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This week in the New Yorker (Mel Gibson interview)
The New Yorker ^ | September 7, 2003 | Perri Dorset

Posted on 09/09/2003 5:53:37 AM PDT by ultima ratio

September 7, 2003

THIS WEEK IN THE NEW YORKER

PRESS CONTACTS: Perri Dorset, Director, Public Relations (212) 286-5898 Jodi Bart, Junior Publicist (212) 286-5996

In his forthcoming film, "The Passion," "I didn't want to see Jesus looking really pretty. I wanted to mess up one of his eyes, destroy it," Mel Gibson tells Peter J. Boyer in "The Jesus War," in the September 15, 2003, issue of The New Yorker. "Violence," writes Boyer, who has seen an early, unfinished version of the movie, "is Gibson's natural film language, and his Jesus is unsparingly pummelled, flayed, kicked, and otherwise smitten from first to last." Gibson's retelling of the final week in the life of Jesus has already attracted tremendous controversy over its depiction of the role of the Jews in Christ's death, a dispute in which, Boyer writes, "the familiar advocates have reflexively assumed their familiar stations, even though the dramatic form at issue—the Christian Passion play—is so obscure in the secular age that many Americans, perhaps most, would not likely be able to describe it." Gibson tells Boyer that he has included subtitles in his film, which is performed in Latin, Hebrew, and Aramaic, to make it clear that some of the Jews portrayed in the movie are sympathetic figures. "You've just got to have them," he says, referring to the subtitles. "I mean, I didn't think so, but so many people say things to me like 'Why aren't there more sympathetic Jews in the crowd?' Well, they're there." Gibson adds, "It's just amazing to me how one-eyed some people are about this thing. I mean, it's like a veil comes down and they just can't see it. For instance, did you know that one of the priests helps take his body down from the Cross? It's there! Nobody sees it. They can only view it from one eye."

Gibson originally shot a scene, based on Saint Matthew's Gospel, that pictured Caiaphas, a Jewish high priest, calling down a curse on the Jews for killing Jesus, but he has chosen not to include it. "I wanted it in," he says. "My brother said I was wimping out if I didn't include it. It happened; it was said, but man, if I included that in there, they'd be coming after me at my house, they'd come kill me." Criticism of Gibson's film began early; it grew after an ad-hoc group of interfaith scholars received a copy of the script anonymously in the mail and issued a critique of it. "I didn't realize it would be so vicious," Gibson says of the criticism. "The acts against the film started early. As soon as I announced I was doing it, it was 'This is a dangerous thing.' There is a vehement anti-Christian sentiment out there, and they don't want it. It's vicious. I mean, I think we're just a little part of it, we're just the meat in the sandwich here." On another occasion, Gibson tells a group of evangelicals he has brought to see the film that "the L.A. Times, it's an anti-Christian publication, as is the New York Times." Of Frank Rich, who wrote in the Times that Gibson was using "p.r. spin to defend a Holocaust denier," Gibson says, "I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick....I want to kill his dog." Paul Lauer, Gibson's marketing director, who overheard Gibson saying this, tells Boyer, "The thing you have to understand is that the distance between Mel's heart and his mouth is greater than the distance between his imagination and his mouth. He is an artist, and he says these things, and his creative energy kicks in, and he comes out with these imaginative, wild things." It is Gibson's father who has been accused of being a Holocaust denier, a charge Gibson rejects. Gibson says, "I don't want to be dissing my father. He never denied the Holocaust; he just said there were fewer than six million. I don't want to have them dissing my father. I mean, he's my father."

