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Opposing Views on the Death of Jesus

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Leo M. Abrami, in his article in Midstream, April 2004, takes up the question of Jewish culpability for the death of Jesus.  He shows that, at that time, the greater number of Jews lived in the Diaspora outside of Palestine, and hence can not conceivably be implicated in that guilt.  He quotes Deut. 24:16 as evidence that one cannot be held responsible for the sin of another.  His summary and conclusion was as follows:

Considering these facts among others, we arrive at the conclusion that the fallacious argument for the supposed “Jewish guilt” for the crucifixion of Jesus is untenable and should be regarded as polemical in nature and without historical foundation or moral justification.

Robert Urekew’s article in the same magazine gives great unqualified credence to the “Biblical scholars who seem to be in agreement, that these Passion accounts are works of fiction,” and that, “These scholars seem to say that all we can know…is that someone named Jesus was executed by Roman authorities under the prefecture of Pontius Pilate…”  The supposed late date of Mark’s gospel, “with no eye witnesses or reliable anecdotal [?] evidence, renders his account flimsy…and largely speculative.” 

Basing the definition of blasphemy as being the illegal pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton (YaHWeH), of which Jesus could not then have been accused, “further demonstrates Mark’s account of the Passion of Jesus is fiction.”  The issue, then, of Jesus’ death was His claim to be Messiah which would have alone constrained Pilate under Roman law to execute Jesus independent of any Jewish influence.  “The Jews would have no part in the trial of Jesus before Pilate, even if that ever actually occurred.”  Therefore the offer of a Barabbas or a Jesus “does not mesh with the facts…and the gospel scene of the trial before Pilate is plainly unhistorical.”

Quoting a New Testament scholar, J.D. Crossan [?], who dismisses the gospels as “pure fiction,” the author concludes that:

These events, in short, never happened.  They are the result of early Christian propaganda…the attempts of an insecure group aimed at currying favor with the Romans…What passes as history in the Gospels is, quite clearly, only Christian propaganda…The Roman authorities solely carried out His execution.  There is no logical reason for anyone to blame first-century Jews for the death of Jesus.  It goes without saying that the descendents of those Jews should not be held responsible…anymore than blaming modern Italians “for the same incident, since many are the descendents of the Romans.

What can one say at so unkind a dismissal?  How quick these commentators are to grasp at any ‘biblical scholar’ who validates their view-however dubious the scholarship or its source.  Are they aware that in the process of denial in dismissing the veracity of the gospels, they are in one fell swoop negating the creed of hundreds of millions who have predicated their faith [its suffering, sacrifice, and martyrdom] on just that basis?  Ironically, their attempt to defuse the anti-Semitism they are so sure the Passion film inculcates, and their blithe dismissal of the personal ‘holocaust’ of Jesus, is itself an act of revisionism!

Topics: Articles by Theme, Other, The Cross |