This web page briefly discusses who modern day Christians think Jesus and Paul were and then looks at dissenting views of some of the early Christians and of some of the modern historians of Christianity.  This web page is a prelude to a web page called Who Killed Jesus

The Modern Christian View of Jesus and Paul:

   According to Christian teaching the virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem and he was the son of God.  While Jesus was on earth he preached God's word, and performed miracles such as walking on water, feeding thousands with two loaves of bread, healing the sick, to name a few. Jesus spoke out against the corruption of Jewish leaders and his teachings were considered heretical by the Jews.  His teachings antagonized the Jews so much that they manipulated Pontius Pilate, the Roman administrator of Judea and Samaria against his will into crucifying Jesus. As Jesus died he is said to have cried out "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"  Three days after his death Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven.

    According to Christian doctrine everyone is a sinner who is doomed to spend eternity in hell unless they believe in Jesus. Christianity teaches that Jesus's life on earth, his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension into heaven are proof of God's love for those who believe in him and if one has faith in Jesus, God will forgive all one's sins and will grant one salvation from spending eternity in hell.

Where did the Story of Jesus Come From:

    Solomon Zeitlin, in his book The Rise and Fall of the Judean State, wrote that:

It has been said correctly of the life of Jesus, "We do not have enough material to write a respectable obituary."  The reason is simple; there are no sources that can be called historical.  The authors of the Gospels were not primarily interested in recording reliable historical data, but in presenting him as seen through the eyes of faith.  What is historical in their accounts they swathed so completely in theological wrappings that it almost cannot be laid bare.  Moreover, there are no other nearly contemporaneous accounts of him.  No mention is made of the name of Jesus outside of Christian records.  The well known Christ passage in Josephus was interpolated in the fourth century by the Church historian Eusebius.

     John Dominic Crossan in his book Who Killed Jesus argues that some of what the Gospel writers wrote was prophesy historicized.  To understand what this means let us try and adopt the likely perspective that the Gospel writers had.  They probably thought that since Jesus was the Messiah, the Old Testament must have somehow foretold Jesus's coming as well as his crucifixion.  If the story of Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament then if one was trying to reconstruct the life of Jesus one could look up these prophecies since they must have come true and then incorporate them in the biography about his life.  In his book, Dr. Crossan shows that is exactly what the Gospel writers did. It may be that one reason the Gospel writers did this was to convince Jews that Jesus was the Messiah.   If they could show the Jews that their own scripture predicted the events that happened to Jesus, that would be likely to convince many Jews that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.  One of the many striking examples of prophesy historicized given by Dr. Crossan is from Psalm 69:21:

They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.   (Psalm 69:21). 

This  matches what Peter said occurred during the crucifixion

And one of them said: "Give him to drink Gall (poison) with vinegar"   And they mixed it and gave him to drink.  And they fulfilled all things...

  Notice how in this sentence Peter is pointing out that the "prophesy was fulfilled".  It is also noteworthy that Luke (Luke 22:37) had Jesus cite Isaiah (53:12b) about himself just before the Roman arrested Jesus:

For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, 'And he was counted among the lawless' and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.

Likewise in John, Jesus says that his impending betrayal and crucifixion is happening

to fulfill the scripture...

   One can find on the web pages that give many examples of how Jesus's life fulfilled the scriptures and which argue that this is proof that the New Testament is true (see for example Messianic Prophecies).

  In addition to their writing being influenced by prophecies Gospel writers had theological beliefs which colored their biographies of Jesus.  John believed that Jesus was in control of everything that happened to him and so wrote his Gospel accordingly so that it is different than the other Gospels.  For example according to Matthew 27:46

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? “that is, “ My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me ?”  

    Unlike Matthew, John did not include a cry of dereliction on the cross since that cry indicates that Jesus was not in control.  According to John Jesus chose to drink vinegar in order to fulfill the scripture.  John wrote:

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), "I am thirsty."  A jar full of sour wine [vinegar] was standing there.  So they put a sponge full of the wine [vinegar] on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.  When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished."  Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30)

    Another reason for modifying the story of Jesus was the desire to get a message across.  In the case of Matthew who was probably hostile to the Jews for rejecting Jesus, that message was "The Jews are evil."   According to John Dominic Crossan in his book Who Killed Jesus? the Gospel of Peter came before the Gospel of Matthew and was much more favorable to the Jews.  One example given by Dr. Crossan to illustrated this is passages in both Peter and Matthew about the resurrection of Jesus.  According to Peter (11:45-47) the Jewish Authorities who were responsible for the death of Jesus were afraid that if the Jewish masses found out that he was really the son of God they would stone them.  In Peter's case the Jewish masses were the good guys and the Jewish authorities were the bad guys.  According to Matthew (28:11-15) the Jewish authorities and the Jewish people are equally to blame.   Dr. Crossan writes:

That explains every change in his story.  He does not mind describing the authorities as culpable. but there will be no hint that the people are almost innocent.   There will be no Jewish authorities present at the tomb, nor will any resurrection take place before their eyes.  Hence there is nothing at all about them fearing their own people.  And because Pilate is not present to command Roman soldiers into silence, bribery and the promise of protection must suffice.  Every difference in Matthew can be explained as a necessary result of not wanting to have the people of the Jews innocent through ignorance and deceived by their own authorities who actually know the truth. 

    Matthew is also the only Gospel in which the Jewish masses tell Pontius Pilate that Jesus's blood should be on them and on their children.  This is surely a manifestation of Matthew's hatred of Jews.

    Luke is a Gospel writer who probably want to get across a message of forgiveness towards Jews.  His is the only Gospel in which Jesus having just been crucified says: (23:34)

Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

Jesus without Miracles:

    What would the story of Jesus be without miracles?  We will consider the Gospel according of Matthew stripped of miracles.  In that case the story would go something like this:

    There was a preacher named Jesus who encouraged men to not judge each other but rather to forgive each other.  He said:

5:44 ...For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you. 7:3

According to Matthew, Jesus did more than preach forgiveness he preached pacifism.  Although Jesus said:

5:17 Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil.

he challenged the biblical commandment of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth".  According to Matthew Jesus said:

5:38 Ye have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 5:39 but I say unto you, resist not him that is evil: but whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

5:43 Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy: 5:44 but I say unto you, love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you... 

   Yet according to Matthew Jesus also said:

10:34 Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 10:35 For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law: 10:36 and a man's foes shall be they of his own household. 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

   So according to Matthew, on the one hand Jesus taught "Love thine enemy" and yet on the other hand he said that if it required making enemies between children and parents or following him, following him was more important. 

    He ministered to the poor and needy and preached that the rich should donate their wealth to charity. According to Matthew, Jesus reached out to criminals.

9:10 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Teacher with the publicans and sinners? 9:12 But when he heard it, he said, They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. 9:13 But go ye and learn what this meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.

   According to Matthew he admitted to being the son of God:

16:15 He (Jesus)  saith unto them, But who say ye that I am? 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jonah: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.

   Jesus told his followers that they would be saved if they followed him and had faith in him and that they would be rewarded with eternal life.  He accused the Jewish leadership of being corrupt hypocrites.   He believed that the presence of money lenders in the temple grounds violated its sanctity, and said that he could destroy the temple and rebuild it in 3 days.  The Jewish leadership was threatened and antagonized by Jesus's preaching.   According to Matthew they tried to trap Jesus into making heretical statements.   Matthew wrote:

12:10. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? that they might accuse him.

    In the end according to Matthew, the Jewish leadership betrayed Jesus to the Romans.  The high priest and the elders persuaded the Jewish multitudes to pressure Pontius Pilate into sentencing Jesus to death.  The Romans then crucified Jesus.  According to Matthew the Romans:

27:37 ....set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27:38 Then are there crucified with him two robbers, one on the right hand and one on the left. 27:39 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, 27:40 and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself: if thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross. 27:41 In like manner also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 27:42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. He is the King of Israel; let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe on him. 27:43 He trusteth on God; let him deliver him now, if he desireth him: for he said, I am the Son of God. 27:44 And the robbers also that were crucified with him cast upon him the same reproach.

27:45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 27:47 And some of them stood there, when they heard it, said, This man calleth Elijah. 27:48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 27:49 And the rest said, Let be; let us see whether Elijah cometh to save him. 27:50 And Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit.

The Theological Matthew

    Matthew writes that Jesus chose to die to save mankind from punishment for their sins. 

The Problems with Matthew

   There are both philosophical and historical problems with Matthew's account.  From the philosophical point of view the account assumes that someone other than ourselves can atone for our sins, and that God required that someone undergo pain for our sins in order to forgive us.  This makes it sound like God requires death for atonement even if it is not the death of the guilty.  What kind of God would require this?   This contradicts the concept of the Jews that only the person who commits a sin can atone for it.   It is a Jewish requirement that a person who has sinned against someone else ask their forgiveness before the day of atonement.  It's up to God from then on if they are forgiven or not.

   Another major philosophical problem exists with Jesus's command not to resist evil.  Edmund Burke summed up the problem when he said

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. 