Gibson's commitment to his faith, which has also inspired him to build a church near his home in California that celebrates the Tridentine Latin Mass rejected by Vatican reformers in the nineteen-sixties, reëmerged during his mid-thirties, he explains. "You can get pretty wounded along the way, and I was kind of out there. I got to a very desperate place. Very desperate. Kind of jump-out-of-a-window desperate. And I didn't want to hang around here, but I didn't want to check out. The other side was kind of scary. And I don't like heights, anyway. But when you get to the point where you don't want to live, and you don't want to die—it's a desperate, horrible place to be. And I just hit my knees. And I had to use the Passion of Christ and wounds to heal my wounds. And I've just been meditating on it for twelve years." Speaking of his own Traditionalist worship, he tells Boyer, "Believe me, every other type of everything is easier than what I do." The brouhaha over his film, Gibson points out, has had a curious effect: "Inadvertently," he says, "all the problems and the conflicts and stuff—this is some of the best marketing and publicity I have ever seen."

(Excerpt) Read more at newyorker.com ...


TOPICS: Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: antichristianity; peterjboyer; thejesuswar

1 posted on 09/09/2003 5:53:38 AM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
Gibson had one thing in mind when he made this film. He was going to do something like Zaferrelli did when he made his Jesus movie, after an auto accident I think, as an act of piety. This is what artists do, they do relgious art.

Now he has gone far beyond that. Not only has he "outed"as infidels the
scholars attached to the bishops' council,he has gone on the offensive and called a spade a spade. Nothing since the scandals has do clearly shown the bright line between fidelity and infidelity as his filming of this passion play. It has been like pouring holy water on people possessed by demons.
2 posted on 09/09/2003 9:29:16 AM PDT by RobbyS
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To: RobbyS
What you say is right on the money. There are a hundred ironies in all this--not least of which is that Gibson is a Catholic traditionalist who is doing more to forge a common bond with other Christians than all the dialoguing of the past forty years by bishops and other clergy. He is clearly being used by God in some powerful and mysterious way, creating in his art a pulpit to galvanize a dispirited Christianity.
3 posted on 09/09/2003 9:50:36 AM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
One of the best defenders of Catholicism is Phil Jenkins, an EX-Catholic. So it may be that instead of the old vertical distinctions between Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox, we have a horizontal line between liberals and conservatives, so the we have more in common with Protestant evangelicals than with progressive Catholics. I think this goes back a long way.
Talleyrand was a Catholic bishop but John Wesley was certainly more in tune with St. Alphonsus.
4 posted on 09/09/2003 11:05:54 AM PDT by RobbyS
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To: ultima ratio
Gibson originally shot a scene, based on Saint Matthew's Gospel, that pictured Caiaphas, a Jewish high priest, calling down a curse on the Jews for killing Jesus

Does anyone know what he's talking about here?

Mt. 26:63-66 says, "But Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him, 'I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.' Jesus said to him, 'You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.' Then the high priest tore his robes and said, 'He has uttered blasphemy. Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?' They answered, 'He deserves death.'" (RSV)

Then in Mt. 27:24-25, "... (Pilate) took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, 'I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.' And all the people answered, 'His blood be on us and on our children!' "

So I assume Mel is using "based on" in the typical Hollywood sense, meaning "significantly different from the cited source."

Any ideas? The discussion of this movie suggests that as they work on it, it's less and less like the Gospels.

5 posted on 09/09/2003 12:46:31 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Pray for Terri Schiavo - hearing on 9-11 to schedule the execution!)
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To: Tax-chick
"And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and upon our children" (St. Matthew xxvii.25).

Another article from the London Telegraph mentioned that this part of the Gospel was left on the cutting room floor. "The whole" refers to the Jewish mob, of whom Caiaphas was a part. Sounds like the only "significant difference" will be what is omitted, not what is added.
6 posted on 09/09/2003 1:04:35 PM PDT by Fifthmark
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To: Fifthmark
Different ways of looking at the same text, I guess. To me, "the high priest calling down a curse on the Jewish people" and "the assembled crowd cursing themselves and their descendants" are not exactly the same thing, and the mindset of the reader influences what he or she sees in the text.

