The Judas Brief

The Judas Brief : Who Really Killed Jesus?

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"The Judas Brief" challenges the fundamental Gospel concept that at least some leading Jews played a key role in having Jesus executed. Gary Greenberg provides a detailed examination of all Gospel accounts of hostile interaction between Jesus and the Jews, with special attention to the Jewish and Roman trials of Jesus. He then compares these Gospel reports with the historical evidence and reaches some surprising and controversial conclusions, including that: there was never any organized Jewish hostility to Jesus; the only significant opposition came from Roman authorities and that Judas was a close ally of Jesus and represented him in negotiations with the High Priest; that the High Priest tried to protect Jesus and his followers from a Roman initiated massacre. Greenburg contends that Jesus willingly agreed to surrender himself to Pilate as a hostage to insure that his followers remained passive during the holiday; that Judas and Caiaphas had expected that Jesus would be released after the holiday and that Judas committed suicide in grief over the unexpected death of Jesus and the role he had played.
"The Judas Brief" may well provide modern Christian scholars and exegetes with some of the tools necessary to challenge the anti-Semitic reactions that flow from the Gospel accounts of Jewish hostility to Jesus.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 228.6 x 228.6 x 30.48mm | 566.99g
  • Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0826489990
  • 9780826489999
  • 1,296,840

Table of contents

1. Judas in the Dock; Pilate in the Choir; 2. The Gospels: History or Speculation; 3. Jewish Factions and Roman Reactions; 4. The Baptist and the Scapegoat; 5. The Kingdom and the Message; 6. A Matter of Blasphemy; 7. An Accusation of Demonic Possession; 8: The Sabbath Death Threat: An Overview of the Problem; 9. The Synoptic Sabbath Stories; 10. The Johannine Sabbath Stories; 11. Was Jesus tried and Acquitted for Violating the Sabbath?; 12. A Prophet Without Honor; 13. The Jews in Q; 14. Other Interactions Between Jesus and the Jews Before the Passion; 15. Who Do They Say I Am? A Turning Point in the Mission; 16. Jesus in Jerusalem; 17. Judas and the Arrest of Jesus; 18. The Jewish Trial of Jesus; 19. The Roman Trial of Jesus; 20. What Really Happened?; 21. Did Paul Help Pilate Kill Jesus?
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Review quote

mention in PostScripts, July 2009 Mention - International Review of Biblical Studies, vol. 54:2007/08 "The book is very accessible in terms of the manner in which it reads and is well-argued, reflecting a revisionary examination of the ancient literature. It deals head-on with many of the problems that have troubled scholars for years, including the difficult and inconsistent stories of Judas Iscariot, the involvement of Jewish authorities in Jesus' death, and the increasing tendency of the gospel authors to find ways to exonerate Pilate." April DeConick, The Forbidden Gospels Blog Book-Note of one of your books in Shofar issue (Summer 2008) "The Judas Brief" challenges the fundamental Gospel concept that at least some leading Jews played a key role in having Jesus executed. Gary Greenberg provides a detailed examination of all Gospel accounts of hostile interaction between Jesus and the Jews, with special attention to the Jewish and Roman trials of Jesus. -Shofar "The pivotal historical occasion of the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Christ provides the heart of this apologia by attorney and independent historian Greenberg (president, Biblical Archaeology Soc. of New York). His vigorous defense of the Palestinian Jews of Jesus's time rests on his complex ... theory of a peace-keeping arrangement between Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee with the now-vindicated disciple Judas as conscientious go-between for the Jewish community to hold Jesus in protective custody over the chaotic Passover holiday. However, it was Herod, jealous over Jesus's popularity at home, who threatened and bullied Pilate into revoking his promises to the Jews and, ultimately, into executing Jesus. Thus, over time, "the Jews" becomes a textual metaphor for the hated client-king and Roman puppet Herod. This well-documented work ... presents some interesting history and is clearly written...Recommended for seminary and religion collections." -Library Journal --Sanford Lakoff ."..a spirited defense of first-century Jewish people and leaders by way of a historical reassessment of the NT Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus. Although the book's title centers on Judas, the recasting of his role in the passion drama, as Greenberg (re)constructs it, is only a minor element of a larger project of historical retrieval."-John T. Carroll, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 2009 'A fascinating read posing deep questions about some of the basic concepts of Jesus and his mission.'--Sanford Lakoff "The Judas Brief is a spirited defense of first-century Jewish people and leaders by way of a historical reassessment of the [New Testament] Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus."-John T. Carroll, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, Jan. 2009
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About Gary Greenberg

Gary Greenberg is the author of four books on biblical and ancient Near Eastern history and has served as President of the Biblical Archaeology Society of New York for several years. He is a criminal defense attorney in New York.
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Rating details

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