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.
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.
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 essentially 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. 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.
Contrary to 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, 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.