I admit I'm just kibbitzing because of the spectacle; I don't watch violent films, and there's not much chance I'll see this one.
7 posted on 09/09/2003 1:12:40 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Pray for Terri Schiavo - hearing on 9-11 to schedule the execution!)
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To: Tax-chick
Maybe you should see this one. Then maybe next year when you, perhaps, are crying out during the reading of the passions, "Crucify him!" will have a better understand of what that means. My son has during the past few months seen things that haunt him; women disembowled, children with their throats slit. He will never see things the same way. He has seen what we have made of the world.
8 posted on 09/09/2003 1:41:28 PM PDT by RobbyS
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To: ultima ratio
Gibson originally shot a scene, based on Saint Matthew's Gospel, that pictured Caiaphas, a Jewish high priest, calling down a curse on the Jews for killing Jesus, but he has chosen not to include it. "I wanted it in," he says. "My brother said I was wimping out if I didn't include it.

I wonder if Gibson will include the fact that Caiaphas was appointed to his job by the Romans. The gospel writers wimped out on that point.

Jesus states that Pilate's authority came from God, however, he omits the fact that, since Caiaphas was appointed by the Romans, then his authority must have come from God too.

9 posted on 09/09/2003 1:43:43 PM PDT by Inyokern
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To: RobbyS
Good point.
10 posted on 09/09/2003 2:06:25 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Pray for Terri Schiavo - hearing on 9-11 to schedule the execution!)
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To: Inyokern
The politics were a little more complex than that. Caiphas and the Sadducees represented the hellenized Jews and the Greeks who were large landowners in Judaea. But as, the Pharisses had more support among the people, the Sadducees could not, as Josephus says, do anything without them. The Procurator and the Rome were there for the tribute and would not do anything that would slow the cash flow. But the gospel writers cut to the chase. The "Jews," i.e. the leadership wanted Jesus dead and found the easy way was to use the Romans. The Creed is quite definite in placing the historic responsibility. It says: "suffered under Pontius Pilate."
11 posted on 09/09/2003 2:12:31 PM PDT by RobbyS
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To: Inyokern
Caiphas came from a family of priests. His sons also became high priests. I have no doubt he paid for his office--which was how the system worked and how a proconsul like Pilate would have made his fortune. There is a probability Caiphas also had connections in Rome and had leverage over Pilate. It is not necessarily true that his appointment indicated he was Pilate's tool.

In any case, what is your point--that the Gospels are wrong and you are right and that the Christian faith is based on false premises about Jewish involvement in the death of Jesus? Don't you think this is kind of arrogant, suggesting to Christians that their holy texts are mistaken and that Gibson ought to have consulted with modern scholars before making his movie? This is absurd. He's a Christian, not a humanist scholar with a vested interest in undermining the New Testament.

As for Jesus's comment that Pilate's authority came from God--I'm sure the same could have been said of Caiphas, as you say. But so what? While authority comes from God, the way such authority is wielded--whether justly or unjustly--is a matter of an individual's judgment. Pilate and Caiphas still would have been obliged to act justly. They did not.
12 posted on 09/09/2003 4:59:45 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: Tax-chick
This is a reference to the line, "His blood on us and on our children." Actually, the film adheres very closely to the Gospels. Gibson toned it down a bit--taking into consideration the volatility of the material and the need to consider modern sensibilities--while at the same time he heightened our awareness of the human suffering of Jesus which necessarily was obscured by so brief a narrative. It is one thing for a Jew like Matthew to censure fellow Jews, but it is another for a contemporary Christian who inhabits a different world.
13 posted on 09/09/2003 5:08:29 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
proconsul=procurator
14 posted on 09/09/2003 5:11:05 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: Inyokern; RobbyS; ultima ratio
"Jesus states that Pilate's authority came from God, however, he omits the fact that, since Caiaphas was appointed by the Romans, then his authority must have come from God too."

The Gospel writers do not wimp out on this fact at all - St. John clearly ascribes the charism of prophecy to Caiphas in virtue of his holding the high priestly office:

John 11,49 "But one of them, named Caiphas, being the high priest that year, said to them: You know nothing.
50 Neither do you consider that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
51 And this he spoke not of himself: but being the high priest of that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation."

