Jesus of Nazareth (4 BCE - 30 CE). Born, most likely out of wedlock, to Joseph, a carpenter, and Mary, a teenager. Despite what Catholics and Fundamentalists might try to make you believe, the Bible strongly implies he was the eldest of several children born to the couple1. Little is known about Jesus' life until he was about 30 years old, at which point he stopped being a carpenter and started being a prophet. Having been an adherent of the Pharisee sect since his teens, he preached a more radical version of their creed, expanding on the traditional Pharisaical notions of resurrection and interpretation of the law. His opposition to the practices of the Temple leaders of his day made him unpopular, and the Sadducees loathed him still more. (His brother James was subsequently assassinated by them by stoning2.)

In about the year 784 AUC, during the governorship of Pontius Pilate, Jesus went to Jerusalem, feeling that he had to make his message more widely heard, even if it were to cost him his life. In the short period that followed, Jesus started a riot in the outer court of the temple in protest against the mercenary acts of the authorities. Caiaphas the High Priest bribed Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus' close friends, to track down the prophet. Jesus was arrested and tried for blasphemy. Pilate was unhappy about the verdict, but being a weak man did not attempt to overturn it. He tried to get a popular pardon for Jesus in honour of the approaching Passover, but at the instigation of Caiaphas, the crowd demanded the terrorist Jesus Barabbas be released instead. Jesus bar-Joseph was taken and executed by crucifixion at a place called Golgotha or Calvary. He died fairly rapidly by the standards of crucifixion victims, and was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.

The above is, if not indisputable, at least fairly widely accepted.

Were he working today, Jesus would very likely be preaching against the church authorities who persist in maintaining sexist employment policies, televangelists who make money at a rate the temple moneychangers would have envied, and all the bigots who 'confess and call themselves Christians' but screw the world up for everyone.

Jesus is also seen spelled 'Jesu', 'Iesu', 'Yeshua', 'Y'Shua' and 'Joshua'.

I love the non-subjective nature of Webster's definition.

1: There's no word for cousin in Hebrew, and although the gospels were not written in Hebrew, it is possible that the 'brothers and sisters' references mean cousins, as the speakers (where the expression appears in reported speech) would have been speaking Aramaic. I don't personally believe so, but it's fair to note that this is another reading. Thanks to lordsibn for the pointer.

2: According to Josephus, James was 'delivered up to be stoned'. Hegesippus claims they tried defenestration first, and then stoned and clubbed him to finish the job.