Can we discuss Judaism without the politics?


From the book:

> Here I desire to impress upon the minds of my clerical brethren the important fact, that the gospel histories of Christ were written by men who had formerly been Jews (see Acts xxi. 20), and probably possessing the strong proclivity to imitate and borrow which their bible shows was characteristic of that nation ; and being written many years after Christ’s death, according to that standard Christian author, Dr. Lardner, it was impossible, under such circumstances, for them to separate (if they had desired to) the real facts and events of his life from the innumerable fictions and fables then afloat everywhere relative to the heathen Gods who had pre-enacted a similar history. Two reasons are thus furnished for their constructing a history of Christ almost identical with that of other Gods, as shown in chapters XXX., XXXI. and XXXII. of this work.

We really have no one’s word, but the word of his followers, and that is problematic. At least for non-Christians.


You know quite well that the only evidence for any of this lies in a the text itself, rather like the evidence of Hamlet’s actions lies in the text of the play.

Perhaps a more considered, less bombastic approach might work better?


Well, no actually, I don’t KNOW that. What I do know is that a number of extra-Biblical sources exist that corroborate Jesus’ crucifixion by Pilate.

But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order.

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.

Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed.
~Tacitus, The Annals, Book 15

By the way, this is all deflection from answering a very simple question.


So where’s all the stuff about naughty Jews plotting to kill Jesus then?

What you get with the various ‘extra-Biblical sources’ is that they’re, basically, hearsay and don’t prove what you want them to prove.

You’re still stuck with the fact that the NT text is the only source for the story you’re basing your questioning on.

If you don’t like the answers, one way forward is to ask better questions.


You know, when I first saw your link, I thought to myself, “I knew of other Jewish men who claimed to be the Messiah and were crucified by the Romans on that account, but I never knew there were sixteen.”

Then I read the article.

What does this have to do with Judaism, with claimants to being the Messiah, and to actual history?

Virtually nothing. I don’t think even one involves Judaism, and virtually all are mythical figures with no actual historical corroboration.

So the question remains, "Were there any other Jewish claimants to being the Messiah who were crucified by the Romans at the instigation of the Sanhedrin?

Even if you had found sixteen Jewish Messiah figures who were crucified by the Romans, the fact that the Jewish Sanhedrin initiated proceedings and prompted the Romans to crucify Jesus implies he wasn’t crucified for thinking himself to be the Messiah. The Jews were actually waiting for their Messiah, so it doesn’t make sense that they would want their Messiah crucified.

No Jesus didn’t ONLY claim to be the Messiah, he claimed to be God, thus the charge of blasphemy.

So to return to my very simple set of questions which are, suspiciously, being avoided rather than addressed…

So what needs to be explained, then, is why Jesus was crucified at the instigation of the Sanhedrin? What precisely did he do that merited execution in the eyes of the Jewish Council? The charge was blasphemy. If he didn’t claim to be G-d then how did the Council settle on blasphemy as the charge that merited his execution?

Very simple, no bombast and no need to deflect.

If you have no answer, just admit that rather than go chasing down old debunked mythicist books and presenting them as historically sound reading.

I was hoping for a congenial, thoughtful, Jewish reply, and Instill do.


If you are going to toss out Tacitus, Josephus, Suetonius, Pliny, Paul, and the entire New Testament, as hearsay, then you’ve already tossed your own body of Scripture, the entire Old Testament. So your grounds for believing anything that you might nominally be understood to has unceremoniously been dispatched.

What is left to you is either atheism or some watered-down spirituality arbitrarily contrived from your loose collection of cherished but unfounded beliefs.

The case for Jesus being a historical individual, crucified by Pilate at the instigation of the Sanhedrin, is far stronger than any case to be made for any Old Testament figure, so your selectivity regarding the writings and personages you consider hearsay or “Shakespearean” is very suspect.


Do you really think that all this getting angry and floundering around is really the way forward?

Do you really think that demanding that we defend accusations of deicide based on texts that we see as neither scripture nor reportage is the route to “congenial, thoughtful” replies?

You don’t want discussion, you want surrender.


That is one way to frame the question – as “naughty” and presumed ahistorical.

The problem is that you need to toss out most of history to toe that line.