God can speak through the holders of ecclesiastical office in spite of them being corrupt gutter-snipes like Caiphas, and in spite of them lacking cognisance of the full import of their words. The infallibility of the Popes is built on exactly this principle and there have been some who behaved more like Caiphas than Cephas.
15 posted on 09/09/2003 6:16:44 PM PDT by Tantumergo
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To: RobbyS
But the gospel writers cut to the chase. The "Jews," i.e. the leadership wanted Jesus dead and found the easy way was to use the Romans.

Let us say that something like this were to happen in Iraq in 2003. Paul Bremer has a job that is vaguely analogous to that of Pilate. Let us say Bremer were to appoint an Iraqi to the job of Minister of Law Enforcement but require that this person get Bremer's approval before executing anyone.

Let us say (hypothetically) that this Iraqi minister came to Bremer one day and said that a certain individual was guilty of a crime and deserved execution. Bremer looked into the matter and it appeared to him that the man was innocent, but a mob suddenly appeared and began chanting for the man's death, so Bremer acquiesced and executed the man.

Who would be held responsible for that execution? The Iraqi people or Bremer?

Bremer, of course, would be held responsible. The same should be said of Pilate. As the offical in command, Pilate should be held accountable for the death of Jesus, not the Jews.

16 posted on 09/09/2003 10:11:19 PM PDT by Inyokern
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To: ultima ratio
Caiphas came from a family of priests. His sons also became high priests. I have no doubt he paid for his office--which was how the system worked and how a proconsul like Pilate would have made his fortune. There is a probability Caiphas also had connections in Rome and had leverage over Pilate. It is not necessarily true that his appointment indicated he was Pilate's tool.

But the fact remains that Caiaphas was a Roman appointee. And, if we accept Jesus' statement that the Romans obtained their power from God, (John 19:11) then Caiaphas, being a Roman appointee, also obtained his power from God.

Therefore, God ordained that Jesus die. No one else did.

As for Jesus's comment that Pilate's authority came from God--I'm sure the same could have been said of Caiphas, as you say. But so what? While authority comes from God, the way such authority is wielded--whether justly or unjustly--is a matter of an individual's judgment. Pilate and Caiphas still would have been obliged to act justly. They did not.

According to Paul, the Romans never acted unjustly:

Romans 13:1-3

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.

Since Caiaphas was a Roman-appointed ruler, he was not a terror to good works but only to evil. Jesus, then, must have deserved to die. (according to Paul)

17 posted on 09/09/2003 10:28:27 PM PDT by Inyokern
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To: Inyokern
The parallel is inexact. The "crime" for which Jesus was punished was that of claiming to be king of the Jews. He was delivered up to the Romans by those who, if his claim was correct, by people who owed their fealty to him. The best that can be said for Caiphas was that he was trying to spare the people from an uprising that would result in the killing of many Jews by the Romans. Better that one man die than the many. And, again, the ultimate responsibility historically is Pilate's. Theologically, we are all responsible for infidelity to Christ. But look at the story: betrayed by one of the Twelve, denied by another, and deserted by the rest.
Denounced by the leaders of the nation and turned over for execution by the aliens who ruled their land by force. That is the story that Gibson tells. All the characters are Jews,except the Romans. As for those who were with him? His mother and a few women and a brave dissenter from the Jewish council. Still all Jews. If we look at the Hebrew Scripture we find they treated the prophets poorly,were always suspicious of them. Now, once more, they rejectd one as a false prophet. A family tragedy.
18 posted on 09/09/2003 10:34:09 PM PDT by RobbyS
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To: Tantumergo
The Gospel writers do not wimp out on this fact at all - St. John clearly ascribes the charism of prophecy to Caiphas in virtue of his holding the high priestly office:

They most assuredly DID wimp out on the point that Caiaphas was a Roman appointee:

John 19:11 Jesus answered (to Pilate), Thou couldest have no power [at all] against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Apparently, when he says "he that delivered me," he is referring to Caiaphas. Naturally, the gospel writers could not mention that Caiaphas was a Roman appointee, because, if we take that fact into account, then Caiaphas is just as ordained of God as Pilate. Therefore, Caiaphas is not guilty of more or less sin than Pilate.

