The earliest account of Jesus (by Mark) comes from about A.D. 70, and the account by John is from the end of the same century. These accounts are Gospels, that is, statements about the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, written so that those teachings would not be lost. They indicate that Jesus was born in Palestine sometime between the years we now call 8 and 4 B.C. and was crucified probably in A.D. 29 or 30 in the reign of Tiberius.
He was a Jew all his life and stoutly declared that he had not come to lead a movement of secession from Judaism, but one of reform and fulfillment within it. But we cannot understand this apparently straightforward idea without appreciating the extraordinary complexity of the Roman and Judean society in which Jesus was born, taught, suffered, died, and—as his followers declared—was raised from the dead.