To aid in his ministry to the Jewish people, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles, by permission of God rather than by his own power.[41] Through his ministry, Jesus is seen as a precursor to Muhammad.[424] According to the Quran, Jesus was not crucified but was merely made to appear that way to unbelievers by Allah,[430] who physically raised Jesus into the heavens.[431] To Muslims, it is the ascension rather than the crucifixion that constitutes a major event in the life of Jesus.[432] Most Muslims believe that Jesus will return to earth at the end of time and defeat the Antichrist (ad-Dajjal) by killing him in Lud.[39]
The Christ myth theory is the hypothesis that Jesus of Nazareth never existed; or if he did, that he had virtually nothing to do with the founding of Christianity and the accounts in the gospels.[s] Stories of Jesus' birth, along with other key events, have so many mythic elements that some scholars have suggested that Jesus himself was a myth.[381] Bruno Bauer (1809–1882) taught that the first Gospel was a work of literature that produced history rather than described it.[382] According to Albert Kalthoff (1850–1906) a social movement produced Jesus when it encountered Jewish messianic expectations.[382] Arthur Drews (1865–1935) saw Jesus as the concrete form of a myth that predated Christianity.[382] Despite arguments put forward by authors who have questioned the existence of a historical Jesus, there remains a strong consensus in historical-critical biblical scholarship that a historical Jesus did live in that area and in that time period.[383][384][385][386][387][388][389] Christian Gifts
Only one major innovative example of Christian church architecture was built in Europe during the 19th century - the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona (1883), designed in a highly decorative neo-Gothic style by Antoni Gaudi. Celebrating the Holy Family and the mysteries of the Catholic faith, this extraordinary church with its tree-like formation of vaulted structures includes five towers and twelve campaniles. Made of stone and concrete, the building is embellished in parts with ceramic tiles, pompom finials and numerous sculptures, but is still not completely finished. Gaudi himself was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement and was associated with the Catalan Modernista school.
Protestant aesthetics achieved a highpoint during the Dutch Baroque era (c.1600-80). This period, known as the Golden Age of Dutch art, witnessed the ultimate development of the realist style adopted earlier by Flemish painters. Although portraits and landscapes were also popular, the period is best known as the high point of Dutch Realist genre painting, and what is known as still life painting (arranged tableaux). Leading genre painters of the Protestant Reformation came from a variety of schools. Adriaen van Ostade and the Catholic artist Jan Steen represented the Haarlem school; Jan Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch represented the Delft school; Hendrik Terbrugghen and Gerrit van Honthorst belonged to the Utrecht school; Gerrit Dou represented the Leiden school; Samuel van Hoogstraten and Nicolaes Maes were members of the Dordrecht school; and Carel Fabritius, Gerard Terborch, and Gabriel Metsu belonged to the Amsterdam school. Christian Canvas Art
The New Testament states that the resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the Christian faith (1 Corinthians 15:12–20).[398] Christians believe that through his sacrificial death and resurrection, humans can be reconciled with God and are thereby offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.[32] Recalling the words of John the Baptist on the day after Jesus' baptism, these doctrines sometimes refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God, who was crucified to fulfill his role as the servant of God.[399][400] Jesus is thus seen as the new and last Adam, whose obedience contrasts with Adam's disobedience.[401] Christians view Jesus as a role model, whose God-focused life believers are encouraged to imitate.[13]
Jesus appears as an infant in a manger (feed trough) in Christmas creches, which depict the Nativity scene.[467] He is typically joined by Mary, Joseph, animals, shepherds, angels, and the Magi.[467] Francis of Assisi (1181/82–1226) is credited with popularizing the creche, although he probably did not initiate it.[467] The creche reached its height of popularity in the 17th and 18th centuries in southern Europe.[467]
Ravenna remains the best single source of surviving mosaics. These include: Christ as the Good Shepherd mosaic (450, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia); the Baptism of Christ mosaic (6th century, Arian Baptistery); the Queen Theodora mosaic (547, Basilica San Vitale); Christ Before Pontius Pilate mosaic (550, Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Classe). In Istanbul, see the floor mosaics (400-550) at the Imperial Palace; the South Gallery mosaics (c.1260) in Hagia Sophia; and the Dormition of Mary mosaic (1310, Church of the Chora Monastery). Elsewhere in the Byzantine Empire, see the mosaics at Hagios Demetrios (650) in Saloniki; and the outstanding early 12th century apse mosaics in Torcello Cathedral, Venice.