The gospel writers obviously wanted to shift the guilt for the death of Jesus from the Romans to the Jews because they did not want to insult their Roman masters. If you notice, in the gospels, Jesus directs all of his insults and cursing at the Pharisees, who did not have any official power. He never insults the High Priest and he never, NEVER insults the Romans.

19 posted on 09/09/2003 10:41:01 PM PDT by Inyokern
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To: RobbyS
If we look at the Hebrew Scripture we find they treated the prophets poorly,were always suspicious of them.

The Jews preserved the writings of the prophets. They copied their words so meticulously over centuries that ancient texts that have been found are remarkably similar to the ones we have today.

Some of the prophets ran afoul of jealous kings but the Jews generally considered those kings to be evil and revered the memory of the prophets.

20 posted on 09/09/2003 10:49:44 PM PDT by Inyokern
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To: Inyokern
Your logic is faulty. If someone gets his authority from God, he must use that power justly. If an authority puts an innocent man to death, he would be using his power unjustly and would immediately be delegitimizing his particular action. This holds true in all societies. It is never legitimate to wield power unjustly.

As for Romans 13, the way to read the text you've cited is to place it in its proper context. Paul is talking about governmental power and the need to obey it and not posit criminal acts. The laws of good order which govern most societies properly determine the behavior of subjects or citizens. But it would be perverse to take this to mean one could not resist injustice or tyranny or that governments could not do evil. When they posit evil actions, these may be resisted.

This is why your final point is absurd. Simply because authority is ordained by heaven, it does not follow power is always wielded wisely or justly. But the moment power is used in an evil way, such authority would over-step its divinely ordained mandates. Authority is given by God for a good reason--to assure justice and order, not to persecute the innocent. It is therefore always permissible to resist such evil actions--but never permissible to resist authority wantonly, for selfish ends.
21 posted on 09/10/2003 2:42:51 AM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: Inyokern
You are wrong in your analogy. Blame would be shared by the Iraqis who brought false charges against an innocent man, as well as by Bremer. Both would be implicated in an unjust act, not legally but morally. So it was back then. And the members of the Sanhedrin, don't forget, were significant for another reason: they were officially rejecting the Messiahship of Jesus on behalf of their people, despite his miracles and good works. As John tells us: he came unto his own and his own received him not. That is the real significance of their rejection--Jesus was still another of a long line of prophets rejected by Jerusalem.
22 posted on 09/10/2003 2:54:22 AM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: Inyokern; RobbyS; ultima ratio
"Apparently, when he says "he that delivered me," he is referring to Caiaphas."

That's a big assumption to make - he could have been referring to Judas Iscariot.

"If you notice, in the gospels, Jesus directs all of his insults and cursing at the Pharisees, who did not have any official power. He never insults the High Priest and he never, NEVER insults the Romans."

It was the Pharisees and corrupt temple authorities who opposed Jesus' mission - the Romans initially were quite indifferent to Jesus and His Church. The idea of a man claiming divinity was nothing unusual in a pagan context.

Until 64AD it was precisely the Pharisees and Temple authorities who conducted the pogrom against "Christians" so it is only natural that there would be antipathy towards them. As all the gospels were written before this time, this is the situation that they reflect. The "Christians" had recourse to the Romans as the civil authorities in order to gain protection from their "Jewish" persecutors.

For all your protestation that the Pharisees had no official power, they are clearly the ones who lead the pogrom against the disciples of Christ, with Saul of Tarsus, pupil of Gamaliel coordinating the persecution.

Once the Neronian persecution of the Christians commenced, there is also criticism of the Roman authorities, along with their Herodian puppets and the corrupt temple regime. This is clearly evidenced in the Apocalypse of St. John.

St. John also makes it abundantly clear in his Gospel that it is the complicity of the chief priests and their Roman masters that leads to Christ's execution:

John 19,15 "But they cried out: Away with him; away with him; crucify him. Pilate saith to them: Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered: We have no king but Caesar."