And by taking that tack, you are pretty much admitting that the members of the Sanhedrin were, indeed, “naughty” IF they had Jesus crucified.

I was hoping for something better and more thoughtful.

So basically you are admitting that if it happened as laid out in the Gospels, the Sanhedrin were “naughty” in their actions?


I’m admitting to being given to sarcasm.


What you imagine and what is really the case are two different things.

Being “angry and floundering around” isn’t what I am doing. In fact, you appear to be projecting.

Let’s turn it entirely hypothetical and literary, then.

Suppose the events happened as laid out in the Gospels, can you see any plausible reason why the Sanhedrin, as characters in the literary play, would have Jesus crucified besides that he must have committed blasphemy by claiming to be God?

That is the only plausible explanation, even to make literary sense of the play, for why the Sanhedrin did what they did in the play, correct?

And there is no reason to get angry, bombastic or flounder around when discussing Shakespeare or the literary integrity of the Gospels, now, is there?


Why? Why not just suppose, for example, that the whole thing was written as a set-up to blame Jews and make the Romans blameless?

Or, why not just accept the fact that you can’t demand that people accept your framing of a discussion?

Enough, I have work to do.


Sarcasm is the last refuge of a defeated wit. ~Dostoyevsky



Perhaps because that supposition doesn’t make any sense and opens a Pandora’s box of further questions.

The writers and first promoters of the “frame-up” were Jews, so why would a fairly substantial number of Jews want to “blame Jews and make the Romans blameless,” especially when it was the Romans who crucified their Jewish Rabbi and persecuted their Jewish brethren? Why was this Jewish account of a Jewish man being crucified not recorded as, “That nasty Roman Procurator Pilate was entirely to blame!”

And why not just admit, “I don’t have any good answers,” instead of fumbling with half-baked ruminations?


Hey, it makes a lot of sense if you see the whole business as a sales pitch, fail in one market, try another.

Meanwhile, I’m sorry but you persist in trying to carry presumption of ‘scripture/reportage’ into a conversation with somebody who doesn’t believe a word of it and, no matter how often you attempt to frame the conversation and announce your victories, you’re just indulging in empty rhetoric and I’m sure you’re quite aware of that.


Reaching for cliché is the last refuge of those entirely lacking of wit.


The Orthodox wholly reject his claims and teachings. Reform and Conservative say he was a nice guy, an ethical teacher, or even a good rabbi, in order to be PC or for whatever other reasons. They don’t want to hurt Christians’ feelings.


Deut. 18:20:


Amen. Yet, our testimony stands, that Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans, and it came to pass exactly as prophesied. The intellectually honest Orthodox Jews affirm their fathers’ guilt of hatred without a cause, but there are many who instead blaspheme God, accusing Him of exiling them without cause. Indeed, there were some who presumed to claim Moses interceded for Rabbi Akiva only for God to tell him to be silent, as though Rabbi Akiva were innocent rather than an inticer for a false messiah (namely, Bar Kochba, who led a multitude of Jews to their destruction). Yet this too, Jesus prophesied: “I have come in My Father’s Name, and you did not receive Me, but one who comes in his own name, you will receive.”

Was not the Temple polluted with heretics? The Sadducees, who denied the Resurrection of the Dead, and were therefore little better than atheists, were the dominant party among the priests, led by the House of Annas. Did not the pious priests curse the wickedness of the House of Annas? Did not these wicked heretics extort the people, make the Court of the Gentiles into a marketplace, and impoverish the pious priests who stood up to their wickedness? Did not the Temple itself sound the alarm for forty years that it was to be destroyed? Amen, before stone was laid upon stone for the Second Temple, Daniel had already prophesied its destruction. I have yet to hear any Orthodox Jew explain this scandal: that the nations of the world turn from their idols to the teachings of Jesus, while the Jews were scattered in exile and counted accursed. Is it not their shame that it was the Christians, not the Pharisees, who proclaimed the Word of God to the Gentiles and are the reason that the God of Israel is praised throughout the world today?


You WISH! Oh how you wished. You are the ones who need the “Old Testament” in order to justify your “New Testament”. We, however, never needed anything of yours to exist, and we will never need anything of it.


Your introducing sentence already has never been proven. Quite the contrary, it seems pretty easy to me to write a book generations later and include this prophesy after the facts.

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