Historical Figure
Nationality: Judea
Date of Birth: c. 4 BCE
Date of Death: c. 30 CE
Cause of Death: Execution by crucifixion
Religion: Judaism
Occupation: Carpenter, Preacher, Reformer, Judge (according to doctrine)
Parents: Joseph of Nazareth (legal father),
(a central tenant of Christianity is that God is Jesus' true father)
Relatives: David, King of Israel (ancestor)
Fictional Appearances:

Jesus, also known as Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity. Christians believe that he was the Son of God and Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Old Testament, and that after his execution by Roman officials, he rose from the dead, offering salvation to mankind.

All information about the life of Jesus comes exclusively from the four Gospels of the New Testament. Tradition holds that His conception and birth to a Jewish mother (believed to be around 4 BC) were immaculate. During his youth he worked as a carpenter before becoming a wandering preacher. His ministry took place in Judea and Galilee in Palestine. Through His ministry, Jesus accomplished miracles, championed the poor, and taught about the Kingdom of Heaven. After arriving in Jerusalem during a Passover gathering, possibly in AD 30, Jesus was betrayed by an Apostle named Judas and arrested by Roman authorities for claiming to be a king and inciting a resistance movement against Roman rule. He was soon sentenced to death by Roman governor Pontius Pilate, and crucified. However, the Apostles later claimed that they encountered Jesus alive again three days after his death; this doctrine of Resurrection is the central tenet of Christianity.

Literary Comment

As a great many of Harry Turtledove's characters are Christian, Jesus is referenced in nearly every story with a Point of Divergence after AD 30. These references usually take the form of a character stating one's belief in the divinity of Jesus or affiliation with a specific Christian denomination, or using a variation of his name as an exclamation of shock, such as By Jesus or Sweet Jesus. This article only deals with works in which he appears directly, or if his existence is critical to understanding a specific alternate history.

Jesus in Alpha and Omega

Alpha and Omega
Set in the Future of OTL
Type of Appearance: Direct
Certain events, following the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant, caused many people to question whether Jesus was in fact God's chosen Messiah.

Jesus in "Before the Beginning"

"Before the Beginning"
Set in the Future
Type of Appearance: Posthumous reference

Jesus was revealed by the time-viewer to be not quite what the Bible said he was.[1] Nonetheless, Christianity persisted until Jacob Dreyfus discovered that the Jews were indeed God's chosen people. The Vatican became the first entity to convert en masse to Judaism.

Jesus in "The Great White Way"

"The Great White Way"
by Laura Frankos

Set in OTL
Type of Appearance: Direct
Species: VR avatar
Cause of Death: Shot to death
A virtual reality Jesus was the ace in the hole for Brent Birley's Webberite army in the fight against Trina Hutchinson's Sondheads. When Trina first saw Jesus, he was in the image of Ted Neeley's performance in the movie Jesus Christ Superstar (1973), however he quickly morphed into a montage of Jesus portraits by Leonardo, Michelangelo, El Greco, and several other classical artists.

See also

  • Arthur Blakey, another "Webberite" in the same story, whose character arc in his original novel/play is constructed as ironic parallels to Jesus.

Jesus in "No Period"

"No Period"
Type of Appearance: Posthumous reference

A Jewish-American writer contemplated his failed first marriage, and wondered if it might have worked in some alternate timeline. After considering and discarding a number of possibilities, he considered the possibilities in a world where the Maccabees fell to the Seleucids. This would mean the end of Judaism, and by extension, prevent Jesus and Christianity. Then the writer realized that religion wasn't the problem between him and his ex, and that the substance of their real arguments would have been the same in this world.[2]

Jesus in "Under St. Peter's"

"Under St. Peter's"
Set in OTL
Type of Appearance: Direct POV
Species: Vampire

Contrary to popular belief, Jesus did not die on the cross and rise from the dead. Rather, in his last dying moments, Jesus was bitten by a vampire called Dacicus, and transformed into a vampire himself. Afterward, he was taken into custody by his Apostle Peter, and imprisoned in what became the Basilica of St. Peter. Jesus was tended by the Order of the Pipistrelle, a secret society within the Catholic Church known only to the reigning pope. Upon ascending to the papacy, each new pope gave some of his blood to feed the ravenous Jesus.

Only one pope - Honorius I - became a vampire after Jesus was fed. This started the tradition of staking each pope who died a natural death. John Paul I died prematurely after Jesus took too much of his blood.

Each pope, right up to the most recent, Benedict XVI, asked Jesus if he was truly the Son of God. Jesus' response each time was "You say it."

Jesus in Crosstime Traffic

Jesus in Gunpowder Empire

Gunpowder Empire
Type of Appearance: Posthumous references

In the alternate known as Agrippan Rome, Jesus' life and death occurred essentially the same way as in the home timeline. While there were Christians in that alternate, Jesus was merely one deity among many within the Roman Empire. While the Solters family were paying tribute to Emperor Honorio Prisco III in a polytheistic temple in Polisso, Crosstime employee Jeremy Solters saw a statue which depicted Jesus as a "beardless youth carrying a lamb on his back." He noted that that kind of portrait had fallen out of favour in the home timeline.[3] Prefect Sesto Capurnio's office displayed a painting which promoted interfaith cooperation by depicting Jesus and Mithras as partners in a battle against a demon.[4]

Jesus in In High Places

In High Places
POD: 1348
Type of Appearance: Posthumous references
Relatives: Henri (half-brother)

Centuries after the Great Black Deaths killed 80% of all Europeans, Jesus was still revered as God's First Son by the surviving Christians, but had been surpassed in overall importance by his "younger brother", Henri, God's Second Son.[5] The Final Testament of the Bible specifically stated that Henri was more important than Jesus.

Jesus in "Shock and Awe"

"Shock and Awe"
POD: 30 CE
Type of Appearance: Direct (POV in one scene), as "Son of God"
Cause of Death: Execution by crucifixion
Occupation: Revolutionary, terrorist

Jesus, known as "the Chieftain" to the Roman military, and the "Son of God" to his followers, was a pesky and vocal barbarian leader in Palestine who instigated a destructive and short-lived rebellion of the Jews against Rome. Their badly organized bands of warriors were no match for a Roman Legion led by General Pontius Pilate, who decimated them and eventually captured the Chieftain and his second-in-command, The Rock, with the treacherous assistance of an informant within the gang. With the Chieftain's death, his movement quickly withered away.