The New Testament makes it abundantly clear that it is "all who have sinned" and are thereby responsible for Christ's death. Jews are no different from the gentiles in this and they have equally fallen short of the glory of God. Your attempts to exonerate them from any guilt are nothing but political correctness that has no theological value.

Gentile and Jew alike are complicit in Christ's death by their sin, and neither can be justified and enter into covenant with God apart from baptism into Christ.
23 posted on 09/10/2003 4:33:01 AM PDT by Tantumergo
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To: Inyokern
This is not a very exact analogy.

For one thing, Jesus was not accused of a crime such as robbery or murder, but of the violation of Jewish religious law. The Romans were concerned about Jewish practice and belief only to the extent that it affected Rome's interests. On various other occasions, Pilate had been conciliatory to Jewish leaders who demanded particular things, but this was done not because he cared one way or the other about their views, but because he feared a revolt.

This would be more akin to one Muslim faction asking Bremer to punish a Muslim of another faction for violating one of the first group's beliefs or laws. This is not something that Bremer would do, even if he feared a revolt; but for Pilate - famous for saying, "What is truth?"- it was a matter of expediency and Rome's best interests.

And blame is indeed attributed to Pilate in the Creed itself.

For a really interesting view of this, I recommend the book Pontius Pilate, by Anne Wroe. It's extremely readable, well researched, and is a fascinating examination of Pilate as an individual and of his times and the parallel lives of Rome and Israel.
24 posted on 09/10/2003 5:31:26 AM PDT by livius
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To: Tantumergo
The New Testament makes it abundantly clear that it is "all who have sinned" and are thereby responsible for Christ's death. Jews are no different from the gentiles in this and they have equally fallen short of the glory of God. Your attempts to exonerate them from any guilt are nothing but political correctness that has no theological value.

Gentile and Jew alike are complicit in Christ's death by their sin, and neither can be justified and enter into covenant with God apart from baptism into Christ.


Excellent post Tantumergo!  Thank you.
25 posted on 09/10/2003 5:32:41 AM PDT by GirlShortstop
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To: livius
For a really interesting view of this, I recommend the book Pontius Pilate, by Anne Wroe. It's extremely readable, well researched, and is a fascinating examination of Pilate as an individual and of his times and the parallel lives of Rome and Israel.

I saw the author on cspan's Booknotes; her presentation was very well done, and interesting.  You've helped me add on to my library book list today, thank you.
26 posted on 09/10/2003 5:38:31 AM PDT by GirlShortstop
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To: Inyokern
The News canonized some of the writings of the prophets, but afterwards treated with great suspicion every one who claimed to be a prophet. Both the Pharisees and Sadducees a kind of sola scriptura approach. The Pharisses also developed their interpretation of the Scriptures, which is referred to by Jesus as their "tradition." They did not welcome alternative views.
27 posted on 09/10/2003 10:27:54 AM PDT by RobbyS
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To: livius
This would be more akin to one Muslim faction asking Bremer to punish a Muslim of another faction for violating one of the first group's beliefs or laws. This is not something that Bremer would do, even if he feared a revolt; but for Pilate - famous for saying, "What is truth?"- it was a matter of expediency and Rome's best interests.

OK. I will go along with that. Your analogy is better. But it does not change the fact that the official in authority (Pilate) was to blame.

He did not HAVE to crucify Jesus. The explanation in the gospels as to why he did it is not convincing, in my opinion. Caiaphas, the man who delivered Jesus to him was a Roman appointee, just as he was. He owed his very lucrative position to Rome (either to Pilate or to someone higher up). Pilate did not have to worry about offending Caiaphas. Caiaphas was hated by the people.

And, the mob that appeared while this was going on and called for Jesus to be crucified was necessarily representative of public opinion. What kind of governor would execute a man simply because a mob demanded it? Did Pilate really think there would be a revolt if he did not execute this man? What could possibly make him think that? Why did he not just lock Jesus up in jail until he had time to sort out the facts? Herod Antipas had kept John the Baptist locked up for months.

