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Jesus (continued)


Dilling Exhibit 276

[page 166] […] spiritual kingdom. This, according to Holtzmann (“Leben Jesu,” p. 327), was equivalent to a claim to the Messiahship. Jesus is reported to have distinctly made this claim in answer to a direct question by the high priest; but the Synoptic Gospels vary on this point, xiv. 62 making the claim, and Matt. xxvi. 64 and Luke xxii. 69 representing an evasion, which was more in accord with the usual practise of Jesus when questioned by opponents. The rending of his clothes by the high priest seems rather to imply that the charge was one of “gidduf” or blasphemy (Sanh. vii. 10, 11).

There could be no question of anything corresponding to a trial taking place on this occasion before the Sanhedrin. Whatever inquest was made must have occurred during the Thursday night and outside Jerusalem (for on entering the city a prisoner would have had to be given up to the Roman garrison), and can not have been held before a quorum of the seventy-one members of the Sanhedrin. It is more probable that the twenty-three members of the priestly section of the latter, who had most reason to be offended with Jesus’ action in cleansing the Temple, met informally after he had been seized, and elicited sufficient to justify them in their own opinion in delivering him over to the Romans as likely to cause trouble by his claims or pretensions to the Messiahship, which, of course, would be regarded by them as rebellion against Rome. Nothing corresponding to a Jewish trial took place, though it was by the action of the priests that Jesus was sent before Pontius Pilate (see CRUCIFIXION). The Gospels speak in the plural of the high priests who condemned him—a seeming contradiction to Jewish law which might throw doubt upon their historic character. Two, however, are mentioned, Joseph Caiaphas and Annas (Hanan), his father-in-law. Hanan had been deposed from the high-priesthood by Valerius Gratus, but he clearly retained authority and some prerogatives of the high priest, as most of those who succeeded him were relatives of his; and he may well have intervened in a matter touching so nearly the power of the priests. According to the Talmud, Hanan’s bazaars were on the Mount of Olives, and probably therefore also his house; this would thus have become the appropriate place for the trial by the Sanhedrin, which indeed just about this time had moved its place of session thither (see SANHEDRIN).

In handing over their prisoner to the procurator, Pontius Pilate, the Jewish officials refused to enter the pretorium as being ground forbidden to Jews. They thereby at any rate showed their confidence

The Crici-

in the condemnation of Jesus by the Roman power.
Before Pilate the sole charge could be attempted rebellion against the emperor. In some way, it would appear the claim to be king of the Jews (or possibly of a kingdom of heaven) was made before him by Jesus himself, as is shown by the inscription nailed up in derision on the cross. To Pilate the problem presented was somewhat similar to that which would present itself to an Indian official of to-day before whom a Mohammedan should be accused of claiming to be the Mahdi. If overt acts in a disturbed district had accompanied the claim, the official could scarcely avoid passing sentence of condemnation; and Pilate took the safe course. But he seems to have hesitated: while condemning Jesus, he gave him a chance of life. It appears to have been the practise to grant to the Jewish populace the privilege of pardoning a prisoner on public holidays; and Pontius Pilate held out to the rabble surrounding the pretorium (for most responsible heads of families must have been at this time engaged in searching for leaven in their own homes) a choice between Jesus and the other Jesus (bar Abbas), who also had been accused of rebellion. The mob had naturally more sympathy for the avowed rebel than for the person who had recommended the payment of tribute. It chose Barabbas; and Jesus was left to undergo the Roman punishment of CRUCIFIXION in company with two malefactors. He refused with some not overkindly words (Luke xxiii. 28-31) the deadening drink of frankincense, myrrh, and vinegar which the ladies of Jerusalem were accustomed to offer to condemned criminals in order that they might pass away in an unconscious state (Sanh. 43a). Whatever had been Jesus’ anticipations, he bore the terrible tortures, due to the strain and cramping of the internal organs, with equanimity till almost the last, when he uttered the despairing and pathetic cry “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani?” (the Aramaic form of Ps. xxii. 1, “My God, my God. why hast thou forsaken me?”), which showed that even his resolute spirit had been daunted by the ordeal. This last utterance was in all its implications itself a disproof of the exaggerated claims made for him after his death by his disciples. The very form of his punishment would disprove those claims in Jewish eyes. No Messiah that Jews could recognize could suffer such a death; for “he that is hanged is accursed of God” (Deut. xxi. 23), “an insult to God “(Targum. Rashi). How far in his own mind Jesus substituted another conception of the Messiah, and how far he regarded himself as fulfilling that ideal, still remain among the most obscure of historical problems (see MESSIAH).

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Of the enormous literature relating to Jesus it is unnecessary to refer in this place to more than a few of the more recent works, which give in most cases references to their predecessors. On the sources the best work, at any rate In English, still remains E. A. Abbot’s Gospels in Eneye Brit. On the parallels with rabbinic sources: Lightfoot, Horoe Talmudicae (best ed., Oxford, 1854); A. Wunsche, Neue Beitraege Erlaeuterung der Evangelien aus Talmud und Midraseh, Goettingen, 1878; G. H. Dalman, The Words of Jesus, Edinburgh, 1901. On the life of Jesus the best and most critical recent work is that of O. Holtzmann, Leben Jesu, Leipsic, 1901 (Eng. trans. London, 1904). W. Sanday in Hastings, Dict. Bible, s.v., presents a moderate and candid estimate of the various aspects of the life from the orthodox Christian standpoint, and gives a critical bibliography to each section. A similar critical view, with a fuller account of the literature attached to each section, is given by Zoeckler, in Herzog-Hauck, Real Eneye, s.v. With regard to the relation of the Law to Jesus, the Christian view is expressed by: Bousset, Jesu Predigt in Ihrem Gegensatz zum Judentum, Goettingen, 1892; G. G. Dalman, Christianity and Judaism, London 1901. Of Jewish writers on Jesus may be mentioned: G. Solomon, The Jesus of History, London 1880; H. Weinstock, Jesus the Jew, New York, 1902; J. Jacobs, As Others Saw Him, London, 1895. See also POLEMICS.


—In Theology: Because the Gospels. while containing valuable material. are all written in a polemical spirit and for the purpose of substantiating the chain of the Messianic and superhuman character of Jesus, it is difficult to present an impartial story of his life. Nor is the composite picture of […]