered ‘oh jesus’ under her breath. So I walked over to her and replied ‘A lot of people confuse the two of us but didn’t you know that Jesus was black?” and then promptly continued with my lesson before she could respond.

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