Sunday, February 15, 2004

Vermes on Caiaphas

Geza Vermes has a piece on Caiaphas in today's Telegraph:

Never mind what Mel Gibson says, Caiaphas was innocent

It's a useful and interesting article, as you would expect from Vermes, yet it features several extraordinary claims -- or is Vermes just being more sloppy in writing a newspaper article than he would when writing his books? Take this, for example:
Given this highly specific context [i.e. post-70], it is no surprise that Jesus and his followers are not really presented as Jews. By contrast, it is the Jews that the Gospels - especially Matthew - blame for the death of Jesus.
Jesus and his followers not presented as Jews? What? I can't make any sense of that at all. I found this also odd:
According to the Gospel writers, Caiaphas judged Jesus to be a blasphemer for calling himself the Messiah. Such an assertion did not amount to blasphemy in any Jewish law, Biblical or post-Biblical.
When the High Priest in Mark rents his garments, this is not only after Jesus has affirmed that he is Messiah but also when he has said "you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven" (Mark 14.62).

Also in today's Telegraph a longish piece on reactions to The Passion of the Christ by Chris Hastings:

Passion and Prejudice

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