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Anti-Judaism on the Way from Judaism to Christianity


Peter Landesmann

The differing beliefs that emerged between Christianity and Judaism, especially in the first two centuries AD, were mainly caused by the introduction of heavenly beings in the Jewish religion. This resulted in the predominance of a messiah, who will be sent by God as salvator mundi. Mainly Paul preached and practiced the conversion of pagans to Christianity, without obligating them to practice the Jewish law. In the course of time the baptized pagans represented the mainstream of Christianity which caused a conflict between them and those Jews who practiced the Jewish law but also believed in Jesus as the Messiah. The development of these tendencies is described in this book.


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11. Why was Jesus crucified?


The following quotation shows that Jews under Roman rule were not allowed to pass death sentences: "Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law." The Jews replied, "We are not permitted to put anyone to death" (Joh 18:31 NRS). The Romans only crucified criminals found guilty of capital offences. Insur- gency against the Emperor was deemed to be such a capital offence, which is what Jesus committed by claiming the title of King for himself. As Josephus Flavius (37 or 38 – c. 100 AD) mentions, high-ranking Jews usually intervened to try and help their fellow believers who had been brought before a Roman tri- bunal. The Gospels show why the opposite was more the case with Jesus: "So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, "What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation." But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all! You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed" (Joh 11:47-50 NRS). One might now rightfully ask why it possible to blame Jesus for the destruc- tion of a "whole nation". The following answer can be found...

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