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#1
Old 04-16-2006, 10:33 AM
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Easter question; What law did Jesus break?

What law/laws was he charged with breaking, and sentenced to crucifiction for?
#2
Old 04-16-2006, 11:12 AM
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Overturning the moneychangers tables. In modern law he would probably be charged with Vandalism and Causing a Breach of the Peace.
#3
Old 04-16-2006, 11:23 AM
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John 18:29-31 (New International Version)

Quote:
So Pilate came out to them and asked, "What charges are you brining against this man?"

"If he were not a criminal," they replied, "we would not have handed him over to you."

"Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law."

"But we have no right to execute anyone," the Jews objected.
When Jesus was taken to Pilate, the Jews say what crime they thought he had committed. They only said that he was a criminal. Pilate was having none of it, so he told them to judge him by their own law. They protested that they didn't have the authority to execute anyone.

Move on to verse 38:

Quote:
...he [Pilate] went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release 'the King of the Jews'?"

They shouted back, "No, not him! Give us Barabbas!"
Pilate didn't want to have Jesus crucified, but Jesus was in Pilate's custody, and custom dictated that he had to release a prisoner in honor of the local Passover holiday. Since all he had were Jesus and Barabbas, and the people demanded Barabbas, Jesus was crucified.

There's slightly more to it than that, and the other three gospels flesh out the story. Read Matthew 26 through 27; Mark 14:43 through the end of chapter 15; and Luke 22 and 23 for a more complete picture. If you don't have a Bible, go to biblegateway.com and read on-line. There are several versions to choose from: I recommend the New International Version of The Message.
#4
Old 04-16-2006, 11:25 AM
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[QUOTE=HeyHomieWhen Jesus was taken to Pilate, the Jews say what crime they thought he had committed. They only said that he was a criminal. [/QUOTE]


Make that: "...the Jews did not say what crime...."
#5
Old 04-16-2006, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie
I recommend the New International Version of The Message.

Make that: "OR The Message."
#6
Old 04-16-2006, 11:41 AM
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Thanks for the link, HeyHomie. I have got a couple more questions, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew 26:63-66 (New International Version)
The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."

"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?"
"He is worthy of death," they answered.
This makes it seem like they (the high priests, anyway, not Pilate) were wanting to charge him for blasphemy, but i'm not sure if they're talking legally or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew 27:12-14
When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, "Don't you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?" But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single chargeŚto the great amazement of the governor.
And this seems like they convicted him because of his silence; that they assumed his guilt on the (various false charges) because he didn't deny them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke 23:13-16
Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore, I will punish him and then release him."
And this makes it look as though the main crime he was charged with was incitement to rebellion.

(Apologies if I got my quoting confused, it's been a good while since I learned how it works).
#7
Old 04-16-2006, 12:12 PM
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Disturbing the peace.


And creating a public nuisance.
#8
Old 04-16-2006, 12:31 PM
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I think it likely that the only laws Jesus broke were ones put in place by the occupying Romans to deal with agitators, etc. We know from Josephus that Pilate was an extremely harsh procurator who would have had no qualms about crucifying people whom he considered troublemakers. The gospel writers found it expedient to cast the blame for his death on the Jews, a calumny which has resounded throughout history with the most dreadful consequences.
#9
Old 04-16-2006, 12:37 PM
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Maybe Christians could ditch the anti-Semitic gospels and replace them with some non-anti-Semitic ones. They must have a lot of gospels in the attic that they aren't using.
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Old 04-16-2006, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiboronti
I think it likely that the only laws Jesus broke were ones put in place by the occupying Romans to deal with agitators, etc. We know from Josephus that Pilate was an extremely harsh procurator who would have had no qualms about crucifying people whom he considered troublemakers. The gospel writers found it expedient to cast the blame for his death on the Jews, a calumny which has resounded throughout history with the most dreadful consequences.
Consider Matthew, who was writing the gospel for the Jews. I think that Jesus was actually quite a minor political concern. He avoided the big cities. He didn't advocate armed confrontations, unlike the Jewish revolutionaries of the time. He delibrately 'chased' off many of his followers, after saying that they would eat his flesh and drink his blood.

The law which Jesus broke, I think, is mentioned in the Gospel of John, where he claimed to the Son of God. Then the religious people begin to look for ways that they might kill him.
#11
Old 04-16-2006, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Easter question; What law did Jesus break?
Simply stated, NONE
Quote:
Originally Posted by Revenant Threshold
What law/laws was he charged with breaking, and sentenced to crucifiction for?
That's a new can of worms. Anything and everything the Pharisees and others could come up with.
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#12
Old 04-16-2006, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna
Maybe Christians could ditch the anti-Semitic gospels and replace them with some non-anti-Semitic ones. They must have a lot of gospels in the attic that they aren't using.
Or, perhaps, you might take this to GD or the Pit. None of the Gospels are anti-Semitic in the modern use of the term; the closest is the one that uses "the Jews" synecdotally for "the High Priest and his cronies, and the more venal of the Pharisees, who together opposed him." I'm not fond of one-line zingers in GQ, and I hadn't thought to see you perpetrating them, Johanna.
#13
Old 04-16-2006, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna
Maybe Christians could ditch the anti-Semitic gospels and replace them with some non-anti-Semitic ones. They must have a lot of gospels in the attic that they aren't using.
You obviously didn't realize what Forum you're in. Don't do it again.