In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.” Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. ...

Much of the art surviving from Europe after the fall of the Western Roman Empire is Christian art, although this in large part because the continuity of church ownership has preserved church art better than secular works. While the Western Roman Empire's political structure essentially collapsed after the fall of Rome, its religious hierarchy, what is today the modern-day Roman Catholic Church commissioned and funded production of religious art imagery.


The Synoptics emphasize different aspects of Jesus. In Mark, Jesus is the Son of God whose mighty works demonstrate the presence of God's Kingdom.[80] He is a tireless wonder worker, the servant of both God and man.[104] This short gospel records few of Jesus' words or teachings.[80] The Gospel of Matthew emphasizes that Jesus is the fulfillment of God's will as revealed in the Old Testament, and he is the Lord of the Church.[105] He is the "Son of David", a "king", and the Messiah.[104][13][14] Luke presents Jesus as the divine-human savior who shows compassion to the needy.[106] He is the friend of sinners and outcasts, come to seek and save the lost.[104] This gospel includes well-known parables, such as the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son.[106]
However, throughout the history of Christianity a number of relics attributed to Jesus have been claimed, although doubt has been cast on them. The 16th-century Catholic theologian Erasmus wrote sarcastically about the proliferation of relics and the number of buildings that could have been constructed from the wood claimed to be from the cross used in the Crucifixion.[475] Similarly, while experts debate whether Jesus was crucified with three nails or with four, at least thirty holy nails continue to be venerated as relics across Europe.[476] Share Your Faith Products
The Orthodox Church of Constantinople, which enjoyed greater stability within the surviving Eastern Empire was key in commissioning imagery there and glorifying Christianity. As a stable Western European society emerged during the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church led the way in terms of art, using its resources to commission paintings and sculptures.
Protestant aesthetics achieved a highpoint during the Dutch Baroque era (c.1600-80). This period, known as the Golden Age of Dutch art, witnessed the ultimate development of the realist style adopted earlier by Flemish painters. Although portraits and landscapes were also popular, the period is best known as the high point of Dutch Realist genre painting, and what is known as still life painting (arranged tableaux). Leading genre painters of the Protestant Reformation came from a variety of schools. Adriaen van Ostade and the Catholic artist Jan Steen represented the Haarlem school; Jan Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch represented the Delft school; Hendrik Terbrugghen and Gerrit van Honthorst belonged to the Utrecht school; Gerrit Dou represented the Leiden school; Samuel van Hoogstraten and Nicolaes Maes were members of the Dordrecht school; and Carel Fabritius, Gerard Terborch, and Gabriel Metsu belonged to the Amsterdam school. Christian Canvas Art
A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. ...