If we do not resist evil, then evil will triumph. 

   According to Matthew, Jesus said

Ye have heard that it hath been said, thou shalt love they neighbor and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them whcih despitefully use you and persecute you. (Matthew 5:43-44)

Solomon Zeitlin points out the problems with this command as follows (The Rise and Fall of the Judean State)

It must be pointed out that the saying, "hate thine enemy," does not occur either in the Bible or in the tannaitic literature.  Nonetheless, according to Jesus, a man is supposed to love not only his neighbor but also his enemy.  The need to desist from acts of revenge can easily be understood.  It is conceivable that a man who was wronged should be enjoined not to hate a culprit who was mentally unbalanced or might have committed the crime unintentionally.  But if a man deliberately breaks into the home of his fellow-man and callously kills his children, as has happened repeatedly, shall he love that murderer?  To ask the victim to love his torturer approaches the humanly impossible.

   Matthew's account about Pontius Pilate, is improbable in light of historical information we have about Pontius Pilate.  Some of the other problems with Matthew's account are discussed on the  Who Killed Jesus web page

The Problem of Control.

    The issue of Jesus's betrayal raises difficult theological questions.  If God controls everything and everything is God's will and Jesus is the son of God than is everything Jesus's will as well?  Was he a victim of treachery or did he choose to be betrayed?  If it was his will that he be betrayed than what is the culpability of the person who betrayed him?  Did Judas have a choice or was Jesus forced to do Jesus's will?  In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is much more of an unwilling victim than in the Gospel of John where he is in control. 

   In John, Jesus controls events.  According to John, Jesus said at the last supper regarding the person who will betray him:

I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. 

   Jesus when asked who would betray him answered:

It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish."  So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.  After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him.   Jesus said to him, "Do quickly what you are going to do."

   According to John, Jesus chose who would betray him. and commanded him to do it.  If Judas was carrying out Jesus's will than one cannot fault him for doing what he did.  If everyone involved in Jesus's death were carrying out Jesus's will than they cannot be faulted for it either.  According to the New Testament Jesus died for out sins but if everything that we do wrong is God's will than we are simply carrying out his will and that is no sin.

The Problem with Prophesy Fulfillment

    Earlier I quoted both Luke and John in which Jesus is said to have said that the events that were happening to him had to happen so that prophesy was fulfilled.  This raises the same question about responsibility as was raised in the previous section.  If the Romans had to crucify Jesus because the prophesy was made that they would then are they responsible for their actions?

The Problem with Paul

   The primary sources upon which Christianity is based are the writings of John, Paul, Matthew and Luke.  According to Hyam Maccoby, in his book The Mythmaker:

Paul is regarded as the great interpreter of Jesus' mission, who explained in a way that Jesus himself never did, how Jesus' life and death fitted into a cosmic scheme of salvation, stretching from the creation of Adam to the end of time.

Maccoby points out that Jesus and Paul never met but that:

Paul claimed that his interpretations were not just his own invention, but had come to him by personal inspiration, he claimed that he had personal acquaintance with the resurrected Jesus, even though he had never met him during his lifetime. Such acquaintance, he claimed, gained through visions and transports, were actually superior to acquaintance with Jesus during his lifetime, when Jesus was much more reticent about his purposes.  

   Paul claimed that Jesus abrogated the Torah, (The first five  books of Hebrew scripture).  If we are too believe that Jesus spoke the word of God then this is a very problematic claim.  The Torah according to both Judaism and Christianity contain God's commandments.  If we believe Jesus preached God's word, then saying that Jesus abrogated the Torah means that God abrogated the Torah.   Would God abrogate his own commandments?  That implies that God made a mistake.

   The reason for Paul's claim may simply be that he was trying to gain Roman converts. There were Jewish laws that would have interfered with his success, the main one I can think of being circumcision.  According to Solomon Zeitlin in the Rise and Fall of the Judean State II:

the heathen world which had great pride in corporeal beauty would not accept circumcision.  They abhorred it as a barbaric mutilation of the body.  In order to gain converts for his new religion, therefore, Paul had to forgo circumcision; and to make more converts, he further compromised by abolishing other precepts of the Torah.

    The Nazarenes and the Ebionites (Jewish Christians) believed that Jesus was loyal to the Torah and that he was an observant Jew. They believed that Jesus's message had been distorted and perverted by Paul. They believed that Jesus was a human being born by natural process to Joseph and Mary, who was given prophetic powers by God.