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#14
Old 04-16-2006, 05:52 PM
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Religious offenses of concern to the Jewish authorities:
Blasphemy (in claiming, at most, Deity & applying the Name to himself; or
at least, being God's Right-Hand Man & Viceroy.)
Challenging Priesthood/Temple system (rhetorically- "Destroy this Temple...",
"Alas for you... your house will be left desolate"- Matthew 23, & in his act of
Cleansing the Temple Market)
Challenging the Fence around the Torah, especially RE the Sabbath
Claiming authority to forgive Sins

Political offenses of concern to Roman authorities:
Pretender to the David Throne, potential challenger to Rome
Challenging Priestly Authority (as the High Priest was a Roman appointee)

Other Jewish authority concerns-
Jesus's Messianic/Kingly movement bringing on harsh Roman reaction;
Jesus's Messianic/Kingly movement coupled with his Sermon on the Mount-
"go along to get along" policy getting Rome's interest as a potentially more-
reliable, more-popular ally.
#15
Old 04-16-2006, 06:00 PM
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My understanding is that we are instructed not to break man's law, with the exception if it conflicts with God's law. So Jesus, having never sined, never broke any law of man.

So I submit that he broke some laws of physics, The water into wine, walking on water, talking with Satan were up there. Then just to shove it in our faces He had the nerve to actually rise from the dead
#16
Old 04-16-2006, 06:05 PM
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My guess would be sedition. You know, encouraging people to think of him as the King of a conquered country which already had a Rome-appointed ruler, encouraging insurrection, plotting to establish a Jewish kingdom. I'll bet that Palm Sunday business looked a lot like the start of a revolution, with the new king riding into the capital city to screaming crowds. Rome didn't put up with that sort of thing; that's how they got to be King of the World.
#17
Old 04-16-2006, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtraKun

The law which Jesus broke, I think, is mentioned in the Gospel of John, where he claimed to the Son of God. Then the religious people begin to look for ways that they might kill him.
I thought he never actually claimed to be the Son of God. It was only his followers and whatnot, that made the Son of God claim. Or maybe I'm wrong.

I believe his crime was just be a rabble-rouser and whatnot, and making it difficult for the Romans and the high priests to do their thing. That's good enough to be executed, I guess.
#18
Old 04-16-2006, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanicbird
My understanding is that we are instructed not to break man's law, with the exception if it conflicts with God's law. So Jesus, having never sined, never broke any law of man.
Unless, of course, there were laws that conflicted with God's law. In which case he would have broken them.
Quote:
So I submit that he broke some laws of physics, The water into wine, walking on water, talking with Satan were up there. Then just to shove it in our faces He had the nerve to actually rise from the dead
Honestly, some people are just showoffs, aren't they?
#19
Old 04-16-2006, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie
Pilate didn't want to have Jesus crucified, but Jesus was in Pilate's custody, and custom dictated that he had to release a prisoner in honor of the local Passover holiday. Since all he had were Jesus and Barabbas, and the people demanded Barabbas, Jesus was crucified.
[Nitpick]There were at least two other people (a couple of thieves, IIRC) who were crucified with Jesus, so I doubt that Jesus and Barabbas were Pilate's only two choices.[/Nitpick]
#20
Old 04-16-2006, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabriela
Disturbing the peace.


And creating a public nuisance.
And littering?
#21
Old 04-16-2006, 10:01 PM
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The reason Jesus was crucified was because he upset the Pharisees. Pharisees were extremely legalistic and Jesus didnt' care what they thought. They were upset by the the company he took (tax collectors, the sinners of the time, etc), the things he said (the meek are going to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven?), and how he exposed them ("Woe to you, Pharisee..."). Basically, he upset the status quo. And it was the Father's Will that this all happen. A really good book is The Jesus I Never Knew by Phillip Yancey. In this book, you come to understand why the leaders of the time were so put off by Jesus.
#22
Old 04-16-2006, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPen
I thought he never actually claimed to be the Son of God. It was only his followers and whatnot, that made the Son of God claim. Or maybe I'm wrong.
When John the Baptist was sitting in jail, he sent a message back to Jesus and essentially asked him if he was the one that they had been waiting for (the messiah) or should they expect someone else (this is related in both Matthew 11:2-6 and Luke 7: 18-35) Jesus sent a message back to him saying that the blind have been given sight, the deaf hear, lepers have been cured and the dead have been brought back to life. These things were talked about as signs that the Son of God had come. Jesus was assuring John the Baptist that, yes, he was the Messiah that they were waiting for. He was the one who was to come.