He also made two capitals of molten bronze to set on the tops of the pillars; the height of the one capital was five cubits and the height of the other capital was five cubits. There were nets of network and twisted threads of chainwork for the capitals which were on the top of the pillars; seven for the one capital and seven for the other capital. So he made the pillars, and two rows around on the one network to cover the capitals which were on the top of the pomegranates; and so he did for the other capital. The capitals which were on the top of the pillars in the porch were of lily design, four cubits. There were capitals on the two pillars, even above and close to the rounded projection which was beside the network; and the pomegranates numbered two hundred in rows around both capitals. Thus he set up the pillars at the porch of the nave; and he set up the right pillar and named it Jachin, and he set up the left pillar and named it Boaz. On the top of the pillars was lily design. So the work of the pillars was finished. Christian Gifts
1200–50; Middle English < Late Latin Iēsus < Greek Iēsoûs < Hebrew Yēshūaʿ, syncopated variant of Yəhōshūaʿ God is help; in Early Modern English, the distinction (lost in Middle English) between Jesus (nominative) and Jesu (oblique, especially vocative; see Jesu) was revived on the model of Latin and Gk sources; Jesus gradually supplanted the older form in both nominative and oblique

The Christ myth theory is the hypothesis that Jesus of Nazareth never existed; or if he did, that he had virtually nothing to do with the founding of Christianity and the accounts in the gospels.[s] Stories of Jesus' birth, along with other key events, have so many mythic elements that some scholars have suggested that Jesus himself was a myth.[381] Bruno Bauer (1809–1882) taught that the first Gospel was a work of literature that produced history rather than described it.[382] According to Albert Kalthoff (1850–1906) a social movement produced Jesus when it encountered Jewish messianic expectations.[382] Arthur Drews (1865–1935) saw Jesus as the concrete form of a myth that predated Christianity.[382] Despite arguments put forward by authors who have questioned the existence of a historical Jesus, there remains a strong consensus in historical-critical biblical scholarship that a historical Jesus did live in that area and in that time period.[383][384][385][386][387][388][389]


^ Tuckett writes: "All this does at least render highly implausible any far-fetched theories that even Jesus' very existence was a Christian invention. The fact that Jesus existed, that he was crucified under Pontius Pilate (for whatever reason) and that he had a band of followers who continued to support his cause, seems to be part of the bedrock of historical tradition. If nothing else, the non-Christian evidence can provide us with certainty on that score."[283] Christian Canvas Art

Non-Christian sources are valuable in two ways. First, they show that even neutral or hostile parties never evince any doubt that Jesus actually existed. Second, they present a rough picture of Jesus that is compatible with that found in the Christian sources: that Jesus was a teacher, had a reputation as a miracle worker, had a brother James, and died a violent death.[11]
This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died. ... Share Your Faith Products
New Testament scholars face a formidable challenge when they analyze the canonical Gospels.[278] The Gospels are not biographies in the modern sense, and the authors explain Jesus' theological significance and recount his public ministry while omitting many details of his life.[278] The reports of supernatural events associated with Jesus' death and resurrection make the challenge even more difficult.[278] Scholars regard the gospels as compromised sources of information because the writers were trying to glorify Jesus.[89] Even so, the sources for Jesus' life are better than sources scholars have for the life of Alexander the Great.[89] Scholars use a number of criteria, such as the criterion of independent attestation, the criterion of coherence, and the criterion of discontinuity to judge the historicity of events.[279] The historicity of an event also depends on the reliability of the source; indeed, the gospels are not independent nor consistent records of Jesus' life. Mark, which is most likely the earliest written gospel, has been considered for many decades the most historically accurate.[280] John, the latest written gospel, differs considerably from the Synoptic Gospels, and thus is generally considered less reliable, although more and more scholars now also recognize that it may contain a core of older material as historically valuable as the Synoptic tradition or even more so.[281]
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: ... Christian Gifts
In general, the authors of the New Testament showed little interest in an absolute chronology of Jesus or in synchronizing the episodes of his life with the secular history of the age.[109] As stated in John 21:25, the gospels do not claim to provide an exhaustive list of the events in the life of Jesus.[110] The accounts were primarily written as theological documents in the context of early Christianity, with timelines as a secondary consideration.[111] In this respect, it is noteworthy that the Gospels devote about one third of their text to the last week of the life of Jesus in Jerusalem, referred to as the Passion.[112] Although the gospels do not provide enough details to satisfy the demands of modern historians regarding exact dates, it is possible to draw from them a general picture of the life story of Jesus.[89][109][111]
Protestantism taught a low-key, personal form of worship that focused on the direct relationship between God and man, without making a fuss about go-betweens like Popes, Bishops and other church employees. It also placed little or no importance on decorative or ceremonial aspects of religion. Because of all this, Protestant art favoured low-key moralistic depictions of ordinary day-to-day life, or simple narrative scenes from the Bible, rather than dramatic theological scenes involving the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. Other acceptable scenes included depictions of sinners forgiven by Christ, in line with the Protestant view that salvation is only possible through the grace of God. Protestant art also tended to be smaller-scale than Catholic art, reflecting a more modest, personal approach to religion. For the same reason, book illustration and prints became more popular, while Catholic paintings and sculptures became the object of physical iconclastic attacks, as exemplified by the beeldenstorm, an episode of mob destruction which broke out in 1556. But Protestant church authorities were equally aware of the power of art to educate and influence worshippers. As a result they made maximum use of various forms of printmaking, which allowed images to be made widely available to the public at a very low cost.
