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Who Killed Jesus?: Exposing the Roots of Anti-Semitism in the Gospel Story of the Death of Jesus Paperback – Bargain Price, February 2, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 edition (February 2, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060614803
  • ASIN: B000ENBOG2
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,159,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The two main theses of this extraordinary book are that the roots of anti-Semitism spring from gospel narratives of the death of Jesus and that the Romans, not the Jews, killed Jesus as a revolutionary agitator inimical to their continued governance of Judea. Crossan, a former Roman Catholic priest and now a noted expert on the life of Jesus, fascinatingly describes here two types of historical writing: 1) history remembered?history written as it actually happened?and 2) prophecy historicized, a tendentious interpretation of what really happened made to conform to or "fulfill" ancient prophecies?in this case, supposed prophecies about the life of Jesus uttered by Hebrew prophets. According to Crossan, the passion accounts blaming the Jews for Jesus' arrest and crucifixion are based on this second type of writing and are thus myths if not downright lies. He pleads for a reevaluation of the passion stories, which have caused such animus toward Jews for the past 2000 years. An excellent study for lay readers and specialists; recommended for larger religion collections.?Robert A. Silver, formerly with Shaker Heights P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

John D. Crossan is generally acknowledged to be the premier historical Jesus scholar in the world. His books include The Historical Jesus, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, and Who Killed Jesus? He recently appeared in the PBS special "From Jesus to Christ."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Albert M. Zaccor on February 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am not a scholar in theological or Christian studies. I am a specialist in Eastern Europe. I came to this book seeking an explanation for the origins of Christian Anti-Semitism. I got far more than I bargained for: a satisfying and profound answer to my questions on Anti-Semitism, and a powerful analysis of the origins and meaning of the central story in the Christian drama. This is simply one of the finest books I have ever read. I recommend it to the general reader as an introduction to the world of historical Jesus research. It has certainly opened up a whole new world for me. I have read two more of Crossan's books, and find myself coming back to this one over and over again. The author's autobiographical epilogue is a work of great rhetorical power and integrity and can stand by itself as a work of genius. Reading it is worth the price of the whole book. I regularly recommend this book to believing and non-believing friends alike. The moral conclusions to be drawn from this book are too important not to share.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Although Crossan says he aimed at writing a "popular" book, his task of showing the gospel roots of anti-semitism is too ambitious. While he starts out strongly, his bent for detail and covering all the angles will lose many readers, especially those unfamiliar with modern biblical scholarship. I don't think one can read Crossan carefully and not conclude he is honest and sincere in coming to his views about Jesus. His Christianity will seem heretical to most fundamentalists who refuse to look at the Gospels as anything less than the absolute historical truth. However, for those seeking thoughtful questions and possible answers on an important topic--how the gospels depict Jews in relation to Jesus' death and how much of that treatment is (1) real history or (2)creative application of old testament biblical prophecy presented as history--this book will provide much of substance. It takes some work to get the whole message of this "popular" book, but it is worth the effort.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Michael Mcarthur on January 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
Some of the other reviews need to be ignored by people unfamiliar with the topic. To say, as one of the reviewers did, that Christianity has never claimed that the Jews killed Christ is either ignorant or naive. As I don't know the person, I cannot comment either way. The Gospels are an infamous source of anti-semetism and anyone who has studied theology in an academic setting knows this to be fact.

As for the book being "another angle on Mel Gibson's film," well of course the Gibson film is flawed in many resepcts, particularily historicity. And Crossan's book is an "angle" on the Bible, not a film.

The book is exceptional and I would recommend it without hesitation.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful By William R. Bunge on July 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Just finished reading a wonderful book: "Who Killed Jesus?" by John Dominic Crossan (1996,Harper, San Francisco). Crossan is a former Catholic priest. At the time the book was published he was professor emeritus of religious studies at DePaul University in Chicago, and co-director of the Jesus Seminar. In his book Crossan develops several theses: 1. The followers of Jesus constituted one among the diverse group of Jews extant at the time of Jesus, such as the Pharisees, Essenes, Zealots,etc., with the difference that they carried Jesus' message to the Gentiles. 2. The Gospels are not a true biographical relation of the life of Jesus. They are "prophesy historicized" rather than "history remembered." 3. By the way in which they were written, the Gospels place the blame for Jesus' death on the Jews and exonerates the Romans. Therefore, the seeds of anti-Semitism are imbedded in the Gospels. 4. Christianity didn't really take off until Constantin converted, which gave Christians the powers with which they would persecute dissenters. The book draws not only on the four canonical Gospels, but also on the Gospels of Peter and of Thomas, and on the writings of Tacitus, the Jewish historian Josephus, and others. This is a very important book. You'll enjoy it.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dr. James Gardner VINE VOICE on October 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
John Dominic Crossan's 1995 book is written in response to Raymond Brown's 1994 book The Death of the Messiah. Crossan systematically takes Brown's positions apart, one by one, closely examining the gospels with a special focus on the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Peter (which appears in an appendix). Crossan demonstrates what is most likely historical and what is literary, and his analyses are very impressive. His focus on the death of Jesus provides ample opportunity to accumulate some formidible information about this facet of the life of Jesus.

Despite the obvious scholarship and Crossan's easy to read writing style, the book never gets beyond the "Brown said, I say..." level of exposition. Moreover, Crossan has an annoying habit of opening up a topic and then telling the reader to "stay tuned" because he is really going to discuss it later.

There is value in this book, but not as much if Crossan had simply written his own book instead of trying to critique Brown's book. To get the full value from this book, one has to read Brown's original book.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Vahania63 on January 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
The book definitely represents a very interesting approach towards 'historical Jesus', which was very unexpected for me. The author supports his reasoning with convincing research that takes a very different, from established, look on Jesus crime, arrest, trial, abuse, execution, burial and and resurrection. The epilogue, where the author talks about himself and how his personal history could have affected his view, very well worth mentioning. Although I would highly recommend this book I have two reasons for caution. First, although the author intends this book for wide audience, it pretty much reads as scholarly work, meaning it is not an easy read. This point is also confirmed by many references to the other book on this subject that the author is constantly argues with. Second, although the subtitle of this book is 'roots of anti semitism', this book is not really about it. Yes, relationship between Jews and Jesus plays very important role in this book. Bot not the main role as somebody could expect from the cover.
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