Keep in mind, Jesus was not exactly what the Jews were expecting. Most were expecting him to be a great leader with possibly more coersive and political power. So John the Baptist's doubts were not completely unfounded.
#23
Old 04-16-2006, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
My guess would be sedition. You know, encouraging people to think of him as the King of a conquered country which already had a Rome-appointed ruler, encouraging insurrection, plotting to establish a Jewish kingdom.
Another point to consider is that "rex" (the word translated as "king") was a very negative word to the Romans: To them, it had much the same connotations that "dictator" has to us. It would be a big deal for anyone to claim to be a rex, even Caesar (or perhaps, especially Caesar).

Now also consider that he hung out with at least one known terrorist (Simon the Zealot; again, the Romans would have viewed the Zealots much the same way we view Al Qaida). And of course, he wasn't even a Roman citizen (which would have offered him some degree of protection; Paul got a lot of milage out of his citizenship). The Romans had a very simple policy for non-citizens who hung out with terrorists and called themselves dictators.
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#24
Old 04-16-2006, 11:11 PM
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Note: Blasphemy under Jewish law means disrespectfully uttering the ineffable name of God. Saying you're His son might have gotten you some strange looks, but it isn't against any law.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs O'Malley's Cow
The reason Jesus was crucified was because he upset the Pharisees. Pharisees were extremely legalistic and Jesus didn't care what they thought. They were upset by the the company he took (tax collectors, the sinners of the time, etc), the things he said (the meek are going to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven?), and how he exposed them ("Woe to you, Pharisee..."). Basically, he upset the status quo.
By Christian records. By Jewish records, the Pharisees were far from judgmental hypocrites, but devout and compassionate men who tried to discern God's will and help Judaism adapt to changing circumstances. It's hard to pin down for sure exactly what happened, when for centuries you could be executed for even asking the question.
#25
Old 04-17-2006, 12:56 AM
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So it's OK to say this:
Quote:
The gospel writers found it expedient to cast the blame for his death on the Jews, a calumny which has resounded throughout history with the most dreadful consequences.
but it isn't OK to call that action anti-Semitism? What could it be called then? Seriously.
#26
Old 04-17-2006, 01:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna
So it's OK to say this:but it isn't OK to call that action anti-Semitism? What could it be called then? Seriously.
Could you post some examples of anti-Semitism in the Gospels?
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Old 04-17-2006, 01:39 AM
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I thought his crime was re-broadcasting the events and descritptions of a Major League Baseball game without getting permission.1

Wow, they are really strict about enforcing that.

1 Other sources claim that he tore the "Do Not Remove" tag off of his mattress.
#28
Old 04-17-2006, 01:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf_meister
I thought his crime was re-broadcasting the events and descritptions of a Major League Baseball game without getting permission.1

Wow, they are really strict about enforcing that.

1 Other sources claim that he tore the "Do Not Remove" tag off of his mattress.
LMAO
#29
Old 04-17-2006, 01:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoeless
[Nitpick]There were at least two other people (a couple of thieves, IIRC) who were crucified with Jesus, so I doubt that Jesus and Barabbas were Pilate's only two choices.[/Nitpick]
Right, they could have release Woger. Or Wodewick...
#30
Old 04-17-2006, 01:48 AM
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Well, maybe that topic should be continued to another thread, like the man said. Honestly, I didn't know you guys would get mad at me for that. I didn't mean it as a zinger, I meant it in good faith as a serious question that was a followup to what aldiboronti said. It didn't occur to me that there was much difference between aldi's post and mine--unless "anti-Semitic" is too loaded a word to use. It hadn't occurred to me that others might see it that way, so if I gave offense, I'm sorry. When I was raised Catholic, every year there was a service re-enacting the Passion story, with audience participation. The congregation took the role of the Jews and said things like "Crucify him! Crucify him!" And there was pint-sized me, speaking the words along with everyone else. When I grew up and learned that such verses in the gospel had been used as an excuse for persecuting Jews, I felt sicked and used; I want some way to atone for having taken part in that. I feel dirty.
#31
Old 04-17-2006, 01:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna
Well, maybe that topic should be continued to another thread, like the man said. Honestly, I didn't know you guys would get mad at me for that. I didn't mean it as a zinger, I meant it in good faith as a serious question that was a followup to what aldiboronti said. It didn't occur to me that there was much difference between aldi's post and mine--unless "anti-Semitic" is too loaded a word to use. It hadn't occurred to me that others might see it that way, so if I gave offense, I'm sorry. When I was raised Catholic, every year there was a service re-enacting the Passion story, with audience participation. The congregation took the role of the Jews and said things like "Crucify him! Crucify him!" And there was pint-sized me, speaking the words along with everyone else. When I grew up and learned that such verses in the gospel had been used as an excuse for persecuting Jews, I felt sicked and used; I want some way to atone for having taken part in that. I feel dirty.
I know you meant it in good faith. When people use the Bible to make it into something it is not, it makes me sick too. Now, the Jews did scream out "Crucify him" but it was a huge crowd and sometimes people will follow a few in the crowd and not know what they are saying.

