Who Killed Jesus?: Exposing the Roots of Anti-Semitism in the Gospel Story of the Death of Jesus

John Dominic Crossan, Author HarperOne $23 (238p) ISBN 978-0-06-061479-9
In a book sure to generate both conversation and controversy, John Dominic Crossan, author of two well-regarded books on the historical Jesus, names the New Testament Gospels' insistence on Jewish responsibility for Jesus' death as Christianity's ``longest lie.'' Crossan argues particularly against many of the theories posed in Raymond Brown's The Death of the Messiah. While Brown finds that many of the events in the stories of Jesus' last days are plausible historically, Crossan claims that almost none of the events are historical. According to Crossan, they are ``prophesy historicized,'' accounts written by looking back at the Old Testament and other early materials and then projecting those prophecies on whatever historical events occurred. Because many of those early writers were persecuted by the Jewish authorities, they threw in a heavy dose of propaganda against the Jews. As Crossan aptly states, these gospels were relatively harmless when Christians were a small sect. When, however, Rome became Christian, those anti-Semitic narratives became, and continue to be, lethal. Well argued and highly readable, Who Killed Jesus? also includes an important epilogue stating Crossan's own faith perspectives on the divinity and resurrection of Christ. Scholars rarely go this far, yet such a confession provides another valuable entry into this fascinating material. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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