trial by hurry: trying to nail the truth

The trial of Jesus. Was Christ condemned to death by the Jews, as tradition has held for so long, or was he really executed by the Romans as a political offender?

By a strange irony of history, the surest thing known about Jesus of Nazareth is that he was executed by the Romans for sedition against their government in Judaea. The circumstances of Jesus’ birth, the length of his public ministry, and the exact content of his teaching are all matters of uncertainty, but the cause of his death is beyond doubt. For the fact that Jesus was crucified as a rebel on the orders of Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator of Judaea, is attested by all four Gospels, and it is briefly mentioned by the Roman historian Tacitus, writing early in the second century. The witness of the Gospels is especially significant because the fact of the Roman execution of Jesus on such a charge was very embarrassing for the early Christians. Obviously they would never have invented it; indeed, they probably would not have recorded it if the fact had not been so well known.

—William Blake, Christ Appearing to the Apostles after the Resurrrection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., c.1795—Read More:

That the Gospel writers do describe the crucifixion of Jesus,and the events that led up to it, at considerable length is, in fact,the real cause of the mystery that invests the tragic event. For, on analysis, their accounts are found to be inspired by a strong apologetic motive-indeed,they are attempts to explain the embarassing fact that Jesus was actually executed as a political offender. Because of this apologetic intent,any attempt to elucidate the problem of the Roman condemnation of Jesus must begin with the Gospel evidence.

—”Angel of the Revelation” by William Blake
He was considered crazy by the cultural elites of his day, William Blake (1757 – 1827) an English painter, printmaker, and poet. Today, he is widely considered one of England’s larger than life figures in the world of religious art, …Read More:

The pivotal document is the Gospel of Mark, for it is the earliest of the Gospels, and its narrative framework was closely followed by the authors of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The Gospel of John, which is later in date, generally reproduces the Markan presentation of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, though it is more concerned with the theological significance of these events.

The Gospel of Mark represents an innovation in Christian thought and practice. No one had ever before thought of writing a narrative account of the career of Jesus. The reason for this was undoubtedly the fact that the first Christians believed so strongly that Jesus would shortly return from Heaven, with supernatural power, to bring the existing world order to an end. In other words, in the three or four decades following the Crucifixion no need had been felt to record the earthly life of Jesus for posterity-because there would be no posterity!

—While researching a segment for the History Channel series “Secrets of Christianity,” host and producer Simcha Jacobovici learned something that startled him: In 1990, Israeli archaeologists excavating a 2,000-year-old burial cave found two nails crafted by Romans but kept the discovery quiet.
They did publicize the discovery of two ossuaries — stone burial boxes filled with human bones — with the inscriptions “Caiaphas” and “Joseph son of Caiaphas.” The latter intricately carved ossuary toured the world and is on display in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
According to the Gospels, Caiaphas was the Jewish high priest who handed Jesus over to the Romans for crucifixion.
“There’s a general scholarly consensus that the tomb where the nails were found likely belonged to Caiaphas. Nails at that time were a dime a dozen, but finding one in a tomb is exceedingly rare,” Jacobovici said outside the high stone walls of the Old City, where Jesus spent his final days.
When Jacobovici found a brief reference to the nails in the official archaeologists’ report, he said his “jaw dropped.”
“It would be as if, 2,000 years from now, archaeologists uncovered the cave of Muhammad Ali but neglected to mention the pair of boxing gloves found there. Sure, boxing gloves are common, but perhaps those particular gloves had special significance to the boxer?”—Read More: image:

What, then brought about the change that produced the Gospel of Mark? Clearly we must look for some adequate cause; the change implies a truly profound alteration in the outlook of the primitive Christians. To answer the question we must know the date of the Gospel. Scholars have been accustomed to date it in the period A.D. 65-75. Now, during this decade the Jews revolted against Rome. The Revolt had been coming for some time, owing to Roman maladministration and the Jewish conviction, so fervently held, that the people of Israel could pay allegiance to no other god than Yahweh, the god of Israel. The revolt broke out in A.D. 66, and for the next four years, the life of the Jewish nation was convulsed in war, until final catastrophe overwhelmed it in A.D. 70, when Jerusalem was captured and razed and its famous Temple destroyed by fire.

—Aside from the ossuaries, the cave held other treasures: coins, a perfume bottle, an oil lamp in an earthenware pot, and two rusty and bent nails. These nails, Jacobovici claims, are no less than the original nails hammered into the hands of Jesus Christ as he was crucified.
And if Jacobovici is to be believed, these nails have the potential to cause a revolution in the way we view early Christianity, the Jewish religion from which Christianity emanated and the relationship between the two faiths. But first one must believe Jacobovici; many, primarily in the archeological world, do not, and even view him as a charlatan.
Jacobovici, an observant Jew sporting a large skullcap, has a light American accent that disappears as his outrage at the archeologists who dismiss his findings grows. —Read More:

The effect

his Jewish War upon the infant Christian church was profound. Hitherto the Christian movement had been directed and controlled from Jerusalem, where the original community of apostles and disciples had been established. This community, the Mother Church of Christianity, disappeared as a result of the war. The consequent situation was dangerous and perplexing for Christians elsewhere…( to be continued)


(see link at end)…A leading New Testament expert from Princeton Theological Seminary, Prof. James Charlesworth, was intrigued enough to organize a conference in Jerusalem this week, bringing together over 50 archeologists, statisticians and experts in DNA, ceramics and ancient languages, to give evidence as to whether or not the crypt of Christ had been found. Their task was complicated by the fact that since the tomb was opened in 1980, the bones of the various ossuaries had gone missing through a mishap of Israeli bureaucracy. Also gone were diagrams made by excavators that showed where each stone sarcophagus lay inside the tomb, and what the family relationships might have been, say, between Jesus and Mary Magdelene, who some speculate may have been his wife.

After three days of fierce debate, the experts remained deeply divided. Opinion among a panel of five experts ranged from “no way” to “very possible”. Charlesworth told TIME: “I have reservations, but I can’t dismiss the possibility that this tomb was related to the Jesus clan.” Weighing the evidence, says Charlesworth, “we can tell that this was the tomb of a Jewish family from the time of Jesus. And we know that the names on the ossuaries are expressed the correct way as ‘Jesus, son of Joseph.’” But the professor has a few doubts. “The name on Jesus’s ossuary was scrawled on, like graffiti. There was no ornamentation. And there should have been. After all, his followers believed he was the Son of God.” Read More:

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