Jesus is the central figure of Christianity.[13] Although Christian views of Jesus vary, it is possible to summarize the key beliefs shared among major denominations, as stated in their catechetical or confessional texts.[393][394][395] Christian views of Jesus are derived from various sources, including the canonical gospels and New Testament letters such as the Pauline epistles and the Johannine writings. These documents outline the key beliefs held by Christians about Jesus, including his divinity, humanity, and earthly life, and that he is the Christ and the Son of God.[396] Despite their many shared beliefs, not all Christian denominations agree on all doctrines, and both major and minor differences on teachings and beliefs have persisted throughout Christianity for centuries.[397] Christian Gifts

Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed historically,[g] although the quest for the historical Jesus has produced little agreement on the historical reliability of the Gospels and on how closely the Jesus portrayed in the Bible reflects the historical Jesus.[21][h][i] Jesus was a Galilean Jew[12] who was baptized by John the Baptist and began his own ministry. He preached orally[24] and was often referred to as "rabbi".[25] Jesus debated with fellow Jews on how to best follow God, engaged in healings, taught in parables and gathered followers.[26][27] He was arrested and tried by the Jewish authorities,[28] turned over to the Roman government, and crucified on the order of Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect.[26] After his death, his followers believed he rose from the dead, and the community they formed eventually became the early Church.[29] Christian Canvas Art
Jesus chose twelve disciples [336] (the "Twelve"), evidently as an apocalyptic message.[337] All three Synoptics mention the Twelve, although the names on Luke's list vary from those in Mark and Matthew, suggesting that Christians were not certain who all the disciples were.[337] The 12 disciples might have represented the twelve original tribes of Israel, which would be restored once God's rule was instituted.[337] The disciples were reportedly meant to be the rulers of the tribes in the coming Kingdom (Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:30).[337] According to Bart Ehrman, Jesus' promise that the Twelve would rule is historical, because the Twelve included Judas Iscariot. In Ehrman's view, no Christians would have invented a line from Jesus, promising rulership to the disciple who betrayed him.[337] In Mark, the disciples play hardly any role other than a negative one. While others sometimes respond to Jesus with complete faith, his disciples are puzzled and doubtful.[338] They serve as a foil to Jesus and to other characters.[338] The failings of the disciples are probably exaggerated in Mark, and the disciples make a better showing in Matthew and Luke.[338]
Jesus calls people to repent their sins and to devote themselves completely to God.[43] Jesus tells his followers to adhere to Jewish law, although he is perceived by some to have broken the law himself, for example regarding the Sabbath.[43] When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus replies: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind ... And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37–39). Other ethical teachings of Jesus include loving your enemies, refraining from hatred and lust, turning the other cheek, and forgiving people who have sinned against you (Matthew 5–7).[156]

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: ... Christian Gifts
Until the adoption of Christianity by Constantine Christian art derived its style and much of its iconography from popular Roman art, but from this point grand Christian buildings built under imperial patronage brought a need for Christian versions of Roman elite and official art, of which mosaics in churches in Rome are the most prominent surviving examples. Christian art was caught up in, but did not originate, the shift in style from the classical tradition inherited from Ancient Greek art to a less realist and otherworldly hieratic style, the start of gothic art. Christian Canvas Art
and in the cutting of stones for settings and in the carving of wood, so as to perform in every inventive work. "He also has put in his heart to teach, both he and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. "He has filled them with skill to perform every work of an engraver and of a designer and of an embroiderer, in blue and in purple and in scarlet material, and in fine linen, and of a weaver, as performers of every work and makers of designs.
