Who Killed Jesus?
I am a history teacher and am working on a Masters thesis on the role of the Catholic Church in fostering anti-Semitism. I have encountered a lack of written evidence on the Jewish reply to the charge that the Jews killed Jesus. In the Middle Ages many Jews were persecuted in Europe, and the Church censored and removed passages in the Talmud which related to Jesus. Are there uncensored Talmud editions, and if so, what do they say about this topic?
To me this question is very important, because if you mix with Christians and they don't know that you are Jewish, you always hear them saying how terrible it was that Jesus was killed by his own people. If I try in a factual way to say that the Roman occupiers of Israel were responsible and give a historical analysis, nobody listens to me.
So who Killed Jesus? The Jews? The Romans? Can you please give a source. Thank you.
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
If you say that Jesus was nailed to a cross and left to die in a public place, there is no other alternative than the Romans.
At that time (30 CE), the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin, had already lost the power to administer the death sentence. Besides, the Romans were the sovereign power in Israel, and they surely would not have tolerated any other group administering the death sentence.
In addition, death by crucifixion was never a Jewish form of capital punishment.
According to the New Testament, while Jews are mentioned as accomplices, the Gospels of Matthew, John and Mark all specifically state that the Romans killed Jesus. Unfortunately, other New Testament references accuse the Jews for the death of Jesus, and this has been the basis for horrific anti-Semitism over the ages. This is stated explicitly in 1-Thessalonians 2:14, Acts 2:36, Matthew 27:22-25, and elsewhere.
It is interesting that the standard edition of Maimonides was written in Egypt under Islamic rule, and yet the paragraphs concerning Jesus were still censored out. Today, however, we have in our possession uncensored versions of the Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a) and Maimonides (Laws of Kings 11:4, Frankel Edition; see "Shinui Nischaot" – S. Frankel XII, p. 288).
The uncensored versions of the Talmud and Maimonides indicate that Jesus was claiming to be king of the Jews, was prostelyzing, doing witchcraft and mischief. He was destroying the wholesome rapport between the Jews and Romans, which was a serious threat and danger. Though it has been denied by Jews throughout the generations that we killed Jesus, it is possible that the Jews did not object to his being killed by the Romans.
Whatever the case, the Christian Bible has been the cause of countless murders of innocent Jews throughout the ages.
For a further study, see:
• Outreach Judaism – www.outreachjudaism.org/jesuskillers.html
• "Their Hollow Inheritance" by Michael Drazin – www.drazin.com