   Epiphanius (ca 315-403) a bishop in Cyprus wrote in his book Panarion, that Ebionites believed that Paul was a Greek who spent time in Jerusalem and was seized with a passion to marry the daughter of the priest.   For this reason he became a proselyte and was circumcised.  Then, when he failed to get the girl, he flew into a rage and wrote against circumcision and against the sabbath and the Law. (Epiphanius, Panarion, 30.16.6-9)

   Paul's rage against the Jews may be the reason that in spite of widespread Jewish support for Jesus, Paul shifted all the blame for the crucifixion of Jesus from the Romans to all Jews.  Paul is quoted in  (I Thessalonians 2:15-16) as accusing the Jews of having killed Jesus:

the Jews who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove out us, and pleased not God, and are contrary to all men... but the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

According to Acts (21: 27-31) the Jews were aware of Paul's teachings against them and when they caught sight of Paul in the temple some of them shouted

Here is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place, moreover he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.

  An Israeli scholar, Shlomo Pines, discovered writings that argued that Paul abandoned the observance of the Torah mainly in order to obtain the backing of Rome and achieve power and influence for himself.  The writings held Paul responsible for the destruction of the Temple by the Romans, since his anti-Jewish propaganda inflamed the Romans against the Jews.  According to these writings Paul's Christianity was 'Romanism' and that instead of converting Romans into Christians he converted Christians into Romans.  Paul's desire to appeal to Rome may be another reason he shifted the blame for the crucifixion of Jesus from the Romans to the Jews.

Who Betrayed Jesus?

   Maccoby's historical studies of the life of Jesus led him to share to some extent the opinion of the Ebionites.  Maccoby wrote that:

Jesus had preached the coming of the Kingdom of God and had envisaged himself as the King of Israel in a world of international peace, in which the Roman Empire and other military empires had disappeared.  He had never declared himself to be a divine figure or claimed that his death would atone for the sins of mankind; his failure to overcome the Romans by a great miracle from God was the end of all his hopes, as his despairing cry on the cross shows.  Jesus' scenario for the future contained the Jews as the people of God, restored to independence in their Holy Land, and acting as a nation of priests for the whole world in the Kingdom of God.  Paul's new scenario, in which the Jews no longer had a great role to play, and had indeed sunk to the role of the enemies of God, would have filled Jesus with horror and dismay. 

  William Nichols a former Anglican minister, and founder of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of British Columbia, devoted 3 chapters of his book Christian Antisemitism, A History of Hate, attempted to determine based on historical evidence who Jesus was and what his mission was.  Dr. Nichols assessment also is more in line with the Ebionites than with Paul's teachings.  According to Dr. Nicholls:

The heart of Jesus' message was divine compassion "for the lost sheep of the house of Israel"   He believed he had himself been sent to these, rather than to the "righteous persons who need no repentance".

  John Dominic Crossan viewed Jesus as a peasant revolutionary, but of a radically social rather than an aggressive military one, with both vision and program for the Kingdom of God.  Brown a scholar with opposing views to those of John Dominic Crossan regards the idea that Jesus was a political revolutionary, either the Che Guevara type gathering a band of armed follower, or the Gandhi type practicing and encouraging nonviolent resistance as a myth that doesn't require radio or TV to take a stance about Jesus' religious claims that might offend viewers. 

  Dr. Nicholls wrote that Jesus spent much of his time trying to help sinners and that Jesus's teachings emphasized the nearness of God and that God's presence is in the here and now.  Dr. Nicholls explained that

he (Jesus) ... gained a reputation among his followers and the crowds for being something he did not claim to be, the Messiah who was to deliver his people.  He saw it for an illusion and did what he could to dispel it, but in vain.  

  Why did Jesus' followers believe the Messiah if he didn't say he was?  They may have idolized him and wished for a Messiah and then decided that he was the Messiah.  This is what happened to the Rebbe Menachem Shneerson in modern times.

    Christians tried to convince Jews that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God.  When they failed they became hostile to those Jews who rejected their message.  That included followers of Jesus such as the Ebionites who did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah.  Maccoby writes that:

The Ebionites did not survive for the simple reason that they were persecuted out of existence by the Catholic Church.

   According to Solomon Zeitlin, in his book Who Crucified Jesus, the Romans preferred to rule conquered peoples with the help of native kings and princes.  One reason for this may have been to prevent the outbreaks of revolts as much as possible.   From the time of Herod onwards the Roman procurator appointed the High Priest through which he ruled the Jews.  Dr. Zeitlin wrote:

When Judea became a Roman province, the procurators assumed jurisdiction over political crimes.  Trials were held and sentences passed by them.  It was the duty of the high priests to take the malefactors to the procurator.  They spied out and exposed those Jews who incited the populace against the Roman authorities..  The high priests who did not conform with the Roman policy of suppressing the Jews, were dismissed and punished...