The Bible is not anti-Semetic but it has been used for that purpose and that is a misuse. Jesus was a Jew, all his followers were Jews. It has also been used for racism, domestic violence, etc and those are all misuses. You really do need to work on forgiving yourself. You haven't done anything wrong.

Peace.
#32
Old 04-17-2006, 02:18 AM
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First off, everyone should adjourn to the Straight Dope Archives and read the SDSAB report on Who killed Jesus?

Now, as to some points raised (or attempted) here:

Quote:
The reason Jesus was crucified was because he upset the Pharisees. Pharisees were extremely legalistic and Jesus didnt' care what they thought.
In short: No. As coffeecat has already mentioned, there is a somewhat distorted view of the Pharisees that we may take from the Gospels. One thing to remember is that the Pharisees were a movement that included a lot of different people. As it happens, they were a political movement dedicated to reforming Judaism and holding it to its roots in the face of hellenizing culture that would have weakened Judaism and made it just one weak religion among many.

As a political movement, the Pharisees had only held power for a very short period around 60 years prior to the birth of Jesus. Other than that, they served only as the "loyal opposition." I know that Mark has a passage in which the Pharisees conspire with the rest of the Jewish political establishment, but that seems unlikely, given what we know about the period.

There is simply no reason to ascribe power and authority to a group who so clearly lacked either.

- - -
Regarding the charge of blasphemy. Most discussions of that charge have come back with the information that, based on actual Jewish law, and not the law interpreted by writers (generally Gentile) living years after the events, nothing in the Gospel accounts amount to balsphemy. The one argument against that is found in the Gospels in which Jesus says "I am" during questioning. The Gospels, of course, were written in Greek and Jesus probably spoke Aramaic, but a charge of blasphemy might have been declared if, when Jesus said "I am." he used the archaic form of the phrase in Hebrew (which would not have translated accurately to Greek) that indicated the name of God, rendered with the Tetragammaton (sloppily rendered as "Jehovah" in some sects). Of course, even getting Jesus charged with blasphemy does not result in a deatrh sentence, since the Jews were unable to carry out such a sentence. Beyond that, the Jews had no provisions for or traditions of cucifixion, so blaming the Jews for the death of Jesus has several obstacles in the way.
#33
Old 04-17-2006, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPen
I thought he never actually claimed to be the Son of God.
I think the closest He came to this is "he who sees Me sees the Father"
#34
Old 04-17-2006, 07:18 AM
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It's extremely doubtful that Jesus was executed for "blaspehmy." Why, exactly, would the Romans care that he broke the laws of a religion in which they had no belief? What they were concerned with was keeping political order, not making sure everyone followed Jewish religious law.

No, Jesus was executed because he was a political rabble-rouser. As Chronos pointed out, he was hanging out with some pretty unsavory characters as far as politcs go-- not only Simon, but Judas Iscariot (as I've heard, "Iscariot" means "the knife", indicating that Judas was an assasin.) At least one tax collector quit his job because of the message of Jesus. He also said things like, "I come not to bring peace, but the sword."

It's possible the religious authorities of the day wanted him dead, but Jesus wasn't the only person preaching a messianic message. It's extremely doubtful they thought Jesus would be of any future religious importance, because to them, he would have just seemed like another kook. So, when (or if), they approached the Roman authorities, they probably emphasized his political troublemaking. Nor is it certain that the Pharisees were involved at all-- this could have been the invention of the apostles to make Jesus seem more important-- that his message was "dangerous" enough to inspire persecution.
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#35
Old 04-17-2006, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtraKun
Consider Matthew, who was writing the gospel for the Jews. I think that Jesus was actually quite a minor political concern. He avoided the big cities. He didn't advocate armed confrontations, unlike the Jewish revolutionaries of the time. He delibrately 'chased' off many of his followers, after saying that they would eat his flesh and drink his blood.

The law which Jesus broke, I think, is mentioned in the Gospel of John, where he claimed to the Son of God. Then the religious people begin to look for ways that they might kill him.
At this same time that Jesus called God his Father, he also remined them of the 82,d(or 81st) psalm. where their fathers were also called God,JESUS called all people son's of god and most all the time said:My Father and Yours. No special claime to divinity in the sense that people think of it now.

I translate Jesus telling the Apostles that the bread and wine were his body and blood meant: that we are sustained by food and drink,since he was not yet dead in reality it was not his body and blood.