28 posted on 09/10/2003 9:02:02 PM PDT by Inyokern
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To: livius
That was supposed to read:

The mob that appeared while this was going on and called for Jesus to be crucified was NOT necessarily representative of public opinion.
29 posted on 09/10/2003 9:04:42 PM PDT by Inyokern
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To: Tantumergo
For all your protestation that the Pharisees had no official power, they are clearly the ones who lead the pogrom against the disciples of Christ, with Saul of Tarsus, pupil of Gamaliel coordinating the persecution.

On what do you base the claim that the Pharisees led a "pogrom" against Christians? At the trial of Peter and John (Acts 5:34-39) the Pharisees argue for acquittal.

Josephus does not mention any Pharisee pogrom against Christians. Josepus relates that, when the High Priest Annanias executes James the Righteous, certain Jews, who seem by description to be Pharisees, protest to Rome and have Annanias removed from office.

And, regarding Paul's claim to have been a student of Gamaliel, knowledgeable Jews laugh at that claim. Paul knew nothing about Judaism and could not even read Hebrew.

In any case, no Pharisee would have held the job Paul claimed to have held, as an enforcer for the High Priest. The Pharisees considered the High Priest illegitimate. Paul may have been able to fool gentiles with stories like that, but no Jew would ever believe it.

30 posted on 09/10/2003 9:25:32 PM PDT by Inyokern
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To: ultima ratio
So it was back then. And the members of the Sanhedrin, don't forget, were significant for another reason: they were officially rejecting the Messiahship of Jesus on behalf of their people,

As I stated in previous messages, there is no proof in the text of the gospels that Jesus was tried by the Great Sanhedrin. According to John, who intimates that he was an eyewitness, Jesus was tried only by the High Priest and the former High Priest.

And let me get this straight. Did Jesus claim to be the Messiah? I was under the impression he never actually claimed that.

31 posted on 09/10/2003 9:36:49 PM PDT by Inyokern
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To: ultima ratio
As for Romans 13, the way to read the text you've cited is to place it in its proper context. Paul is talking about governmental power and the need to obey it and not posit criminal acts. The laws of good order which govern most societies properly determine the behavior of subjects or citizens. But it would be perverse to take this to mean one could not resist injustice or tyranny or that governments could not do evil. When they posit evil actions, these may be resisted.

Where does it say that in the New Testament?

Matthew 5:39 - But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Jesus' message was that it was a sin to resist the Roman Empire. People who rebelled against Rome, such as Barabbas, are portrayed as criminals in the gospels. People who oppressed the Jews, such as the publicans, were not evil in Jesus' eyes. Jewish law could be ignored but Roman law should be obeyed, according to Jesus. The stewards of Jewish law, the Pharisees, were called "sons of the devil" by Jesus. Pilate, on the other hand, was faultless, according to him.

Perhaps Jesus should have applied for messiahship of Rome (which was what he really was).

32 posted on 09/10/2003 9:54:01 PM PDT by Inyokern
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To: Inyokern
The quarrel Jesus had with the Pharisees was that they were substituting their own overly legalistic man-made tradition--which would later become the Mishnah--for Sacred Scripture and the Mosaic Tradition. This is what he found deadening spiritually. And he disliked the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, their public displays of praying and fasting and scorn for the lowly like publicans and prostitutes.

As for turning the other cheek--this is good advice in some circumstances, when there is a need to break a cycle of violence and endless retribution. But Jesus also advised his disciples to be wise as serpents, to learn from the children of darkness--those who behave shrewdly. We are not supposed to be naive in dealing with others. He himself was not.
33 posted on 09/10/2003 10:18:04 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: Inyokern
It was the Sanhedrin, called by John the Council. But in Acts of the Apostles, the Sanhedrin is sometimes called the Council, sometimes called the Sanhedrin. There was little consistency and the words were interchangeable.