19 designers and 31 writers invested their energy and creativity to this collection, each riffing on the timeless, inspired words of Scripture. Each designer worked hard to capture the essence of each verse in its historical and cultural context, and to design in a way that makes clear the way in which the original readers would have understood it. Then, after each design was complete, a writer reflected on each piece of art and the verse that inspired it. The result is 100 pairs of art and devotional that illuminate the words of Scripture. Scripture Art
Of David. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. ...

Thus says the Lord, “Go, buy a potter's earthenware flask, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the elders of the priests, and go out to the Valley of the Son of Hinnom at the entry of the Potsherd Gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you. You shall say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. Because the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind— ... Scripture Art
1200–50; Middle English < Late Latin Iēsus < Greek Iēsoûs < Hebrew Yēshūaʿ, syncopated variant of Yəhōshūaʿ God is help; in Early Modern English, the distinction (lost in Middle English) between Jesus (nominative) and Jesu (oblique, especially vocative; see Jesu) was revived on the model of Latin and Gk sources; Jesus gradually supplanted the older form in both nominative and oblique
As the power of Rome declined, that of Constantinople grew. In 535, the armies of Justinian I (482-565), Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565, invaded Italy (mostly occupied by barbarians) and in 540 conquered Ravenna, which became the seat of Byzantine government in Italy. From 540 to 600, the Exarch of Ravenna instigated a major building program of churches in the city and its port township of Classe: they included the Basilica of San Vitale and the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe. The Basilica of San Vitale combines a Roman dome, doorways and stepped towers, with a Byzantine polygonal apse, as well as Byzantine capitals, and narrow bricks. It is world famous for its Byzantine mosaics, the most spectacular and best preserved mosaic art outside Constantinople. For details, see: Ravenna Mosaics (c.400-600).
Judaism rejects the idea of Jesus being God,[42] or a mediator to God, or part of a Trinity.[408] It holds that Jesus is not the Messiah, arguing that he neither fulfilled the Messianic prophecies in the Tanakh nor embodied the personal qualifications of the Messiah.[409] Jews argue that Jesus did not fulfill prophesies to build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26–28), gather Jews back to Israel (Isaiah 43:5–6), bring world peace (Isaiah 2:4), and unite humanity under the God of Israel (Zechariah 14:9).[410] Furthermore, according to Jewish tradition, there were no prophets after Malachi,[411] who delivered his prophesies in the 5th century BC.[412]
^ Flavius Josephus writing (about 5 years later, c. AD 75) in The Jewish War (Book VII 1.1) stated that Jerusalem had been flattened to the point that "there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited."[470] And once what was left of the ruins of Jerusalem had been turned into the Roman settlement of Aelia Capitolina, no Jews were allowed to set foot in it.[469]

1200–50; Middle English < Late Latin Iēsus < Greek Iēsoûs < Hebrew Yēshūaʿ, syncopated variant of Yəhōshūaʿ God is help; in Early Modern English, the distinction (lost in Middle English) between Jesus (nominative) and Jesu (oblique, especially vocative; see Jesu) was revived on the model of Latin and Gk sources; Jesus gradually supplanted the older form in both nominative and oblique Christian Gifts
A Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. ... Share Your Faith Products
After El Greco came Francisco de Zurbaran (1598-1664), an artist strongly influenced by Spanish Quietism, who specialized in large-scale sacred paintings for Religious Orders like the Carthusians, Capuchins, Dominicans, and others. Zurburan's contemporary Jusepe Ribera (1591-1652) was a key figure in the Neapolitan School of Painting (1600-56), and an early follower of Caravaggio. Works by both these painters are famous for their visual truthfulness, bold chiaroscuro and tenebrism, which gave them great drama and intensity. See also: Christ Crucified (1632) by Diego Velazquez.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them. Christian Gifts
