Responsibility for the death of Jesus

Responsibility for the death of Jesus

The responsibility for the death of Jesus has, in Christianity, both historical and theological aspects. In addition, the deicide charge against Jews is among the cornerstones of antisemitism.

The primary sources for both inquiries are the Gospel accounts of the events leading up to the Crucifixion of Jesus, commonly called The Passion.

The historical inquiry is aided by other sources from antiquity which explain the cultural and political environment in which Jesus lived. Historical analyses of Jesus' death generally assigned responsibility to either -
#The Roman-appointed government of the Roman province of Iudaea [H.H. Ben-Sasson, "A History of the Jewish People", Harvard University Press, 1976, ISBN 0674397312, page 246: "When Archelaus was deposed from the ethnarchy in 6 CE [i.e. 6 AD] , Judea proper, Samaria and Idumea were converted into a Roman province under the name Iudaea."]
#The Jewish leadership in Jerusalem at the time.

The theological question can be understood in the light of other New Testament writings such as the Letters of Paul.

There is no term meaning deicide used in the New Testament, either in the original Greek, or in the later Latin Vulgate translation. Similarly, New Testament texts which refer to responsibility for Jesus' death do not take special note of Jesus' divine identity, although explicit mention that he is the Messiah sent by God is found (Acts 2:36). The New Testament nowhere blames Jews who lived outside Judea for Jesus' death (cf. , translation note in "The Complete Gospels", page 108: "The fact that Judas needs to use a "sign" indicates that Jesus was not known by face in Jerusalem."] to the authorities.

Theological analyses of who is responsible for Jesus' death have included:

# All humanity through their sinfulness,
# Jews in particular through their manipulation of the Roman authorities
# God, for the benefit of people in general,
# God, for the benefit of the Elect in particular.
# The Roman authorities in Judea

The Jewish authorities and Roman government

According to the New Testament accounts, the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem charged Jesus with blasphemy, a capital crime under biblical law, and sought his execution, see Sanhedrin Trial of Jesus. However, the Jewish authorities lacked the authority to have Jesus put to death, according to . The following, for example, is a verse from a hymn written in 1892 for use in the Church of England to call upon God to convert the Jews to Christianity:


The Catholic church and other protestants churches' dogma suggests that Jesus' death was necessary to take away the effects of sin, and in order for the process to work, see Substitutionary atonement, the human has to accept it that he was forgiven, so Christians believe that all of humanity bears some responsibility for Jesus' death. Thus, the crucifixion is seen as an example of Jesus' eternal love for mankind and his divine ability to forgive.

Alternatively, the Gnostic "gospel of Judas" discovered in the 1970s contends that Jesus commanded Judas Iscariot to set in motion the chain of events that would lead to his death.Associated Press, [,2933,190826,00.html "Ancient Manuscript Suggests Jesus Asked Judas to Betray Him,"] Fox News Website, Thursday, April 06, 2006] Similarly, has Jesus give Judas a dipped piece of bread which causes Satan to enter him.

Other Christian theologians argue that God cannot be killed. Thus, it would be inappropriate to apply charges of deicide to anyone. The following is a verse from the New Testament () used in some Protestant churches to support this position:

"No man taketh it [my life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father" ( [ John 10:18] ) Many Christians believe that Jesus' death was not the sole responsibility of any single person, but the collective responsibility of every human being. Because God has full knowledge of both the future and the past, and knew that no human would ever live a spotless life, He therefor sent his only begotten son who is spotless, so whoever loves him and accept his death will not perish, but have everlasting life ().

ee also

*Good Friday Prayer
*Christianity and antisemitism
*Persecution of Christians in the New Testament
*Christian-Jewish reconciliation


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