Face of Christ (detail) from the Christ Pantocrator (Deësis) 13th century. Mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey.


All four gospels agree that Jesus was a Jewish carpenter (tekton) who fulfilled ancient prophecies which indicated he was the awaited Messiah of Israel.

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Duccio di Buoninsegna, Nativity

The Nativity

Jesus’ birth is one of the best-known Bible stories. So it can come as a surprise to realize that it only appears in two Gospels, Matthew and Luke. And their stories are quite different.

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Pilgrims to Bethlehem


The city of Bethlehem, located south of Jerusalem, was an Israelite town where David was anointed king of Israel and where, according to Christian tradition,  Jesus was born.

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Depiction of a menorah on the Arch of Titus, first century C.E. Architectural relief, Arch of Titus, Via Sacra, Rome, Italy.

The Menorah in Ancient Judaism

In the ancient world, the menorah was both an important Jewish ritual object and the most widely used symbol of Judaism.

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Bible Odyssey: People, Places, and Passages

Explore the fascinating origins of the Bible and its eventful history. On Bible Odyssey, the world’s leading scholars share the latest historical and literary research on key people, places, and passages of the Bible. 

Why do the Israelites turn so quickly to worship a golden calf immediately after witnessing God's revelation?

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Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.