Jesus in fact didn't go around calling himself the Messiah. People called him "rabbi". But he confirmed Peter's declaration in Matthew 16:18, "Thou art the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Living God."

By the way, we now know the Gospel of Matthew was extant as early as 68 A.D. A papyrus fragment in Greek was unearthed dating back to that period and it matches exactly in script and material another piece of papyrus concerning a business transaction that had been definitely dated to the time of Nero. This places the first Gospel well into the first century.
34 posted on 09/10/2003 10:39:08 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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To: ultima ratio
It was the Sanhedrin, called by John the Council. But in Acts of the Apostles, the Sanhedrin is sometimes called the Council, sometimes called the Sanhedrin. There was little consistency and the words were interchangeable.

The only time the NT definitely mentions the Great Sanhedrin is in Acts 5, when it refers to the "Senate of all the People." The tribunal that tried Jesus was not definitely the Great Sanhedrin. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a criminal trial such as this could be as few as 23 members.

At all events, criminal causes were tried before a commission of twenty-three members (in urgent cases any twenty-three members might do).

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13444a.htm

Since Jesus' trial was clearly an urgent case, it probably consisted of only 23 members and, since any 23 would do and the Pharisees are never mentioned as being there, we can assume Caiaphas packed it with his Sadducee allies.

(That is if there was even a trial, since John does not mention a trial)

35 posted on 09/11/2003 1:06:54 PM PDT by Inyokern
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To: ultima ratio
By the way, we now know the Gospel of Matthew was extant as early as 68 A.D. A papyrus fragment in Greek was unearthed dating back to that period

I am curious what part of the gospel this fragment is. Is it somewhere on the web?

36 posted on 09/11/2003 1:09:49 PM PDT by Inyokern
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To: ultima ratio
The quarrel Jesus had with the Pharisees was that they were substituting their own overly legalistic man-made tradition--which would later become the Mishnah--for Sacred Scripture and the Mosaic Tradition. This is what he found deadening spiritually.

The Pharisees believed that their "tradition" was an oral instruction passed to the Jews by God at Mount Sinai at the time the Torah was given. They believed, for example, that God instructed them to wash their hands before eating. Jesus told them this was unneccessary, but, today we know about germs, so the Pharisee tradition makes more sense. The Pharisees did not know why they were washing their hands, only that God had instructed it.

And he disliked the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, their public displays of praying and fasting and scorn for the lowly like publicans and prostitutes.

The publicans were not in the same league as prostitutes. They were bully boys who terrorized the people. The Pharisees rightly scorned them.

The publican system of tax collection was so unjust and universally hated throughout the empire that the Romans were forced to abandon it in the 200's. However, Jesus never condemned it. Jesus never condemned ANY injustice visited on the Jews by the Romans.

As for turning the other cheek--this is good advice in some circumstances, when there is a need to break a cycle of violence and endless retribution.

Jesus commanded "You shall not resist evil." That is what he said. You can try to explain that away or rationalize it, but your rationalizations are merely the tradition of men rather than biblical. Christians do exactly what they condemn the Pharisees for doing.

37 posted on 09/11/2003 1:33:34 PM PDT by Inyokern
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To: Inyokern
The discovery was made by a well-known papyrologist, Casten Peter Theide a few years ago. The fragments were found originally in Egypt, then shipped to Magdalen College in Oxford. They include Matthew 26: 7-8; 26:10; 26:14-16; 26:22-23; 26:31-33. These are accounts of Jesus' annointing at the house of Simon the Leper and his betrayal to the chief priests by Judas. The fragments are in Greek. They match exactly the script and papyrus of other fragments, also found in Egypt, umistakably from the same time period, and stored at the Bibiotheque Nationale in Paris. What is significant is that the latter was a record of a business transaction that has been dated as the "twelfth year of Nero Klaudius" and also as "the year 12 of Nero the lord. Epeieph 30"--which would place these fragments in July of 65/66 A.D.
38 posted on 09/11/2003 8:31:42 PM PDT by ultima ratio
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