Monavis
#36
Old 04-17-2006, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revenant Threshold
What law/laws was he charged with breaking, and sentenced to crucifiction for?
As other posters have noted, these are separate questions.

A preliminary point: there are two ways to approach this. Each is valid, within its own set of presuppositions.
1. What charges do the Gospels identify?
2. What might we think, with hindsight, actually happened?
For example: did Jesus break laws against blasphemy? The Gospels indicate that this was a charge brought against him. (Presupposition 1) One might argue either that a charge of blasphemy was improbable, or that he himself probably didn't actually say anything which would call for such a charge. (Presupposition 2) Personally, I consider question 1 resolvable. We can see what the Gospels say. Question 2, in my opinion, runs the grave risk of making up an historical myth whose main virtue is that it appeals to 21st century expectations of how reality ought to have gone.

So: according to the Gospels, Jesus was indeed accused of blasphemy: both for claiming the authority to forgive sins (Mark 2.7) and for claiming to be the Messiah (Mark 14.61-64, John 10.33). That was not the charge on which he was crucified; it would have been no offense under Roman law. But it may have been the charge which led to his arrest. (Consider Al Capone: convicted, as I recall, for tax evasion; but that wasn't why anybody thought it worth bringing him to trial.)
Jesus was also accused, repeatedly, of breaking the Sabbath. (Mark 2.23-28, Mark 3.2-6, etc.)
That is what the Gospels record (Presupposition 1). I would be prepared to guess that is actually "what happened" (Presupposition 2). Would these have been a capital crime under Roman law? No. Would they have made Jesus hated by reform-minded persons? Quite possibly.

What crime was he sentenced to crucifixion for? As other posters have noted, the accusation that he:
1. Claimed to be a "King". (In itself, for the Romans, a red-flag word.)
2. Was associated with dangerous elements.
3. Was nobody of political importance anyway; there was no real "down side" to executing him.
#37
Old 04-17-2006, 11:35 AM
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OK- clarification moment here.

The Pharisee party held that the Prophets & the Writings were to Holy Scripture along with Torah, and believed in the concepts of Oral Torah, Messiah, angels, the afterlife/resurrection.
They consisted of rabbis & laity & were a more "popular" movement that the Sadducees who were priestly aristocrats. The Pharisaic Oral Torah which became codified into the Talmuds constituted a "fence" of laws around the Law- in some places, showing deep judicial thought, and in other places, legalistic nitpicking. Within the Pharisees were followers of Rabbi Hillel, regarded as more compassionate & supportive of outreach to the Gentiles. and those of Rabbi Shammai, regarded as more law- & ethno-centric.

The Sadducees as I said were the Priestly Aristocracy who actually held the offices of power in JC's day. They tended to focus on Torah alone & reject the above Pharisaic concepts as unScriptural innovations.

JC tended to Hillelian Pharisaism, except JC was stricter about divorce. The legalistic Pharisees opposing him may well have been Shammaists who would have been offended by some of JC's handling of Torah as well as his Gentile-inclusive policies.

Three Jewish groups JC would have threatened-
the Aristorcratic Sadducees who feared a challenge to their governing authority & upset of the status quo with Rome;
the legalistic & Israel-first type of Pharisees who feared a challenge to their popular
authority, lenient handling of the Law, and inclusion of the Gentiles;
those tax-collectors, whoremongers & sinners who resented JC's incursion among them to do his evangelistic work (remember, he didn't dine with them in approval of them but to challenge them to turn back to God).

Those three groups may have opposed each other but they could well join against a common enemy. Status-quo Sadducees provided the official opposition, legalistic Pharisees the religious opposition, and the riffraff provided the mob. Each side able to comfort themselves that the best interests of all was in getting rid of JC.
#38
Old 04-17-2006, 05:06 PM
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Those three groups may have opposed each other but they could well join against a common enemy.
You mean, the Judean People's Front?
#39
Old 04-17-2006, 06:43 PM
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NO !! I mean the People's Front of Judea !! (a totally different group)
...... and they hate the Romans a lot.
#40
Old 04-18-2006, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeecat
Note: Blasphemy under Jewish law means disrespectfully uttering the ineffable name of God.
That piece of hallibut was good enough for Jehovah.
#41
Old 04-24-2006, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lissa
It's extremely doubtful that Jesus was executed for "blaspehmy." Why, exactly, would the Romans care that he broke the laws of a religion in which they had no belief? What they were concerned with was keeping political order, not making sure everyone followed Jewish religious law.

No, Jesus was executed because he was a political rabble-rouser. As Chronos pointed out, he was hanging out with some pretty unsavory characters as far as politcs go-- not only Simon, but Judas Iscariot (as I've heard, "Iscariot" means "the knife", indicating that Judas was an assasin.) At least one tax collector quit his job because of the message of Jesus. He also said things like, "I come not to bring peace, but the sword."