Te acclamation of the people when Jesus entered Jerusalem as the "Son of David," "the King," was actually a rebellious act against the Jewish oppressors, the Romans.  The proclamation of the Messiahship of Jesus and the affirmation that he was the Son of David, the King of Israel, was sufficient ground for the high priest to arrest Jesus.  Had the high priest not suppressed such a movement, he would have been regarded by the Roman authorities as an accomplice in the insurrection.

   According to Dr. Zeitlin, one concern of the high priests was that if they did not stop insurrection by their Jewish brothers the Romans might punish them all.   The earlier discussion of Roman brutality on this web page makes clear just how serious a danger this was.  The high priests were hated by many Jews for being in league with the Romans although they may have cooperated in order to protect their own people.  This is consistent with the fourth Gospel.  According to the fourth Gospel the high priest Caiaphas feared that the Romans would interpret the widespread enthusiasm for Jesus's message as an incipient revolt and would destroy the entire nation if Jesus was not handed over to them. (John 11:49f and 18:14)  In addition, since Jesus was against his corruption (as were many Jews) Caiaphas would have considered him a threat and had the motivation to report him to Roman authorities.  Zeitlin wrote:

When Jesus entered the Temple, he drove out the moneychangers from its midst.   This act was a challenge against the authority of the high priest who ruled over the Temple precincts like a dictator.  It was also a rebellious act against the social order in Judea against the wealthy classes who were protected by the Romans.

It was not surprising, therefore, that Caiaphas, the high priest, as a representative of the interests of the Roman authorities, wanted to destroy Jesus.   To make sure that Jesus was indeed a rebel against the Romans, Jesus was asked, "Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not?"  Jesus, recognizing the trap laid for him, answered with laconic and evasive words, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. 

This answer was to be sure, noncommittal  He did not say that the tribute should not be paid to Caesar and, hence, declare himself a rebel against the Romans.   On the other hand, he did not assert that the tribute should be rendered to Caesar and, hence, expose disloyalty to the interests and ideals of the Jewish people.

    The concern that the claim that Jesus was the King of the Jews would antagonize the Romans was a valid one.  Solomon Zeitlin writes:

The first query put to Jesus by Pilate was whether he was the "King of the Jews".  To this Jesus answered "Thou sayest."  This laconic answer was evasive.  He neither denied nor affirmed this accusation against him.   Luke adds that, when Jesus was brought before Pilate, the Jews accused him of forbidding them to pay tribute to Caesar, "saying that he himself is Christ (Messiah) a King."  To this Pilate inquired whether he was truly the "King of the Jews."  Thus it is quite clear that Jesus was arrested and brought before Pilate as a political offender against the Roman state.  The accusation made against him was that he claimed himself to be the King of the Jews.

When Pontius Pilate asked the Jews "Shall I crucify your King," he may have been laying a trap for them.  If they said no Pilate might construe that as support for revolution against Rome.  Solomon Zeitlin writes:

As a matter of fact, when Pilate later asked the Jews, "Shall I crucify your King," the chief priests protested, "We have no king but Caesar."   Note that Pilate did not say, "Shall I crucify Jesus," but "the King."  The fact that the high priest had to assert again and again, "We have no king but Caesar," indicates that not only was Jesus' trial a political issue but that the high priest was fearful of being accused of being an accomplice in declaring Jesus a King of the Jews. 

However, most of the Christian Gospels hold the Jews, not just the Jewish high priest, as responsible for the death of Jesus even though Jesus himself was a Jew.  Christian anger at the Jews for not believing their doctrines, may be the reason they held Jews and not just Caiaphas responsible for the death of Jesus.  Since it was well known that the Romans had crucified Jesus and since they wanted to avoid antagonizing the Romans they falsely accused the Jewish people of having forced an unwilling Pontius Pilate to kill him.  Historical evidence that backs up this view is given on the Who Killed Jesus web page.  The hatred of Jews that resulted from Christian libeling of Jews was the opposite of Jesus's message of tolerance and understanding and has resulted in the persecution of Jesus's people, the Jews, throughout history.  The real murderers of Jesus besides the Romans are those whose lies led to the murder of his message and his people throughout history and the followers of those people who carried out those murders.   William Nichols, in his book Christian Antisemitism, A History of Hate wrote:

Historic Christianity has betrayed and forsaken Jesus himself in exact proportion to it's own anti-Jewishness.

Links to Additional Information or Commentary:

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