Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Papering Over the Past

Posted by Adam Graham on February 3, 2007

The fact that the Gospels portray Jesus being tried before the Jewish Sanhedrin has created some controversey over the years and been linked to far too much anti-semitism. Many have denied a real “inconvenient truth” and have argued that the Gospel is anti-semetic. Now a new book appears ready to blow the whistle on this revisionism. Now a book on censored passages of the Talmud is ready to come forward with the truth that some want to hide:

Schaefer, who heads up Princeton’s Judaic studies program, has collected and analyzed all the passages in the Talmud that apparently refer to the founder of Christianity, texts that were previously censored from Talmud editions for centuries. In his book he argues—against other scholars—that the scandalous passages indeed refer not to some other figure of ancient times but to the famous Jesus of Nazareth.

What exactly is so scandalous? How about Jesus punished in Hell for eternity by being made to sit in a cauldron of boiling excrement? That image appears in early manuscripts of the Babylonian Talmud, as does a brief account of Jesus’ trial and execution—not by the Romans but by the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin. The Jewish community, to the extent Jews were even aware of these excised texts, has been content to let them remain obscure and unknown.

This doesn’t justify anti-semetism, but it does further the Gospel Account what happened. One can refuse the poisonous legacy of anti-semetism without pretending that what happened didn’t happen by remembering that Jews today are no more responsible for Christ’s death than anyone else. For, it was our own sins that killed the Lamb of God, not one ethnicity or religion.


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