Below is a collection of inspirational Bible verses can lead you into a deeper understanding of who God is and what His plan is for your life. He wants to "prosper you and not to harm you, to give hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11) You can also send these to a family member or friend in need and be assured that God can work miracles when we choose to believe His promises! Use these verses to be inspired and motivated to continue believing and having faith! Share Your Faith Products
From about 1520, as the Northern Renaissance felt the impact of Luther's revolt against the corrupt practices of the Roman Church, a new set of aesthetics took hold, in the form of Protestant Reformation Art, which reflected the Christian agenda of the Protestant movement, which rejected the humanist art and ideology of the High Renaissance, and celebrated a more austere religious experience, with minimal decoration. As a result, the amount of religious art commissioned by Protestant Church authorities was hugely reduced, and artists in Protestant countries were forced to switch to secular forms like genre painting, portrait art, landscape painting, and still lifes. Christian Canvas Art
Many of these genre paintings contained subtle moral messages about how to live a Christian life, as well as not so subtle messages about the dangers of vice. This low-key Protestant iconography was a complete contrast to the intense Biblical scenes, such as the Crucifixion and the Lamentation, favoured by Catholic art. Still lifes provided another example of this moralistic art. Known as Vanitas painting, this genre consisted of arrangements of food and other objects laid out on a table, complete with symbolic messages that frowned upon gluttony and sensual indulgence. There were two varieties of vanitas paintings: "banquet pieces" (pronkstilleven), or "breakfast pieces" (ontbijtjes). Exponents of pronkstilleven included: Harmen van Steenwyck (1612-56), Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606-84) and Willem Kalf (1622-93). While the leading practitioners of ontbijtjes included: Willem Claesz Heda (1594-1680) and Pieter Claesz (1597-1660). Christian Gifts
A devout Catholic, the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens became the most influential exponent of Counter-Reformation painting in Northern Europe. Famous for his large-scale religious and history paintings, full of sensuous colour and drama, he socialized in the leading circles of European society as both an artist and diplomat. Despite the distance separating Rubens from the ordinary churchgoer, some of his Catholic pictures, like the celebrated triptych Descent from the Cross (Rubens) (1612), are intensely moving, and his impact on later painters was enormous. See also: Samson and Delilah (1610). Christian Gifts
The Gospels portray Jesus teaching in well-defined sessions, such as the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew or the parallel Sermon on the Plain in Luke. According to Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz, these teaching sessions include authentic teachings of Jesus, but the scenes were invented by the respective evangelists to frame these teachings, which had originally been recorded without context.[94] While Jesus' miracles fit within the social context of antiquity, he defined them differently. First, he attributed them to the faith of those healed. Second, he connected them to end times prophecy.[335] Christian Gifts

In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.” Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. ...

In short, the sole purpose of Counter-Reformation art was to glorify God and Catholic traditions, and promote the sacraments and the saints. Thus Michelangelo's Last Judgment fresco in the Sistine Chapel was heavily criticized for its nudity, for showing Jesus without a beard, and for including the pagan character of Charon. Paolo Veronese's painting The Last Supper was (not unreasonably) attacked for including extravagant costumes, drunken Germans and dwarfs along with a huge crowd of people. In fact, Veronese simply side-stepped the issue by renaming the picture Feast in the House of Levi.


