'The Anointed One', Hellenic title of Jewish Messiah. The Christ of the New Testament is now widely regarded to be a mythical figure (though many Christians still deny this), based on a number of fertilty gods and Mystery Religions.

This mythification appears to have been initiated by the Hellenized Jew Saul of Tarsus (later known as St Paul). Who sought to create a new pro-Roman religion from the militant Jewish sect of the Nazarenes.

The historical basis for Christ was an obsure messianic Rabbi variously known as Issua or Joshua ben Miriam. About who little is known, outside of the general trend of Roman resistance and Judaic fundamentalism.

Christ, from the Greek Christos, is a title, used principally in Christianity, and equivalent to the Hebrew word Messiah, meaning the Anointed One. It is rendered directly into Latin as Christus, and this form has influenced the form the title takes in languages such as Swedish ('Kristus').

Christians apply the title to their founder, the rabbi Jesus of Nazareth, who is seen as embodying the Son, the second person of the Trinity. Most denominations regard the Christ as an integral aspect of God, whose incarnation is a form of avatara (although that's not a word usually used in this connection). The title 'Christ' was not generally applied to Jesus within his earthly lifetime, although various people claimed he was the Messiah. It was through contact with Hellenic Jews that Jesus' followers adopted the word, and thus came to be called Christians - 'followers of the Anointed One'

Anointed One, or Hebrew Messiah. Based on the Hebrew mashiach, or "anointed for God's purpose". Plainly, the anointed one was set aside before God and for God for His will. In its adjective form, this word was applied to both priests and kings of the Old Testament, or Tanach.

Its use as a noun however, and the form of Messiah and Christ that is now used, begins in the New Testament, referring to the Anointed One of God, a single person who was sent to fulfill Old Testament prophecy. This title was applied to Jesus of Nazareth both during His life and after His death and ressurection. (Note: During His life He was generally referred to as Messiah by the Jewish crowds He spoke to, but after Greeks and other Gentiles became involved, the translation Christ became more popular.)

In particular, the title of Christ, or Anointed One, was a way of recognizing one someone set apart by God. It was applied to Jesus not as a specific title, but as an affirmation that He was the One whom God promised throughout the Tanach.

Christ (?), n. [L. Christus, Gr. , fr. anointed, fr. chri`ein to anoint. See Chrism.]

The Anointed; an appellation given to Jesus, the Savior. It is synonymous with the Hebrew Messiah.

 

© Webster 1913.

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