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The Judas Brief: A critical investigation into the arrest and trials of Jesus and the role of the Jews
by Gary Greenberg
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Some Review Excerpts

a keen eye for the ways religious and political motives have shaped the story of Jesus' arrest and execution . . . Greenberg presses important historical questions and rightly insists on fresh con­sideration of the evidence, particularly in view of centuries of Christian hostility toward Jewish people and religion that found inspiration in the Gospel accounts of the passion."--Catholic Biblical Quarterly

“This study is a judicious investigation seeking to shed light on some dark corners of the crucifixion narratives in early Christian sources. The Judas Brief should be required reading for both Christians and Jews, as both communities have much to gain from reflecting on this crucial topic.” — Robert R. Stieglitz, Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations, Rutgers University

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, Rice University

"vigorous defense of the Palestinian Jews of Jesus' time . . . This well-documented work . . . presents some interesting history and is clearly written." — LJXpress (online supplement to Library Journal.)

Did Jews leaders really want to see Jesus crucified?
They did not,  according to Gary Greenberg's The Judas Brief

The Gospels charges that Jewish authorities sought to kill Jesus and pressured Pontius Pilate to crucify him have fueled two millennia of virulent anti-Semitism. The Judas Brief offers the first full-scale historically based rebuttal to these Gospel accusations. Greenberg concludes that the Jewish authorities did not seek to have Jesus put to death and furthermore acted to save him and his followers and other innocent Jews from a crushing military assault by Roman soldiers. The true villain in all of this, says Greenberg, was Herod Antipas, the Roman ruler of Galilee. Greenberg contends that the Jewish authorities sought to prevent the planned massacre and opened up negotiations with Pilate and Jesus (who was represented by his trusted disciple Judas.) Jesus agreed to remain under house arrest with the High Priest in order to guarantee that his followers caused no disturbances. Pilate agreed that if Jesus’ followers remained quiet, he would allow Jesus to return to Galilee after the holidays ended. But when Herod Antipas learned of this arrangement he demanded that Pilate renege on his promise and execute Jesus or face charges of treason. Pilate yielded to Herod’s threats.

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