^ Flavius Josephus writing (about 5 years later, c. AD 75) in The Jewish War (Book VII 1.1) stated that Jerusalem had been flattened to the point that "there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited."[470] And once what was left of the ruins of Jerusalem had been turned into the Roman settlement of Aelia Capitolina, no Jews were allowed to set foot in it.[469]
After Jesus's life, his followers, as described in the first chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, were all Jews either by birth or conversion, for which the biblical term "proselyte" is used,[256] and referred to by historians as Jewish Christians. The early Gospel message was spread orally, probably in Aramaic,[257] but almost immediately also in Greek.[258] The New Testament's Acts of the Apostles and Epistle to the Galatians record that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included Peter, James, the brother of Jesus, and John the Apostle.[259]
Other exceptional Christian paintings by modern artists include: The Angelus (1859) by the Barbizon realist Jean-Francois Millet; Christ Before Pilate (1881) by the Hungarian realist Mihaly Munkacsy; Christ's Triumphant Entry into Brussels in 1889 (1888), by James Ensor, leader of the Symbolism movement; The Christian Relic (1893) by the Spanish social realist painter Joaquin Sorolla; the unfinished Adam and Eve (1918) by the Viennese master Gustav Klimt; Ecce Homo (1925) by the German Expressionist Lovis Corinth; The Screaming Pope (1953) by Francis Bacon, inspired by Velazquez's Innocent X (1650); Mark Rothko's wall-paintings for the chapel at the St Thomas Catholic University in Houston; Crucifixion 3.85 (1985) by Antonio Saura, inspired by Velazquez's Crucifixion (1631).
In John, Jesus' miracles are described as "signs", performed to prove his mission and divinity.[171][172] However, in the Synoptics, when asked by some teachers of the Law and some Pharisees to give miraculous signs to prove his authority, Jesus refuses,[171] saying that no sign shall come to corrupt and evil people except the sign of the prophet Jonah. Also, in the Synoptic Gospels, the crowds regularly respond to Jesus' miracles with awe and press on him to heal their sick. In John's Gospel, Jesus is presented as unpressured by the crowds, who often respond to his miracles with trust and faith.[173] One characteristic shared among all miracles of Jesus in the gospel accounts is that he performed them freely and never requested or accepted any form of payment.[174] The gospel episodes that include descriptions of the miracles of Jesus also often include teachings, and the miracles themselves involve an element of teaching.[175][176] Many of the miracles teach the importance of faith. In the cleansing of ten lepers and the raising of Jairus' daughter, for instance, the beneficiaries are told that their healing was due to their faith.[177][178]
However, throughout the history of Christianity a number of relics attributed to Jesus have been claimed, although doubt has been cast on them. The 16th-century Catholic theologian Erasmus wrote sarcastically about the proliferation of relics and the number of buildings that could have been constructed from the wood claimed to be from the cross used in the Crucifixion.[475] Similarly, while experts debate whether Jesus was crucified with three nails or with four, at least thirty holy nails continue to be venerated as relics across Europe.[476] Share Your Faith Products
With the fall of Rome and the disintegration of the Roman Empire, Western Europe entered the Dark Ages (400-800), a period of political uncertainty and cultural stagnation. The only possible unifying force was Christianity, but with Rome sacked and the Roman Church under pressure, its influence was limited. Only in Ireland, a country cut off from the European mainland, did Christianity flourish. In fact, Irish Monastic art and culture was critical in keeping alive the ideas of classical antiquity, as well as the message of the Bible. Early Medieval art in Ireland was dominated by the making of illuminated manuscripts, notably the Cathach of St. Columba (c.610), the Book of Durrow (c.650-80), the Lichfield Gospels (c.730), the Echternach Gospels (690-715), the Lindisfarne Gospels (698) and the stunning Book of Kells (800). Because of the country's ongoing tradition of Celtic art, most Irish manuscript illustrators used abstract Celtic designs, rather than figurative imagery preferred by Continental artists. Scripture Art
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