It's possible the religious authorities of the day wanted him dead, but Jesus wasn't the only person preaching a messianic message. It's extremely doubtful they thought Jesus would be of any future religious importance, because to them, he would have just seemed like another kook. So, when (or if), they approached the Roman authorities, they probably emphasized his political troublemaking. Nor is it certain that the Pharisees were involved at all-- this could have been the invention of the apostles to make Jesus seem more important-- that his message was "dangerous" enough to inspire persecution.
The Jews, that is, those opposing Jesus, had already decided he was guilty of blasphemy--but since the Romans were the temporal authority the Jews couldn't legally execute him. (That they let the murdserer Barabbas go was cowardly and a violation of the Mosaic law to boot.)
So they told Pilate, "We found this man subverting our nation and forbidding the paying of taxes and saying that he himself is Christ a king." Of course, this would carry weight with Pilate. But through his, and Herod's, interrogation of Jesus, they couldn't find any evidence. But Pilate went ahead and ordered Jesus' execution lest the Jewish leaders report him to Caesar in Rome.
Asd for Jesus saying 'He himself was Christ a king,' or the Son of God, this may have made Pilate apprehensive. But years later Gasmaliel said it better, when he pointed out that if Jesus were merely a pretender, the leaders would have nothing to fear; if he was indeed the Son of God they wouldn't be able to do anything about him. (Acts 5:37-39.)
#42
Old 04-28-2006, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Revenant Threshold
What law/laws was he charged with breaking, and sentenced to crucifiction for?
Saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change.
#43
Old 04-28-2006, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by dougie_monty
Of course, this would carry weight with Pilate. But through his, and Herod's, interrogation of Jesus, they couldn't find any evidence. But Pilate went ahead and ordered Jesus' execution lest the Jewish leaders report him to Caesar in Rome.
Report him for what? Ignoring Jewish religious law? And Ceasar would care why? No, all the Roman authorities were interested in was political troublemaking.

I don't really buy the story of the interrogation, either. It makes no historical sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke 23:3-4
And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it.

Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.
"No fault" when he just admitted to treason? This is flatly ridiculous. It says later that Herod asked him many questions, but Jesus refused to answer. That, for many, was enough to earn death, especially since Jesus was a nobody to the Romans and they didn't particularly care if they killed a peasant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke 23:13-15
And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,

Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:

No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.
Jesus's own words that he was "King of the Jews" was enough to fry him. For Pilate to say (twice, no less) that he found no fault in Jesus when he had just said those dangerous words is illogical. That a man was setting himself up as a people's king was just the sort of sedition that Pilate was charged with controlling.

Lastly, the priests would have known better than to have brought Jesus before them on simple religious grounds. What makes more sense is that they may have reported on his political rabble rousing, but the Romans had utterly no interest in enforcing Jewish religious law.

Quote:
Asd for Jesus saying 'He himself was Christ a king,' or the Son of God, this may have made Pilate apprehensive. But years later Gasmaliel said it better, when he pointed out that if Jesus were merely a pretender, the leaders would have nothing to fear; if he was indeed the Son of God they wouldn't be able to do anything about him. (Acts 5:37-39.)
Gasmaliel must not have known much history to make a statement like that. Rebellions begin when a charismatic leader catches the people's imagination and starts upsetting the status quo. Though Jesus's movement was small, such things are known to grow swiftly. It was common practice to execute small-time rabble rousers.

Secondly, Jesus's claims to be a son of God were nothing new to Pilate. Back in Rome, he was probably friends with people who claimed direct descent from gods and godesses. He would have given no more importance to Jesus's claims."Yeah, you and everybody else."
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Last edited by samclem; 04-29-2006 at 12:16 AM. Reason: fixed coding
#44
Old 04-28-2006, 10:56 PM
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Aw, crud.

Could a passing mod please fix my coding?
#45
Old 04-28-2006, 11:42 PM
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The answer to this depends on whether yiu take the Gospels at face value or whether you look at the extra-Biblical historical evidence for why the Romans used crucifixion in Palestine.

If you believe the Gospel accounts, Jesus was found guilty of "blasphemy" by the Sanhedrin for claiming to be the Messiah. He was then turned over to Pilate and executed, ostensibly, for claiming to be the "King of the Jews" (the crime that was written on the titulus), but really beccause Pilate felt pressured by a Jewish mob to execute him.

Many historians who have examined the Gospel accounts have not found this scenario plausible and believe that Mark created an apologetic device to shift blame away from the Romans to the Jewish temple authorities. One of the key problems with the Sanhedrin conviction is that it was not "blasphemy" to claim to be the Messiah. In fact, it was no crime at all under Jewish law and never has been.

Even if the Sanhedrin trial is accepted, though, crucifixion was purely a Roman form of execution, abhorred by Jews and actually illegal under Jewish law (which means the Sanhedrin would have been breaking their own law by calling for it).

