The Judas Brief: Who Really Killed Jesus?

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9780826489999: The Judas Brief: Who Really Killed Jesus?
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The Judas Brief challenges the fundamental Gospel concept that at least some leading Jews played a key role in having Jesus executed. Author Gary Greenberg provides a detailed examination of all Gospel accounts of hostile interaction between Jesus and the Jews, with special attention to the Gospel accounts of the Jewish and Roman trials of Jesus. He then compares these Gospel reports with the historical evidence and reaches some surprising and controversial conclusions, including that: - there was never any organized Jewish hostility to Jesus - the only significant opposition came from Roman authorities - Judas was a close ally of Jesus and represented him in negotiations with the High Priest - the High Priest tried to protect Jesus and his followers from a Roman initiated massacre - Jesus willingly agreed to surrender himself to Pilate as a hostage to insure that his followers remained passive during the holiday - Judas and Caiaphas had expected that Jesus would be released after the holiday - Pilate broke his word and had Jesus executed - Judas committed suicide in grief over the unexpected death of Jesus and the role he had played 'The Judas Brief' is a comprehensive and clearly written account of the many Gospel portrayals of interaction between Jesus and the Jews. It may well provide modern Christian scholars and exegetes with some of the tools necessary to challenge the anti-Semitic reactions that flow from the Gospel accounts of Jewish hostility to Jesus.

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About the Author:

Gary Greenberg is the author of four books on biblical and ancient Near Eastern history and has served as President of the Biblical Archaeology Society of New York for several years. He is a criminal defense attorney in New York.

Review:

"The pivotal historical occasion of the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Christ provides the heart of this apologia by attorney and independent historian Greenberg (president, Biblical Archaeology Soc. of New York). His vigorous defense of the Palestinian Jews of Jesus's time rests on his complex ... theory of a peace-keeping arrangement between Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee—with the now-vindicated disciple Judas as conscientious go-between—for the Jewish community to hold Jesus in protective custody over the chaotic Passover holiday. However, it was Herod, jealous over Jesus's popularity at home, who threatened and bullied Pilate into revoking his promises to the Jews and, ultimately, into executing Jesus. Thus, over time, "the Jews" becomes a textual metaphor for the hated client-king and Roman puppet Herod. This well-documented work ... presents some interesting history and is clearly written...Recommended for seminary and religion collections."
—Library Journal

"The book is very accessible in terms of the manner in which it readsand is well-argued, reflecting a revisionary examination of the ancientliterature. It deals head-on with many of the problems that havetroubled scholars for years, including the difficult and inconsistentstories of Judas Iscariot, the involvement of Jewish authorities inJesus' death, and the increasing tendency of the gospel authors to findways to exonerate Pilate."
—April DeConick, The Forbidden Gospels Blog

The Judas Brief challenges the fundamental Gospel concept that at least some leading Jews played a key role in having Jesus executed. Gary Greenberg provides a detailed examination of all Gospel accounts of hostile interaction between Jesus and the Jews, with special attention to the Jewish and Roman trials of Jesus.
—Shofar

"...a spirited defense of first-century Jewish people and leaders by way of a historical reassessment of the NT Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus. Although the book's title centers on Judas, the recasting of his role in the passion drama, as Greenberg (re)constructs it, is only a minor element of a larger project of historical retrieval."
—John T. Carroll, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 2009

Mention - International Review of Biblical Studies, vol. 54:2007/08

Mention in PostScripts, July 2009

"The Judas Brief is a spirited defense of first-century Jewish people and leaders by way of a historical reassessment of the [New Testament] Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus."
—John T. Carroll, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, Jan. 2009

'A fascinating read posing deep questions about some of the basic concepts of Jesus and his mission.'
—Journey Online

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9780981496641: The Judas Brief: A Critical Investigation Into the Arrest and Trials of Jesus and the Role of the Jews

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