This year, with Easter upon us, there have been a few articles about the very unfortunate part of the resurrection story that blames the Jews for the “deicide” of Jesus Christ. Now, I’m no Biblical scholar. In fact, I’m not a scholar of any kind. But I have read the likes of Karen Armstrong, John Dominick Crossen and Reza Aslan. Christ, I even poked around in Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Jesus,” and I really hate to give Bill O’Reilly any more attention than absolutely necessary.
The one thing that is absolutely clear from the Biblical scholars that I’ve read is that the Jews didn’t kill Jesus. The Romans did. The Romans, whom we now know as Italians.
That’s right folks, the Italians killed Jesus.
But before we go on two centuries of anti-Italian pogroms, let’s remember that Jesus was a rabble-rouser and apocalyptic prophet, and that probably any authoritarian regime who happened to be in power would have done the same with him. They would have had no use for him.
What is likely true is that Joseph Caiaphas, the high priest at the Jerusalem temple in the time that Jesus was crucified, was probably not at all upset about his departure. Caiaphas and the other Temple elites had allied themselves with the local Roman administration for their own political advantage. But these elites were not “the Jews.” The ordinary Jews, the local peasants, very much resonated with the message of Jesus. After all, he was one of them. He was pleading their cause, and giving them hope for their liberation.
While the deicide myth isn’t the only reason for the two centuries of anti-Semitism that we’ve had since, it sure hasn’t helped. Some people have been writing about taking this myth out of the Christian playbook. That certainly couldn’t come soon enough, as far as I’m concerned.