Since this is not GD, I won't try to argue the case for Markan fiction in the Sanhedrin trial, I'll just state that a majority of scholars believe it to be at least partial fiction.

Moving on to why the Romans would have done it. Lissa is exactly right that Pilate would not have cared in the slightest about a Jewish religious offense, but beyond that, the Romans only used crucifixion in palestine for crimes of sedition, treason, insurgency or other crimes against the Roman state. Lissa is also right that claiming to be the Messiah, ironically, would be perceived as criminal, not for religious reasons but purely political ones. Claiming to be the Messiah was claiming to be the King of the Jews. That was a direct challenge to the authority not only of Pilate but of Caesar himself. It could easily be considered a capital crime and earn a guy a set of nails and a crossbar very quickly, especially if he had any sort of a following.

The thing is, though, they would usually try to crucify all the followers too and in Jesus' case, they did not. It's true that Jesus' disciples were said to have fled back to Galilee when he was arrested and there weren't very many of them, so maybe that's why.

Another explanation (one proposed notably by John Dominic Crossan but supported by others) is that Jesus was executed for causing a disturbance at the Temple during Passover. Passover was a time when thousands of Jews flooded Jerusalem to sacrifice at the Temple. The Romans were greatly outnumbered while this was going on and they were extremely paranoid about riots. As a result, they were quite swift about eliminating perceived sources of trouble. Pilate is reputed to have been especially brutal.

A Galilean preacher knocking over tables in the Temple courtyard would upset people and cause a stir. would be very likely to irritate the Temple priests and would very plausibly result in a summary arrest and execution. Crossan says that Jesus was probably executed as a "public menace" in what he claims would probably strike us as a "shocking casual" manner. If his disciples scattered and disappeared among the crowds, they probably could have made it out of Jerusalem and back to Galilee fairly easily without being identified or arrested.

Of course, those who believe the Gospel stories (I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that) are going to say Crossan is all wet, but I offer it as an example of how serious Historical Jesus scholars have tried to reconstruct the event.

Incidentally, the phrase "son of God" did not connote a literal divine descendant. The phrase was used commonly as an honorific for kings, or sometimes to refer to human beings in general.
#46
Old 04-29-2006, 03:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic
One of the key problems with the Sanhedrin conviction is that it was not "blasphemy" to claim to be the Messiah. In fact, it was no crime at all under Jewish law and never has been.
Mark 14:
Quote:
61But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
62And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
63Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?
64Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.
However, if the bolded statement was rendered in Hebrew in a way to make it appear that he was equating himself to Ha Shem, that would be blasphemy.

In is not that difficult to imagine that the phrase simply did not survive translation. (Among the few occurrences of Aramaic or Hebrew being rendered in Greek in the New Testament is the word abba, which is generally rendered as "daddy" in English, yet is translated to "father" in the Greek manuscripts. We have few examples where we have a clear rendering of what Jesus might have said in Aramaic or Hebrew as produced in the Greek Gospels.)

This does not change any of the facts that the Jews had no authority to impose the death penalty or that the Romans would not have given a flying fig regarding a violation of Jewish religious taboos. The arguments that the Gospel writers wanted to lay as much blame on the Jews as possible to avoid offending the Roman power structure continue to have merit, as well. And, of course, as depicted, the trial by the Sanhedrin violates a number of procedural protections demanded by Jewish law that would have prevented them from carrying out a death sentence in the limited space of a single overnight/early morning meeting (itself unlawful). However, it goes too far to claim that Jesus had clearly committed no act that would have encouraged the Sanhedrin to wish to impose the death penalty. There is a possibility that he had (in their eyes) blasphemed.
#47
Old 04-29-2006, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by tomndebb
Mark 14:However, if the bolded statement was rendered in Hebrew in a way to make it appear that he was equating himself to Ha Shem, that would be blasphemy.
Mark gives no indication that Jesus has verbalized the Tetragrammaton and there's no way his Greek audience should have been expected to to know that Ego emi could be seen as a translation of the Hebrew name of God. Moreover, blasphemy requires more than just saying the name, you have to curse the name (in Hebrew). Your suggestion that Jesus equated himself to God is not supported by the text. He said "I am the Messiah", not "I am God." Those are two different entities. Even if he did say Jehovah, Mark does not have him say "I AM Jehovah." In fact, his claim to be the Messiah would have been seen as mutually contradictory to any pretensions to Godhood since one could not (in Jewish expectation and scripture) be BOTH God and the Messiah.

Beyond that, the Sanhedrin trial also contains (as you mentioned) a number of other procedural inaccuracies which throw more doubt onto its authenticity. That doesn't mean the Temple authorities weren't involved in some way in facilitating the arrest and handing over of Jesus, but the Temple incident itself would have been reason enough for that. The scenario in John's Gospel, which dispenses with the trial and describes basically a short, informal interrogation before turning him over to Pilate is more plausible than Mark's trial.

Anyway, the greater point is that if the Romans crucified Jesus, it was for their own reasons, not for any religious offense or pretensions.
#48
Old 04-29-2006, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic
He said "I am the Messiah", not "I am God."
No, he did not say either of those things. In response to a complex question, he responded "I am," a statement that can be rendered in (archaic) Hebrew as the Tetragrammaton.
The on-line Jewish Encyclopedia says of Blasphemy "Evil or profane speaking of God. The essence of the crime consists in the impious purpose in using the words, and does not necessarily include the performance of any desecrating act." A response to a claim about messiahship of sonship of God with a declaration "I am" using the very phrase that the Lord used to identify Himself to Moses would sure seem to meet that definition (and I have encountered Jewish students who have indicated that they presumed the "I am" in Mark was the spoken Tetragrammaton).

Your point that the Greek audience would not have recognized the Tetragrammaton argues for my possibility, not against it. A Gentile might have heard the rumors of the blasphemy charge and failed to understand the actual conditions under which it occurred.

Note: I am not arguing that blasphemy did play any part in the proceedings. There are too many contradictions of fact and violations of known law for the events to have occurred in the manner presented in the Gospels.

I am only pointing out that a flat statement that "a charge of blasphemy could not have played a role in the situation" is, itself, based on presumptions that are rooted in unclear evidence. We simply do not have enough solid evidence to declare that as a fact.
#49
Old 04-29-2006, 01:46 PM
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What was complex about the question?
Quote:
Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
This is a very simple binary question. "Christ" and "son of the Blessed" are the same thing. They both referred to the human heir to the throne of David -- "the Annointed," the Messiah. There was no inherent implication in the question about Godhood. Jesus was asked "Are you the Messiah?" and Jesus said "I am." In pre-Christian Judaism there was no expectation or concept of Messiah as God. They were two mutually exclusive entities (and still are in Jewish theology). Even if Jesus was claiming to both at the same time, it's not a claim which would have been immediately sensible to the Sanhedrin. They would have seen an affirmative answer to question of Messiahship as being a de facto claim NOT to be God.
Quote:
I am only pointing out that a flat statement that "a charge of blasphemy could not have played a role in the situation" is, itself, based on presumptions that are rooted in unclear evidence. We simply do not have enough solid evidence to declare that as a fact.
I didn't actually declare it as fact that Jesus couldn't have said something the Sanhedrin would have found blasphemous. I said that it's one of the reasons a lot of scholars don't believe Mark's conviction-- as he tells it -- to be authentic. It IS a fact that claiming to be the Messiah was not (and is not) blasphemy under Jewish law, and it is a fact that Jesus said nothing in Mark's Greek text which constitutes prima facie blasphemy. Mark gives no explicit indication that Jesus spoke the words "I am" in Hebrew, an affirmative answer to being asked if he was the Messiah is by definition a denial of Godhood (as the Sanhedrin would have understood the answer) and the other procedural implausibilities in mark's trial all point to a fictionalized account of the event (something, which as I said above, was much more likely to be in accord with John's description of a brief detainment and interrogation rather than a formal trial and conviction). I think that the hypothesis that Jesus verbalized the Tetragrammaton when asked if he was the Messiah is slightly tendentious, that it needs not be posited except as a means to salvage some possible historicity in an account that is already implausible for other reasons and that it's more parsimonious simply to assume that Mark had a mistaken understanding of Jewish theology vis-a-vis the Messiah (he made other mistakes, after all).

Having said all that, it of course can't be proven to a dead certainty that the Sanhedrin didn't think Jesus had blasphemed himself but I think it would require better evidence to show that than what we have in Mark, and -- getting back to the OP's actual question -- it still would not have been the reason that Jesus was crucified by the Romans.
#50
Old 04-29-2006, 03:21 PM
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I think that the hypothesis that Jesus verbalized the Tetragrammaton when asked if he was the Messiah is slightly tendentious, that it needs not be posited except as a means to salvage some possible historicity in an account that is already implausible for other reasons and that it's more parsimonious simply to assume that Mark had a mistaken understanding of Jewish theology vis-a-vis the Messiah (he made other mistakes, after all).
On the other hand, it provides a plausible explanation for the claim that Jesus was accused of blasphemy. If the Jews would not have considered any statement by Jesus blasphemous and the Gentiles would not have considered any statement by Jesus blasphemous, you are stuck with Mark inserting a charge into the account that is not based on any oral tradition prior to his writing. A Gentile getting wrong the facts of Jewish jurisprudence does not preclude the possibility of getting the rumors surrounding the event correct.
There is nothing tendentious in noting a plausible explanation for a statement, particularly when it is offered only as an explanation without any insistence that it must be true.
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